Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now


For a million-plus people, the impact of losing jobless benefits can be devastating. It means tough choices over making rent, letting bills pile up and putting food on the table.

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) 0.15 of a percentage point.

That’s how much the economy will slow down as a result of 1.3 million people losing their federal jobless benefits on Dec. 28, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

It may sound like a smidgen, but any slowdown isn’t good for an economy that has been growing at a sluggish pace.


“Every tenth of a percent matters,” said Zandi. “I think the (economic) recovery would be able to digest the expiration of unemployment insurance but it sure could use the help.”

Share your story: Did your benefits expire?

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: Sun Life Financial Inc.(SLF)

Sun Life Financial Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides various life and health insurance, savings, investment management, retirement, and pension products and services to individuals and corporate customers. It offers individual life insurance policies, including individual term life, universal life, critical illness, disability, accident, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance policies; and group life insurance policies. The company also provides individual health insurance, long-term care insurance, group health benefits, dental benefits, and group insurance; and various individual and group annuity, retirement, and investment income products and services, such as mutual and pooled funds, variable and fixed annuities, savings, retirement and pension plans, and education savings. In addition, it offers asset management services for corporate retirement plans, separate accounts, public or government funds, and insurance company assets to institutional clients; and advisory services to individual investors. Further, the company provides run-off reinsurance services. Sun Life Financial Inc. distributes its products through direct sales agents, independent and managing general agents, financial intermediaries, broker-dealers, banks, pension and benefit consultants, and other third-party marketing organizations. The company operates primarily in Bermuda, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, the Philippines, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Sun Life Financial Inc. was founded in 1999 and is based in Toronto, Canada.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Sun Life Financial (NYSE: SLF) shares gained 2.47% to create a new 52-week high of $34.80 on Q3 results. Sun Life reported its Q3 operating net income from continuing operations of $422 million.

  • [By Amanda Alix]

    Insurance companies have created an entire industry based upon risk, and except for AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) during the financial crisis, it has worked out pretty well. So, it’s not a stretch to imagine a large life insurer like Canada’s Sun Life Financial (NYSE: SLF  ) assuming the pension liability for the Canadian Wheat Board’s defined benefit plan in a recent $147 million deal, the first such accord in Canada’s history.

  • [By Tim Brugger]

    Initially, the deal Sun Life Financial (NYSE: SLF  ) struck in December to sell its U.S. annuity portfolio and some life insurance products for $1.35 billion to Delaware Life Holdings, a Guggenheim Partners-owned company, was scheduled to be completed by Q2 of 2013.

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: 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.

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: Reinsurance Group of America Inc (RGA)

Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA) is an insurance holding company. RGA is engaged in the reinsurance of individual and group coverages for traditional life and health, longevity, disability income, annuity and critical illness products, and financial reinsurance. During the year ended December 31, 2011, approximately 65.8% of the Company’s net premiums were from its operations in North America, represented by its United States and Canada segments. Its subsidiaries include RGA Reinsurance Company (RGA Reinsurance), Reinsurance Company of Missouri, Incorporated (RCM), RGA Reinsurance Company (Barbados) Ltd. (RGA Barbados), RGA Americas Reinsurance Company, Ltd. (RGA Americas), RGA Atlantic Reinsurance Company, Ltd. (RGA Atlantic), RGA Life Reinsurance Company of Canada (RGA Canada), RGA Reinsurance Company of Australia, Limited (RGA Australia) and RGA International Reinsurance Company (RGA International). The Company has five geographic-based operational seg ments: United States, Canada, Europe & South Africa, Asia Pacific and Corporate and Other. On January 1, 2012, it dissolved its United Kingdom reinsurance subsidiary and transferred its business to RGA International, the Company’s Ireland-based subsidiary, to better manage capital resources.


As of December 31, 2011, the Company has operation in Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, People’s Republic of China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The Company provides reinsurance products to the life insurance companies worldwide. The Company obtains its revenues through reinsurance agreements, which cover a portfolio of life and health insurance products, including term life, credit life, universal life, whole life, group life and health, joint and last survivor insurance, critical illness, disability income, as well as annuities and financial reinsurance.


