Health insurance industry downgraded by Fitch
The US health insurance industry has been downgraded by rating agency Fitch from stable to negative. 'Fitch expects acquisition-related leverage to transform balance sheets in 2016 as the US health insurers strive to grow earnings, improve their competitive positions and cope with changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act and consolidation in the hospital and pharmaceutical industries,' said Mark Rouck, Senior Director, Health Insurance at Fitch Ratings. Negative outlooks and watches assigned to US health insurers in Fitch's coverage universe outweigh positive outlooks and watches by more than two-to-one. As a result, the agency expects more downgrades than upgrades over the next 12 - 24 months with affirmations the most common rating action.
Insurance body calls for increased funding for infrastructure
A study from the Insurance Bureau of Canada is calling for federal and provincial governments to provide greater funding and cooperation to assist municipalities in bolstering infrastructure amid increased climate change risk. With weather-related incidents increasing in frequency and ferocity the bureau says that investing in stronger defenses now will cut costs later.
The study looked into the impact and economic cost of flooding and extreme winds in Halifax; and flooding and ice storms in Mississauga. It found that the cost of a single extreme wind event in Halifax could cost $123-126 million by 2040 and a severed ice storm in Mississauga could cost $23-38 million.
The IBC says that across Canada, insured damages from extreme weather events have cost almost $8 billion since 2010, which is only a portion of the total economic costs to the country.
Aviation Capital Group could go public
Pacific Life Insurance Company says it is considering an IPO for its wholly-owned subsidiary Aviation Capital Group. The raising of funds would allow Aviation Capital to further its growth plans. Pacific Life intends to maintain a controlling stake.
Designated drivers say insurance requirement is unfair
Firms which offer to drive clients and their vehicles home after a night out could be put out of business by proposed new rules in one part of Canada. The City of Oshawa is implementing new bylaws which would require designated drivers to have criminal record checks, health certificates and commercial insurance coverage. The insurance element is a particular issue; done operator Sharon Carswell, told Global News that it would cost around $7,500 per driver annually and that she has been assured by the insurance industry that as drivers are using clients’ cars they do not require commercial policies. The bylaws are due to take effect from June 1 2016.