Hot Insurance Companies To Own For 2014

Sprott Resource Corp (SCPZF.PK) is a resource private equity fund wrapped in a public company to provide permanent patient capital. The company makes strategic investments in the resource sector, and has a track record of significant gains. It has initiated a policy of paying 0.833% of its equity as a dividend every month. Because the company trades at a discount to its current book value, this equates to a dividend yield of 11.5% per year. The company expects that it will still be able to grow book value even with this distribution policy, and the company’s track record would suggest that is the case. The company is based in Canada, and all numbers within this article are in Canadian dollars.

During the last six years, the company has realized gains from investments in coal, oil and gas, silver, and agricultural mining. The total gains of $283 million annualize to $47 million of gains per year, which comfortably exceeds the $42 million per year of dividend s they are distributing on a go forward basis. If the company is able to generate gains at the same rate, then the dividend will be sustainable.

Hot Insurance Companies To Own For 2014: Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRK.B)

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

Insurance and Reinsurance Businesses

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

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

Property/Casualty Reinsurance

General Re’s property/casu alty reinsurance business in North America is conducted through GRC. Property/casualty operations in North America are also conducted through 16 branch offices in the United States and Canada. Reinsurance activities are marketed directly to clients without involving a broker or intermediary. General Re’s property/casualty business in North America also includes specialty insurers (primarily the General Star and Genesis companies domiciled in Connecticut and Ohio). These specialty insurers underwrite primarily liability and workers’ compensation coverages on an excess and surplus basis and excess insurance for self-insured programs. General Re’s international property/casualty reinsurance business operations are conducted through internationally-based subsidiaries on a direct basis (through General Reinsurance AG, as well as several other General Re subsidiaries in 25 countries) and through brokers (primarily through Faraday, which owns the managing agent of Syndicate 4 35 at Lloyd’s of London and provides capacity and particip! ates in 1! 00% of the results of Syndicate 435).

Life/Health Reinsurance

General Re’s North American and international life, health, long-term care and disability reinsurance coverages are written on an individual and group basis. Most of this business is written on a proportional treaty basis, with the exception of the United States group health and disability business which is predominately written on an excess treaty basis. Lesser amounts of life and disability business are written on a facultative basis. The life/health business is marketed on a direct basis. The Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group (BHRG) operates from offices located in Stamford, Connecticut. Business activities are conducted through a group of subsidiary companies, led by National Indemnity Company (NICO) and Columbia Insurance Company (Columbia). BHRG provides principally excess and quota-share reinsurance to other property and casualty insurers and reinsurers. BHRG’s underwriting activities also include life reinsurance and life annuity business written through Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance Company of Nebraska and financial guaranty insurance written through Berkshire Hathaway Assurance Corporation.

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

The Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group is a collection of primary insurance operations that provide a variety of insurance coverages to insureds located principally in the United States. NICO and certain affiliates underwrite motor vehicle and general liability insurance to commercial enterprises on both an admitted and excess and surplus basis. This business is written nationwide primarily through insurance agents and brokers and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. U.S. Investment Corporation (USIC), through its three subsidiaries led by United States Liability Insurance Company, is a specialty insurer that underwrites commercial, professional and personal lines of insurance on an admitted and excess and surplus basis. Policies are marketed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through wholesale and retail insurance agents. USIC companies underwrite and market 109 distinct specialty property and casualty insurance products. Medical Protective Corporatio n (MedPro) is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Through its subsidiary, the Medical Protective Company, MedPro is engaged in primary medical professional liability coverage and risk solutions to physicians, dentists, other healthcare providers and healthcare facilities.

Railroad Business

Through BNSF Railway, BNSF operates a railroad network in North America with approximately 32,000 route miles of track (excluding multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings) in 28 states and two Canadian provinces as of December 31, 2011. BNSF owns approximately 23,000 route miles, including easements, and operates on approximately 9,000 route miles of trackage rights that permit BNSF to operate its trains with its crews over other railroads’ tracks. As of December 31, 2011, the total BNSF Railway system, including single and multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings, consisted of approximately 50,000 operated miles of track, all of which are owned by or held under easement by BNSF except for approximately 10,000 route! miles op! erated under trackage rights.

