Best Insurance Stocks To Watch Right Now

I turned 70 1/2 last year but decided to wait to take the required minimum distributions from my IRAs until April 1 of this year. How do I calculate my RMD? Do I have to take another RMD by December?

Use Our Tool: Minimum IRA Distribution Calculator

You have until April 1 of the year after you turn 70 1/2 to take your first required minimum distribution – so the RMD you take by April 1, 2014, counts as your 2013 RMD. Your RMD is basically the balance in your traditional IRAs divided by the IRS life-expectancy figure. For your 2013 RMD, calculate how much you need to withdraw based on the balance in your IRAs as of the end of 2012; your life expectancy is based on your age in 2013. (You also need to take an RMD from your 401(k) starting at age 70 1/2 unless you’re still working for the employer who sponsors the plan.) Your IRA administrator can help you with the calculations. For more information, see Don’t Forget to Take Your Required Distribution and Easy Ways to Calculate Required Minimum Distributions.

Best Insurance Stocks To Watch Right Now: Tryg A/S (TRYG)

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

  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

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

Best Insurance Stocks To Watch Right Now: ING Groep NV (ISP)

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

  • [By Tom Stoukas]

    UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP), Italy’s biggest banks, dropped more than 1 percent as the nation’s benchmark FTSE MIB Index slid 1.2 percent. Rio Tinto Group led mining companies lower after a measure of Chinese manufacturing missed a preliminary estimate. Aryzta AG rallied the most in six months as the Swiss supplier of bakery products reported results that topped projections.

Best Insurance Stocks To Watch 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 Patricio Kehoe] ts newest deal with private benefits company Liazon Corp., through which the firm will offer employer-sponsored group benefit plans to small and medium businesses. While the company already sells ancillary benefit plans, this deal will now also include dental, life insurance, disability insurance and critical illness coverage in an attempt to stay on top of the insurance industry. As an industry leader, Principal has over $466 billion in assets under management and 19 million customers, fragmented among small and medium-size businesses. Furthermore, its solid fourth quarter results have encouraged investment gurus like Paul Tudor Jones (Trades, Portfolio) and Steven Cohen (Trades, Portfolio) to recently acquire large amounts of the company’s shares. So, let’s see what this insurer has in store for the future.

    Broadening Horizons

    Although Principal’s core business is in life insurance, the company has been pursuing a more diverse growth strategy lately, and is now focused on expanding its position in the retirement service and asset management segment. With almost 30,700 pension plans covering over 3.4 million customers, this business’ growth rate has not only boosted overall profitability, marked by a 31% annual increase in operating earnings for fiscal 2013, but also helped offset the headwinds of low interest rates and volatility in the emerging markets. In fact, the fourth quarter showed a 65% boost in premium and fee income for the segmenta , consequence of the rollout of total retirement suite products.

    Moreover, Principal’s emphasis on retirement products and its use of capital salesforce for distribution has added on to the natural switching cost advantage in the insurance industry. Since plan sponsors provided with pension assets rarely switch providers, the company will likely benefit in the long term from its persistency, as seen in the quarterly 9% bump in recurring deposits.

    On another note, Principal’s fee-based b

  • [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 Watch Right Now: Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKA)

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.

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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 Tiernan Ray]

    Berkshire B shares ended the day at $117.82 and were up another 68 cents, or 0.6%, at $118.50, in late trading. The Class A stock (BRKA) closed at $176,500 and were up another $250.04 at $176,750 after hours.

  • [By WALLSTCHEATSHEET]

    Berkshire Hathaway is a well-regarded investment manager that has been led by Warren Buffett to great successes. The stock has risen consistently over the last several years and is now trading at all-time high prices. Earnings and revenue have shown steady growth, over the last four quarters, which has really pleased investors. Relative to its peers and sector, Berkshire Hathaway has been a year-to-date performance leader. Look for Berkshire Hathaway to OUTPERFORM.

