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Progressive's Michael estimate; Brexit preparations; MGIC boosts Q3 profit

U.S.-based insurer Progressive Corp. yesterday reported net income attributable to the company for the third quarter of $928.4 million, or $1.57 per share, up from $224.0 million, or 38 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2017. Progressive expects losses from Hurricane Michael of approximately $60 million in its vehicle business and no more than $60 million in the property business.

Meanwhile, A.M. Best said Florida's rated insurers look to be able to absorb Michael-related anticipated catastrophe losses, with reinsurers expected to take larger losses than they did for Florence in September. Nevertheless, losses should be within reinsurers' catastrophe budgets and overall loss estimates, the agency said.

Bermuda-based reinsurer Blue Capital Reinsurance Holdings Ltd. announced a third-quarter estimate of about $10.2 million in catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums. More than half the figure reflects an increase in losses related to Hurricane Irma last year.

MGIC Investment Corp. today reported year-over-year increases in third-quarter net income and revenues. EPS rose to 49 cents from 32 cents.

Total insurance premiums written by the London company market rose 15.8% year over year in 2017 to £26.31 billion, the International Underwriting Association said. Premiums written in London itself rose 14.3% to £18.33 billion, while a further £7.98 billion was identified as written in other locations but overseen and managed by London operations, a rise of 19.3%.

As premiums written in Europe and managed from London nearly doubled, IUA CEO Dave Matcham said insurers writing international business in the London market should be able to honor cross-border claims after the U.K. leaves the EU, saying he expects contracts to be honored and that "regulators will construct some sort of agreement between themselves." Matcham also urged global regulators to collaborate more effectively to enable reinsurers to close the so-called protection gap between economic and insured losses, which is most pronounced in emerging markets.

Meanwhile, the Irish central bank approved Axa XL, the P&C and specialty risk division of Axa, moving its XL Insurance Co. SE subsidiary to Dublin from the U.K. after Brexit. As a Societas Europaea, the unit can continue as the same legal entity in Ireland.

Insurer US Alliance Life & Security Co. agreed to purchase all the capital stock of Great Western Insurance Co. subsidiary Great Western Life Insurance Co. US Alliance Life & Security is a unit of US Alliance Corp.

China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd.'s board announced that the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission did not approve the application of its subsidiary, China Pacific Property Insurance Co. Ltd., to establish a joint stock property insurance company with Baidu Penghuan Asset Management (Beijing) Co. Ltd. China has not approved a new P&C insurance license since January 2017.

National Bank of Greece SA ended talks with China's Gongbao Group over the sale of Ethniki Hellenic General Insurance SA, citing factors including an assessment of the likelihood of completing such a transaction.

The New York State Department of Financial Services fined Sentinel Insurance Co. and Selective Insurance companies a combined $700,000 for overcharging policyholders in the state. The insurers also agreed to return approximately $5.8 million to policyholders.

Humana Inc. was fined $700,000 in Texas over deficiencies in its network of anesthesiologists in the state.

And Canada-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and its Crum & Forster subsidiary have been awarded $10.9 million in damages from a suit filed by Fairfax against Exis Capital, fund manager Adam Sender and former Exis Capital COO Andrew Heller. The lawsuit, which sought damages for alleged stock market manipulation involving Fairfax shares, was first filed in 2006.

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Subscription rights demutualization may lift growth prospects for life insurer: A life and annuity company that previously converted to a mutual insurance holding company structure seeking additional strategic and financial flexibility has employed a similar rationale two years later as it reorganizes in a different manner.

Hurricane Maria: 1 year on, Puerto Rican bankers recall a 'desperate time': Transporting $1 million in cash in a civilian car, blow-drying a customer's hair in a bank branch, relying on hand-written I.O.U.s: When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico a year ago, banks on the island abandoned protocols to keep serving customers.

Roche Q3 sales grow 7%; Changsheng slapped with hefty fine over vaccine blunder: Roche confirmed its 2018 outlook as third-quarter sales increased year over year to CHF13.97 billion; and China's drug regulator imposed a fine of 9.11 billion Chinese yuan on Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences for its substandard vaccines.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Australia to probe financial firms; Nomura to settle US securities claims

Europe: Nordea faces money laundering claims; Wells Fargo plans EU trading hub in Paris

Middle East & Africa: US unveils additional Iran sanctions; top European bankers shun Saudi conference

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 was up 1.29% to 22,841.12.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.20% to 7,073.55, and Euronext 100 had climbed 0.19% to 1,006.33.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, laying out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report and the EIA petroleum status report are due out today.

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