Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2015


InvenSense (INVN) is a leading developer of motion-sensing solutions found in a wide variety of applications, one of the most interesting of which is the smartphone market. InvenSense’s business is highly dependent on sales to Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading smartphone vendor. That said, as the launch of Apple’s (AAPL) highly anticipated iPhone 6 draws near, there’s at least one analyst who thinks InvenSense has the iPhone 6 design win.

What does Craig-Hallum say? According to Craig-Hallum’s Richard Shannon, InvenSense may have had a six-axis motion sensor designed into the iPhone 6. Further, the firm believes that should this design win materialize, it could add $0.25 per share in earnings to InvenSense’s bottom line. Great if true, particularly as it would not only drive incremental revenue, but it would help mitigate one of InvenSense’s biggest risks, which is being too dependent of Samsung.


Haven’t we heard this before? That said, this isn’t the first time investors had been hopeful for an InvenSense win over at Apple. Indeed, back in 2013, Pacific Crest seemed to expect that the follow-ons to the iPhone 5 would feature a three-axis gyroscope from InvenSense.

Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2015: ACE Ltd (ACE)

ACE Ltd (ACE) is a holding company of the ACE Group of Companies. ACE is a global insurance and reinsurance organization, serving the needs of customers in more than 170 countries. It offers commercial insurance products and service offerings, such as risk management programs, loss control and engineering and complex claims management. It also provides specialized insurance products ranging from Directors & Officers (D&O) and professional liability to various specialty-casualty and umbrella and excess casualty lines to niche areas, such as aviation and energy. In addition, it supplies personal accident, supplemental health, and life insurance to individuals in select countries. ACE operates in four business segments: Insurance-North American, Insurance-Overseas General, Global Reinsurance, and Life. In December 2011, it acquired Rio Guayas Compania de Seguros y Reaseguros, a general insurance company in Ecuador. On November 30, 2011, it acquired Penn Millers Holding Corpor ation (PMHC). On April 1, 2011, it acquired the operations of New York Life’s Hong Kong. On February 1, 2011, ACE acquired New York Life’s Korea operations. In September 2012, it acquired 80% of PT Asuransi Jaya Proteksi in Indonesia.


Insurance-North American

ACE’s Insurance-North American segment consists of the operations in the United States, Canada, and Bermuda. This segment includes the operations of ACE USA (including ACE Canada), ACE Bermuda, ACE Commercial Risk Services, ACE Private Risk Services, ACE Westchester, ACE Agriculture, and various run-off operations. During the year ended December 31, 2011, Insurance-North American segment accounted for 45% of its consolidated net premiums earned. During 2011, ACE USA represented approximately 49% of Insurance-North American’s net premiums earned.


ACE USA is the North American retail operating division which provides a broad array of P&C, A&H, and risk management products and services to a diverse group of commercial and non-commercia! l enterprises and consumers. ACE Bermuda provides commercial insurance products on an excess basis mainly to a global client base, covering exposures that are generally low in frequency and high in severity. ACE Commercial Risk Services addresses the insurance needs of small to mid-sized businesses in North America by delivering an array of specialty product solutions for targeted industries. ACE Private Risk Services provides personal lines coverages for high net worth individuals and families in North America.


ACE Westchester specializes in the North American wholesale distribution of excess and surplus P&C, environmental, professional and inland marine products. ACE Agriculture provides Multi-Peril Crop Insurance and crop/hail insurance protection to customers throughout the United States and Canada through Rain and Hail and Agribusiness insurance through Penn Millers Insurance Company. The run-off operations include Brandywine, Commercial Insurance Services , residual market workers’ compensation business, pools and syndicates not attributable to a single business group, and other exited lines of business. Run-off operations do not actively sell insurance products, but are responsible for the management of existing policies and settlement of related claims.


Insurance-Overseas General

During 2011, ACE’s Insurance- Overseas General segment accounted for 37% of its consolidated net premiums earned. Insurance-Overseas General segment consists of ACE International, its global retail insurance operations, the wholesale insurance business of ACE Global Markets, and the international A&H and life business of Combined Insurance. ACE International is its retail business serving local companies and insureds to large multinationals outside the United States, Bermuda, and Canada. ACE Global Markets, its London-based excess and surplus lines business, includes Lloyd’s of London (Lloyd’s) Syndicate 2488 (Synd icate 2488). ACE provides a fund at Lloyd’s to support und! erwriting! by Syndicate 2488, which is managed by ACE Underwriting Agencies Limited. The reinsurance operation of ACE Global Markets is included in the Global Reinsurance segment.


Property insurance products include traditional commercial fire coverage, as well as energy industry-related, construction, and other technical coverages. Principal casualty products are commercial primary and excess casualty, environmental, marine and general liability. ACE International specialty coverages include D&O professional indemnity, energy, aviation, political risk and specialty personal lines products. The A&H operations primarily offer personal accident and supplemental medical products to meet the insurance needs of individuals and groups outside of United States insurance markets. ACE International’s personal lines operations provide specialty products and services designed to meet the needs of specific target markets and include property damage, auto, homeowners, and personal l iability.


