Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015


These notes were taken live as GuruFocus covered the annual shareholder meeting of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)(BRK.B) in Omaha on Saturday. The notes are continued from Part 2 here.

Question: Will the health care act affect Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)(BRK.B)?

Warren: We’re not sure. We don’t know of any units that don’t have health care. Health care was a huge cost for us. Do few things on a centralized basis but we have not assessed figures of the quarter. We saw a few units’ costs rising 10% to 12%. We’re not trying to centralized headquarters.


Question: What are your capital spending plans? And do you owe your success to timing?

Warren: I was born in the U.S. so I had a huge advantage, and I was born male so I had a big advantage. I’m not sure in the business world if I was born in 1930 the time could have been better. I was conceived in November 1929 when my parents had nobody to call on and no TV, so here I am, luck the crash of 2 9 came along. It caused a lot of people to be turned off on stocks like the last crash. Business was a terrible environment. Every baby born in the U.S., on a probably basis, will do better in all kinds of ways than I do. In the investment field, it is not as good as it was in 1950. But a person with a passion for investing coming of age likely will do better and live better.

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG)


Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (Gallagher), along with its subsidiaries, provides insurance brokerage and third-party claims settlement, and administration services to entities in the United States and abroad. It operates in three segments: brokerage, risk management and corporate. The Brokerage segment primarily consists of retail and wholesale insurance brokerage operations. The Company’s risk management segment provides contract claim settlement and administration services for enterprises that choose to self-insure some or all of their property/casualty coverages and for insurance companies that choose to outsource some or all of their property/casualty claims departments. Majority of its international brokerage operations are in Australia, Bermuda, Canada and the United Kingdom. Its international risk management operations are principally in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The Company operates in Australia and Canada primarily as a retail commercial property and casualty broker. In December 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the acquisition of Barmore Insurance Agency, Inc. In December 2013, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired McIntyre Risk Management, LLC. In December 2013, the Company acquired Cleaveland Insurance Group and Jenkins and Associates. Effective December 26, 2013, Arthur J Gallagher & Co acquired Rock Island-based Cleaveland Insurance Group. In February 2014, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co acquired Benefit Development Group of Selma, Alabama. In February 2014, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co announced the acquisition of Kent, Kent & Tingle in Shreveport, Louisiana.


Brokerage Segment

The Company’s retail brokerage operations negotiate and place property/casualty, employer-provided health and welfare insurance and retirement solutions principally for middle-market commercial, industrial, public entity, religious and not-for-profit entities. Many of the Company’s retail brokera ge customers choose to place their insurance with insurance ! underwriters, while others choose to use alternative vehicles, such as self-insurance pools, risk retention groups or captive insurance companies. Its wholesale brokerage operations assist its brokers and other unaffiliated brokers and agents in the placement of specialized, and hard-to-place insurance programs.


The Company’s primary sources of compensation for its retail brokerage services are commissions paid by insurance carriers. It operates its brokerage operations through a network of more than 300 sales and service offices located throughout the United States and in 16 other countries. In addition, the Company offers client-service capabilities in more than 110 countries worldwide through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants. The Company’s retail brokerage operations place all lines of commercial property/casualty and health and welfare insurance coverage. Its retail brokerage operations are organized in more than 190 geographical center s located in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom and operate within certain key niche/practice groups, which account for approximately 67% of its retail brokerage revenues.


During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company’s wholesale insurance brokerage operations accounted for 22% of its brokerage segment revenues. Its wholesale brokers assist its retail brokers and other non-affiliated brokers in the placement of specialized and hard-to-place insurance. These brokers operate through over 65 geographical centers located across the United States, Bermuda and through its approved Lloyd’s of London brokerage operation. In certain cases, it acts as a brokerage wholesaler, and in other cases, it acts as a managing general agent or managing general underwriter distributing specialized insurance coverages for insurance carriers. Over 75% of the Company’s wholesale brokerage revenues come from non-affiliated brokerage customers.


Risk Management Segment

The Company’s ! risk mana! gement segment provides contract claim settlement and administration services for enterprises that choose to self-insure some or all of their property/casualty coverages and for insurance companies that choose to outsource some or all of their property/casualty claims departments. During 2011, approximately 67% of its risk management segment’s revenues were from workers compensation related claims, 26% were from general and commercial auto liability related claims and 7% were from property related claims. In addition, it generate revenues from integrated disability management (employee absence management) programs, information services, risk control consulting (loss control) services and appraisal services, either individually or in combination with arising claims. The Company manages its third-party claims adjusting operations through a network of approximately 110 offices located throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.


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The Company competes with Aon Corporation, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., Wells Fargo Insurance Services, Inc., Brown & Brown Inc., Hub International Ltd., Lockton Companies, Inc., USI Holdings Corporation, Aon Hewitt, Towers Watson & Co., Crump Group, Inc., CRC Insurance Services, Inc., RT Specialty, AmWINS Group, Inc., Swett & Crawford Group, Inc., Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc., Crawford & Company, ACE Limited, AIG Insurance and Zurich Insurance.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Insurance brokerage and third-party claims settlement claims company Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) raised its quarterly dividend 3% to 36 cents per share, payable on Mar. 20 to shareholders of record as of Mar. 4.
    AJG Dividend Yield: 3.00%

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Abbvie (ABBV)
    Ameren Corp. (AEE)
    Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG)
    E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. (DD)
    ENSCO (ESV)
    Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD)
    General Mills (GIS)
    H&R Block (HRB)
    Hancock Holding (HBHC)
    Kraft Foods Group (KRFT)
    Lorillard (LO)
    Magellan Midstream Partners LP (MMP)
    MarkWest Energy Partners L P (MWE)
    McDonald’s (MCD)
    Microchip Technology (MCHP)
    NextEra Energy (NEE)
    Regency Centers (REG)
    TELUS Corp. (TU)
    West Corp. (WSTC)
    Williams Companies (WMB)

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Expanding its presence in the United Kingdom, insurance provider Arthur J. Gallagher (NYSE: AJG  ) will acquire the U.K.-based Property & Commercial Limited from Barbon Insurance Group, the country’s largest provider of tenant references, the largest provider of rent guarantee, and one of the largest brokers to the social housing sector.