BNSF is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and through BNSF Railway Company operates railroad systems in North America. In serving the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Western, Southwestern and Southeastern regions and ports of the country, BNSF transports a range of products and commodities derived from manufacturing, agricultural and natural resource industries. In serving the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Western, Southwestern and Southeastern regions and ports of the country, BNSF transports a range of products and commodities derived from manufacturing, agricultural and natural resource industries. Over half of the freight revenues of BNSF are covered by contractual agreements of varying durations. BNSF’s primary routes, including trackage rights, allow it to access cities and ports in the western and southern United States as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. In addition to cities and ports, BNSF efficiently serves many smaller market s by working closely with approximately 200 shortline partners. BNSF has also entered into marketing agreements with other rail carriers, expanding the marketing reach for each railroad and their customers.

Utilities and Energy Businesses

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

PacifiCorp is a regulated electric utility compa! ny headqu! artered in Oregon, serving regulated retail electric customers in portions of Utah, Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and California. The combined service territory’s diverse regional economy ranges from rural, agricultural and mining areas to urban, manufacturing and government service centers. As a vertically integrated electric utility, PacifiCorp owns approximately 10,600 net megawatts of generation capacity. MidAmerican Energy Company (MEC) is a regulated electric and natural gas utility company headquartered in Iowa, serving regulated retail electric and natural gas customers primarily in Iowa and also in portions of Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. MEC has a diverse customer base consisting of residential, agricultural and a variety of commercial and industrial customer groups. In addition to retail sales and natural gas transportation, MEC sells regulated electricity to markets operated by regional transmission organizations and regulated electricity and natur al gas to other utilities and market participants on a wholesale basis and sells non-regulated electricity and natural gas services in deregulated markets. As a vertically integrated electric and gas utility, MEC owns approximately 7,000 net megawatts of generation capacity.

The natural gas pipelines consist of Northern Natural Gas Company (Northern Natural) and Kern River Gas Transmission Company (Kern River). Northern Natural is based in Nebraska and owns interstate natural gas pipeline systems in the United States reaching from southern Texas to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Northern Natural’s pipeline system consists of approximately 14,900 miles of natural gas pipelines. Northern Natural has access to supplies from mid-continent basin and provides transportation services to utilities and numerous other customers. Northern Natural also operates three underground natural gas storage facilities and two liquefied natural gas storage peaking units.

< p>Kern River is based in Utah and owns an interstate natural! gas pipe! line system that consists of approximately 1,700 miles and extends from the supply areas in the Rocky Mountains to consuming markets in Utah, Nevada and California. Kern River transports natural gas for electric utilities and natural gas distribution utilities, oil and natural gas companies or affiliates of such companies, electricity generating companies, energy marketing and trading companies, and financial institutions. The United Kingdom utilities consist of Northern Powergrid (Northeast) Limited (Northern Powergrid (Northeast)) and Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire) plc (Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire)), which own a substantial United Kingdom electricity distribution network that delivers electricity to end-users in northeast England in an area covering approximately 10,000 square miles. The distribution companies primarily charge supply companies regulated tariffs for the use of electrical infrastructure. MidAmerican also owns HomeServices of America, Inc. (HomeServices), a full-service residential real estate brokerage firm in the United States. HomeServices also offers integrated real estate services, including mortgage originations through a joint venture, title and closing services, property and casualty insurance, home warranties, relocation services and other home-related services. It operates under 22 residential real estate brand names with over 14,000 sales associates and in nearly 300 brokerage offices in 20 states.

Manufacturing, Service and Retailing Businesses

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

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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 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 Jonathan Berr]

    Multilevel marketing (MLM) groups such as Herbalife operate through independent sales representatives, who earn money both through the sales of product and by recruiting other people to join their team. This business model — which is used by scores of companies, including Pampered Chef, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), Tupperware (TUP) and Mary Kay Cosmetics — is legal provided that actual products are sold.

  • [By MONEYMORNING]

    An auto insurance company I really like is Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s (NYSE: BRK.B) Geico subsidiary.