Global Reinsurance

During 2011, ACE’s Global Reinsurance segment, which accounted for 7% of its consolidated net premiums earned. Global Reinsurance segment represents ACE’s reinsurance operations comprising ACE Tempest Re Bermuda, ACE Tempest Re USA, ACE Tempest Re International, and ACE Tempest Re Canada. The Global Reinsurance segment also includes ACE Global Markets’ reinsurance operations. Global Reinsurance markets its reinsurance products worldwide under the ACE Tempest Re brand name and provides a range of coverage to a diverse array of primary P&C companies. ACE Tempest Re Bermuda principally provides property catastrophe reinsurance, on an excess of loss basis globally to insurers of commercial and personal property. ACE Tempest Re Bermuda underwrites reinsurance principally on an excess of loss basis, meaning that its exposure only arises after the ceding company’s accumulated losses have exceeded the attachment point of the reinsurance policy. ACE Tempest Re Bermuda also writes ! other typ! es of reinsurance on a limited basis for selected clients.


ACE Tempest Re USA writes all lines of traditional and specialty P&C reinsurance for the United States market, principally on a treaty basis, with a focus on writing property per risk and casualty reinsurance. ACE Tempest Re USA underwrites reinsurance on both a proportional and excess of loss basis. ACE Tempest Re International provides P&C treaty reinsurance to insurance companies worldwide. ACE Tempest Re Canada offers an array of traditional and specialty P&C reinsurance to the Canadian market, including casualty, property risk and property catastrophe.


Life

During 2011, ACE’s Life accounted for 11% of 2011 consolidated net premiums earned. Life includes ACE’s international life operations (ACE Life), ACE Tempest Life Re (ACE Life Re), and the North American supplemental A&H and life business of Combined Insurance. ACE Life provides individual life and group insurance, i ncluding Egypt, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, throughout Latin America, selectively in Europe, as well as China through a non-consolidated joint venture insurance company.

ACE Life offers a portfolio of protection and savings products, including whole life, endowment plans, individual term life, group term life, group medical, personal accident, universal life, and unit linked contracts. ACE Life sells to consumers through a range of distribution channels, including agency, bancassurance, brokers, and direct to consumer marketing. ACE Life Re helps clients (ceding companies) manage mortality, morbidity, and lapse risks embedded in their books of business. ACE Life Re’s business is a Bermuda-based operation, which provides reinsurance to primary life insurers, focusing on guarantees included in certain fixed and variable annuity products and also on more traditional mortality reinsurance protection. ACE Life Re is a United Sta tes-based traditional life reinsurance operation. Combined I! nsurance ! distributes specialty individual accident and supplemental health and life insurance products targeted to middle income consumers in the United States and Canada.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By gurujx]

    ACE Ltd (ACE) Reached the 52-Week High of $104.92

    ACE Ltd is a holding company which, until July 18, 2008, was incorporated with limited liability under the Cayman Islands Companies law. Ace Ltd has a market cap of $35.43 billion; its shares were traded at around $104.92 with a P/E ratio of 10.20 and P/S ratio of 1.86. The dividend yield of Ace Ltd stocks is 2.17%. Ace Ltd had an annual average earnings growth of 7.20% over the past 10 years. GuruFocus rated Ace Ltd the business predictability rank of 2-star.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    For the past several years, Berkshire has contrasted its own cost-free float provided by profitable underwriting against the industry’s (unimpressive) tendency to lose money on underwriting while generating net returns from investment income. So far, so good. Less edifying, though, is the repeated contrast of Berkshire’s track record of profitability to State Farm’s…even though, as a mutual company, State Farm’s profitability goals are inherently different from for-profit insurers like Berkshire. It’s true that through year-end 2013, Berkshire’s underwriters have “now operated at an underwriting profit for eleven consecutive years,” but so have ACE (ACE), American Financial (AFG),  AmTrust Financial (AFSI), Arch Capital (ACGL), Chubb (CB), HCC (HCC), Progressive (PGR), RLI (RLI), and W.R. Berkley (WRB), any or all of whom provide a more meaningful comparison than contrasting Berkshire’s results to a company that’s not out to produce a profit in t he first place.

Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2015: Mapfre SA (MAP)


Mapfre SA is a Spain-based holding company active in the insurance industry. It provides insurance services to businesses, professionals and individuals. The range of the Company’s products and services includes insurance policies of direct life, property and casualty, health, automotive and third party liability, among others. In addition, Mapfre SA is active in the management of pension funds, retirement plans and investment funds, as well as the provision of healthcare services in Spain. The Company is a parent of Grupo Mapfre, which comprises a number of entities active in the insurance, reinsurance, financial and real estate sectors with operations established worldwide. The Company operates such subsidiaries as Mapfre Familiar, Mapfre Vida, Mapfre Emperesas, MSG Portugal, Mapfre America, Mapfre Internatcional, Mapfre Re, Mapfre Global Risks and Mapfre Asistencia, among others. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ruth David]

    Bankia, a Valencia-based bank that took state aid, did the third-biggest placing last quarter, when it dumped a 979 million-euro stake in Mapfre (MAP), Spain’s largest insurer. Bankia said the sale was a step in implementing its parent company’s strategy for the three years through 2015.

  • [By Tom Stoukas]

    Mapfre SA (MAP) slid 3.1 percent to 2.67 euros. Bankia SA sold a 12 percent stake, or 369.6 million shares, in Spain’s biggest insurer.