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    We’re seeing the same exact price setup in shares of mid-cap insurance broker Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) — just in the shorter-term. AJG has been forming an ascending triangle setup of its own since the beginning of May, hitting its head on resistance at $45.50. That’s the breakout level to watch in shares this week.


    Whenever you’re looking at any technical price pattern, it’s critical to think in terms of buyers and sellers. Ascending triangles and other price pattern names are a good quick way to explain what’s going on in this stock, but they’re not the reason it’s tradable. Instead, it all comes down to supply and demand for shares.

    That resistance line at $45.50 is a price where there’s an excess of supply of shares; in other words, it’s a place where sellers have been more eager to take recent gains and sell their shares than buyers have been to buy. That’s what makes the move above it so significant — a breakout indicates that buyers are finally strong enough to absorb all of the excess supply above that price level. Wait for that signal to happen before you jump into this stock.

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Tryg A/S (TRYG)


Tryg A/S, formerly TrygVesta A/S, is a Denmark-based insurance company. It is the parent company within the Tryg Group, which supplies insurance services in the Nordic countries. The Company is organized in four business areas, namely Private, Commercial, Industry and Sweden. Private sells insurance products to private individuals in Denmark and Norway. Commercial sells insurance products to small and medium-sized companies in Denmark and Norway. Industry sells insurance products to industrial customers under the Tryg brand in Denmark and Norway and the Moderna brand in Sweden. Sweden sells insurance products to private individuals in Sweden under the Moderna brand name. As of December 31, 2012, the Company had one wholly owned subsidiary, Tryg Forsikring A/S. On May 1, 2013, it sold its Finnish branch. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

    Commodity producers slid as the release fueled concern about the slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy. Burberry Group Plc (BRBY) gained 4.8 percent after the company’s spring-summer collection helped increase retail sales in its fiscal first quarter by more than analysts had estimated. Tryg A/S (TRYG) added 3.3 percent after posting better-than-forecast pretax profit as cost cuts offset increased weather-related claims.

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKB)

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire), incorporated on June 16, 1998, is a holding company owning subsidiaries engaged in a number of diverse business activities. The Company is engaged in the insurance businesses conducted on both a primary basis and a reinsurance basis, a freight rail transportation business and a group of utility, and energy generation and distribution businesses. Berkshire also owns and operates a number of other businesses engaged in a variety of activities. In October 2012, HomeServices acquired a 66.7% interest in the residential real estate brokerage franchise network in the United States. In May 2013, Berkshire acquired the remaining 20% stake in IMC International Metalworking Companies BV.


Insurance and Reinsurance Businesses

Berkshire’s insurance and reinsurance business activities are conducted through numerous domestic and foreign-based insurance entities. Berkshire’s insurance businesses provide insurance and rein surance of property and casualty risks worldwide and also reinsure life, accident and health risks worldwide. The Company’s insurance underwriting operations are consisted of the sub-groups, including GEICO and its subsidiaries, General Re and its subsidiaries, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group and Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group. GEICO insurance subsidiaries include Government Employees Insurance Company, GEICO General Insurance Company, GEICO Indemnity Company, GEICO Casualty Company, GEICO Advantage Insurance Company, GEICO Choice Insurance Company and GEICO Secure Insurance Company. These companies primarily offers private passenger automobile insurance to individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, GEICO insures motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles and small commercial fleets and acts as an agent for other insurers who offer homeowners, boat and life insurance to individuals. GEICO markets its policies primarily thro ugh direct response methods in which applications for insura! nce are submitted directly to the companies via the Internet or by telephone.


General Re Corporation (General Re) is the holding company of General Reinsurance Corporation (GRC) and its subsidiaries and affiliates. GRC’s subsidiaries include General Reinsurance AG, an international reinsurer based in Germany. General Re subsidiaries conduct business activities globally in 51 cities and provide insurance and reinsurance coverages throughout the world. General Re provides property/casualty insurance and reinsurance, life/health reinsurance and other reinsurance intermediary and risk management, underwriting management and investment management services.


Property/Casualty Reinsurance

General Re’s property/casualty reinsurance business in North America is conducted through GRC. Property/casualty operations in North America are also conducted through 16 branch offices in the United States and Canada. Reinsurance activities are marketed directly to clients without involving a broker or intermediary. General Re’s property/casualty business in North America also includes specialty insurers (primarily the General Star and Genesis companies). These specialty insurers underwrite primarily liability and workers’ compensation coverages on an excess and surplus basis and excess insurance for self-insured programs. General Re’s international property/casualty reinsurance business operations are conducted through internationally-based subsidiaries on a direct basis (through General Reinsurance AG, as well as several other General Re subsidiaries in 23 countries) and through brokers (primarily through Faraday, which owns the managing agent of Syndicate 435 at Lloyd’s of London and provides capacity and participates in 100% of the results of Syndicate 435).


Life/Health Reinsurance

General Re’s North American and international life, health, long-term care and disability reinsurance coverages are written on an individual and group basis. Most! of this ! business is written on a proportional treaty basis, with the exception of the United States group health and disability business, which is predominately written on an excess treaty basis. Lesser amounts of life and disability business are written on a facultative basis. The life/health business is marketed on a direct basis.

The Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group (BHRG) operates from offices located in Stamford, Connecticut. Business activities are conducted through a group of subsidiary companies, led by National Indemnity Company (NICO) and Columbia Insurance Company (Columbia). BHRG provides principally excess and quota-share reinsurance to other property and casualty insurers and reinsurers. BHRG’s underwriting activities also include life reinsurance and life annuity business written through Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance Company of Nebraska and financial guaranty insurance written through Berkshire Hathaway Assurance Corporation.


