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MetLife's new CEO; sidecars renewed after ILS slump; new state health plans


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MetLife's new CEO; sidecars renewed after ILS slump; new state health plans

Michel Khalaf will become MetLife Inc.'s president and CEO on May 1, succeeding Steven Kandarian. The move comes at a turning point for a company that has spent the past decade on a largely defensive footing, analysts said.

Liberty Mutual Holding Co. Inc. completed a transaction through the Limestone Re Ltd. capital markets platform that provides about $150 million of collateralized reinsurance capacity for its U.S. property catastrophe program and U.S. homeowners and global property reinsurance businesses.

Munich Re Co. increased the size of its fully collateralized sidecar vehicle, Eden Re II Ltd. to $300 million, matching the level from 2018, Artemis reported. Also renewing a sidecar was Argo Group International Holdings Ltd., the sixth time its Harambee Re vehicle has been renewed, Artemis said.

Meanwhile, the average return for the Eurekahedge ILS Advisers Index for November 2018 was negative 3.68%, a third consecutive loss-making month, Artemis reported. Performance for the year to November was negative 2.98%, worse than any year except 2017. Just one of 33 insurance-linked securities funds tracked by the index posted a positive return in November, with the month joining September 2017 as the only such occurrences.

Washington state and New York City both released plans yesterday that would create public option programs and extend healthcare coverage to uninsured residents, while California's new governor released an executive order Jan. 7 that establishes a single-purchaser system for prescription drugs.

U.K.-based insurance broker Aston Lark Ltd. is seeking to run a sale process in 2019, and has retained investment bank Macquarie and advisory firm Livingstone, The Insurance Insider reported. Only private equity firms are expected to be invited to bid, sources said.

In other M&A news, Bermuda-based insurance broker Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd. completed the acquisition of MPS Risk Solutions Ltd. from London-based The Medical Protection Society Ltd. on Dec. 31, 2018. Also in the brokerage space, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired First Agency Inc. and Jones Brown Inc., a Canada-based insurance broker, and its subsidiaries, and Hub International Ltd. purchased the assets of TRG Group Benefits and Pensions Inc. for undisclosed terms.

Also, Co-operators Group Ltd. acquired Montreal-based Technicost, effective Dec. 31, 2018, and Kingsbridge Group acquired insurtech company Dinghy UK Ltd., Intelligent Insurer reported.

Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Ltd. opened a subsidiary in Ireland, which will operate under the regulatory oversight of the Central Bank of Ireland.

Netherlands-based NN Group NV completed the acquisition of Aegon NV's life insurance business in Czech Republic and life insurance and pension businesses in Slovakia.

Former Anthem Inc. CEO Joseph Swedish launched private equity firm Concord Health Partners LLC, Axios reported.

And Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. priced a $5 billion senior note offering, net proceeds from which will be used in part to fund the pending acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC and to repay some of JLT's debts.

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D&O litigation digest: Insurers sue PG&E over Calif. fire losses: The number of securities-related lawsuits filed has risen sharply in the last several years. S&P Global Market Intelligence is now keeping track of such cases filed against companies in our covered industries.

Push to identify deceased policyholders costs US life insurers $10B: As well as $180 million in settlements, life insurers have paid nearly $10 billion to beneficiaries who would not have gotten that money without regulatory intervention, said the outgoing California insurance commissioner who spearheaded the drive.

Work requirements, coverage expansion will define Medicaid policy in 2019: Medicaid, the U.S. health insurance program for low-income Americans, will remain in the spotlight in 2019 as some states seek to expand coverage and others impose limits, experts said.

Amgen, UCB bone drug gets Japan nod; 2 Dem. states, NYC to change health systems: Amgen and UCB's osteoporosis medicine Evenity received marketing approval from Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and two Democratic states and New York City have unveiled healthcare plans to reshape their individual healthcare systems.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Citigroup to exit China securities JV; Australia proposes superannuation reforms

Europe: UK faces new hard-Brexit hurdle; Deutsche eyes bonus cut; Carige taps state aid

Middle East & Africa: UAE lender to swap Abraaj debt for fund stakes; PE firms invest in Prime Bank

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng increased 2.27% to 26,462.32, while the Nikkei 225 increased 1.10% to 20,427.06.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 1.02% to 6,931.58 and the Euronext 100 was up 1.05% to 939.02.

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

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications, EIA petroleum status report and Federal Open Market Committee minutes is due out today.

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