    Centrica Slides

    Centrica Plc (CNA), the largest energy supplier to U.K. homes, lost 2.3 percent to 366.9 pence. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded the shares to neutral from overweight, citing proposals from Britain’s Labour Party to freeze energy bills and break up the country’s six biggest power suppliers.

Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2015: AmTrust Financial Services Inc (AFSI)


Amtrust Financial Services, Inc., incorporated on November 7, 1990, is a holding company. The Company is a multinational specialty property and casualty insurer focused on generating consistent underwriting profits. The Company operates in four business segments: small commercial business, specialty program and personal lines reinsurance. The Company transacts business through 11 insurance company subsidiaries: Technology Insurance Company, Inc. (TIC), Rochdale Insurance Company (RIC), Wesco Insurance Company (WIC), Associated Industries Insurance Company, Inc. (AIIC), Milwaukee Casualty Insurance Company (MCIC), Security National Insurance Company (SNIC), AmTrust Insurance Company of Kansas, Inc. (AICK) and AmTrust Lloyd’s Insurance Company of Texas (ALIC). In January 2013, the Company acquired First Nonprofit Companies, Inc. In February 2013, the Company’s subsidiary acquired Car Care Plan (Holdings) Limited (CCPH) from Ally Insurance Holdings, Inc.


Small Commercial Business

Small Commercial Business segment provides workers’ compensation to small businesses that operate in low and medium hazard classes, such as restaurants, retail stores, physicians and other professional offices, and commercial package and other property and casualty insurance products to small businesses. The Company is authorized to write its Small Commercial Business products in all 50 states. The Company distributes its policies through a network of over 8,100 select retail and wholesale agents who are paid commissions based on the annual policy premiums written. Commercial package products provide a range of insurance to small businesses, including commercial property, general liability, inland marine, automobile, workers’ compensation, and umbrella coverage.


The Company maintains Small Commercial Business property and casualty claims operations in several of its domestic offices and the commercial package claims operatio n is separated into four processing units: casualty, propert! y, cost-containment/recovery and a fast-track physical damage unit. As of December 31, 2012, its Small Commercial Business property and casualty claims were approximately 61% automobile and 13% property and inland marine with the remaining 26% involving general liability and umbrella losses.

Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty


The Company’sSpecialty Risk and Extended Warranty segment provides coverage for consumer and commercial goods and custom designed coverages, such as accidental damage plans and payment protection plans offered in connection with the sale of consumer and commercial goods in the United States and Europe, and certain niche property, casualty and specialty liability risks in the United States and Europe, including general liability, employers’ liability and professional and medical liability. specialty risk business primarily covers, such as legal expenses in the event of unsuccessful litigation; property damage for resident ial properties; home emergency repairs caused by incidents affecting systems, such as plumbing, wiring or central heating; latent defects that materialize on real property after building or completion; payment protection to insureds if they become unable to meet financial obligations under finance contracts; guaranteed asset protection (GAP) to cover the difference between an insurer’s settlement and the asset value in the event of a total loss, and general liability, employers’ liability, public liability, negligence of advisors and liability of health care providers and medical facilities.


The Company’s extended warranty business covers selected consumer and commercial goods and other risks, including personal computers; consumer electronics, such as televisions and home theater components; consumer appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines; automobiles (excluding liability coverage); furniture, and heavy equipment. The Company also serve as a third party administrator to provide claims handling and ca! ll center! services to the consumer products and automotive industries in the United States and Canada. It underwrites the specialty risk coverage on a coverage plan-level basis, which involves substantial data collection and actuarial analysis, as well as analysis of applicable laws governing policy coverage language and exclusions.


Specialty Program

The Company’s Specialty Program segment provides workers’ compensation, package products, general liability, commercial auto liability, excess and surplus lines programs and other specialty commercial property and casualty insurance to a narrowly defined, homogeneous group of small and middle market companies. The type of risk covered by this segment is similar to the type of risk in Small Commercial Business but also covers, to a small extent, certain higher risk businesses. The coverage is offered through accounts with various agents to multiple insureds. Policyholders in this segment primarily include ind ustries, such as retail, wholesale, service operations, artisan contracting, trucking, light and medium manufacturing, habitational and professional employer organizations. As of December 31, 2012, the Company underwrote 77 programs through 44 independent wholesale and managing general agents. Workers’ compensation insurance consists approximately 33% of this business during the year ended December 31, 2012.


Personal Lines Reinsurance

The Company’s Personal Lines Reinsurance Segment has a 20% participation in the Personal Lines Quota Share, by which it receive 10% of the net premiums of the personal lines business. The Personal Lines Quota Share provides that the reinsurers, severally, in accordance with their participation percentages, will receive 50% of the net premium of the GMACI Insurers and assume 50% of the related net losses.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By , Zacks Investment Research]

    Here are five stocks that made it through this week’s screen:


    AmTrust Financial (AFSI) Allied World Assurance (AWH) Chatham Lodging Trust (CLDT) Federated National Holding Co. (FNHC) Whitewave Foods (WWAV)

    Get the rest of the stocks on this list and start screening for these companies on your own.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    For the past several years, Berkshire has contrasted its own cost-free float provided by profitable underwriting against the industry’s (unimpressive) tendency to lose money on underwriting while generating net returns from investment income. So far, so good. Less edifying, though, is the repeated contrast of Berkshire’s track record of profitability to State Farm’s…even though, as a mutual company, State Farm’s profitability goals are inherently different from for-profit insurers like Berkshire. It’s true that through year-end 2013, Berkshire’s underwriters have “now operated at an underwriting profit for eleven consecutive years,” but so have ACE (ACE), American Financial (AFG),  AmTrust Financial (AFSI), Arch Capital (ACGL), Chubb (CB), HCC (HCC), Progressive (PGR), RLI (RLI), and W.R. Berkley (WRB), any or all of whom provide a more meaningful comparison than contrasting Berkshire’s results to a company that’s not out to produce a profit in t he first place.

Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2015: Old Republic International Corporation(ORI)


Old Republic International Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides various insurance and mortgage guaranty products in North America. The company operates in three segments: General Insurance, Mortgage Guaranty, and Title Insurance. The General Insurance segment provides liability insurance coverages to businesses, government, and other institutions in commercial construction, forest products, energy, general manufacturing, and financial services industries; and transportation, including trucking and general aviation industries. It provides various insurance products, such as automobile extended warranty, aviation, commercial automobile insurance, general liability, home warranty, inland marine, travel accident, and workers? compensation, as well as liability coverage for claims arising from the acts of owners or employees, and protection for the physical assets of businesses. This segment also offers financial indemnity products, such as consumer credit indemnity , errors and omissions/directors and officers, guaranteed asset protection, and surety, as well as bonds that cover the exposures for losses of monies, or debt and equity securities due to acts of employee dishonesty. The Mortgage Guaranty segment insures first mortgage loans, primarily on residential properties incorporating one-to-four family dwelling units to mortgage bankers, brokers, commercial banks, and savings institutions. The Title Insurance segment provides lenders’ and owners’ title insurance policies to real estate purchasers and investors based upon searches of the public records. It also provides escrow closing and construction disbursement services; and real estate information products, national default management services, and services related to real estate transfers and loan transactions. Old Republic International Corporation markets its products directly, as well as through insurance agents and brokers. The company was founded in 1887 and is based in Chi cago, Illinois.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    The part I like the most is that WGL sells energy credits and carbon offsets to retail customers. The company makes good money on these elements, selling to customers who just like to feel good about how they are “helping the environment”. WGL has a long history as an energy company and has paid a dividend for 37 years. It currently pays 4.3% annually.

    Old Republic International (ORI)

    The next of our dividend stocks is one you may have heard of: Old Republic International (ORI). Old Republic started back in 1887 and is an insurance company that offers a huge array of products. A lot of insurance products are very high margin, and Old Republic has mastered the art of selling these. Extended Automobile Warranty, Home Warranty an Travel Accident Insurance are great segments to be playing in.

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Insurance underwriting company Old Republic (ORI) raised its quarterly dividend 5.8% to 18 cents per share, payable on Dec. 16 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 4.
    ORI Dividend Yield: 4.28%

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Its big day has also boosted other insurers. Radian Group (RDN) has risen 7.2% to $14.39, while Old Republic International (ORI) has advanced 2.1% to $15.24, Genworth Financial (GNW) is up 3.6% at $13.41 and MBIA Inc. (MBI) has jumped 4.3% to $10.76.

Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2015: 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.

Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2015: Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FRFHF)

Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (Fairfax) is a financial services holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is principally engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and the associated investment management. The Company’s segments consist of Insurance, Reinsurance, Insurance and Reinsurance Other, Runoff, and Corporate and Other. On December 22, 2011, the Company completed the acquisition of 75% interests in Sporting Life Inc. On August 16, 2011, the Company acquired William Ashley China Corporation. On March 24, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of The Pacific Insurance Berhad. On February 9, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of First Mercury Financial Corporation. In October 2012, its RiverStone runoff subsidiary acquired all the outstanding shares of Brit Insurance Limited. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Charles Sizemore]

    BlackBerry (BBRY) has been a value trap that has ensnared more than its share of value hunting investors in recent years — yours truly included. Buying BlackBerry stock will also likely go down in history as the single-worst investing mistake in the otherwise illustrious career of Prem Watsa — the chairman of Fairfax Financial (FRFHF) and the man commonly known as the “Warren Buffett of Canada.”

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    That business model has been so successful that other, smaller insurance companies have emulated it. For instance, Fairfax Financial (NASDAQOTH: FRFHF  ) and Markel (NYSE: MKL  ) have used the same investing model to take advantage of their respective core insurance businesses. Both Fairfax and Markel have had substantial success, showing the power of using temporarily available premium reserves to make higher-return investments.

  • [By Tim Brugger]

    Citing the letter of intent to be acquired for $9 a share signed Monday with a consortium led by its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial (NASDAQOTH: FRFHF  ) , BlackBerry  (NASDAQ: BBRY  )  has opted to cancel its conference call and webcast following the 7 .a.m EST release of Q2 earnings this Friday, the company announced yesterday.

Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2015: United Insurance Holdings Corp (UIHC)

United Insurance Holdings Corp. (UIHC), incorporated on May 22, 2007, is a holding company for United Property and Casualty Insurance Company and its affiliated companies. Its business is conducted principally through four wholly-owned subsidiaries, including United Property and Casualty Insurance Company (UPC), which writes insurance policies; United Insurance Management, L.C. (UIM), the managing general agent that manages substantially all aspects of UPC’s business, Skyway Claims Services, LLC (SCS), a claims adjusting company that provides services to UPC; and UPC Re. UPC Re provides reinsurance protection to UPC.


The Company offers standardized policies for a range of exposures, and its policies include coverage options for standard single-family homeowners, tenants (renters), and condominium unit owners. It also writes flood policies. The Company has authorization to write a commercial line of business in Florida that includes auto and multi-peril coverag e but the Company does not write commercial business. The Company offers standardized policies for a broad range of exposures, and its policies include coverage options for standard single-family homeowners, tenants (renters), and condominium unit owners.


The Company competes with Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, State Farm Florida Insurance Company, Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company, St. Johns Insurance Company, Inc., United Services Automobile Association, American Coastal Insurance Company, Florida Peninsula Insurance Company, Security First Insurance Company, Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Inc., United Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Tower Hill Prime Insurance Company, Federal Insurance Company, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, Castle Key Insurance Company, American Integrity Insurance Company of Florida, Tower Hill Signature Insurance Company, ASI Assurance Corp., Tower Hill Preferred Insurance Company, Chartis Property Casualty Company and Universal Insurance C! ompany of North America.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By , Zacks Investment Research]

    United Insurance Holdings Corp (UIHC) is a holding company that focuses primarily on providing homeowners’ insurance in Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and North Carolina. It is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and has a market cap of $348 million.

  • [By Louis Navellier]

    United Insurance Holdings (UIHC) is a great example of a best of the best stock that should climb the wall of worry this summer. Writing homeowners and flood insurance might not be the most exciting business sin the word but the fundamentals of this company are really exciting.

Best Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2015: Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRK.B)


Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire) is a holding company owning subsidiaries engaged in a number of diverse business activities. The Company is engaged in insurance businesses conducted on both a primary basis and a reinsurance basis. Berkshire also owns and operates a number of other businesses engaged in a variety of activities. On December 30, 2011, Medical Protective Corporation (MedPro) completed the acquisition of 100% of the Princeton Insurance Company, a professional liability insurer for healthcare providers based in Princeton, New Jersey. During the year ended December 31, 2011, Acme Building Brands (Acme) acquired the assets of Jenkins Brick Company, the brick manufacturer in Alabama. In September 2011, Berkshire acquired The Lubrizol Corporation (Lubrizol). In June 2011, the Company acquired Wesco Financial Corporation. In June 2012, Media General, Inc. sold 63 daily and weekly newspapers to World Media Enterprises, Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire. In July 2012 , Berkshire’s The Lubrizol Corporation acquired Lipotec SA.


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 reinsurance of property and casualty risks world-wide and also reinsure life, accident and health risks world-wide. Berkshire’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 and GEICO Casualty Company. These companies primarily offers private passenger automobile insurance to individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, GEICO insures mo torcycles, all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles and s! mall commercial fleets and acts as an agent for other insurers who offer homeowners, boat and life insurance to individuals. GEICO markets its policies primarily through direct response methods in which applications for insurance are submitted directly to the companies through 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, a 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/casu alty 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 domiciled in Connecticut and Ohio). 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 25 countries) and through brokers (primarily through Faraday, which owns the managing agent of Syndicate 4 35 at Lloyd’s of London and provides capacity and particip! ates in 1! 00% 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 writes 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/c! asualty b! usiness.


The Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group is a collection of primary insurance operations that provide a variety of insurance coverages to insureds located principally in the United States. NICO and certain affiliates underwrite motor 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 three 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 109 distinct specialty property and casualty insurance products. Medical Protective Corporatio n (MedPro) is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Through its subsidiary, the Medical Protective Company, MedPro is engaged in primary medical professional liability coverage and risk solutions to physicians, dentists, other healthcare providers and healthcare facilities.


Railroad Business

Through BNSF Railway, BNSF operates a railroad network in North America with approximately 32,000 route miles of track (excluding multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings) in 28 states and two Canadian provinces as of December 31, 2011. BNSF owns approximately 23,000 route miles, including easements, and operates on approximately 9,000 route miles of trackage rights that permit BNSF to operate its trains with its crews over other railroads’ tracks. As of December 31, 2011, the total BNSF Railway system, including single and multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings, consisted of approximately 50,000 operated miles of track, all of which are owned by or held under easement by BNSF except for approximately 10,000 route! miles op! erated 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. 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 cities and ports in the western and southern United States as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. In addition to cities and ports, BNSF efficiently serves many smaller market s by working closely with approximately 200 shortline partners. BNSF has also entered into marketing agreements with other rail carriers, expanding the marketing reach for each railroad and their customers.


Utilities and Energy Businesses

MidAmerican’s businesses are managed as separate operating units. MidAmerican’s domestic regulated energy interests are comprised of two regulated utility companies serving more than three million retail customers and 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. Its United Kingdom 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 and residential real estate brokerage firm in the United States.