Best Insurance Stocks To Watch Right Now: PartnerRe Ltd (PRE)

PartnerRe Ltd. (PartnerRe), incorporated in August 24, 1993, is the ultimate holding company for its international reinsurance group. The Company provides reinsurance on a global basis through its wholly owned subsidiaries, including Partner Reinsurance Company Ltd. (PartnerRe Bermuda), Partner Reinsurance Europe plc (PartnerRe Europe) and Partner Reinsurance Company of the U.S. (PartnerRe U.S.). Its risks reinsured include property, casualty, motor, agriculture, aviation/space, catastrophe, credit/surety, engineering, energy, marine, specialty property, specialty casualty, multiline and other lines and mortality, longevity and health. The Company also offers alternative risk products, which include weather and credit protection to financial, industrial and service companies on a global basis. In January 2013, the Company acquired Presidio Reinsurance Group, a United States-based specialty accident and health reinsurance and insurance writer. In March 2013, the Company ann ounced the formation of Lorenz Re Ltd.

The Company provides reinsurance for its clients in approximately 150 countries globally. Through its branches and subsidiaries, the Company provides reinsurance of non-life and life risks to ceding companies (primary insurers, cedants or reinsureds) on either a proportional or non-proportional basis through treaties or facultative reinsurance. The Company operates in three segments: Non-life, Life and Corporate and Other. Its Corporate and Other segment is consisted of the capital markets and investment related activities of the Company, including principal finance transactions, insurance-linked securities and strategic investments, and its corporate activities, including other operating expenses.

Non-life Segment

The Non-life segment is divided into four sub-segments, North America, Global (Non-the United States) Property and Casualty (Global (Non-the United States) P&C), Global (Non-the United States) Specialty and Catastrophe. The North America sub-seg! ment includes agriculture, casualty, motor, multiline, property, surety and other risks generally originating in the United States. The Global (Non-the United States) P&C sub-segment includes casualty, motor and property business generally originating outside of the United States. The Global (Non-the United States) Specialty sub-segment business include agriculture, aviation/space, credit/surety, energy, engineering, marine, specialty casualty, specialty property and other lines. The Catastrophe sub-segment is consisted of the Company’s catastrophe line of business. The Company reinsures, primarily on a proportional basis, agricultural yield and price/revenue risks related to flood, drought, hail and disease related to crops, livestock and aquaculture. The Company provides specialized reinsurance protection for airline, general aviation and space insurance business on a proportional basis and through facultative arrangements.

The Company’s space business re lates to coverages for satellite assembly, launch and operation for commercial space programs. Its casualty business includes third party liability, employers’ liability, workers’ compensation and personal accident coverages written on both a proportional and non-proportional basis, including structured reinsurance of casualty risks. The Company provides property catastrophe reinsurance protection, written on a non-proportional basis, against the accumulation of losses caused by windstorm, earthquake, tornado, tropical cyclone, flood or by any other natural hazard, which is covered under a property policy. Credit reinsurance, written on a proportional basis, provides coverage to commercial credit insurers, and the surety line relates to bonds and other forms of security written by specialized surety insurers. The Company provides reinsurance coverage for the onshore oil and gas industry, mining, power generation and pharmaceutical operations on a proportional basis and t hrough facultative arrangements.

The Company p! rovides r! einsurance for engineering projects globally, predominantly on a proportional treaty basis and through facultative arrangements. The Company provides reinsurance protection and technical services relating to marine hull, cargo, transit and offshore oil and gas operations on a proportional or non-proportional basis. The Company’s motor business includes reinsurance coverages for third party liability and property damage risks arising from both passenger and commercial fleet automobile coverages written by cedants. This business is written predominantly on a proportional basis.

The Company’s multiline business provides both property and casualty reinsurance coverages written on both a proportional and non-proportional basis. Property business provides reinsurance coverage to insurers for property damage or business interruption losses resulting from fires, catastrophes and other perils covered in industrial, commercial property and homeowners’ policies, and are written on both a proportional and non-proportional basis. The Company’s predominant exposure under these property coverage is to property damage. The Company’s property reinsurance treaties exclude certain risks, such as war, nuclear, biological and chemical contamination, radiation and environmental pollution.

