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Anthem exits more ACA markets; Wells Fargo under probe over insurance refunds

In another setback for the Affordable Care Act marketplace, Anthem Inc. said it is withdrawing from most of Nevada's and Georgia's ACA state exchanges for 2018. The insurer will only offer one off-exchange catastrophic plan in Nevada. In Georgia, Anthem will offer on- and off-exchange individual plans in 85 mostly rural counties — about half of the counties in the state — that the insurer said would otherwise not have health insurance coverage.

With the Aug. 16 deadline looming for health insurers to set 2018 premium prices, state insurance regulators continue working to keep their markets stable while awaiting answers from Washington on healthcare reform. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has yet to hear anything back from Congress and the Trump administration about federally funded cost-sharing reduction payments, said Julie Mix McPeak, Tennessee's insurance commissioner and NAIC president-elect.

The NAIC is mulling whether to require liquidity stress testing for large life insurance companies as part of a wider effort to strengthen and expand regulatory tools to assess liquidity and capital strength.

Elsewhere, Wells Fargo & Co. is once again under regulatory scrutiny. Officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco are probing the bank for allegedly not refunding guaranteed auto protection, or GAP, insurance premiums to consumers who paid off their car loans early, The New York Times reported, citing "people briefed on the inquiry." A Wells Fargo spokeswoman reportedly acknowledged in a statement that the bank has identified issues related to lack of oversight and controls in the administration of guaranteed asset protection products.

In earnings news, EMC Insurance Group Inc. and Triple-S Management Corp. reported quarterly results.

MBIA Inc., AmTrust Financial Services Inc., Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc., Maiden Holdings Ltd., Primerica Inc. and United Insurance Holdings Corp. are also expected to report earnings today.

Click here to read a summary of earnings reported Aug. 7 by select insurance companies covered by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Several hedge fund reinsurers have entered the "soft and overcrowded" property and casualty reinsurance market in the past few years, but they have yet to generate an underwriting profit and their operating results continue to fall behind those of the traditional Bermudian reinsurers, according to a report by S&P Global Ratings.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

Analysts had cautious outlooks for Brighthouse Financial Inc on its first day on the market after its spinoff from MetLife Inc. Four analysts initiated coverage on Brighthouse with a "market perform" or "sector perform," while one initiated coverage with "neutral" and another with "sell."

Primerica's board approved a dividend hike of 5.3% for the second quarter.

In capital offerings, Essent Group Ltd. has commenced a public offering of 5 million common shares. CNA Financial Corp. priced $500 million aggregate principal amount of 3.450% senior notes due Aug. 15, 2027, in a public offering.

In executive moves, Peter Beilenson resigned as CEO of nonprofit health insurance company Evergreen Health Inc. on Aug. 1, the Baltimore Business Journal reported.

Featured news

NICE recommends Merck KGaA's cancer drug; Thermo Fisher's $1.5B stock offering: The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended Merck KGaA's head and neck cancer drug Erbitux for routine National Health Service use.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: US agency fines Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ; Bank of India to sell nonbank firm

Europe: Standard Life's H1 profit rises; Banco BPM posts H1 profit; Generali sells unit

Middle East & Africa: Qatari banking system's outlook revised; First Takaful gets new chairman

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng climbed 0.59% to 27,854.91, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.30% to 19,996.01.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.01% to 7,532.67 and the Euronext 100 rose 0.02% to 1,013.21.

On the macro front

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, the Redbook and the JOLTS report are due out today.