BHRG w rites catastrophe excess-of-loss treaty reinsurance contracts. BHRG also writes individual policies for primarily large or otherwise unusual discrete risks on both an excess direct and facultative reinsurance basis, referred to as individual risk, which includes policies covering terrorism, natural catastrophe and aviation risks. A catastrophe excess policy provides protection to the counterparty from the accumulation of primarily property losses arising from a single loss event or series of related events. Catastrophe and individual risk policies may provide amounts of indemnification per contract and a single loss event may produce losses under a number of contracts. BHRG also underwrites traditional non-catastrophe insurance and reinsurance coverages, referred to as multi-line property/casualty business.


The Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group is a collection of primary insurance operations that provide a range of insurance coverages to insureds located principa lly in the United States. NICO and certain affiliates underw! rite moto! r vehicle and general liability insurance to commercial enterprises on both an admitted and excess and surplus basis. This business is written nationwide primarily through insurance agents and brokers and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. U.S. Investment Corporation (USIC), through its four subsidiaries led by United States Liability Insurance Company, is a specialty insurer that underwrites commercial, professional and personal lines of insurance on an admitted and excess and surplus basis. Policies are marketed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through wholesale and retail insurance agents. USIC companies underwrite and market 110 distinct specialty property and casualty insurance products. Medical Protective Corporation (MedPro) is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. MedPro offers products and solutions through its subsidiaries, The Medical Protective Company and Princeton Insurance Company and is a primary healthcare malpractice insurance coverage and patient safety sol utions to physicians, dentists, other healthcare providers and healthcare facilities. Other insurance operations include the Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies (BHHC), a group of six insurance companies that primarily offers standalone workers’ compensation, commercial auto and commercial property coverages.


Railroad Business

Through Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC (BNSF) Railway, BNSF operates a railroad network in North America with approximately BNSF operates a railroad network in North America with approximately 32,500 route miles of track (excluding multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings) in 28 states and two Canadian provinces as of December 31, 2012. BNSF owns approximately 23,000 route miles, including easements, and operates on approximately 9,500 route miles of trackage rights that permit BNSF to operate its trains with its crews over other railroads’ tracks. As of December 31, 2012, the total BNSF Railway system, includi ng single and multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings,! consiste! d of approximately 50,500 operated miles of track, all of which are owned by or held under easement by BNSF except for approximately 10,500 miles operated under trackage rights.


BNSF is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and through BNSF Railway Company operates railroad systems in North America. In serving the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Western, Southwestern and Southeastern regions and ports of the country, BNSF transports a range of products and commodities derived from manufacturing, agricultural and natural resource industries. Over half of the freight revenues of BNSF are covered by contractual agreements of varying durations. BNSF’s primary routes, including trackage rights, allow it to access major cities and ports in the western and southern United States, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.


Utilities and Energy Businesses

MidAmerican’s businesses are managed as separate operating units. MidAmerican’s domestic regulated ene rgy interests are consisted of two regulated utility companies serving more than three million retail customers, two interstate natural gas pipeline companies with approximately 16,600 miles of pipeline and a design capacity of approximately 7.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day and a 50% interest in electric transmission businesses. Its Great Britain electricity distribution subsidiaries serve about 3.9 million electricity end-users. In addition, MidAmerican’s interests include a diversified portfolio of domestic independent power projects, a hydroelectric facility in the Philippines, the residential real estate brokerage firm in the United States and the residential real estate brokerage franchise network in the United States.


PacifiCorp is a regulated electric utility company, serving regulated retail electric customers in portions of Utah, Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and California. The combined service territory’s diverse regional econom y ranges from rural, agricultural and mining areas to urban,! manufact! uring and government service centers. As a vertically integrated electric utility, PacifiCorp owns approximately 10,600 net megawatts (MW) of generation capacity.

MidAmerican Energy Company (MEC) is a regulated electric and natural gas utility company, serving regulated retail electric and natural gas customers primarily in Iowa and also in portions of Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. MEC has a diverse customer base consisting of urban and rural residential customers and a range of commercial and industrial customers. In addition to retail sales and natural gas transportation, MEC sells regulated electricity principally to markets operated by regional transmission organizations and regulated natural gas to other utilities and market participants on a wholesale basis and sells non-regulated electricity and natural gas services in deregulated markets. As a vertically integrated electric and gas utility, MEC owns approximately 7,400 net megawatts of generation capacity.


The natural gas pipelines consist of Northern Natural Gas Company (Northern Natural) and Kern River Gas Transmission Company (Kern River). Northern Natural is based in Nebraska and owns interstate natural gas pipeline system in the United States reaching from southern Texas to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Northern Natural’s pipeline system consists of approximately 14,900 miles of natural gas pipelines. Northern Natural also operates three underground natural gas storage facilities and two liquefied natural gas storage peaking units.

Kern River is based in Utah and owns an interstate natural gas pipeline system that consists of approximately 1,700 miles and extends from supply areas in the Rocky Mountains to consuming markets in Utah, Nevada and California. Kern River transports natural gas for electric utilities and natural gas distribution utilities, major oil and natural gas companies or affiliates of such companies, electricity gen erating companies, energy marketing and trading companies, a! nd financ! ial institutions. The Great Britain utilities consist of Northern Powergrid (Northeast) Limited (Northern Powergrid (Northeast)) and Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire) plc (Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire)), which own a substantial Great Britain electricity distribution network that delivers electricity to end-users in northeast England in an area covering approximately 10,000 square miles. The distribution companies primarily charge supply companies regulated tariffs for the use of electrical infrastructure. MidAmerican also owns HomeServices of America, Inc. (HomeServices), a full-service residential real estate brokerage firm in the United States. HomeServices offers integrated real estate services, including mortgage originations and mortgage banking primarily through joint ventures, title and closing services, property and casualty insurance, home warranties, relocation services and other home-related services. It operates under 27 residential real estate brand names with ove r 16,000 sales agents and in nearly 375 brokerage offices in 21 states.


