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AssuredPartners auction; Arch estimates Q4'18 losses; Vermont's blockchain trial


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AssuredPartners auction; Arch estimates Q4'18 losses; Vermont's blockchain trial

U.S. insurance broker AssuredPartners Inc. will be put up for auction at a valuation of approximately $4.5 billion later in the first quarter, The Insurance Insider reported. The auction is expected to commence around March.

Bermuda-based Arch Capital Group Ltd. is anticipating pretax losses of $110 million to $130 million, net of reinsurance recoveries and reinstatement premiums, from catastrophic events in the fourth quarter of 2018. Additionally, the company estimates that the effective tax rate on pretax operating income for the fourth quarter of 2018 will be in a range of 12% to 15%.

Traditional reinsurance capital worldwide fell to $595 billion as of Sept. 30, 2018, from $605 billion at the end of 2017, but alternative capital grew to $99 billion from $89 billion, according to Aon PLC.

The New York State Department of Financial Services fined Arch Insurance Co. and National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh Pa. a combined total of $2.2 million over state insurance law violations. The companies were also ordered to provide retroactive rebates totaling about $8 million to certain firefighter companies in the state.

Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission hit FWD Life Insurance Co. (Bermuda) Ltd. with a HK$2.4 million fine for failing to comply with key personnel requirements.

Richard Hoskins will retire as U.K.-based Hastings Group Holdings PLC group CFO after being with the business since April 2015. He will be succeeded by John Worth, group CFO of MS Amlin PLC.

In deals, NYSE-listed Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired Complete Benefit Alliance LLC, a full-service benefits enrollment and communications firm; Chicago-based Hub International Ltd. acquired Canada-based Forum Risques et Assurance Inc.; and Bermuda-based Premia Holdings Ltd. acquired Public Service Insurance Co. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Western Select Insurance Co. Public Service Insurance had been in rehabilitation under the Illinois Department of Insurance.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos and Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak agreed to collaborate in exploring emerging blockchain technology and its use in the digital record-keeping practices of the captive insurance industry.

Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. agreed to cover Massachusetts residents using the HIV prevention drug Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Apple takes a bite out of Berkshire's investment portfolio: Berkshire Hathaway's five largest investment holdings within its property and casualty subsidiaries are down over $25 billion since the end of the third quarter of 2018.

With cash to burn, private equity pushed up fintech M&A pricing in '18: Private equity buyers took the top three fintech deals in 2018 and nine of the top 20, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis found. Seven of the largest deals were in payments, followed by six deals in financial media and data solutions.

J&J, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk raise US prices; Sanders, Dems target drug costs: J&J raised U.S. list prices of about two dozen drugs, while Sanofi and Novo Nordisk increased U.S. prices of their insulin products, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and Democratic lawmakers unveiled bills to lower drug costs.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Hong Kong fines FWD Life; Woori Bank ex-CEO sentenced to prison

Europe: Germany's sparkassen cut value of NordLB stakes; Popolare di Bari eyes cash call

Middle East & Africa: Brookfield drops bid for Abraaj's Turkish assets; Italy's Azimut enters Egypt

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.55% to 26,667.27, and the Nikkei 225 increased 0.97% to 20,359.70.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.24% to 6,926.01, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.07% to 935.47.

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 Treasury budget, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report and the CPI consensus are due out today.

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