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NY insurers seek rate hikes; McConnell supports pre-existing illness protection

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NY insurers seek rate hikes; McConnell supports pre-existing illness protection

In the news

Health insurers in New York are seeking average rate increases of 16.6% for Affordable Care Act plans for the individual market and 11.5% for the small group market in 2018, according to the state's Department of Financial Services. For the individual market, 16 insurers submitted rate filings and the requested rate hikes range from as low as 4.4% to as high as 47.3%.

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Republican Senators' bill to replace the current law might retain an existing provision meant for people with pre-existing conditions, Bloomberg News said. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is proposing to keep the provision that protects individuals with pre-existing conditions from being charged higher premiums when they sign up for individual insurance, an insider told Bloomberg News.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., have introduced legislation that they say would "improve" the ACA and make insurance more affordable for Americans. The bill would provide subsidies to any individual or family whose monthly premiums exceed 9.69% of their monthly income.

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Markel Corp. will create a new insurance division, combining its wholesale and global insurance segments. The wholesale division offers excess and surplus lines insurance, while the global insurance segment handles complex, risk-managed accounts.

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Forgiving the $24.6 billion debt amassed by the National Flood Insurance Program continued to be a sticking point for key Democrats as Congress weighs reforms to the program. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member for the House Financial Services Committee, said during a hearing to discuss the program that a discussion draft of the reauthorization bill, which has yet to be introduced in either chamber, "absolutely falls short in many respects."

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Tinton Falls, N.J.-based insurance agency World Insurance Associates LLC acquired Wm. G. Palermo Inc., a Linden, N.J.-based insurance agency, on April 1.

Corpus Christi, Texas-based employee benefits brokers Heavin Insurance Agency and Arvak Insurance Group have merged and become affiliated with Leavitt Group.

Featured news

FDA reauthorization bill passes House committee; Novartis faces fresh fine: The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously to advance the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017, a must-pass bill to renew four user-fee programs that the agency relies on for more than half of its funding. The bill, which would renew the FDA's authority to collect user fees from makers of prescription brand-name drugs, medical devices, generic medicines and biosimilars, has yet to be scheduled for a full Senate vote.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China investors to buy Kazakh bank stake; Reliance unit eyes stake sale via IPO

Europe: UK votes in snap election; Allianz eyes full Euler Hermes takeover

Middle East & Africa: S&P cuts Qatar; South Africa may trim rates sooner; Sanlam warns on profit

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.34% to 26,063.06, while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.38% to 19,909.26.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.07% to 7,473.06, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.23% to 1,021.94.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the quarterly services survey, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.