5 Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2014

In unrelated cases, both Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) have found themselves in court surrounding books. In the case of the search king, the Google Books Library Project has drawn the attention of the Author’s Guild, which wants to be compensated for the 20-million books than have been scanned thus far. The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently reversed the lower court in its certification of a class action against Google. Apple is in court facing charges that it conspired with five major booksellers to push the agency pricing model of competitors.

In the video below, Fool.com contributor Doug Ehrman discusses each of the cases, and the potential consequences to each company.

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5 Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2014: Employers Holdings Inc (EIG)

Employers Holdings, Inc. (EHI), incorporated on March 9, 2005, is a holding company. The Company is a provider of workers compensation insurance focused on select small businesses in low to medium hazard industries. It employs a disciplined, conservative underwriting approach designed to individually select specific types of businesses, predominantly those in the lowest four of the seven workers’ compensation insurance industry defined hazard groups, that it believe will have fewer and less costly claims relative to other businesses in the same hazard groups. Workers’ compensation is provided for under a statutory system wherein employers are required to provide coverage for their employees’ medical, disability, vocational rehabilitation, and/or death benefit costs for work-related injuries or illnesses. It operates as a single reportable segment and conduct operations in 31 states and the District of Columbia, with a concentration in California, where over one-half of its business is generated.

Workers’ compensation provides insurance coverage for the statutorily prescribed benefits that employers are required to provide to their employees who may be injured or suffer illness in the course of employment. The level of benefits varies by state, the nature and severity of the injury or disease, and the wages of the injured worker. Each state has a statutory, regulatory, and adjudicatory system that sets the amount of wage replacement to be paid, determines the level of medical care required to be provided, establishes the degree of permanent impairment, and specifies the options in selecting healthcare providers. These state laws generally require two types of benefits for injured employees: medical benefits, including expenses related to the diagnosis and treatment of an injury, disease, or both, as well as any required rehabilitation and (indemnity payments, which consists of temporary wage replacement, permanent disability payme nts, and death benefits to surviving family members.

Disciplined Underwriting

The Company focuses on disciplined underwriting and continues to pursue profitable growth opportunities across market cycles. It carefully monitor market trends to assess new business opportunities that it expects will meet its pricing and risk standards. It prices its policies based on the specific risks associated with each potential insured rather than solely on the industry class in which a potential insured is classified. Its disciplined underwriting approach is a critical element of its culture and its believe that it has allowed them to offer competitive prices, diversify its risks, and out-perform the industry.

It executes its underwriting processes through automated systems and experienced underwriters with specific knowledge of local markets. It has developed automated underwriting templates for specific classes of business that produce faster quotes when certain underwriting criteria are met. Its underwritin g guidelines consider many factors, such as type of business, nature of operations, and risk exposures, and are designed to minimize or prevent underwriting of certain undesirable classes of business.

Loss Control

Its loss control professionals provide consultation to policyholders to assist them in preventing losses and containing costs once claims occur. They also assist its underwriting personnel in evaluating potential and current policyholders and are an important part of its underwriting discipline.

Premium Audit

It conducts premium audits on substantially all of its policyholders annually upon the policy expiration. Premium audits allow them to comply with applicable state and reporting bureau requirements and to verify that policyholders have accurately reported their payroll and employee job classifications. It also selectively perform interim audits on certain classes of business or if unusual claims are filed or concerns are raised regarding projected annual payrolls, whi! ch could ! result in substantial variances at final audit.

Claims and Medical Case Management

The role of its claims department is to actively and efficiently investigate, evaluate, and pay claims, and to aid injured workers in returning to work in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. It has implemented rigorous claims guidelines and control procedures in its claims units and have claims operations throughout the markets it serves. It also provides medical case management services for those claims that it determines will benefit from such involvement. utilize medical provider networks affiliated with Anthem Blue Cross of California (Anthem) and Coventry Health Care, Inc. and make every appropriate effort to direct injured workers into these networks for medical treatments.

In addition to its medical networks, it work closely with local vendors, including attorneys, medical professionals, and investigators, to bring local to its report ed claims. It pays special attention to reducing costs and have established discounting arrangements with the aforementioned service providers. It uses preferred provider organizations, bill review services, and utilization management to closely monitor medical costs. It actively pursues fraud and subrogation recoveries to mitigate claims costs. Subrogation rights are based upon state and federal laws, as well as the insurance policies it issues. Its fraud and subrogation efforts are handled through dedicated units.

