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California eyes group discount overhaul; GEICO names new CEO; Australia fires

GEICO Corp. President and CEO Bill Roberts will retire from the company in December 2020. Todd Combs, a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. investment manager, will succeed Roberts as CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Roberts will become GEICO vice chairman Jan. 1, 2020.

U.S. life insurers saw aggregate third-quarter life insurance premiums grow by 3.4% year over year to $42.35 billion. The individual line of business accounted for about 78%, or $33.08 billion, of premiums written.

The California Department of Insurance released proposed regulations to reform auto insurance group discounts, after an investigation found evidence to suggest that insurance companies were using group discounts to cherry pick members, resulting in undue benefits to some high-income groups and discriminating against people of color and lower income motorists.

A.M. Best said in a report that declining rates and growing competition in the U.S. workers' compensation insurance sector could result in carriers not able to retain profitability and maintain market share.

Eighty wildfires are still raging across New South Wales, Australia, with 873 homes destroyed and 100 more likely destroyed since Dec. 19, The Insurance Insider reported.

Genworth Financial Inc. and China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd. agreed to once again extend the deadline for their merger to close. The latest agreement moves the deadline to no later than March 31, 2020, from Dec. 31, 2019.

Willis Towers Watson PLC agreed to acquire Panama-based Grupo Unity, a regional insurance broker in Central America.

Selective Insurance Group Inc. entered a credit agreement for a $50 million revolving credit facility, which can increase up to $125 million with the consent of the lenders.

FWD Group Management Holdings Ltd. acquired Thailand-based Siam City Insurance Co. Ltd.

Hellenic Bank PCL acquired the remaining 27.5% stake in its Hellenic Alico Life Insurance Co. Ltd. subsidiary from Metlife Services Cyprus Ltd. The Cyprus-based bank now owns 100% of the share capital of Hellenic Alico Life.

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Despite tough talk, Europe may see few reinsurance rate hikes at Jan. 1: The world's biggest reinsurers continue to say prices are too low, but the Europe-dominated renewals on Jan. 1, 2020, could end up being flat.

D&O coverage key for nonprofits during holiday surge in volunteers, donations: As Christmas and New Year's Day approach, the risks nonprofits face day in and day out are exacerbated because many new volunteers lack experience or familiarity with the charities they are trying to help.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: India sets P2P lending cap; China mulls reserve requirement ratio cuts

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng decreased 0.15% to 27,864.21, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.04% to 23,830.58.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.09% to 7,630.15, and the Euronext 100 climbed 0.13% to 1,154.45.

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 Redbook and Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index reports are due out today.

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