!

United States Operations

During 2011, the United States operations represented 54.4% of the Company’s net premiums. The United States operations market traditional life and health reinsurance, reinsurance of asset-intensive products, and financial reinsurance, primarily to the United States life insurance companies. The United States Traditional sub-segment provides life and health reinsurance to domestic clients for a range of products through yearly renewable term agreements, coinsurance, and modified coinsurance. Premiums vary for smokers and non-smokers, males and females, and may include a preferred underwriting class discount. Reinsurance premiums are paid in accordance with the treaty. Automatic reinsurance treaty provides that the ceding company will cede risks to a reinsurer on specified blocks of policies where the underlying policies meet the ceding company’s underwriting criteria. The United States facultative reinsurance operation invo lves the assessment of the risks inherent in multiple impairments, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes; cases involving policy face amounts, and financial risk cases, which include cases involving policies disproportionately in relation to the financial characteristics of the proposed insured. During 2011, approximately 20.4% of the United States gross premiums were written on a facultative basis.


Canada Operations

During 2011, the Canada operations represented 11.4% of the Company’s net premiums. During 2011, approximately 85.2% of the recurring new business was written on an automatic basis. The Company operates in Canada through RGA Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary. RGA Canada is a life reinsurer in Canada, based on new individual life insurance production. It assists clients with capital management and mortality and morbidity risk management and is primarily engaged in traditional individual life reinsurance, as well as c reditor, group life and health, critical illness, and longev! ity reins! urance. Creditor insurance covers the outstanding balance on personal, mortgage or commercial loans in the event of death, disability or critical illness and is shorter in duration than traditional life insurance. Clients include the life insurers in Canada.


Europe & South Africa Operations

During 2011, the Europe & South Africa operations represented 16.3% of the Company’s net premiums. This segment serves clients from subsidiaries, licensed branch offices and/or representative offices located in France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. These offices operate primarily through the Company’s subsidiaries RGA International and RGA South Africa. The principal types of reinsurance for this segment include life and health products through yearly renewable term and coinsurance agreements, the reinsurance of critical illness coverage, which provides a benefit in the event of the diagnosis of a pre-defined critical illness and the reinsurance of longevity risk related to payout annuities. The reinsurance agreements of critical illness coverage may be either facultative or automatic agreements. Premiums earned from critical illness coverage represented 20.5% of the total net premiums for this segment during 2011. During 2011, the United Kingdom operations generated approximately 62.9% of the segment’s gross premiums.


Asia Pacific Operations

During 2011, the Asia Pacific operations represented 17.8% of the Company’s net premiums. The Company has a presence in the Asia Pacific region with licensed branch offices and/or representative offices in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Labuan (Malaysia) and the People’s Republic of China. The principal types of reinsurance for this segment include life, critical illness, health, disability income, superannuation, and financial reinsur ance. Superannuation is the Australian government mandated c! ompulsory! retirement savings program. Superannuation funds accumulate retirement funds for employees, and in addition, offer life and disability insurance coverage. Reinsurance agreements may be either facultative or automatic agreements covering primarily individual risks and, in some markets, group risks. During 2011, the Australian operations generated approximately 52.3% of the total gross premiums for the Asia Pacific operations. The Hong Kong, Labuan, Japan, Taiwan, China and South Korea offices provide full reinsurance services and are supported by the Company’s United States and International Division Sydney office.


Corporate and Other

Corporate and Other operations include investment income from invested assets not allocated to support segment operations and undeployed proceeds from the Company’s capital raising efforts, in addition to unallocated investment related gains or losses. Corporate expenses consist of the offset to capital charges al located to the operating segments within the policy acquisition costs and other insurance expenses line item, unallocated overhead and executive costs, and interest expense related to debt. In additionally, Corporate and Other includes results from, among others, RGA Technology Partners, Inc. (RTP), a wholly owned subsidiary that develops and markets technology solutions for the insurance industry and the investment income and expense associated with the Company’s collateral finance facilities.