The Company provides specialized reinsurance protection for non-the United States casualty business. This reinsurance protection is offered on a proportional, non-proportional or facultative basis. The Company provides specialized reinsurance protection for non-the United States property business. This reinsurance protection is offered on a proportional, non-proportional or facultative basis. The Company’s Non-life business is produced both through brokers and through direct relationships with insurance companies. In North America, business is written through brokers, while globally, the business is written on both a direct and broker basis.< /p>

Life Segment

The Company’s Life ! segment i! ncludes the mortality, longevity and health lines of business written primarily in the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. The Company provides reinsurance coverage to life insurers and pension funds to against individual and group mortality and disability risks. Mortality business is written on a proportional basis through treaty agreements. Mortality business is subdivided into death and disability covers (with various riders) written in Continental Europe, term assurance and critical illness (TCI) written in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and guaranteed minimum death benefit (GMDB) written in Continental Europe. The Company also writes certain treaties on a non-proportional basis in France.

The Company provides reinsurance coverage to employer sponsored pension schemes and life insurers who issue annuity contracts offering long-term retirement benefits to consumers, who seek protection against outliving their financial resources. The Company’s longevity p ortfolio is subdivided into standard and non-standard annuities. The non-standard annuities are annuities sold to consumers with aggravated health conditions and are underwritten on an individual basis. The Company provides reinsurance coverage to life insurers with respect to individual and group health risks. The Company’s Life business is produced both through brokers and through direct relationships with insurance companies. During the year ended December 31, 2011, one cedant accounted for 13% of the Life segment’s total gross premiums written and one broker, the Aon Group (including the Benfield Group), accounted for 16% of the Life segment’s total gross premiums written.

The Company competes with Munich Re, Swiss Re, Everest Re, Hannover Re, SCOR, Transatlantic, Arch Capital, Axis Capital and XL Group.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    International insurance holding company PartnerRe Ltd. (PRE) raised its quarterly dividend 5% to 67 cents per share, payable on Feb. 28 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 18.
    PRE Dividend Yield: 2.72%

Best Insurance Stocks To Watch Right Now: Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF)

Fidelity National Financial, Inc. provides title insurance, mortgage services, and diversified services in the United States. The company provides title insurance, escrow, and other title related services, including collection and trust activities, trustee’s sales guarantees, recordings, and reconveyances, as well as home warranty insurance to various customers in the residential and commercial market sectors of the real estate industry. It is also involved in the design, manufacture, remanufacture, market, and distribution of aftermarket and original equipment electrical components for automobiles, light trucks, heavy-duty trucks, and other vehicles worldwide. In addition, the company owns and operates restaurants comprising the O’Charley’s, Ninety Nine Restaurants, Max & Erma’s, Village Inn, Bakers Square, and Stoney River Legendary Steaks concepts in the United States. Fidelity National Financial, Inc. is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Damian Illia]

    The firm is currently Zacks Rank # 2 – Buy, and it also has a longer-term recommendation of “OutPerform”. For investors looking for a Zacks Rank # 1 – Strong Buy, Alleghany Corp. (Y), Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRK.B) and Fidelity (FNF) could be the options.