Manufacturing, Service and Retailing Businesses

Berkshire’s numerous and diverse manufacturing, service and retailing businesses. Marmon Holdings, Inc. (Marmon) consists of approximately 140 manufacturing and service businesses that operate independently within 11 diverse business sectors. These sectors are distribution services, electrical and plumbing products, industrial products, crane services, engineered wire and cable, transportation services and engineered products, food service equipment, highway technologies, retail home improvement products, retail store fixtures, and water treatment.


Distribution Services supplies specialty metal pipe and tubing, bar and sheet products to markets, including construction, industrial, aerospace and many others. Electrical and Plumbing Products is engaged in the distribution, supplying electrical building wire primarily for res idential and commercial construction, and copper tube for th! e plumbin! g, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration and industrial markets, through the wholesale channel. Industrial Products consists of metal fasteners and fastener coatings for the construction, industrial and other markets, gloves for industrial markets, portable lighting equipment for mining and safety markets, overhead electrification equipment for mass transit systems, custom-machined aluminum and brass forgings for the construction, energy, recreation and other industries, brass fittings and valves for commercial and industrial applications, and drawn aluminum tubing and extruded aluminum shapes for the construction, automotive, appliance, medical and other markets.


Crane Services is engaged in providing the leasing and operation of mobile cranes primarily to the energy, mining and petrochemical markets. Engineered Wire and Cable is engaged in supplying electrical and electronic wire and cable for energy related markets and other industr ies. Transportation Services and Engineered Products includes manufacturing, leasing and maintenance of railroad tank cars, leasing of intermodal tank containers, in-plant rail services, manufacturing of bi-modal railcar movers, wheel, axle and gear sets for light rail transit and gear products for locomotives, manufacturing of steel tank heads, and services, equipment and technology for processing and distributing sulfur.


Food Service Equipment is engaged in supplying commercial food preparation equipment for restaurants and shopping carts for retail stores. Highway Technologies primarily serve the heavy-duty highway transportation industry with trailers, fifth wheel coupling devices and undercarriage products, such as brake parts and suspension systems, and also serving the light vehicle aftermarket with clutches and related products. Retail Home Improvement Products is engaged in supplying electrical and plumbing products through the home center channel. Retail Stor e Fixtures provides shelving systems, other merchandising di! splays an! d related services for retail stores, as well as work and garden gloves sold at retail. Water Treatment includes residential water softening, purification and refrigeration filtration systems, treatment systems for industrial markets including power generation, oil and gas, chemical, and pulp and paper, gear drives for irrigation systems and cooling towers, and air-cooled heat exchangers.


McLane Company, Inc. (McLane) provides wholesale distribution and logistics services in all 50 states and internationally in Brazil to customers that include convenience stores, discount retailers, wholesale clubs, drug stores, military bases, quick service restaurants and casual dining restaurants. Operations include grocery distribution, foodservice distribution, beverage distribution, international logistics and software development. McLane’s foodservice distribution unit, based in Carrollton, Texas, focuses on serving the quick service restaurant industry. Operations are conducted through 18 facilities in 16 states. The foodservice distribution unit services more than 19,000 chain restaurants nationwide.


Other Manufacturing, Other Service and Retailing Businesses

Berkshire’s apparel manufacturing businesses include manufacturers of a range of clothing and footwear. Businesses engaged in the manufacture and distribution of clothing products include Fruit of the Loom, Inc. (Fruit), Russell Brands, LLC (Russell), Vanity Fair Brands, LP (VFB), Garan and Fechheimer Brothers. Berkshire’s footwear businesses include H.H. Brown Shoe Group, Justin Brands and Brooks Sports. Fruit, Russell and VFB (together FOL) is primarily a vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor of basic apparel, underwear and athletic apparel and products. Products, under the Fruit of the Loom and JERZEES labels are primarily sold in the mass merchandise and wholesale markets. In the VFB product line, Vassarette, Bestform and Curvation ar e sold in the mass merchandise market, while Vanity Fair and! Lily of ! France products are sold in the mid-tier chains and department stores. FOL also markets and sells athletic uniforms, apparel, sports equipment and balls to team dealers; college licensed tee shirts and fleecewear to college bookstores and mid-tier merchants; and athletic apparel, sports equipment and balls to sporting goods retailers under the Russell Athletic and Spalding brands. Additionally, Spalding markets and sells balls in the mass merchandise market and dollar store channels.


Garan designs, manufactures, imports and sells apparel primarily for children, including boys, girls, toddlers and infants. Products are sold under its own trademark Garanimals and private labels of its customers. Garan also licenses its registered trademark Garanimals to independent third parties. Garan conducts its business through operating subsidiaries located in the United States, Central America and Asia. Fechheimer Brothers manufactures, distributes and sells uniforms, princi pally for the public service and safety markets, including police, fire, postal and military markets. Fechheimer Brothers is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Justin Brands and H.H. Brown Shoe Group manufacture and distribute work, rugged outdoor and casual shoes and western-style footwear under a number of brand names, including Justin, Tony Lama, Nocona, Chippewa, Carolina, Sofft, Double-H Boots, Eurosoft, and Softspots. Acme Building Brands (Acme) manufactures and distributes clay bricks (Acme Brick and Jenkins Brick), concrete block (Featherlite) and cut limestone (Texas Quarries). In addition, Acme distributes a range of other building products of other manufacturers, including glass block, floor and wall tile, wood flooring and other masonry products. Acme also sells ceramic floor and wall tile, as well as marble, granite and other stones through its subsidiary, American Tile and Stone. Benjamin Moore & Co. (Benjamin Moore) is a formulator, manufacturer and retai ler of a range of architectural coatings, available principa! lly in th! e United States and Canada. Products include water-thinnable and solvent-thinnable general purpose coatings (paints, stains and clear finishes) for use by the general public, contractors and industrial and commercial users. Products are marketed under various registered brand names, including Regal, Super Spec, MoorGard, Aura, Nattura, ben, Coronado, Insl-x and Lenmar.