The Company competes with The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., Travelers Insurance Group Holdings, Inc., Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., and Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Employers Holdings (EIG) is a provider of worker’s compensation insurance focused on select small businesses engaged in low to medium hazard industries. This stock closed up 2.9% at $28.48 in Thursday’s trading session.

    Thursday’s Volume: 252,000

    Three-Month Average Volume: 119,789

    Volume % Change: 75%

    From a technical perspective, EIG jumped notably higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $26.48 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last five months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $21.03 to its recent high of $29.12. During that move, shares of EIG have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of EIG within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if EIG manages to take out its 52-week high at $29.18 with high volume.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in EIG as long as it’s trending above Thursday’s low of $27.65 or above its 50-day at $26.48 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high at $29.18 with volume that’s near or above 119,789 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then EIG will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $33 to $35.

5 Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2014: Muenchener Rueckversicherungs Gesellschaft AG in Muenchen (MUV2)

Muenchener Rueckversicherungs Gesellschaft AG in Muenchen is a Germany-based holding company engaged in reinsurance and insurance business fields. The Company diversifies its operations into reinsurance, primary insurance, Munich Health and Asset management. The Reinsurance business comprises five divisions: Life; Europe and Latin America; Germany, Asia Pacific and Africa; Special and Financial Risks, and Global Clients and North America. The business covers a range of products from traditional reinsurance products to solutions for risk assumption. The Company’s primary insurance activities are combined into the ERGO Insurance Group (ERGO) and offers direct insurance, life, property-casualty, health, legal expenses and travel insurance products. It covers the Company’s international health reinsurance business and health primary insurance outside Germany and engages the risk management services. The Asset management business handles the investment activities of Munich Re and ERGO. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jonathan Morgan]

    Munich Re (MUV2), the world’s biggest reinsurer, dropped 4.9 percent to 145.25 euros after it said second-quarter profit fell 35 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, as claims arising from natural disasters rose. Net income dropped to 529 million euros from 808 million euros a year earlier, trailing the 557.1 million-euro average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

5 Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2014: Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd (AHL)

Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited (Aspen Holdings), incorporated on May 23, 2002, is a holding company. The Company conducts insurance and reinsurance business through its subsidiaries in three jurisdictions: Aspen Insurance UK Limited (Aspen U.K.) and Aspen Underwriting Limited (AUL), corporate member of Syndicate 4711 at Lloyd’s of London (United Kingdom), Aspen Bermuda Limited (Aspen Bermuda) and Aspen Specialty Insurance Company (Aspen Specialty) and Aspen American Insurance Company (AAIC). Aspen UK. also has branches in Paris (France), Zurich (Switzerland), Dublin (Ireland), Cologne (Germany), Singapore, Australia and Canada. It operates in the global markets for property and casualty insurance and reinsurance. It manages its insurance and reinsurance businesses as two distinct underwriting segments, Aspen Insurance and Aspen Reinsurance (Aspen Re), to serve its global customer base. Its insurance segment is consisted of property, casualty, marine, energy and transp ortation insurance and financial and professional lines insurance. Its reinsurance segment is consisted of property reinsurance (catastrophe and other), casualty reinsurance and specialty reinsurance. In April 2013, the reinsurance segment of the Company announced the formation of a new division, Aspen Capital Markets.

In the Company’s insurance segment, property, casualty and financial and professional lines insurance business is written in the London Market through Aspen U.K. and in the United States through Aspen Specialty and AAIC. Its marine, energy and transportation insurance business is written through Aspen U.K. and AUL, which is the corporate member of Syndicate 4711 at Lloyd’s of London (Lloyd’s), managed by Aspen Managing Agency Limited (AMAL). It also writes casualty business through AUL. In reinsurance, property reinsurance business is assumed by Aspen Bermuda and Aspen U.K. The property reinsurance business written in the United States is wr itten by Aspen Re America and ARA-CA as reinsurance intermed! iaries with offices in Connecticut, Illinois, Florida, New York, Georgia and California. The business written in the United States is produced by Aspen Re America.

