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Atlantic hurricane forecast; brokers subpoenaed in NY; AOB bill becomes law


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Atlantic hurricane forecast; brokers subpoenaed in NY; AOB bill becomes law

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season for 2019. The agency forecasts nine to 15 named storms, of which four to eight may become hurricanes. Of those, two to four could become major hurricanes with wind speeds of 111 mph or greater.

American International Group Inc.'s collapse during the financial crisis would have been avoided if a group of the top U.S. financial regulators had the power to oversee risky activities, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told members of Congress. Mnuchin, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, defended the Financial Stability Oversight Council's recent proposal to shift how nonbank financial institutions are regulated as "too big to fail."

The New York State Department of Financial Services has subpoenaed subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley, Aon PLC, Willis Towers Watson PLC and Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.'s Mercer over their pension risk transfer deals with Athene Holding Ltd., Reuters reported, citing sources. The New York regulator is investigating whether the insurance brokers engaged unlicensed insurers to take on the risk.

Beazley PLC reported a 105% increase in the number of ransomware attack notifications against its clients in the first quarter, compared to the prior year. The insurer noted that attackers are shifting focus, targeting larger organizations and demanding higher ransom payments.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law legislation reforming the state's assignment of benefits system. The law takes effect July 1.

The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. completed its acquisition of Navigators Group Inc. in an all-cash transaction for $70 per share, or $2.2 billion, including expenses. The combined property and casualty business, both in the U.S. and internationally, will be marketed under The Hartford brand.

MGIC Investment Corp. announced the pricing of $315.7 million of 10-year mortgage insurance-linked securities, which will provide fully collateralized excess of loss reinsurance protection for wholly owned subsidiary Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp.

The size of the Manatee Re III Pte. Ltd. (Series 2019-1) catastrophe bond sponsored by Safepoint Insurance Co. has reduced to $40 million after being launched to investors seeking $75 million of reinsurance coverage, Artemis reported. The two tranches of notes being issued out of Singapore priced above guidance.

And American Integrity Insurance Co. of Florida Inc. may end up settling for less than the $75 million of catastrophe bond coverage it had been seeking, Artemis reported. With pricing fixed at the top end of a 4.25% to 4.75% guidance range, the size of the issuance is now said to be between $50 million and $75 million.

Lancashire Holdings Ltd. announced that CFO and executive director Elaine Whelan, who also serves as Lancashire Insurance Co. Ltd. CEO, plans to step down from her roles and the group at the end of February 2020.

South Africa-based Old Mutual Ltd. CEO Peter Moyo has been suspended due to a "material breakdown in trust and confidence" between him and the board. COO Iain Williamson will assume the role of acting CEO.

Japan-based Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. reported a net surplus attributable to the parent company for the fiscal year ended March 31 of ¥48.27 billion, down from ¥69.84 billion a year ago.

Australian general insurers' underwriting result for the year ended March 31 dived 32.4% to A$2.8 billion from A$4.2 billion in the prior year due to claims costs from the Sydney hailstorm and Townsville flood events, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority said. A strengthening of claims reserves in professional indemnity and mortgage classes also contributed to the drop.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Exits and cutbacks as Lloyd's of London profit crackdown takes hold: Annual accounts show that some of the worst performing managing agents and syndicates have been making changes as Lloyd's as a whole strives to improve underwriting profitability.

Cyber insurers forced to grapple with complex web of risks, unforeseen exposures: Business dependencies and the connection of industrial IT to manufacturing operations are increasing the scope of cyberinsurance policies in unforeseen ways.

Senate bill aims to lower health costs; NYSE cuts fees to lure biotech IPOs: A bipartisan bill intends to lower the costs of prescription medicines and to take action against surprise medical bills; and the New York Stock Exchange is cutting fees for pre-revenue companies in a bid to lure biotechnology listings.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Nomura Securities faces penalty; South Korean securities firm sells assets

Europe: Deutsche pledges tough cutbacks; BNP eyes German growth; LCF collapse probed

Middle East & Africa: PE firms to take over Phoenix; Egypt holds rates; Moody's downgrades Zambia

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng rose 0.32% to 27,353.93, while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.16% to 21,117.22.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.75% to 7,285.09, and the Euronext 100 increased 0.37% to 1,039.60.

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 durable goods orders report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count are due out today.

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