The Company competes with Munich Re, Swiss Re, Hannover Re, SCOR Global Re, Berkshire Hathaway and Generali.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    The biggest new holdings are Philip Morris International and Reinsurance Group of America (NYSE: RGA  ) . Other new holdings of interest include Radian Group (NYSE: RDN  ) . To say that mortgage insurer Radian had a good past year would be an understatement, as the stock more than tripled. That’s partly due to expectations of a boom in business as the housing market picks up, with tighter lending rules probably leading to greater need for the coverage. The stock recently got an upgrade, with an analyst expecting a possibly bumpy 2013 because of a high level of delinquent loans, but much smoother sailing in following years.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool’s free investing community, life and health reinsurer Reinsurance Group of America (NYSE: RGA  ) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of life and health reinsurer Reinsurance Group of America (NYSE: RGA  ) sank 10% today after its quarterly results disappointed Wall Street.

  • [By David Sterman]

     

    2. Reinsurance Group of America (NYSE: RGA) I've been singing the praises of insurance stocks throughout 2013, and though they have started to make solid upward moves, they are still quite undervalued. As long as their balance sheets are worth more than the public market value of their stocks, then you should pounce.


    This reinsurer (which insures the insurance companies against catastrophic payouts) is a perfect example. At the end of the second quarter, tangible book value stood at $82.97 a share. That's roughly 24% above the current stock price. And RGA is doing what any "below book" stock should do: buying back shares. The current buyback will be fueled by a $400 investment that should shrink shares outstanding by more than 5%.

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: HCI Group Inc (HCI)

HCI Group Inc, formerly Homeowners Choice, Inc., incorporated in 2006, is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is primarily engaged in the property and casualty insurance business. The Company is authorized to underwrite homeowners’ property and casualty insurance in the state of Florida through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Inc. (HCPC). Through HCPC and subsidiaries, primarily Homeowners Choice Managers, Inc. (HCM), Southern Administration, Inc., Claddaugh Casualty Insurance Company, Ltd., and its subsidiary, HCPCI Holdings LLC, the Company provides property and casualty homeowners’ insurance, condominium-owners’ insurance, and tenants’ insurance to individuals owning property in Florida. The Company’s subsidiaries also include TV Investment Holdings LLC, which owns and operates a marina facility located in Florida; Unthink Technologies Private Limited, which is a software development firm. Dur ing the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company organized TV Investment Holdings LLC, HCI Holdings LLC and HCI Technical Resources, Inc. In November 18, 2011, the Company acquired Unthink Technologies Private Ltd. In November 2011, it acquired the Florida policies of HomeWise Insurance Company.


The Company’s subsidiary, HCM provides underwriting policy administration, marketing, accounting and financial services to HCPC, and participates in the negotiation of reinsurance contracts. Southern Administration, Inc. provides policy administration services. Claddaugh Casualty Insurance Company Ltd. provides reinsurance coverage to HCPC. Asof December 31, 2011, the Company has approximately 119,000 policies in force. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation requires the Company to offer renewals on the policies the Company acquires for a period of three years subsequent to the initial expiration of the assumed policies. The policyholders have the option to renew wi th the Company or they may ask their agent to place their co! verage with another insurance company.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Property and casualty insurance holding company HCI Group (HCI) raised its quarterly dividend 22.2% to 27.5 cents per share, payable Dec. 20 to shareholders of record Nov. 15.
    HCI Dividend Yield: 2.48%

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Tower Group has dropped 12% to $3.88 today at 11:39 a.m., while Stewart Information Services (STC) has dipped 0.1% to $31.16, the Navigators Group (NAVG) has fallen 1.4% to $54.78 and HCI Group (HCI) has gained 1% to $38.16.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Tower Group has dropped 40% to $4.43 today, and some other small insurers are also getting dinged this morning. HCI Group (HCI) has fallen 1.8% to $39.36, Stewart Information Services (STC) has declined 0.7% to $31.36 and the Navigators Group (NAVG) has ticked down 0.4% to $56.10.