  • [By Adam J. Wiederman]

    Getty Images Bitcoin made headlines last year when the value of all outstanding pieces of the electronic currency reached nearly $10 billion. It’s not just speculators drawn to the new currency. Many businesses are also attempting to cash in on this growth: Several public companies, including Zynga (ZNGA) and Overstock.com (OSTK), accept Bitcoins as a form of payment. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s firm has invested nearly $50 million in Bitcoin-related ventures, and it is looking to invest even more. And the Winklevoss twins — who notoriously accused Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea — have been “in dialogue” with the SEC about opening the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, according to Bloomberg. Yet a new survey from TheStreet.com (TST) reveals that 76 percent of consumers are not familiar with Bitcoin — and 79 percent would never consider owning a currency like it. Does this signal opportunity for savvy investors? Or is this a fad you’d be wise to avoid? The Basics of Bitcoin Bitcoin is a completely unregulated form of currency developed by an anonymous Japanese programmer (according to some apocryphal claims) as a completely digital, peer-to-peer payment system that is independent of national currencies (which, Bitcoin users argue, are all subject to the riskiness of the underlying country). Bitcoins are rewarded throughout the day to a “Bitcoin miner” whose computer solves a series of algorithms quicker than other miners. The puzzles become more difficult over time, so the calculations take longer and the computations require more computing power. There will eventually be a total of 21 million Bitcoins (12.4 million are in circulation today) and we won’t reach the point that they are effectively “mined out” until 2040. The value of a Bitcoin is supposed to be market-driven, meaning they’re worth whatever the two parties in a transaction value them as. For example, in one of the original Bitcoin transactions, a “mi

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Title insurance company Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF  ) announced yesterday its third-quarter dividend of $0.16 per share, the same rate it’s paid for the past three quarters after raising the payout 14% from $0.14 per share.

Best Insurance Stocks To Watch Right Now: ING Groep NV (ING)

ING Groep N.V. (ING), incorporated in 1991, is a global financial institution offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to meet the needs of the customers. The Company’s segments include banking and insurance. Banking segment includes retail Netherlands, retail Belgium, ING direct, retail central Europe (CE), retail Asia, commercial banking (excluding real estate), ING real estate and corporate line banking. Insurance segment includes insurance Benelux, insurance central and rest of Europe (CRE), insurance United States (US), Insurance US closed block VA, insurance Asia/Pacific, ING investment management (IM) and corporate line insurance. In February 2011, the Company divested its real estate investment operation ING Real Estate Investment Management (ING REIM) to CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. In June 2011, the Company sold Clarion Partners. In July 2011, ING announced the completion of the sale of Clarion Real Estate Securities. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company divested its interests in ING Car Lease and ING IM Philippines. In February 2012, Capital One Financial Corp. acquired ING Direct business in the United States from the Company.

In June 2011, ING had completed the sale of its interest in China’s Pacific Antai Life Insurance Company Ltd. In June 2011, ING announced the completion of the sale of real estate investment manager of its United States operations, Clarion Partners, to Clarion Partners management in partnership with Lightyear Capital LLC. In October 2011, ING announced that it had completed the sale of REIM’s Asian and European operations to CBRE Group Inc. In December 2011 ING completed the sale of its Latin American pensions, life insurance and investment management operations.

Retail Netherlands

Retail Banking reaches its individual customers through Internet banking, telephone, call centers, mailings and branches. Using direct market ing methods, it is a provider of current account services an! d payments systems to provide other financial services, such as savings accounts, mortgage loans, consumer loans, credit card services, investment and insurance products. Mortgages are offered through a tied agents sale force and direct and intermediary channels. ING Bank Netherlands operates through a branch network of approximately 280 branches. It offers a range of commercial banking activities and also life and non-life insurance products. It also sells mortgages through the intermediary channel.

Retail Belgium

ING Belgium provides banking, insurance (life, non-life) and asset management products and services to meet the needs of individuals, families, companies and institutions through a network of local head offices, 773 branches and direct banking channels (automated branches, home banking services and call centers). ING Belgium also operates a second network, Record Bank, which provides a range of banking products through independent banking agents and credit products through a multitude of channels (agents, brokers, vendors).

ING Direct

ING Direct offers a range of financial products, such as savings, mortgages, retail investment products, payment accounts and consumer lending products. It operates in Canada, Spain, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom. In June 2011, ING Group announced the sale of ING Direct USA to Capital One Financial Corporation.