Johns Manville (JM) is a manufacturer and marketer of products for building insulation, mechanical insulation, commercial roofing and roof insulation, as well as fibers and nonwovens for commercial, industrial and residential applications. JM serves markets that include aerospace, automotive and transportation, air handling, appliance, HVAC, pipe insulation, filtration, waterproofing, building, flooring, interiors and wind energy. The Shaw Industries Group, Inc. (Shaw) is a carpet manufacturer based on both revenue and volume of production. Shaw designs and manufactures over 3,000 styles of tufted carpet, tufted and woven rugs, laminate and wood flooring for residential and commercial use under about 30 brand and trade names and under certain private labels. Shaw also provides installation services and sells ceramic and vinyl tile along with sheet vinyl. Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is a manufacturer of recreational vehicles, utility, cargo and office trailers, buses and pontoon boats. Albecca Inc. (Albecca) does business primarily under the Larson-Juhl name. Albecca designs, manufactures and distributes a range of products, including wood and metal molding, matboard, foamboard, glass, equipment and other framing supplies in the United States, Canada and 15 countries outside of North America.


FlightSafety International Inc. (FSI) is engaged in professional aviation training services to individuals, businesses (including certain commercial aviation companies) and the United States. Government. FSI primarily provides training to pilots, aircraft maint enance technicians, flight attendants and dispatchers who op! erate and! support a range of business, commercial and military aircraft. NetJets Inc. (NJ) is a provider of fractional ownership programs for general aviation aircraft. TTI, Inc. (TTI) is a specialty distributor of passive, interconnect, electromechanical and discrete components used by customers in the manufacturing and assembling of electronic products. TTI’s customer base includes original equipment manufacturers, electronic manufacturing services, original design manufacturers, military and commercial customers, as well as design and system engineers. TTI services a range of industries, including telecommunications, medical devices, computers and office equipment, aerospace, automotive and consumer electronics.


Finance and Financial Products

The Company’s finance and financial products businesses include manufactured housing and finance (Clayton Homes), transportation equipment leasing (XTRA), furniture leasing (CORT), as well as various miscellaneou s financing activities. Clayton Homes, Inc. (Clayton) is a vertically integrated manufactured housing company. As of December 31, 2012, Clayton operated 34 manufacturing plants in 12 states. Clayton’s homes are marketed in 48 states through a network of 1,441 retailers, including 323 company-owned home centers. XTRA is a transportation equipment lessor operating under the XTRA Lease brand name. XTRA manages a diverse fleet of approximately 82,000 units located at 58 facilities throughout the United States and two facilities in Canada. The fleet includes over-the-road and storage trailers, chassis, temperature controlled vans and flatbed trailers. CORT Business Services Corporation is a provider of rental relocation services, including rental furniture, accessories and related services in the rent-to-rent segment of the furniture rental industry.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Brian Stelter]

    DirecTV’s largest shareholder, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB), seemed pleased by the deal.

    “This is a terrific transaction for all involved: Enhanced choice for consumers coupled with increased value for both AT&T and DirecTV shareholders — a natural,” said Berkshire investment managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler in a joint statement. Berkshire also disclosed last week that it just acquired a stake in Verizon as well.

  • [By Anna Prior]

    Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway Inc.(BRKB) said first-quarter profit fell, driven by lower net income at two of its major businesses, a reinsurance unit and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. FedEx Corp.(FDX) said it would raise its freight-delivery fuel surcharge for some deliveries and next year start charging for ground delivery based on package volume for all packages.

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Stocks moving in the Premarket included:

    Boeing(NYSE: BA) lost 1.98 percent in premarket trade after falling 0.25 percent on Friday. Alcoa(NYSE: AA) fell 1.32 percent in premarket trade after gaining 3.58 percent last week. Perrigo Company PLC (NYSE: PRGO) gained 0.36 percent in premarket trade after rising 0.36 percent on Friday. Berkshire HathawayInc (NASDAQ: BRKB) gained 0.27 percent in premarket trade after increasing 5.95 percent last week.


    Earnings

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Iamgold Corporation(IAG)

IAMGOLD Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, development, and production of mineral resource properties worldwide. It primarily explores for gold, silver, zinc, copper, niobium, diamonds, and other metals. The company holds interests in eight operating gold mines, a niobium producer, a diamond royalty, and exploration and development projects located in Africa and the Americas. Its advanced exploration and development projects include the Westwood project in Canada; and the Quimsacocha project, which consists of 3 mining concessions covering an aggregate area of approximately 8,030 hectares in Ecuador. The company was formerly known as IAMGOLD International African Mining Gold Corporation and changed its name to IAMGOLD Corporation in June 1997. IAMGOLD Corporation was founded in 1990 and is based in Toronto, Canada.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    On an adjusted basis, Eldorado Gold (EGO) has the longest reserve/resource life amongst our coverage companies (39 years) with Goldcorp (GG) having the longest reserve/resource life (23 years) amongst the senior producers versus the group average of 22 years. Kinross Gold (KGC) and Iamgold (IAG) have the shortest adjusted reserve/resource lives amongst the senior and mid-tier producers (18 and 14 years respectively). On a percentage basis, the companies most affected by the adjustment are New Gold (NGD) and Iamgold which both saw reserve/resource lives fall by 47% however, we note that despite the adjustment, New Gold still has the second longest reserve/resource life in our group (37 years). Newmont Mining was the least affected by the adjustments with reserve/resource life declining by only 12% to 22 years from 25 years.

  • [By Aaron Levitt]

    At just $6.50, AKS is still one of the cheap stocks, but it may not be cheap for long.

    Cheap Stocks to Buy Now: Iamgold (IAG)

    Without a doubt, the most hated metals and mining sector has to be gold mining stocks. Faced with rising costs and falling gold prices, many of the precious metals miners have tanked, moving them into the cheap stocks category.