Reinsurance

The Company’s reinsurance segment consists of property catastrophe reinsurance, other property reinsurance (risk excess, pro rata, risk solutions and facultative), casualty reinsurance (the United States treaty, international treaty and global facultative) and specialty reinsurance (credit and surety, structured, agriculture and specialty). Property catastrophe reinsurance is written on a treaty excess of loss basis where it provides protection to an insurer for an agreed portion of the total losses from a single event in excess of a specified loss amount. In the event of a loss, contracts provide for coverage of a second occurrence following the payment of a premium to reinstate the coverage under the contract, which is referred to as a reinstatement premium. The coverage p rovided under excess of loss reinsurance contracts may be on a global basis or limited in scope to selected regions or geographical areas.

Other property reinsurance includes risk excess of loss and proportional treaty reinsurance, facultative or single risk reinsurance and its risk solutions business. Risk excess of loss reinsurance provides coverage to a reinsured where it experiences a loss in excess of its retention level on a single risk basis. Proportional contracts involve close client relationships, including regular audits of the cedants’ data. Its risk solutions business writes property insurance risks for a select group of the United States program managers. Casualty reinsurance is written on an excess of loss, proportional and facultative basis and consists of the United States treaty, international treaty and casualty facultative. Its United States treaty business consists of exposures to workers’ compensation (including catastrophe), medical ma lpractice, general liability, auto liability, professional l! iability ! and excess liability, including umbrella liability. Its international treaty business reinsures exposures respect to general liability, auto liability, professional liability, workers’ compensation and excess liability.

Specialty reinsurance is written on an excess of loss and proportional basis and consists of credit and surety reinsurance, structured risks, agriculture reinsurance and other specialty lines. Its credit and surety reinsurance business consists of trade credit reinsurance, international surety reinsurance (mainly European, Japanese and Latin American risks and excluding the United States) and a political risks portfolio. Its agricultural reinsurance business is written on a treaty basis covering crop and multi-peril business. Other specialty lines include reinsurance treaties and some insurance policies covering policyholders’ interests in marine, energy, liability aviation, space, contingency, terrorism, nuclear, personal accident and crop r einsurance. A percentage of the property reinsurance contracts it writes exclude coverage for losses arising from the peril of terrorism. These contracts exclude coverage protecting against nuclear, biological or chemical attack.

The Company competes Arch Capital Group Ltd., Axis Capital Holdings Limited (Axis), Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. (Endurance), Everest Re Group Limited, Lancashire Holdings Limited, Montpelier Re Holdings Limited, PartnerRe Ltd., Platinum Underwriters Holdings Ltd., Renaissance Re Holdings Ltd., Validus Holdings Ltd., XL Capital Ltd. (XL) and various Lloyd’s syndicates.

Insurance

The Company’s insurance segment consists of property insurance, casualty insurance, marine, energy and transportation insurance and financial and professional lines insurance. Its property insurance line comprises the United Kingdom commercial property and construction business and the United States property business. Property insurance provides physical damage and business interruption! coverage! for losses arising from weather, fire, theft and other causes. The United States commercial property team covers mercantile, manufacturing, municipal and commercial real estate business. The United States property also includes its program business, which writes property insurance risks for a select group of the United States program managers. The United Kingdom commercial team’s client base is predominantly the United Kingdom institutional property owners, middle market corporates and public sector clients.

The Company’s casualty insurance line comprises commercial liability, global excess casualty, the United States casualty insurance and environmental liability, written on a primary, quota share and facultative basis. Commercial liability is written in the United Kingdom and provides employers’ liability coverage and public liability coverage for insureds domiciled in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The global excess casualty line comprises risk-manage d insureds globally and covers risks at points, including general liability, commercial and residential construction liability, life science, railroads, trucking, product and public liability and associated types of cover found in general liability policies in the global insurance market. The United States casualty account consists of lines written within the general liability and umbrella liability insurance sectors. Coverage on its general liability line is offered on those risks that are miscellaneous, products liability, contractors (general contractors and artisans), real estate and retail risks and other general liability business. The United States environmental account provides contractors’ pollution liability and pollution legal liability across industry segments that have environmental regulatory drivers and contractual requirements for coverage, including real estate and public entities, contractors and engineers, energy contractors and environmental contractors and consultants. The business is written in both the primar! y and exc! ess insurance markets.