Retail Central Europe

Retail Central Europe has a presence in Poland, and Romania and Turkey. ING in Poland is an Internet bank. During 2011, ING Bank Turkey launched the Orange account, the variable savings product. ING in Turkey also launched a mobile phone banking application. ING Bank Romania carried out its Internet banking site, Home’Bank. In September 2011, a mobile version of the Home’Bank Website was introduced.

Retail Asia

Retail Banking has a presence in Asian markets of India, China and Thailand. As o! f Decembe! r 31, 2011, the Company had 44% interest in ING Vysya and 30% interest in TMB Bank in Thailand. Bank of Beijing (BoB), in which ING has the largest single interest (16.07%) is a commercial bank in China. ING provides principally risk management and retail banking to BoB.

Commercial Banking

ING Commercial Banking supports the banking needs of its corporate and institutional clients to invest both retail and commercial bank customer deposits. It is a commercial bank in its home markets in the Benelux, as well as in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to the banking services of lending, payments and cash management and treasury, it also provides solutions in other areas, including specialized and trade finance, derivatives, corporate finance, debt and equity capital markets, leasing, factoring and supply chain finance. Payments and Cash Management (PCM) and General Lending are its some of the product lines. Structured Finance (SF) is a sp ecialist commercial lending business, providing loans to support capital intensive investments and working capital. It is managed in three groups: the Energy, Transport and Infrastructure Group; the Specialized Financing Group; and International Trade and Export Finance. Leasing and Factoring (L&F) provides financial and operating leasing services for a range of equipment, as well as receivables financing and other factoring solutions for commercial banking clients. The Financial Markets (FM) is the global business unit that manages ING’s financial markets trading and non-trading activities. FM is managed along three business lines: ALCO manages the interest rates exposures arising from the traditional banking activities, Strategic Trading Platform incorporates the primary proprietary risk taking units, and Clients and Products is the primary customer trading facilitation business line.

Real Estate

During 2011, Real Estate Finance (REF) maintained its credit portfolio. Real Estate Development (ING RED) and! Real Est! ate Investment Management (ING REIM) has a controlled wind down of activities.

Insurance Benelux

Duirng 2011, Nationale-Nederlanden introduced bank pension savings products and annuities. ING Life Belgium introduced a new Universal Life product. Nationale-Nederlanden also received a license from the Dutch Central Bank to launch a defined contribution DC company pension product PPI in Europe. NN Services introduced a processing and information technology system (business process management layer) for several legacy lines of retail Life businesses. NN Services IT manages all the closed book business of Nationale-Nederlanden. ING’s life insurance products in the Benelux consist of a range of traditional, unit-linked and variable annuity policies written for both individual and group customers. ING is also a provider of (re-insured) company pension plans in the Netherlands.

NG Benelux’ non-life products, mainly in the Netherlands, incl ude coverage for both individual and commercial/group clients for fire, motor, disability, transport and third party liability. Nationale-Nederlanden has also a central product manufacturing service for property and casualty insurance, which has developed products for ING Bank in Belgium and ING Bank in the Netherlands. ING offers a range of disability insurance products and complementary services for employers and self-employed professionals (such as dentists and general practitioners).

Insurance Central and Rest of Europe

Insurance Central and Rest of Europe has life insurance companies in Hungary, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain and Turkey. It has pension funds in Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Bulgaria, Romania and in Turkey. ING offers a range of individual endowment, unit linked, term and whole life insurance policies designed to meet specific customer needs. It also has employee benef its products, as well as pension funds, that manage individu! al retire! ment accounts for individuals. The latter comprise both mandatory and voluntary retirement savings.

Insurance United States (Excluding US Closed Block Va)

ING Insurance US offers retirement services (primarily defined contribution plans), life insurance, fixed annuities, employee benefits, mutual funds, and broker-dealer services in the United States. ING Insurance US operates four businesses: Retirement Plans, Individual Retirement, Individual Life and Employee Benefits. ING Insurance US’s Retirement Plans business is a contribution providers, which offers a range of retirement solutions to all sizes and types of employers, including businesses for-profit ranging from start-ups to large corporations, public and private school systems, higher education institutions, state and local governments, hospitals and healthcare facilities, and not-for-profit organizations. ING Insurance US’s Retirement Plans business is a provider of defined contribution (DC) retirement plans in the United States based on assets under management and administration.