  • [By Patricio Kehoe]

    In addition to overexpansion at the wrong time, Golden Star’s position has weakened due to its comparably less efficient operations. Unlike industry peers, such as IamGold Corp. (IAG) or Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI), the majority of the Toronto-based miner’s assets contain refractory ore, which is far more expensive to extract than non refractory ore. And, in an attempt to switch production to the lower cost gold ore, and thus increase margins, Golden Star has depleted its mines’ non refractory ore. With low reserves and mounting cash costs, the firm inevitably turned to new acquisitions.

  • [By Namitha Jagadeesh]

    International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) and Air France-KLM (AF) Group rose with as a gauge of travel stocks as oil prices fell after Iran’s accord. PSA Peugeot Citroen gained 3.7 percent after people familiar with the matter said its chief executive officer plans to step down next year. Fresenius Medical Care AG surged the most in five years after U.S. regulators scrapped a plan to cut Medicare payments next year.

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: 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.

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Aon Corporation(AON)

Aon Corporation provides risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resource consulting and outsourcing services primarily in the United States, the Americas, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. The company?s Risk Solutions segment offers retail brokerage products and services, including affinity products, general underwriting management services, placement services, and captive management services; and advisory services to technology, financial services, agribusiness, aviation, construction, health care, and energy industries, as well as facilitates various risk management solutions for property liability, general liability, professional liability, directors’ and officers’ liability, workers’ compensation, and various healthcare products. This segment also provides risk consulting services comprising captive management; eSolutions products that enable clients to manage risks, policies, claims, and safet y concerns through an integrated technology platform; reinsurance brokerage services, such as actuarial, enterprise risk management, catastrophe management, and rating agency advisory services; property and casualty reinsurance; and specialty lines, which include professional liability, medical malpractice, accident, life, and health, as well as capital management transaction and advisory services. Its HR Solutions segment offers human capital services in the areas of health and benefits, retirement, compensation, and strategic human capital; and benefits administration and human resource business process outsourcing services. The company was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Patientbioinvest]

    Let’s take a look at his top three buys over the last quarter:

    AT&T (T): This is a new holding for the fund. Olstein bought 146,000 shares at prices between $33.1 and $36.45. The current stock price is 33.01, i.e. a 5% to the average high-low price over the period. The stock has been in a bear trend for more than a year but counts Gurus James Barrow (Trades, Portfolio) and Brian Rogers (Trades, Portfolio) as biggest holders. AON (AON): The fund purchased 60,000 shares in the insurance company for a 0.75% impact to the portfolio. The stock is still trading at the upper bound of the high-low price ranges over the past quarter. Aon PLC provides risk management and human capital consulting services, delivering distinctive client value via risk management solutions, including insurance and reinsurance brokerage and workforce productivity solutions. It is also noteworthy that the stock saw a large insider buy of more than $2 million by one of the company’s director 10 days ago. International Game Technology (IGT): IGT is a global gaming company specializing in the design, manufacture and marketing of electronic gaming equipment and systems products. The Olstein fund added 246,000 shares of the company over the last quarter. The current price is at a 20% discount to the average of the price range over the period. It is noteworthy that Guru John Hussman (Trades, Portfolio) also bought 500,000 shares over the same period.
    Also check out: Robert Olstein Undervalued Stocks Robert Olstein Top Growth Companies Robert Olstein High Yield stocks, and Stocks that Robert Olstein keeps buying


    Currently 3.00/512345

    Rating: 3.0/5 (2 votes)

  • [By Sean Williams]

    It’s been a banner year for private-platform health insurers, as some very large enterprises including Walgreen, IBM, Time Warner, and Home Depot have shifted at least some of their employee base to a privatized exchange. The two names here that should benefit are Aon (NYSE: AON  ) , which runs the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange and had landed 18 clients with 5,000 or more employees as of last month, and Xerox (NYSE: XRX  ) , whose subsidiary Buck Consultants built RightOpt, an employer-based privatized exchange aimed primarily at retirees who are getting the boot from their corporate health benefits plan.

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: MBIA Inc (MBI)


MBIA Inc. (MBIA), incorporated on November 12, 1986, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, operates the financial guarantee insurance businesses in the industry and is a provider of asset management advisory services. These activities are managed through three business segments: United States public finance insurance, structured finance and international insurance, and advisory services. The Company’s United States public finance insurance business is operated through National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation and its subsidiaries (National), its structured finance and international insurance business is primarily operated through MBIA Insurance Corporation and its subsidiaries (MBIA Corp.), and its asset management advisory services business is primarily operated through Cutwater Holdings, LLC and its subsidiaries (Cutwater). It also manages certain business activities through its corporate, asset/liability products, and conduit segments. The corporate segment includes revenues and expenses that arise from general corporate activities. Funding programs managed through the asset/liability products and conduit segments are in wind-down.


MBIA Corp. owns MBIA UK Insurance Limited (MBIA UK), a financial guarantee insurance company that is regulated and supervised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the United Kingdom and is authorized to carry out insurance business in the United Kingdom and in the European Economic Area on a cross border services basis. Its financial guarantee insurance generally provides investors with an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee of the payment of the principal, interest or other amounts owing on insured obligations when due or, in the event that the Company has the right at its discretion to accelerate insured obligations upon default or otherwise, upon its election to accelerate. The Company conducts its financial guarantee business, as well as related reinsurance, advisory and portfolio services, through its subsidiaries National Publi! c Finance Guarantee Corporation (National), its United States (United States) public finance-only financial guarantee company, and MBIA Insurance Corporation and its subsidiaries (MBIA Corp.), which write global structured finance and non-United States public finance financial guarantee insurance.