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: RSA Insurance Group PLC (RSA)

RSA Insurance Group plc is the holding company of the RSA group of companies whose principal activity is the transaction of personal and commercial general insurance business. The Company operates in four segments: Scandinavia, Canada, United Kingdom and Western Europe, and Emerging Markets. The Company provides insurance covers for a range of renewable energy technologies, including Wind Energy, which includes onshore and offshore facilities; Solar Energy, which includes photovoltaic, concentrated and thermal installations; Small Hydro, which includes power stations producing an output up to 50 megawatt, and Bio energy, which includes Biomass, Biogas and Waste to Energy plants. The Company works with both large and small brokers. The Company works with partners, such as building societies, banks, retailers, motor manufacturers, charities, utilities and unions to offer their customers appropriate insurance products. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

    RSA Insurance Group Plc (RSA), which insures cars, homes and ships in the U.K., Scandinavia and emerging markets, rose 0.8 percent to 114.1 pence. Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock to overweight, the equivalent of a buy recommendation, from underweight.

  • [By Sarah Jones]

    RSA Insurance Group Plc (RSA) gained 0.8 percent to 114.1 pence after Morgan Stanley upgraded the insurer to overweight from underweight, saying the share price will benefit from a stronger prospective U.K. performance. The stock has declined 9.2 percent so far this year, while the FTSE 350 Insurance Index has rallied 10 percent.

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: 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 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 Stocks To Own Right Now: Euler Hermes SA (ELE)


Euler Hermes SA is a France-based credit insurance company. It offers a range of services, including loan assurance, risk assessment, trade debt collection, compensation of losses due to buyer insolvency, bonding and guarantees for companies, reinsurance of loans to individuals and fidelity insurance covering companies against financial loss caused by fraudulent acts. It operates a number of subsidiaries, including Euler Hermes SFAC, Euler Hermes ACI Holding Inc., Euler Hermes Reinsurance AG, among others. On January 1, 2012, the Company completed the simplification of its legal structure in Europe by grouping 13 of its former subsidiaries into one insurance company, Euler Hermes Europe, located in Brussels. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sarah Jones]

    Iberdrola SA (IBE), Spain’s biggest power company, fell 3.4 percent to 3.87 euros. Endesa SA (ELE) slumped 4.6 percent to 16 euros, while Acciona SA (ANA), which owns more than 4 gigawatts of wind farms in the country, tumbled 8.5 percent to 37.95 euros. Red Electrica Corp. slid 7.5 percent to 38.34 euros.

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: Principal Financial Group Inc(PFG)

Principal Financial Group, Inc. provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services worldwide. The company?s Retirement and Investor Services segment provides retirement savings and related investment products and services, including a portfolio of asset accumulation products and services primarily to small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in the United States. This segment offers products and services to businesses for defined contribution pension plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, defined benefit pension plans, nonqualified executive benefit plans, and employee stock ownership plan consulting services; and annuities, mutual funds, and bank products and services to the employees of its business customers and other individuals. Principal Financial Group?s Principal Global Investors segment offers a range of equity, fixed income, and real estate investments, as well as specialized overlay and advisory services to institutional inve stors. The company?s Principal International segment offers retirement products and services, annuities, mutual funds, institutional asset management, and life insurance accumulation products in Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, and Thailand. Principal Financial Group?s U.S. Insurance Solutions segment offers individual life insurance, as well as specialty benefits in the United States. Its individual life insurance products include universal and variable universal life insurance and traditional life insurance; and specialty benefit products comprise group dental and vision insurance, individual and group disability insurance, and group life insurance, as well as fee-for-service claims administration and wellness services. The company was founded in 1879 and is based in Des Moines, Iowa.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Michael Calia]

    Principal Financial Group Inc.(PFG) said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 8.6%, touting its strong results for the period amid continued economic concern.

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: 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 George Putnam]

    George Putnam: Sure. Well, MGIC Investment Corp. (MTG), which insures mortgages—residential mortgages—was really hammered back in 2007, 2008, and it struggled to, sort of, dig out of the hole that it got in from all of the defaults that individual homeowners made on their mortgages.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE: MTG) made the move to the Conviction Buy List on December 5, with a $10 price target. The company is benefiting from a solid improvement in credit and mortgage quality. With shares close to $8.40 now, the consensus price target is $8.81 and the 52-week trading range is $1.92 to $8.59. We noticed that the $10 price target is well under the street-high target of $13 on this stock.

