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Global insured cat losses hit $144B in '17; Sirius plans London IPO

Global insured losses from natural and man-made catastrophes amounted to $144 billion in 2017, the highest-ever recorded in a single year, according to Swiss Re AG. The latest sigma study from Swiss Re Institute showed that hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria — which hit parts of the Caribbean and the U.S. — resulted in combined insured losses of $92 billion, making 2017 the second-costliest North Atlantic hurricane season since 2005.

Karen Clark & Co. says annual insured losses for the severe convective storm in the U.S. are now approaching $25 billion, Artemis reported, citing a report from the catastrophe risk modelling firm. The loss figure is higher than both hurricane and earthquake perils combined.

Intact Financial Corp. reported first-quarter catastrophe and noncatastrophe weather-related losses that were higher than expected by about C$130 million pretax, or 70 Canadian cents per share after tax, due to severe winter conditions in Canada. The losses are about C$40 million higher than the prior-year quarter, which also experienced difficult winter conditions.

Sirius International Insurance Group Ltd. is planning an initial public offering in London in the second half of the year, The Insurance Insider reported, citing an interview with CEO Allan Waters.

United Insurance Holdings Corp.'s $100 million Armor Re II Ltd. series 2018-1 catastrophe bond has priced at 3.5%, the low end of the reduced guidance range, Artemis reported.

In deal news, Humana Inc. completed its acquisition of Orlando, Fla.-based at-risk provider Family Physicians Group Inc.

IA Financial Group acquired ABEX Brokerage Services Inc. and its subsidiary ABEX National Brokerage. Managing general agency ABEX offers support and services to advisers through offices in Alberta and British Columbia. IA Financial Group is a business name and trademark of Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd.'s management is seeking to deploy $200 million annually in "new opportunities," the company said in a proxy filing, adding that these deployments are expected to be "lumpy." The company deployed in or committed to nearly $275 million in "new business opportunities" in 2017.

American International Group Inc. writes nearly 40% of retail giant Walmart Inc.'s newly consolidated property cover, The Insurance Insider reported. Earlier, the U.S. and rest of the world placements were separate, but the April 1 renewal combined it into a single tower with $825 million of limit, according to the report.

Tiptree Inc. completed a corporate reorganization that eliminated its dual-class stock structure and made it the 100% owner of Tiptree Operating Co. LLC.

Featured news

Alexion to buy Wilson Therapeutics for $852M; Pfizer halts kidney cancer study: Alexion Pharmaceuticals is planning to acquire Stockholm's Wilson Therapeutics in a deal worth 7.1 billion Swedish kronor; and Pfizer is stopping its phase 3 study of Inlyta to treat recurrent renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Chinese brokerage gets IPO nod; Ant Financial to raise at least US$8B

Europe: Insurer Sirius plans IPO; 2017 cat losses break record; NordLB bailout on cards

Middle East & Africa: QNB posts 7% YOY rise in Q1 profit; Saudi Arabia raises $11B from bond sale

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng grew 0.55% to 30,897.71, and the Nikkei 225 was down 0.49% to 21,687.10.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.18% to 7,253.42, and the Euronext 100 had fallen 0.39% to 1,032.96.

On the macro front

The Bank Reserve Settlement report, the MBA mortgage applications report, the consumer price index, the Atlanta Fed's business inflation expectations survey, the EIA petroleum status report, the FOMC minutes and the Treasury budget are due out today.

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