Insurance US Closed Block Va

ING US Closed Block VA consists of variable annuities issued in the United States that are primarily owned by individuals and were designed to address the demand for tax-advantaged savings, retirement planning, and wealth-protection. These annuity contracts were sold in the United States, primarily through independent third party distributors, including wirehouses and securities firms, independent planners and agents and banks.

Insurance Asia/Pacific

ING Insurance Asia/Pacific (IAP) is a provider of life insurance products and services. It is a life insurer in the region, with nine life operations in eight markets. IAP has ip operations in Japan and South Korea, operates a nt business in Malaysia, and is well in China, Hong Kong, Macau, India and Thailand. In April 2011, IAP, together with Public B ank Berhad and Public Islamic Bank Berhad, launched a joint ! venture i! n Malaysia, ING PUBLIC Takaful Ehsan Berhad, which will develop Takaful insurance products. In June 2011, IAP completed the sale of its 50% interest in Pacific-Antai Life Insurance Company Limited (PALIC).

The business units of IAP offer select types of life insurance, wealth management, and retail products and services. These include annuities, endowment, disability/morbidity insurance, unit linked/universal life, whole e, participating life, group life, accident and health, term life and employee benefits. In Hong Kong non-life insurance products (including medical, motor, fire, marine, personal accident and general liability) are also offered.

Insurance Latin America

ING completed the sale of its pensions, life insurance and investment management operations on December 29, 2011. These operations were in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

ING Investment Management

ING IM is an investment manager of IN G Group with activities in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. In October 2011, ING IM sold ING IM Australia. ING IM provides a range of actively-managed strategies, investment vehicles and advisory services in all major asset classes and investment styles. It delivers a range of investment strategies and services to ING’s global network of businesses and third-party clients.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    ING Groep NV (NYSE: ING) was also up, gaining 3.35 percent to $14.18 after the company announced its plans to resume paying dividends in 2015.

    Equities Trading DOWN
    Shares of GenCorp (NYSE: GY) were down 3.97 percent to $17.86 after the company reported Q1 results. GenCorp reported a Q1 loss of $0.03 per share.

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    ING Groep NV (NYSE: ING) was also up, gaining 4.11 percent to $14.28 after the company announced its plans to resume paying dividends in 2015. 

    Equities Trading DOWN
    Shares of GenCorp (NYSE: GY) were down 5.16 percent to $17.64 after the company reported Q1 results. GenCorp reported a Q1 loss of $0.03 per share.

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Wednesday

    Earnings Expected From: CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Tempur-pedic International Inc. (NYSE: TPX), ING Group, N.V. (NYSE: ING), Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX), Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK), Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) Economic Releases Expected: Australian unemployment rate, US CB Leading Index, eurozone retail sales, British Industrial and manufacturing production, eurozone services PMI

    Thursday

Best Insurance Stocks To Watch 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 Watch Right Now: First American Financial Corp (FAF)

First American Financial Corporation, incorporated on January 14, 2008, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the business of providing financial services through its title insurance and services segment and its specialty insurance segment. The Company operates in two segments: title insurance and services and specialty insurance.

The title insurance and services segment provides title insurance, closing and/or escrow services and similar or related services domestically and internationally in connection with residential and commercial real estate transactions. It also maintains, manages and provides access to title plant records and images and provides banking, trust and investment advisory services. The specialty insurance segment issues property and casualty insurance policies and sells home warranty products. In addition, its corporate function consists of certain financing facilities as well as the corporate services that support its business operation s.