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: Aflac Incorporated(AFL)

Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac), provides supplemental health and life insurance. The company offers various voluntary supplemental insurance products, including cancer plans, general medical indemnity plans, medical/sickness riders, care plans, living benefit life plans, ordinary life insurance plans, and annuities in Japan. It also provides loss-of-income products, such as life and short-term disability plans; and products designed to protect individuals from depletion of assets, which comprise hospital indemnity, fixed-benefit dental, vision care, accident, cancer, critical illness/critical care, and hospital intensive care plans in the United States. The company sells its products through sales associates and brokers, affiliated corporate agencies, independent corporate agencies, and individual agencies. Aflac Incorporated was founded in 1955 and is headquartered in Columbus, Georgia.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Kell]

    Aflac Inc.’s(AFL) fourth-quarter earnings rose 16% but a weaker yen and dollar exchange rate continued to weigh on the company’s core operations in Japan. Shares edged down 2.4% to $60 premarket.

  • [By Daniela Pylypczak]

    Following the biggest one-day drop in more than six months, U.S. equities finally managed to rebound on Tuesday. After the closing bell, AFLAC (AFL) announced its fourth quarter results.
    AFL’s Earnings in Brief

    AFL reported earnings of $1.45 per share, up from from $1.24 per share in the Q4 of last year. Analysts expected to see EPS of $1.39. Revenue was $5.8 billion, coming in below analysts’ estimate of $5.91 billion. The company said that revenue decreased 9.0% in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with $6.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. A weaker yen/dollar exchange rate was noted as the primary cause of the decline; a significant portion of Aflac’s business is in Japan.


    CEO Commentary

    Daniel P. Amos, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer commented: “We are very pleased with Aflac’s financial performance for both the quarter and year. As the year progressed, operating earnings per diluted share were better than expected, and we finished the year slightly ahead of our expectation for operating earnings to increase 5%, excluding the impact of the yen… Overall, we were pleased with our investment results in 2013, especially in light of the low-yield environment in both Japan and the U.S.  We position ourselves first to ensure we meet our policyholder obligations. We then seek to achieve a high degree of confidence in allocating capital to our shareholders while also pursuing investment strategies that enhance our overall income growth.”


    AFL’s Dividend

    The board of directors declared the first quarter cash dividend of $0.37 per share. The next dividend is payable on March 3, 2014, to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 14, 2014.

    Stock Performance 

    AFLAC shares traded 1.2% higher on Tuesday. The stock is down 7.94% YTD.

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    Insurers such as Aflac Inc. (AFL) , Allstate Corp. (ALL) , Aetna Inc. (AET) , Cigna Corp. (CI)  and Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU)  will also report, along with exchange operators Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ)  and CME Group Inc. (CME) . 

Best Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: 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 Own Right Now: Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN)

Zurich Insurance Group Limited is a Switzerland-based holding company engaged in the insurance sector. The Company provides a range of general and life insurance products and services for individuals, small business, mid-sized and large-sized companies, and multinational corporations. The Company offers its products and services through three business segments, namely General Insurance, Global life and Farmers. The General Insurance segment offers motor, home and commercial products and services for individuals, as well as small and large business. The Global life segment offers life insurance, savings, investment and pensions solutions. The Farmers segment includes farmers management services, which provides non-claims management services to the farmers exchange, as well as Farmers Re business, which includes reinsurance assumed from the Farmers Exchange by the Company’s group. Furthermore, the Company provides reinsurance and insurance business considered as non-core busine ss. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Namitha Jagadeesh]

    Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN) lost 3.6 percent after second-quarter profit missed analysts’ estimates. Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) declined the most in seven weeks as Europe’s second-biggest clothing retailer reported worse-than-expected sales. BG Group Plc, which derives 20 percent of its oil-and-gas production from Egypt, slipped 2.4 percent as the death toll from nationwide violence in the most populous Arab country climbed above 500.