PacifiCorp is a regulated electric utility compa! ny headqu! artered in Oregon, serving regulated retail electric customers in portions of Utah, Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and California. The combined service territory’s diverse regional economy ranges from rural, agricultural and mining areas to urban, manufacturing and government service centers. As a vertically integrated electric utility, PacifiCorp owns approximately 10,600 net megawatts of generation capacity. MidAmerican Energy Company (MEC) is a regulated electric and natural gas utility company headquartered in Iowa, 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 residential, agricultural and a variety of commercial and industrial customer groups. In addition to retail sales and natural gas transportation, MEC sells regulated electricity to markets operated by regional transmission organizations and regulated electricity and natur al 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 7,000 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 systems 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 has access to supplies from mid-continent basin and provides transportation services to utilities and numerous other customers. Northern Natural also operates three underground natural gas storage facilities and two liquefied natural gas storage peaking units.


< p>Kern River is based in Utah and owns an interstate natural! gas pipe! line system that consists of approximately 1,700 miles and extends from the 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, oil and natural gas companies or affiliates of such companies, electricity generating companies, energy marketing and trading companies, and financial institutions. The United Kingdom utilities consist of Northern Powergrid (Northeast) Limited (Northern Powergrid (Northeast)) and Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire) plc (Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire)), which own a substantial United Kingdom 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 also offers integrated real estate services, including mortgage originations through a joint venture, title and closing services, property and casualty insurance, home warranties, relocation services and other home-related services. It operates under 22 residential real estate brand names with over 14,000 sales associates and in nearly 300 brokerage offices in 20 states.


Manufacturing, Service and Retailing Businesses

Berkshire’s numerous and diverse manufacturing, service and retailing businesses. Marmon consists of approximately 140 manufacturing and service businesses that operate independently within eleven diverse, stand-alone business sectors. These sectors are Building Wire, Crane Services, Distribution Services, Engineered Wire and Cable, Flow Products, Food Service Equipment, Highway Technologies, Industrial Products, Retail Store Fixtures, Transporta tion Services and Engineered Products and Water Treatment.


!

Building Wire, providing copper electrical building wire for residential, commercial and industrial construction. Crane Services provides the leasing and operation of mobile cranes primarily to the energy, mining and petrochemical markets. Distribution Services, supplying specialty metal pipe and tubing, bar and sheet products to markets including construction, industrial, aerospace and many others. Engineered Wire & Cable, providing electrical and electronic wire and cable for energy related markets and other industries. Flow Products is producing copper tube for the plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, and industrial markets. Food Service Equipment is supplying commercial food preparation equipment for restaurants and shopping carts for retail stores. Highway Technologies, primarily serving the heavy-duty highway transportation industry with trailers, fifth wheel coupling devices and undercarriage products such as brake parts and s uspension systems, and also serving the light vehicle aftermarket with clutches and related products.


Industrial Products, consisting of metal fasteners for the building, furniture, cabinetry, 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 brass, aluminum and copper forgings for the construction, valve 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 . Retail Store Fixtures, providing shelving and other merchandising displays and related services for retail stores worldwide. Transportation Services & Engineered Products, including manufacturing, leasing and maintenance of railroad tank cars, leasing of intermodal tank containers, in-plant rail serv ices, 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. Water Treatment, equipment including 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. Marmon operates approximately 300 manufacturing, distribution and service facilities that are primarily located in North America, Europe and China, and employs more than 16,000 people worldwide.


McLane Company, Inc. (McLane) provides wholesale distribution and logistics services in all 50 states and internationally in Brazil to customers that include discount retailers, convenience stores, wholesale clubs, quick service restaurants, drug stores and military bases. Operations are divided into five business units: 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 20,000 chain restaurants nationwide.


Other Manufacturing, Other Service and Retailing Businesses

Berkshire’s apparel manufacturing businesses include manufacturers of a variety 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 Athletic. Fruit, Russell and VFB (together FOL) is primaril y a vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor of ba! sic appar! el, underwear and athletic apparel and products. Products, under the Fruit of the Loomand JERZEES labels are primarily sold in the mass merchandise and wholesale markets. In the VFB product line, Vassarette, Bestformand Curvationare sold in the mass merchandise market, while Vanity Fairand Lily of Franceproducts 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 Athleticand Spaldingbrands. Additionally, Spaldingmarkets and sells balls in the mass merchandise market and dollar store channel. During the year ended December, 31, 2011, approximately 30% of FOL’s sales were to Wal-Mart. FOL generally performs its own spinning, knitting, cloth finishing, cutting, sewing and packaging.


< p>Garan designs, manufactures, imports and sells apparel primarily for children, including boys, girls, toddlers and infants. Products are sold under its own trademark Garanimalsand private labels of its customers. Garan also licenses its registered trademark Garanimalsto independent third parties. Garan conducts its business through operating subsidiaries located in the United States, Central America and Asia. Substantially all of Garan’s products are sold through its distribution centers in the United States to national chain stores, department stores and specialty stores. In 2011, over 90% of Garan’s sales were to Wal-Mart. Fechheimer Brothers manufactures, distributes and sells uniforms, principally 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 wes tern-style footwear under a number of brand names, including! Justin, ! Tony Lama, Nocona, Chippewas, Born, Sofft, Carolina, Double-H Boots, Corcoran, Matterhornand Kork-Ease. Brooks Athletic markets and sells running footwear to specialty retailers under Brooksbrand. In 2011, Brooksachieved #1 market share in footwear with specialty retailers. A volume of the shoes sold by Berkshire’s shoe businesses are manufactured or purchased from sources outside the United States. Products are principally sold in the United States through a variety of channels including department stores, footwear chains, specialty stores, catalogs and the Internet, as well as through Company-owned retail stores.