Insurance operations

The Company’s United States public finance insurance business is conducted through National, and its structured finance and international insurance operations are conducted through MBIA Corp. and its subsidiaries. It also issue insurance policies to guarantee the payment of principal and interest on municipal obligations being traded in the secondary market upon the request of a broker or an existing holder of uninsured bonds, where premium is generally paid by the owner of the obligation. In addition, the Company has provided financial guarantees to debt service reserve funds. The primary risk in its insurance operations is that o f adverse credit performance in the insured portfolio. It seeks to maintain a diversified insured portfolio and have designed each insured portfolio with the aim of managing and diversifying risk based on a range of criteria, including revenue source, issue size, type of asset, industry concentrations, type of bond and geographic area.


Through the Company’s reinsurance of United States public finance financial guarantees from MBIA Corp. and Financial Guaranty Insurance Company (FGIC), National’s insurance portfolio consists of municipal bonds, including tax-exempt and taxable indebtedness of United States political subdivisions, as well as utility districts, airports, health care institutions, higher educational facilities, student loan issuers, housing authorities and other similar agencies and obligations issued by private entities that finance projects that serve a substantial public purpose. Municipal bonds and privately issued bonds used for the fina ncing of public purpose projects are generally supported by ! taxes, as! sessments, user fees or tariffs related to the use of these projects, lease payments or other similar types of revenue streams. As of December 31, 2012, MBIA Corp. had 899 policies outstanding in its insured portfolio. In addition, MBIA Corp. had 199 insurance policies outstanding relating to asset/liability products liabilities issued by MBIA Inc. and its subsidiaries.


Advisory Services

In the Company’s asset management advisory services business its registered investment advisors provide fixed-income asset management services for third parties and the investment portfolios of the Company and its affiliates (including the wind-down businesses) on a fee-for-service basis. Its advisory services are offered in two product lines, traditional and structured. Within the traditional product line, Cutwater offers cash management, customized asset management, discretionary asset management and fund accounting services to governments, insurance companies (including the Company’s insurance subsidiaries), corporations, pension funds, unions, endowments, foundations and investment companies in both pooled and separate account formats. These services are offered through registered investment advisers, and Cutwater receives asset management and administrative fees as compensation. Within the structured product line, Cutwater manages asset/liability programs and conduits (the wind-down businesses), Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other funding vehicles for banks, insurance companies, program trustees and investment companies, and it earns base and performance fees for its services. Cutwater’s advisory services are offered through two principal operating subsidiaries: Cutwater Asset Management Corp. (Cutwater-AMC), an SEC-registered investment adviser and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm, and Cutwater Investor Services Corp. (Cutwater-ISC), an SEC-registered investment adviser.


< p>Wind-down Business

The asset/liability produc! ts busine! ss historically raised funds for investment through two sources, such as issuance of customized investment agreements by the Company and one of its subsidiaries for bond proceeds and other funds, and issuance of medium-term notes (MTNs) with varying maturities issued by its subsidiary MBIA Global Funding, LLC (GFL). Each of these products is guaranteed by MBIA Corp. In addition, GFL would lend the proceeds of its GFL MTN issuances to MBIA Inc. (GFL Loans). The Company primarily purchased domestic securities and lent a portion of the proceeds from investment agreements and GFL MTNs to its subsidiary Euro Asset Acquisition Limited, which primarily purchased foreign assets as permitted under the Company’s investment guidelines. The Company’s conduit segment is principally operated through Meridian Funding Company, LLC (Meridian) and, formerly, Triple-A One Funding Corporation (Triple-A One). The conduits were used by banks and other financial institutions to raise funds for their customers in the capital markets. During 2012, Triple-A One was liquated. The conduits provided funding for multiple customers through special purpose vehicles that issued commercial paper and MTNs.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jayson Derrick]

    Analysts at BTIG Research upgraded MBIA (NYSE: MBI) to Buy from Neutral. Shares gained 6.17 percent, closing at $10.49.

    Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Buy rating on Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) with a price target lowered to $77 form a previous $78. Shares lost 5.21 percent, closing at $65.11.

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    MBIA (NYSE: MBI) was also up, gaining 9.08 percent to $14.53 after the company reported upbeat Q4 earnings.

    Equities Trading DOWN
    Shares of McDermott International (NYSE: MDR) were down 9.49 percent to $7.34 after the company reported a Q4 loss of $1.37 per share on revenue of $517.3 million. It also withdrew its previous outlook. Capital One Financial downgraded the stock from Equalweight to Underweight and cut the price target from $8.00 to $6.00.

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    MBIA (NYSE: MBI) was also up, gaining 8.18 percent to $14.41 after the company reported upbeat Q4 earnings.

    Equities Trading DOWN
    Shares of McDermott International (NYSE: MDR) were down 6.97 percent to $7.55 after the company reported a Q4 loss of $1.37 per share on revenue of $517.3 million. It also withdrew its previous outlook. Capital One Financial downgraded the stock from Equalweight to Underweight and cut the price target from $8.00 to $6.00.

  • [By MarketWatch]

    MBIA Inc. (MBI)  is expected to post a loss of 3 cents a share in the fourth quarter.

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: ING Groep NV (INGA)


ING Groep N.V. (ING) is a global financial institution offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to meet the needs of the customers. The Company’s segments include banking and insurance. Banking segment includes retail Netherlands, retail Belgium, ING direct, retail central Europe (CE), retail Asia, commercial banking (excluding real estate), ING real estate and corporate line banking. Insurance segment includes insurance Benelux, insurance central and rest of Europe (CRE), insurance United States (US), Insurance US closed block VA, insurance Asia/Pacific, ING investment management (IM) and corporate line insurance. In November 2013, the Company completed the sale of ING Hipotecaria to Banco Santander (Mexico), S.A. In December 2013, the Company completed the sale of its 33.3% interest in China Merchants Fund to its joint venture partners China Merchants Bank Co Ltd and China Merchants Securities Co Ltd, and divested ING Life Korea to MBK Partner s. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

    ING (INGA), which received a 10 billion-euro government bailout in 2008, gained 5.1 percent to 8.26 euros. Underlying pretax profit for the banking unit rose 14 percent to 1.15 billion euros in the second quarter as the interest margin improved and cost cuts paid off, the biggest Dutch financial-services company said.

