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Australia bushfire insurance losses; Molina deal; Coverys startup

The Insurance Council of Australia said that since Sept. 5, 2019, insurers have handled more than 6,000 insurance claims from bushfire regions of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. Insurance losses are estimated at A$431 million for the latest bushfire season.

A group of Democratic state attorneys general and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives want the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act before the 2020 elections.

Molina Healthcare Inc. agreed to acquire all of the capital stock of Medicaid managed care organization NextLevel Health Partners Inc. for a purchase price of approximately $50 million, net of certain tax benefits. As part of the transaction, Molina will assume the right to serve approximately 50,000 Medicaid and Managed Long-Term Services and Supports members in Illinois' Cook County.

Medical professional liability insurance provider Coverys launched Coverys European Holdings Ltd. The new business will target non-competing managing general agencies across Europe with complementary portfolios in the professional lines sector.

Keefe Bruyette & Woods analysts said weak commercial and specialty loss ratios, often boosted by worsening social inflation, should sustain robust rate increases well into 2020. Also, falling personal auto and workers' compensation rates are expected to pressure margins.

Munich Re and Dutch pension fund manager PGGM renewed their Leo Re Ltd. private sidecar arrangement for 2020 at a size of $400 million, the same since 2018, Artemis reported.

Car insurance provider Clearcover Inc. closed $50 million in Series C funding, led by OMERS Ventures. Michael Yang, managing partner at OMERS Ventures, will join Clearcover's board.

KB Financial Group Inc. and Woori Financial Group Inc. are among the companies joining the preliminary bid for Prudential Life Insurance Co. of Korea Ltd., set to be held Jan. 20, Pulse reported.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. purchased a minority stake in Malaysian broker SP&G Insurance Brokers Sdn. Bhd. Also, AssuredPartners Inc. acquired Tallahassee, Fla.-based Star & Shield Insurance Services.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Strong finish to '19 for health insurance stocks; P&C finds 'sweet spot': U.S. insurance stocks overall followed the wider gains seen over the course of the year, though they modestly underperformed the broader markets.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China updates lending rules; Indian bourse seeks approval for IPO

Europe: Commerzbank to raise Comdirect stake; Gibraltar bank levy; Danske fine estimate

Middle East & Africa: Burgan Bank to sell stake in Iraqi bank; 2 Angolan lenders set to recapitalize

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng lost 0.79% to 28,226.19, while the Nikkei 225 was down 1.91% to 23,204.86.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slid 0.94% to 7,550.50, and the Euronext 100 fell 1.13% to 1,144.27.

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 PMI Services Index and TD Ameritrade IMX are due out today.

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