Acme manufactures and distributes clay bricks (Acme Brickand Jenkins Brick), concrete block (Featherlite) and cut limestone (Texas Quarries). In addition, Acme distributes a number of other building products of other manufacturers, including glass block, floor and wall tile 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. Products are sold primarily in the South Central and South Eastern United States through Company-operated sales offices. Acme distributes products primarily to homebuilders and masonry and general contractors.


Benjamin Moore & Co. (Benjamin Moore) is a formulator, manufacturer and retailer of a range of architectural coatings, available principally in the 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, Superspec, Moorcraft, Moorgard, Aura, Nattura, ben, Coronado Paint, Insl-xand Lenmar.

Benjamin Moore and its manufacturing subsidiaries rely primarily on an independent dealer network for the distribution of its p roducts. Its distribution network includes approximately 100! Company-! owned stores as well as over 4,500 third party retailers representing over 10,300 storefronts in the United States and Canada. Benjamin Moore’s Company-owned stores represent several multiple-outlet and stand-alone retailers in various parts of the United States and Canada serving primarily contractors and general consumers. The independent retailer channel offers an array of products including Benjamin Mooreand Insl-xbrands and other competitor coatings, wallcoverings, window treatments and sundries. Benjamin Moore also has three color stations located in regional malls that serve as brand marketing tools. In addition to the independent retailer channel, Benjamin Moore has recently begun to sell direct to the consumer through e-commerce sites and its customer care program, which includes national accounts and government agencies.


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 and equipment filtration, waterproofing, building, flooring, interiors and wind energy. Fiber glass is the basic material in a majority of JM’s products, although JM also manufactures a portion of its products with other materials to satisfy the broader needs of its customers. JM regards its patents and licenses as valuable, however it does not consider any of its businesses to be materially dependent on any single patent or license. JM is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and operates 40 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China and conducts research and development at several other facilities. JM sells its products through a variety of channels, including contractors, distributors, retailers, manufacturers and fabricators.


MiTek is a provider of engineered connector products, engine! ering sof! tware and services and computer-driven manufacturing machinery to the truss fabrication segment of the building components industry. Primary customers are truss fabricators who manufacture pre-fabricated roof and floor trusses and wall panels for the residential building market, as well as the light commercial and institutional construction industry. MiTek also participates in the light gauge steel framing market under the Ultra-Spanname, manufactures and markets assembly line machinery used by the lead acid battery industry, manufactures and markets a line of masonry connector products and manufactures and markets air handling systems used in commercial building. MiTek operates on six continents with sales into approximately 90 countries. MiTek has 34 manufacturing facilities located in eleven countries and 45 sales/engineering offices located in 17 countries.


The Shaw Industries Group, Inc. (Shaw) is a carpet manufacturer based on both revenue and volume of p roduction. 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. Shaw’s manufacturing operations are fully integrated from the processing of raw materials used to make fiber through the finishing of carpet. Shaw’s carpet, rugs and hard surface products are sold in a broad range of prices, patterns, colors and textures.


Shaw products are sold wholesale to over 40,000 retailers, distributors and commercial users throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico and are also exported to various overseas markets. Shaw’s wholesale products are marketed domestically by over 2,000 salaried and commissioned sales personnel directly to retailers and distributors and to national accounts. Shaw’s 10 carpet full-service distribution facilities, three hard surface an! d two rug! full-service distribution facilities and 24 redistribution centers, along with centralized management information systems, enable it to provide prompt efficient delivery of its products to both its retail customers and wholesale distributors.


Berkshire acquired an 80% interest in IMC International Metalworking Companies B.V. (IMC B.V.). Through its subsidiaries, IMC B.V. is a multinational manufacturers of consumable precision carbide metal cutting tools for applications in a range of industrial end markets under the brand names ISCAR, TaeguTec, Ingersoll, Tungaloy, Unitac, UOP It.te.diand Outiltec. IMC B.V.’s manufacturing facilities are located in Israel, United States, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, South Korea, China, India, Japan and Brazil. IMC B.V. has five primary product lines: milling tools, gripping tools, turning/thread tools, drilling tools and tooling. Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is a manufacturer of recreational vehicles, utility, cargo and office trailers, buses and pontoon boats, headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana. Its products are sold in the United States and Canada through an independent dealer network.


Scott Fetzer companies are a diversified group of 20 businesses that manufacture and distribute a variety of products for residential, industrial and institutional use. The two of these businesses are Kirby home cleaning systems and Campbell Hausfeld products. Albecca Inc. (Albecca), headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, does business primarily under the Larson-Juhlname. Albecca designs, manufactures and distributes a complete line of branded custom framing products, including wood and metal moulding, matboard, foamboard, glass, equipment and other framing supplies in the United States, Canada and 15 countries outside of North America. CTB International Corp. is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of systems used in the grain industry and in the production of poultry, hogs and eggs.

