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Potential MetLife/Generali deal; Fairfax Financial CFO dies; cat bonds pricing


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Potential MetLife/Generali deal; Fairfax Financial CFO dies; cat bonds pricing

Voce Capital Management LLC opted to abandon its activist campaign as it lacked the shareholder support it needed for its proposals and director nominees, Argo Group International Holdings Ltd. said. Voce withdrew its director nominees for the Argo board after two states revoked their proxy solicitation approval.

Net underwriting income for the U.S. property and casualty industry increased 24% to $4.2 billion in the first quarter from a year ago, A.M. Best said. The sector's combined ratio weakened 1.3 percentage points to 96.5% from the prior year.

MetLife Inc. is in early talks to sell its Central European assets to Generali, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. The business being discussed could be worth more than €2 billion, and operates mostly in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

The $200 million Alamo Re Ltd. (Series 2019-1) catastrophe bond sponsored by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is set to price at 4.5%, the middle of its initial coupon guidance range, Artemis reported. The blog also reported that Safepoint Insurance Co.'s $75 million Manatee Re III Pte. Ltd. (Series 2019-1) catastrophe bond being issued out of Singapore is expected to be priced above the initial guidance range.

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. Vice President and CFO David Bonham died over the weekend of May 18-19, Fairfax said May 21. John Varnell, vice president of corporate development, will serve as interim CFO.

Protective Insurance Corp.'s board has appointed former American International Group Inc. executive Jeremy Johnson as CEO, effective May 22.

Former Lloyd's of London CFO John Parry was appointed Armour Group Ltd. group CFO, effective in June.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired Parsippany, N.J.-based RPA Insurance Services LLC and Innovative Coverage Concepts LLC.

Australia-based asset manager AMP Ltd. acknowledged that it failed to act in the best interests of its customers when it allowed its financial planners to advise clients to cancel and replace their existing life insurance policies to generate higher commissions, Brisbane Times reported.

A.M. Best said that following a catastrophe loss-heavy 2018, Japanese non-life insurers are facing pressure to rebuild catastrophe reserves amid rising reinsurance costs. However, the rating agency said the capitalization of the country's major non-life insurers remains "robust and resilient."

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Top-line sluggishness evident in Q1 US P&C insurance statutory financials: Recent upbeat commentary about pricing trends in certain lines of business did not translate into comparatively favorable premium growth in the first quarter for the U.S. property and casualty industry.

J&J loses another talc cancer case; big pharma joins Verily on clinical trials: Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay at least $25 million in damages to a woman claiming J&J's powder caused her cancer; and Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi and Otsuka teamed up with Google parent Alphabet's life sciences arm to advance clinical trials.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: 4 Indian banks eye potential M&A deal; Chinese bank opens Prague branch

Europe: Norway takes Metro Bank stake; UBS nears Italy settlement; SIX Group fine upheld

Middle East & Africa: Nigeria raises insurers' capital requirements; DR Congo names new prime minister

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng gained 0.18% to 27,705.94, while the Nikkei 225 ticked 0.05% higher to 21,283.37.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.43% to 7,359.80, and the Euronext 100 increased 0.10% to 1,050.06.

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. Energy Information Administration Petroleum Status Report and the Federal Open Market Committee minutes are due out today.

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