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US FAA stands by 737 MAX; EU blacklists Bermuda; PartnerRe shuffle


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US FAA stands by 737 MAX; EU blacklists Bermuda; PartnerRe shuffle

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration stood by its earlier decision to deem Boeing Co.'s fleet of 737 MAX jets as safe to fly amid an increasing list of countries ordering the suspension of operations of the aircraft following a fatal crash of a passenger plane in Ethiopia on March 10. Boeing was already planning a significant change to the plane's flight-control systems following an earlier crash in Indonesia, according to The Wall Street Journal, which wrote separately that the pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines jet had reported having control problems.

The Insurance Insider reported that aviation product liability insurance carriers are on notice following the groundings that have taken place, with sources saying such a notice usually triggers claims pay-outs.

Bermuda is back on the EU's list of noncooperative tax jurisdictions. EU funds are prohibited from being channeled or transferred through entities in countries on the tax haven list. Bermuda Premier David Burt called the move a "setback" but said the country was confident of being removed "within a matter of weeks," according to Reuters.

Prudential PLC reported operating profit of £4.83 billion in 2018, up from £4.70 billion in 2017, driven by a 14% increase in operating profit from Asia life insurance and asset management businesses. The company is also acquiring a majority stake in African life insurer Group Beneficial, subject to various conditions and regulatory approvals.

Transferring European customer assets to Luxembourg from the U.K. in preparation for Brexit has cost Prudential £27 million, the head of the life insurer's U.K. and European business said today.

In earnings released yesterday, New York Life Insurance Co. reported operating earnings of $2.32 billion in 2018, up from $2.06 billion in 2017. Independence Holding Co. logged net income attributable to the company of $4.8 million, or 32 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2018, compared with $17.5 million, or $1.16 per share, in the prior-year period.

Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. is open to share buybacks in the Hong Kong stock market, CFO Jason Yao said today, following the company's announcement that it would repurchase Shanghai-listed A-shares for the first time.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Cambia Health Solutions Inc. will merge their managements into a combined structure under the Cambia name.

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. received all regulatory approvals for an affiliate's acquisition of Tokio Marine Holdings Inc.'s reinsurance platform, Zurich-based Tokio Millennium Re AG and London-based Tokio Millennium Re (UK) Ltd.

Stewart Information Services Corp. and Fidelity National Financial Inc. extended by three months the point at which either of them can trigger the termination of their planned merger.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is suing for £9.9 million in damages from The Ardonagh Group Ltd. for the latter's alleged "unlawful team move" of poaching a team of brokers, The Insurance Insider reported.

PartnerRe Ltd. will reorganize its property and casualty business into three regional units: Americas; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific. As part of the reshuffle, P&C CEO Charles Goldie will leave the company.

To prop up returns, Nippon Life Insurance Co. has been increasingly relying on currency swaps, dollar-yen options, equity and interest rate derivatives, among other derivative products, since October, Bloomberg News reported, citing an executive in its finance and investment planning department.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Select Demotech-rated Fla. insurers combine for $200M+ reserve build: A review of year-end 2018 statutory financials for select Florida-focused property insurers with Demotech financial strength ratings finds adverse prior-year development of more than $200 million in the aggregate.

Cancer agency chief to act as FDA head; Celgene cancer drug fails phase 3 trial: National Cancer Institute Director Ned Sharpless will be appointed acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early April, and Celgene' Abraxane failed a late-stage pancreatic cancer trial in patients who have undergone surgery.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Ping An plans 10B yuan share buy back; Samsung Life eyes Vietnam M&A deal

Europe: Standard Life Aberdeen shakeup; 2nd Brexit deal defeat; Värde eyes Carige

Middle East & Africa: FirstRand fiscal H1 earnings up YOY; EU adds UAE, Oman to tax haven blacklist

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.39% to 28,807.45. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.99% to 21,290.24.

In Europe around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.05% to 7,154.95 and the Euronext 100 was 0.24% higher at 1,023.73.

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, PPI-FD, construction spending, e-commerce retail sales and EIA petroleum status reports are due out today.

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