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US P&C insurers log $4.7B underwriting gain; MGIC earnings; Mercer gets new CEO


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US P&C insurers log $4.7B underwriting gain; MGIC earnings; Mercer gets new CEO

MGIC Investment Corp. today reported fourth-quarter 2018 net income of $157.7 million, or 43 cents per share, up from $27.3 million, or 7 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted net operating income fell to $154.0 million from $160.7 million.

Blue Capital Reinsurance Holdings Ltd. said it now anticipates $30 million in catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums, for the fourth quarter of 2018. Oxbridge Re Holdings Ltd. expects $3.1 million in Hurricane Michael losses and $2.9 million of California wildfire losses, both net of quota-share arrangements through its reinsurance sidecar.

A rare decline in overall losses and loss adjustment expenses and significant premium growth helped private U.S. property/casualty insurers achieve a $4.7 billion net underwriting gain in the first nine months of 2018, according to ISO and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. Insurers had a $21.0 billion net underwriting loss in the prior-year period.

Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. named Martine Ferland president and CEO of unit Mercer LLC, effective March 1.

Illinois Union Insurance Co. and Lockton Affinity LLC are facing fines of $102,000 and $75,000, respectively, for underwriting and selling National Rifle Association-branded insurance policies in Washington. The state's insurance commissioner, Mike Kreidler, banned the sale of such policies, Business Insurance reported.

In M&A news, Bermuda-based Maiden Holdings Ltd. sold Germany-based auto insurance subsidiary AVS Automotive VersicherungsService GmbH and its related European subsidiaries to Allianz Partners SAS.

Brown & Brown Inc. subsidiary Hull & Co. LLC acquired substantially all the assets of Izzo Insurance Services, a wholesale brokerage that specializes in workers' compensation. Radian Group Inc. acquired Bethesda, Md.-based Five Bridges Advisors LLC, and Massachusetts-based insurance broker Kaplansky Insurance Agency Inc. acquired K.W. Insurance Agency LLC.

South Korea-based Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. received regulatory approval from the country's Financial Services Commission to acquire a majority stake in Orange Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

Perils AG said its final loss estimate for the insured property market loss from extratropical cyclone Friederike stands at €1.67 billion, down from its previous estimate of €1.68 billion in July 2018.

Norway's new tax rules for insurance and pension companies will lead to fourth-quarter 2018 tax income of about 1.6 billion Norwegian kroner for Storebrand ASA.. It also increases the insurer's calculated solvency ratio by about 6 percentage points.

Pension Insurance Corp. PLC completed a pension insurance buy-in with the Somerfield Pension Scheme trustee £425 million of pension liabilities connected to the after

And the Irish government and central bank have written draft legislation covering how U.K.- and Gibraltar-based insurers could operate in the country after a no-deal Brexit if they have not taken appropriate steps to ensure their continued ability to write policies there, Reuters reported.

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Cyber insurance availability improving but has further to go, says Marsh exec: Cyber insurance capacity has grown, more coverage is available for first-party risks such as business interruption and markets outside the U.S. are growing, according to Marsh's president of global risk of digital. But more remains to be done.

JPMorgan's Dimon: Universal healthcare would help control costs: JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said rising healthcare costs are a serious economic issue facing the U.S., and he believes universal healthcare coverage can help lower some spending.

US FDA panel backs Amgen's bone drug; Lilly's breast cancer drug gets UK nod: U.S. Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee voted to recommend approving Amgen's osteoporosis drug Evenity; and the U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended Eli Lilly's breast cancer drug Verzenio.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: India eases foreign borrowing norms; ASIC to clamp down on car loans

Europe: SocGen to take €240M hit; German tie-up seen as unwise; Brexit delay in sight

Middle East & Africa: Samba FY'18 profit up 10%; Hapoalim joins SWIFT; Access Bank plots expansion

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng fell 0.54% to 26,755.63, while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.20% to 20,402.27.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.52% to 6,827.00 and the Euronext 100 was down 0.26% to 934.70.

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 U.S. Housing starts report, the jobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

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