The Company’s marine, energy and transportation insurance line comprises marine, energy and construction (M.E.C.) liability, energy physical damage, marine hull, specie, inland marine and ocean risks and aviation, written on a primary, quota share and facultative basis. The M.E.C. liability business includes marine liability cover related to the liabilities of ship-owners and port operators, including reinsurance of Protection and Indemnity Clubs (P&I Clubs). It also provides liability cover for companies in the oil and gas sector, both onshore and offshore and in the power generation and the United States commercial construction sectors. Energy physical damage provides insurance cover against physical damage losses in addition to Operators Extra Expenses (OEE) for companies operating in the oil and gas exploration and production sector. The marine hull team insures physical damage for ships (including war and associated perils) and rel ated marine assets. The specie business line focuses on the insurance of property items on an all risks basis, including fine art, general and bank related specie, jewelers’ block and armored car. The inland marine and ocean cargo team writes business covering builders’ construction risk, contractors’ equipment, transportation and ocean cargo risks in addition to exhibition, fine arts and museums insurance.

The aviation team writes physical damage insurance on hulls and spares (including war and associated perils) and comprehensive legal liability for airlines, smaller operators of airline equipment, airports and associated business and non-critical component part manufacturers. It also provides aviation hull deductible cover. Its financial and professional lines comprise financial institutions, professional liability (including management and technology liability), financial and political risks and the United States surety risks, written on a primary, qu ota share and facultative basis. Its financial institutions ! business ! is written on both a primary and excess of loss basis and consists of professional liability, crime insurance and directors’ and officers’ (D&O) cover. It covers financial institutions, including commercial and investment banks, asset managers, insurance companies, stockbrokers and insureds with hybrid business models. Its professional liability business is written out of the United States (including Errors and Omissions (E&O)), the United Kingdom and Switzerland and is written on both a primary and excess of loss basis.

The Company insures a range of professions, including lawyers, accountants, architects and engineers. Its management and technology liability teams write on both a primary and excess basis D&O insurance, technology-related policies in the areas of network privacy, misuse of data and cyber liability and warranty and indemnity insurance in connection with, or to facilitate, corporate transactions. The financial and political risks team writes business covering the credit/default risk on a range of project and trade transactions, as well as political risks, terrorism (including multi-year war on land cover), piracy and kidnap and ransom (K&R). It writes financial and political risks globally but with concentrations in a range of countries, such as Russia, China, Brazil, the Netherlands and United States. Its surety team writes commercial surety risks, admiralty bonds and similar maritime undertakings, including federal and public official bonds, license and permits and fiduciary and miscellaneous bonds and privately owned companies in the United States.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sally Jones] % over 12 months, Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. has a market cap of $2.63 billion; its shares were traded at around $40.06 with a P/E ratio of 13.50. The dividend yield is 1.80%.

    The GuruFocus analysis for AHL shows six warning signs.

    Track historical share pricing, revenue and net income:

    [ Enlarge Image ]

    Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Arnold Schneider reduced his position by 89.42%, selling 109,081 shares at an average price of $36.77, for a gain of 8.9%.

    Over five quarters, Schneider has averaged a 28% gain on 166,209 shares bought at an average price of $31.34 per share. He gained 8% selling 153,305 shares at an average price of $37.03 per share.

    Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Jim Simons increased his position by 387.47%, buying 501,000 shares at an average price of $36.77, for a gain of 8.9%. His current shares are 630,300.

    Over five years, Simons has sold out three times. He has averaged a 15% gain on 876,900 shar es bought at an average price of $34.82 per share. He gained 13% on 246,600 shares sold at an average price of $35.35 per share.

    Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Steven Cohen increased his position by 190.15%, buying 15,037 shares at an average price of $36.77, for a gain of 8.9%. His current shares are 22,945.

    Cohen has averaged an 18% gain on 36,658 shares bought at an average price of $33.98 per share. He gained 22% on 13,713 shares sold at an average price of $32.85 per share.

    Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, top guru stakeholder David Einhorn reduced his position by 36.93%, selling 1,451,581 shares at an average price of $36.77, for a gain of 8.6%. This trade impacts his portfolio by -1%. His current shares are 2,478,935 or 3.67% of shares outstanding.

    Over five years, Einhorn has averaged a 67% gain on 5,700,182 shares bought at an average price of $23.88 per share. He gained 15% on 3,221,247 shares sold at an average price of $34.57 per share.

    Here