Lubrizol is a specialty chemical company that pro! duces and! supplies technologies for the global transportation, industrial and consumer markets. Lubrizol operates two business sectors: Lubrizol Additives, which includes engine, driveline and industrial additive products and Lubrizol Advanced Materials, which includes personal and home care, engineered polymer and performance coating products. FlightSafety International Inc.(FlightSafety) is engaged primarily in the business of providing high technology training to operators of aircraft. FlightSafety’s training activities include advanced training for pilots of business and commercial aircraft; aircrew training for military and other government personnel; aircraft maintenance technician training; flight attendant and aircraft dispatcher training, and ab-initio (primary) pilot training to qualify individuals for private and commercial pilots’ licenses. FlightSafety also develops classroom instructional systems and materials for use in its training business and for sale to others.

NetJets Inc. (NJ) is a provider of fractional ownership programs for general aviation aircraft. TTI, Inc. (TTI) is a global specialty distributor of passive, interconnect, electromechanical and discrete components used by customers in the manufacturing and assembling of electronic products. Business Wire provides electronic dissemination of full-text news releases daily to the media, online services and databases and the global investment community in 150 countries and 45 languages. Berkshire’s retailing businesses principally consist of several independently managed home furnishings and jewelry operations. The home furnishings businesses are the Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM), R.C. Willey Home Furnishings (R.C. Willey), Star Furniture Company (Star) and Jordan’s Furniture, Inc. (Jordan’s). NFM, R.C. Willey, Star and Jordan’s each offer a wide selection of furniture, bedding and accessories. In addition, NFM and R.C. Willey sell a line of household appl iances, electronics, computers and other home furnishings. N! FM, R.C. ! Willey, Star and Jordan’s also offer customer financing to complement their retail operations. An important feature of each of these businesses is their ability to control costs and to produce high business volume by offering value to their customers.

NFM operates its business from two retail complexes with almost one million square feet of retail space and sizable warehouse and administrative facilities in Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Kansas. NFM is a furniture retailer in each of its markets. NFM also owns Homemakers Furniture located in Des Moines, Iowa, which has approximately 215,000 square feet of retail space. R.C. Willey, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a home furnishings retailer in the Intermountain West region of the United States. R.C. Willey operates 11 retail stores, two retail clearance facilities and three distribution centers. Borsheim Jewelry Company, Inc. (Borsheims) operates from a single store located in Omaha, Nebraska. Borsheims i s a high volume retailer of jewelry, watches, crystal, china, stemware, flatware, gifts and collectibles. Helzberg’s Diamond Shops, Inc. (Helzberg), based in North Kansas City, Missouri, operates a chain of 233 retail jewelry stores in 37 states, which includes approximately 550,000 square feet of retail space. Most of Helzberg’s stores are located in malls, lifestyle centers or power strip centers, and all stores operate under the name Helzberg Diamonds. The Ben Bridge Corporation (Ben Bridge Jeweler), based in Seattle, Washington, operates a chain of 70 upscale retail jewelry stores located in 11 states that are primarily in the Western United States. Three of its locations are concept stores that sell only PANDORA jewelry.

Finance and Financial Products

Clayton Homes, Inc. (Clayton) is a vertically integrated manufactured housing company. At December 31, 2011, Clayton operated 33 manufacturing plants in 12 states. Clayton’s homes are marke ted in 48 states through a network of 1,333 retailers, inclu! ding 333 ! Company-owned home centers. Financing is offered through its finance subsidiaries to purchasers of Clayton’s manufactured homes as well as those purchasing homes from selected independent retailers. XTRA Corporation (XTRA), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a transportation equipment lessor operating under the XTRA Leasebrand name. XTRA manages a diverse fleet of approximately 83,000 units located at 63 facilities throughout the United States and two facilities in Canada. The fleet includes over-the-road and storage traile

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By ovenerio]

    In this article let’s take a look at Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio) who is the most respected and successful investor in history and is the primary shareholder, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B). Buffett has been extremely bullish on banks since U.S. recession. Although Berkshire’s largest bank investment remains a $21 billion stake in Wells Fargo (WFC), here we are going to analyze the deal reached with Bank of America (BAC).

  • [By Anora Mahmudova]

    Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B)   (BRK.A) , which late Friday reported lower first-quarter profits, fell 1.2%. Also read a recap of the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting over the weekend.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    It looks like this has become the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) blog, where it’s all Berkshire Hathaway all the time.

    Zuma Press

    Already today, I looked at KBW’s concerns surrounding Berkshire Hathaway’s disclosures. Now, Warren Buffett’s investment vehicle has released first quarter financial results.

    The Wall Street Journal has the details on Berkshire Hathaway’s earnings:

    Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reported lower railroad and insurance-related net income as the conglomerate posted a 6.6% drop in first-quarter operating profit.

    For the first quarter, Berkshire reported net income of $4.71 billion, or $2,862 a Class A share, compared with $4.89 billion, or $2,977 a share, a year earlier. Operating profit, which excludes some investment results, fell to $2,149 a share from $2,302 a share.

    Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting operating earnings of $2,172 per Class A share…

    In other news, Berkshire Hathaway also announced that its next chairman would be…Warren Buffet’s son Howard Buffett.

    Berkshire Hathaway’s B shares have dropped 0.2% to $127.90 in after-hours trading after falling 0.8% to $128.09 in regular-hour trading. Berkshire Hathaway’s A shares (BRK.A) dropped 0.6% to $192,255.00 today.