Title Insurance and Services Segment

The Company’s title insurance and services segment issues title insurance policies on residential and commercial property in the United States and offers similar or related products and services internationally. This segment also provides closing and/or escrow services; accommodates tax-deferred exchanges of real estate; maintains, manages and provides access to title plant records and images, and provides banking, trust and investment advisory services. The Company conducts its title insurance and closing business through a network of direct operations and agents. Through this network, it issues policies in the 49 states that permit the issuance of title insurance policies and the District of Columbia. The Company also offers title insurance, closing services and similar or related products and services, either directly or through third parties in foreign countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, A ustralia and various other markets.

The Company! distributes its title insurance policies and related products and services directly as well as through its agents through various channels. Its federal savings bank subsidiary offers trust and investment advisory services, deposit services and asset management services. As of December 31, 2012, the Company provides products and services in numerous countries outside of the United States, and its international operations accounted for approximately 7.9% of its title insurance and services segment revenues

Specialty Insurance Segment

The Company’s property and casualty insurance business provides insurance coverage to residential homeowners and renters for liability losses and typical hazards, such as fire, theft, vandalism and other types of property damage. The Company is licensed to issue policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and actively issue policies in 43 states. In its market, California, it also offers preferred risk aut o insurance to better compete with other carriers offering bundled home and auto insurance. Reinsurance is used to limit risk associated with natural disasters, such as windstorms, winter storms, wildfires and earthquakes.

The Company’s home warranty business provides residential service contracts that cover residential systems, such as heating and air conditioning systems, and certain appliances against failures that occur as the result of normal usage during the coverage period. Most of these policies are issued on resale residences, although policies are also available in some instances for new homes. Coverage is typically for one year and is renewable annually at the option of the contract holder and upon its approval. It sells renewals directly to consumers. As of December 31, 2012, home warranty business operates in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

The Company competes with Fidelity National Financial, Inc., Stewart Title Guaranty Com pany, Old Republic International Corporation and Lender Proc! essing Se! rvices, Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    The biggest increase among our dividend stocks this week came from title and specialty insurance management company First American Financial (FAF), which raised its quarterly dividend 100% to 24 cents per share, payable June 16 to shareholders of record as of June 9.
    FAF Dividend Yield: 3.47%

  • [By alicet236]

    First American Financial Corp (FAF): CEO Dennis J Gilmore sold 116,453 Shares

    CEO of First American Financial Corp (FAF) Dennis J Gilmore sold 116,453 shares on 02/04/2014 at an average price of $25.12. First American Financial Corporation was incorporated in the state of Delaware in January 2008 to serve as the holding company of The First American Corporation’s financial services business. First American Financial Corp has a market cap of $2.7 billion; its shares were traded at around $25.52 with a P/E ratio of 12.30 and P/S ratio of 0.56. The dividend yield of First American Financial Corp stocks is 1.88%.

  • [By Canadian Value]

    Position % of Fund Assets 1) First American Financial Corp. (FAF) 7.0% 2) Apple, Inc. (AAPL) 6.5% 3) Coinstar, Inc. (CSTR) 4.8% 4) EMC Corp. (EMC) 4.4% 5) Coach, Inc. (COH) 4.4% 6) Kohl’s Corp. (KSS) 4.1% 7) Blucora, Inc. (BCOR) 4.0% 8) Tetra Tech, Inc. (TTEK) 3.1% 9) OM Group, Inc. (OMG) 3.0% 10) American International Group, Inc. (AIG) 2.8% TOTAL 44.1% One area that we believe still offers some value in the market is in high quality, large‐cap technology stocks that may be momentarily out‐of‐favor as they transition from rapid growth to slower growth. In particular, we become interested when that transition is also accompanied by a change in capital allocation policies designed to return more cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases. We believe that Apple and EMC are two of the absolute highest quality technology businesses in the world and both have recently announced very material, shareholder‐ friendly changes to how they will alloc ate capital.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    First American Financial Corp. (NYSE: FAF) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette & Woods.

    Fidelity National Financial Inc. (NYSE: FNF) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette & Woods.