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Health insurers to fight DoJ's opposition to pending mergers; recent Berkshire deal may trigger consolidation wave

In the news

Analystsexpect Anthem Inc.,Cigna Corp.,Aetna Inc. andHumana Inc. to fightfor their pending dealsif the U.S. Department of Justice files lawsuits to block them, Business Insurance reported.

TheJustice Department's final verdict on the proposed deals could reportedly comeas soon as this week.

-ownedNational IndemnityCo.'s acquisition of Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Co. could potentiallytrigger more M&A in the medical professional liability insurer spacein the next few years,according to FitchRatings.

J.P.Morgan analysts expect reinsurers to report higher second-quarter catastrophelosses than their budgeted levels, Artemisreported. The higher cat losses could diminish reinsurers' capital buffer thathas been building up as a result of the benign loss environment inrecent quarters, according to the analysts.

CoveredCalifornia announced an average statewide rateincrease of 13.2% for health plans offered on the exchange in 2017. Theweighted average rate increases for 2015 and 2016 were 4.2% and 4%,respectively. Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee saidthe average rate increase was reflective of the cost of medical care forconsumers and not excessive profit.

has moved to voluntarilydismiss with prejudice all of its claims against Trust Risk GroupSpA CEO AntonioSomma, the Insurance Journalreported. AmTrust and Somma had a dispute overa joint medical malpractice insurance venture, which ended in 2013 onallegations that Somma was planning to steal proprietary data and competeagainst AmTrust.

Ahost of companies are set tobattle for high-net-worth personal lines business in Connecticutwith an array of new and enhanced product offerings amid the ongoingintegration of leading market participants ACE Ltd. and , according to an S&PGlobal Market Intelligence report.

TheInternational Association of Insurance Supervisors is seeking a of feedback on itsdevelopment of global capital standards for insurers, after it posted anupdated version of the organization's progress toward establishing uniformregulations.

Indeal news, Hilb GroupLLC acquired Carrier Insurance Agency Inc., a Florida-based personallines and business insurance company, effective July 1.

PaulBassman acquiredDallas-based Ascend Insurance Brokerage from its founder, James Chippendale,Billboard reported. Bassman is the company's president and CEO.

Millersville, Md.-basedCentennial Surety Associates Inc.

Clickhere to read asummary of earnings reported July 19 by select insurance companies covered byS&P Global Market Intelligence.

Financial news in other partsof the world



Middle East & Africa:Barclays starts Egyptian unit saleprocess; Commercial Bank H1 profit plummets YOY

The day ahead

is expected to report earnings today.

U.S. markets are expected to start the day's trading on ahigher note as the Nasdaq composite index, the S&P 500 and the Dow JonesIndustrial Average were trading above fair value in early morning futurestrading.

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.97% to 21,882.48, and theNikkei 225 was down 0.25% to 16,681.89.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.28% to6,716.35, and the Euronext 100 had climbed 0.93% to 868.42.

On the macro front

The Bank Reserve Settlement report, the MBA mortgageapplications report and the EIA petroleum status report are due out today.