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LIMRA says DOL rule hurt '17 annuity sales; states eye Medicaid work requirement

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LIMRA says DOL rule hurt '17 annuity sales; states eye Medicaid work requirement

Total annuity sales decreased 8% to $203.5 billion in 2017 compared to 2016, according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute's latest U.S. retail annuity sales survey. Fourth-quarter 2017 total annuity sales were flat year over year at $50.8 billion, but indicated a 9% rebound from a 16-year low recorded in the third quarter of 2017. The implementation of the Labor Department's Conflict of Interest Final Rule, commonly known as the fiduciary rule, had a significant impact on the individual annuity market, said Todd Giesing, director of annuity research at LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute.

In a reversal of its earlier stance, Florida may think about imposing work requirements on people enrolled in the state's Medicaid program, the News Service of Florida reported. The a committee in the state's House of Representatives voted 14-4 to approve a bill that would authorize Florida to request federal approval for a waiver to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, reportedly said in January that the state was unlikely to mandate work requirements for Medicaid in 2018.

Elsewhere in Alaska, lawmakers introduced separate bills in the Senate and the House that would require the state to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries, The Hill reported.

Also in Missouri, Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, discussed a bill during a state Senate committee hearing that would add work requirements to Medicaid, The Columbia Missourian reported. The bill, introduced by Sater, exempts Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities, substance abuse disorders or complex medical conditions, according to the report.

In a White House economics report, President Donald Trump's administration suggested that the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act had something to do with the growth of the opioid epidemic. The White House has also argued in the report that government policies and programs like Medicare and Medicaid are dampening competition and artificially driving up the prices of prescription medicines.

The $75 million class D tranche of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.-sponsored Caelus Re V Ltd. series 2017-1 catastrophe bond is now expected to be a full loss, while about $45.8 million of the $75 million class C tranche is expected to be a loss, Trading Risk reported, citing a report released by Nationwide.

In deal news, insurance broker Ryan Specialty Group LLC agreed to acquire the assets and operations of Hamilton, N.J.-based specialty intermediary New Day Underwriting Managers LLC.

Employers Holdings Inc.'s board increased the company's quarterly dividend to 20 cents per share and authorized a new $50.0 million share buyback program. And Alleghany Corp.'s board approved a special dividend of $10 per common share.

Assured Guaranty Ltd., Erie Indemnity Co. and James River Group Holdings Ltd. are expected to report earnings today. Click here to read a summary of earnings reported Feb. 21 by select insurance companies covered by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Featured news

Novo Nordisk's diabetes pill meets study goal; UCB's 2017 profit rises YOY: Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk A/S said its diabetes pill semaglutide, sold as Ozempic in injection form, improved the blood sugar of people with type 2 diabetes under a late-stage trial.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: South Korea to invest in startups; India probes auditors in bank fraud

Europe: Barclays to double dividend; Axa FY'17 profit up 7%; Deutsche Bank's Brexit move

Middle East & Africa: Samba Q4'17 profit rises 11.38% YOY; South Africa ups VAT; Zambia cuts rate

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 1.48% to 30,965.68, and the Nikkei 225 was down 1.07% to 21,736.44.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.92% to 7,214.69, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.48% to 1,018.76.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the leading indicators report, the EIA natural gas report, the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, EIA petroleum status report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.