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Michael menaces Florida panhandle; Aviva boss steps down; Vivat could be sold

Hurricane Michael has maximum sustained winds of about 90 mph with higher gusts and is likely to be a major hurricane when it makes landfall over the Florida panhandle or Big Bend areas tomorrow, according to the National Hurricane Center. Heavy rain and flash flooding spawned by Michael killed 13 people in Central America over the weekend, Reuters noted.

Information services company CoreLogic Inc. estimated that 57,002 homes in the Florida Gulf Coast region, which have a reconstruction cost value of roughly $13.4 billion, are at potential risk of storm surge damage from Michael, based on a projected Category 3 strength at landfall. Insurers at higher risk of losses include Universal Insurance Holdings Inc., Citizens Property Insurance Corp., FedNat Insurance Co., Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc. and HCI Group Inc., Artemis reported, citing A.M. Best data.

Aviva PLC said Mark Wilson will step down as CEO, effective today, but will remain with the group until April 2019. The insurance group said it will commence a search for Wilson's successor immediately in a process that is expected to be completed within the next four months. A source told Reuters that Wilson's departure reflected disagreement with the company's board over how to boost its share price.

VIVAT NV confirmed that its China-based parent, Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd., is reviewing strategic options regarding its ownership of the Dutch insurer.

Private equity-backed Epic and New York-listed Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. are among the bidders for Integro Ltd.'s U.S. business, The Insurance Insider reported.

Australia-based Insurance Australia Group Ltd. and Malaysia-based AMMB Holdings Bhd. are seeking bids for AmGeneral Insurance Bhd., a general insurance business in Malaysia which the two companies co-own, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

BNP Paribas SA is considering selling part of its stake in India's SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd. over the coming quarters because local regulation requires a larger free float, Reuters reported, confirming an earlier report by French newspaper Les Echos.

U.K.-based insurance broker Aon PLC is creating one Asia-Pacific unit by combining its regional commercial risk solutions, health solutions and affinity businesses, The Insurance Insider reported.

Brown & Brown of Kentucky Inc., a subsidiary of Brown & Brown Inc., acquired substantially all of the assets of FNI Management Group.

Mercer LLC, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., acquired India-based Mettl, a secure online assessment platform used to conduct tests and measure talent.

And, the Kansas Insurance Department approved an average 6.4% drop in the voluntary base rate and a 10.8% decline for assigned risk workers' compensation rates in the state.

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Losses at UK insurer Lancashire threaten dividend payments, analysts suggest: Marine and natural catastrophe claims at Lancashire put a special dividend in doubt and could mean a lower dividend yield for investors.

Vermont in talks to allow long-term care rate increases for 1st time in years: Vermont's regulator said his department is in talks with a number of companies to approve moderate rate hike requests. Any increase would be the first in the state since at least 2014, and could come as soon as 2019.

Affimed halts blood cancer therapy trials; Celgene's Otezla passes phase 3 study: Affimed put on hold two early stage clinical studies testing its AFM11 to treat blood cancer following the death of one of the patients, and Otezla met its main goal in a late-stage study in patients with scalp psoriasis, a type of skin disease.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: IAG, AMMB seek bids for Malaysian insurer; BNP Paribas to cut SBI Life stake

Europe: Aviva CEO Wilson stepping down; Wirecard eyes more than €10B revenues by 2025

Middle East & Africa: Bank of Israel holds rate; Abraaj's stake in fund to be divided among investors

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 0.11% to 26,172.91, and the Nikkei 225 declined 1.32% to 23,469.39.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.32% to 7,209.38, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.39% to 1,024.09.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, laying out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

On the macro front

The Redbook report is due out today.

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