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: MGIC Investment Corp (MTG)

MGIC Investment Corporation (MGIC), incorporated June 21, 1984, is a holding company and through wholly owned subsidiaries is a private mortgage insurer in the United States. As of December 31, 2012, its principal mortgage insurance subsidiaries, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC) and MGIC Indemnity Corporation (MIC), were each licensed in all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. During the year ending December 31, 2012, the Company wrote new insurance in each of those jurisdictions in MGIC and/or MIC. The Company capitalized MIC to write new insurance in certain jurisdictions where MGIC no longer meets, and is unable to obtain a waiver of, those jurisdictions’ minimum capital requirements. Private mortgage insurance covers losses from homeowner defaults on residential mortgage loans, reducing and, in some instances, eliminating the loss to the insured institution if the homeowner defaults.

Mortgage Insurance

Primary insurance provides mortgage default protection on individual loans and covers unpaid loan principal, delinquent interest and certain expenses associated with the default and subsequent foreclosure. Primary insurance is written on first mortgage loans secured by owner occupied single-family homes, which are one-to-four family homes and condominiums. Primary insurance is also written on first liens secured by non-owner occupied single-family homes, which are referred to in the home mortgage lending industry as investor loans, and on vacation or second homes. Primary coverage can be used on any type of residential mortgage loan instrument approved by the mortgage insurer.

When a borrower refinances a mortgage loan insured by the Company by paying it off in full with the proceeds of a new mortgage that is also insured by it, the insurance on that existing mortgage is cancelled, and insurance on the new mortgage is considered to be new primary i nsurance written. Therefore, continuation of its coverage fr! om a refinanced loan to a new loan results in both a cancellation of insurance and new insurance written. When a lender and borrower modify a loan rather than replace it with a new one, or enter into a new loan pursuant to a loan modification program, its insurance continues without being cancelled assuming that the Company consent to the modification or new loan.

The borrower’s mortgage loan instrument requires the borrower to pay the mortgage insurance premium. There are several payment plans available to the borrower, or lender, as the case may be. Under the monthly premium plan, the borrower or lender pays it a monthly premium payment to provide only one month of coverage. Under the annual premium plan, an annual premium is paid to it in advance, and it earns and recognizes the premium over the next 12 months of coverage, with annual renewal premiums paid in advance thereafter and earned over the subsequent 12 months of coverage. Under the single premium p lan, the borrower or lender pays it a single payment covering a specified term exceeding twelve months.

Pool insurance is used as an additional credit enhancement for certain secondary market mortgage transactions. Pool insurance covers the excess of the loss on a defaulted mortgage loan which exceeds the claim payment under the primary coverage, if primary insurance is required on that mortgage loan, as well as the total loss on a defaulted mortgage loan which did not require primary insurance. Pool insurance is used as an additional credit enhancement for certain secondary market mortgage transactions. Pool insurance covers the excess of the loss on a defaulted mortgage loan, which exceeds the claim payment under the primary coverage, if primary insurance is required on that mortgage loan, as well as the total loss on a defaulted mortgage loan which did not require primary insurance. In general, the loans insured by it in Wall Street bulk transactions consiste d of loans with reduced underwriting documentation; cash out! refinanc! es, which exceed the standard underwriting requirements of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) (collectively GSEs); A- loans; subprime loans, and jumbo loans.

Other Products and Services

The Company has participated in risk sharing arrangements with the GSEs and captive mortgage reinsurance arrangements with subsidiaries of certain mortgage lenders, which reinsure a portion of the risk on loans originated or serviced by the lenders, which have MGIC primary insurance. It provides information regarding captive mortgage reinsurance arrangements to the New York Department of Insurance (known as the New York Department of Financial Services), the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD). It performs contract underwriting services for lenders, in which it judges whether the data relating to the borrower and the loan contained in the lender’s mortgage loan application file comply with the lender’s loan underwriting guidelines. It also provides an interface to submit data to the automated underwriting systems of the GSEs, which independently judge the data. These services are provided for loans, which require private mortgage insurance, as well as for loans that do not require private mortgage insurance. It provides mortgage services for the mortgage finance industry, such as portfolio retention and secondary marketing of mortgages.

The Company competes with Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration, PMI Mortgage Insurance Company, Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation, United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company, Radian Guaranty Inc., CMG Mortgage Insurance Company, and Essent Guaranty, Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jayson Derrick]

    MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG) announced that its CEO Curt Culver will retire from the company on March 1, 2015. Shares lost 0.38 percent, closing at $7.97.

  • [By Garrett Cook]

    MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG) was down, falling 10.82 percent to $8.24 following the FHFA proposal. The company released monthly operating statistics for June.

Best Insurance Companies To Own For 2015: Helvetia Holding AG (HELN)

Helvetia Holding AG is a Switzerland-based holding company of the Helvetia Group, an internationally active, all-lines insurance service group. The Company divides its activities into country markets Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Other insurance units, which include Austria, France and the global reinsurance business, as well as the Corporate segment, which includes all the Helvetia Group activities, as well as financing companies and the Company. Helvetia Holding AG classifies its activities as life business, non-life business and other activities. The life business offers life insurance, pension plans and annuities, among others. The non-life business includes property, motor vehicle, liability and transport policies, as well as health and accidental insurance coverage. The reinsurance business, among others, is included in Other activities business. The Company operates through its branch offices and subsidiaries. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tom Stoukas]

    Helvetia Holding AG (HELN) added 3.3 percent to 412 Swiss francs. Switzerland’s fourth-biggest insurer said first-half profit rose because of increased life-insurance sales and an acquisition in France. Net income climbed to 179.5 million Swiss francs ($192 million) in the six months through June, beating the average analyst estimate of 164.4 million francs.