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Weekly news through June 2

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Weekly news through June 2

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of insurance news stories and more published throughout the week.

Risk and regulation

The first phase of the U.S. Department of Labor's Conflict of Interest Rule is set to go into effect June 9, but some industry leaders, regulators and legislators that expected a further delay in the implementation continue to criticize the rule. The Labor Department is still reviewing the rule, but industry observers expect it to undergo revisions before 2017 ends.

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More than a week after the unveiling of a budget proposal that seeks massive cuts to healthcare programs, President Donald Trump called for more money to be spent on healthcare.

Property and casualty

Federated Mutual Insurance Co. said it is willing to make another acquisition after its purchase of Granite Re Inc.

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Patriot National Inc. board formed a new special committee of independent directors to explore and review a range of strategic alternatives for the company.

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Other technology startups like Bungalow, Hippo and Quilt want to follow Lemonade Insurance Co.'s footsteps and disrupt the U.S. homeowners and renters insurance markets.

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Global insurance rate declines continued to moderate in the first quarter of 2017 amid abundant capacity and competitive underwriting environment, according to a Marsh LLC report.

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In reinsurance, Fitch Ratings expects market conditions to remain soft because of large volumes of underdeployed capital and weak demand from buyer.

At June 1 reinsurance renewals, rate decreases accelerated amid excess capacity and strong competition among traditional and insurance-linked securities markets.

Separately, reinsurers may be cautious in providing capital if the National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization calls for more private capital to flow into the flood insurance market, according to an S&P Global Ratings report.

Texas Windstorm Insurance Association secured $4.9 billion in total funding for its 2017 reinsurance program, and two Universal Insurance Holdings Inc. units completed their 2017-2018 reinsurance programs.

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Fidelity National Financial Inc. plans to hold loss provision around 5% of premium for the time being, but it will monitor its loss ratios closely moving forward, Executive Vice President and CFO Anthony Park said during the Keefe Bruyette & Woods Mortgage Finance & Asset Management Conference.

Life and health

CF Corp. said it intends to utilize Fidelity & Guaranty Life as "a platform to make accretive and low risk acquisitions of annuity and life businesses and blocks," hinting its willingness to further penetrate the U.S. life insurance business.

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Taking the highest-cost customers who buy coverage on public exchanges out of the risk pool would lead to lower premiums in the marketplace, UnitedHealth Group Inc. President David Wichmann said at a Sanford C. Bernstein conference.

His statement comes as health insurers participating in Affordable Care Act state health exchanges continue to plan their exits because of uncertainties surrounding cost-sharing reductions and other incentives.

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Freedom Health Inc. and related corporate entities will pay the U.S government about $31.7 million to settle a whistleblower complaint alleging Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

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The Georgia Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians criticized Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Inc.'s policy that requires customers to pay for visits to the emergency department if the diagnosis is later deemed not to be an emergency.

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