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US annuity sales up; FEMA data breach; regulators target Lindberg loophole

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US annuity sales up; FEMA data breach; regulators target Lindberg loophole

Total annuity sales in the U.S. rose 15% to $233.7 billion in 2018, according to the fourth-quarter 2018 U.S. retail annuity sales survey by LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. For the quarter, total annuity sales reached $62.6 billion, the highest quarterly total annuity sales since the first quarter of 2009.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency wrongly released the personal information of 2.3 million survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the California wildfires in 2017, placing the survivors at increased risk of identity theft and fraud, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General said.

One tranche of the Sanders Re II Ltd. (Series 2019-1) catastrophe bond sponsored by Allstate Corp. will not be issued, Artemis reported. The size of the higher risk layer is unchanged at $300 million and its pricing was moved to the top end of initial guidance.

Investment company 683 Capital Management disclosed a near 10% stake in Maiden Holdings Ltd. and could propose changes to capitalization, ownership structure, board structure or changes to the company's operations, The Insurance Insider reported.

Insurance regulators are looking to close legal loopholes used by North Carolina insurance company owner Greg Lindberg to lend at least $2 billion from life insurers he bought to his personal businesses, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The European Commission has given its regulatory approval for Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.'s pending acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC. The approval is subject to the divestment of JLT's global aerospace business.

A RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. affiliate has completed its acquisition of Tokio Marine Holdings Inc.'s reinsurance platform, Zurich-based Tokio Millennium Re AG and London-based Tokio Millennium Re (UK) Ltd.

Prudential PLC Chairman Paul Manduca's tenure has been extended to May 2021, subject to yearly re-election. The U.K.-based insurer said the decision to extend Manduca's tenure beyond the standard nine years reflected the challenges of separating into two companies.

Chief Risk Officer Hilary Weaver will depart Lloyd's of London at the end of March. Also, Lloyd's is mulling appointing women to its nominations and governance committee to boost diversity and will turn the pub under its offices into a coffee shop to help do away with drinking culture, The Sunday Times of London reported.

China-based Heng-An Standard Life Insurance Co. Ltd. has obtained regulatory approval to set up a pension insurance company, according to multiple media reports.

China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd. reported full-year 2018 net profit attributable to equity holders of the parent of 18.02 billion yuan, compared to 14.66 billion yuan in 2017. Also, People's Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd.'s full-year 2018 profit attributable to equity holders of the company declined to 12.91 billion yuan from 16.10 billion yuan in 2017.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Argo shares rise after upgrade; life insurers slide as Fed takes dovish stance: A majority of publicly traded U.S. insurance companies were modestly lower along with the broader markets, though the SNL U.S. Insurance Index rose.

China's PICC denies Lloyd's syndicate acquisition plans: An executive of the company's P&C unit said it had considered an acquisition in the Lloyd's market in previous years, but that the timing was not yet ideal. The group's chairman, meanwhile, said so-called kickoff sales are still important to PICC.

Brexit: What to expect as UK hurtles toward deadline: Following another week of frantic negotiations that secured a possible Brexit extension, we detail the likely turn of events over the next seven days.

Thermo Fisher to buy gene, cell therapy maker; AstraZeneca's Farxiga gets EU nod: Thermo Fisher agreed to buy Brammer Bio, a company focused on viral vector manufacturing for gene and cell therapies, for about $1.7 billion, and the European Commission approved AstraZeneca's diabetes treatment Forxiga.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China Pacific Insurance FY'18 profit up; Karnataka Bank reports fraud

Europe: Deutsche CEO 'skeptical' of Commerz deal; Deutsche exec pay; Brexit turmoil

Middle East & Africa: UAE's ADFG, Shuaa in merger talks; Angola recoups assets; Tunisia holds key rate

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng Index was down 2.03% to 28,523.35. The Nikkei 225 retreated 3.01% to 20,977.11.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.26% to 7,188.88, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.29% to 1,023.84.

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 Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's National Activity Index and the Dallas Fed's Manufacturing Survey are due out today.

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