    We’ve all seen the ads with the talking gecko, and whether you love the ads or hate them, you all know the company’s motto about 15 minutes and 15% savings. What a lot of people don’t know is that Geico is one of billionaire-investor Warren Buffett’s main sources of investable cash.

Hot Insurance Companies To Own For 2014: American International Group Inc.(AIG)

American International Group, Inc. is an international insurance organization. The company operates property and casualty insurance networks worldwide and conducts activities in the U.S. life insurance and retirement services industry. It also involves in commercial aircraft leasing and residential mortgage guaranty insurance businesses. The company, through Chartis Inc., provides various property and casualty insurance products under commercial and consumer categories worldwide. These products include surplus lines, executive liability/directors? and officers? liability, employment practices, excess casualty, and travel/assistance lines. American International Group, through SunAmerica Financial Group, offers a suite of life insurance and retirement products and services, including term life, universal life, accident and health, fixed and variable deferred annuities, fixed payout annuities, mutual funds, and financial planning products and services to individuals and grou ps in the United States. The company, through International Lease Finance Corporation, operates as an aircraft lessor that acquires commercial jet aircraft from various manufacturers and other parties, and leases those aircraft to airlines worldwide. It also sells aircraft from its fleet to other leasing companies, financial services companies, and airlines, as well as provides management services to third-party owners of aircraft portfolios. American International Group, through United Guaranty Corporation, issues residential mortgage guaranty insurance that covers mortgage lenders from the first loss for credit defaults on high loan-to-value conventional first-lien mortgages for the purchase or refinance of one- to four-family residences in the U.S. and internationally. The company was founded in 1967 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    American International Group (AIG) has made oodles of progress since its bad pre-financial-crisis bets nearly took it down. If nothing else, American International Group’s 49% annualized return during the past five years is a sign of that progress.

    Bloomberg News

    Just don’t expect more of the same, say Deutsche Bank’s Joshua Shanker and Phil Stefano who downgraded American International Group. They explain why:

    After making significant improvements in its core operations, elevated expenses continue to impose a ceiling on the profitability of [American International Group’s] the property and casualty business. Management indicates that Fuji unit integration costs will keep expenses high through 2014, which suggests that core ROE may stagnate at around 6% for the foreseeable future. While we believe cash flow will ultimately exceed core and GAAP EPS, we believe incremental buyers will need to see additional combined ratio improvement to be motivated to purchase [American International Group] stock.

    Shanker and Stefano expect shares of American International Group to remain range bound near $50 in the short-term.

    Shares of American International Group have dropped 1.7% to $49.67 at 1:19 p.m. today, while American Financial Group (AFG) has, dropped 0.2% to $57.23, HCC Insurance (HCC) is little changed at $45.12, Travelers (TRV) has dipped 0.1% to $83.52 and Chubb (CB) is off 0.1% at $86.58.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    It’s been a good day for life insurers across the board today, thanks to speculation that the Fed could get more hawkish following today’s jobs report–and higher interest rates would benefit insurers. Shares of Prudential have gained 2% to $88.47 at 2:53 p.m. today, while Metlife (MET) has risen 1.3% to $53.04 and Lincoln National (LNC) has advanced 1.6% to $52.75. American International Group (AIG) has dropped 0.2% to $51.05.

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Global insurance company AIG (AIG) raised its quarterly dividend 25% to 12.5 cents per share, payable March 25 to shareholders of record as of March 11.
    AIG Dividend Yield: 1.03%

  • [By Christina Rexrode]

    American International Group (AIG)  said late Thursday that it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter, and it announced plans to raise its dividend and buy back more of its own shares. But analysts were concerned about weakness in the property and casualty line, where the bank needs to cut costs if it wants to get consistent underwriting profits, said Sandler O’Neill analyst Paul Newsome. With no major catastrophes, like last year’s superstorm Sandy, analysts had expected more improvement in the unit’s “severe losses,” said Evercore analyst Mark Finkelstein.

Hot Insurance Companies To Own For 2014: 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.

Hot Insurance Companies To Own For 2014: Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd (AHL)

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

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

Reinsurance

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

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

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

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

Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

Advisors’ Opinion:

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

    The GuruFocus analysis for AHL shows six warning signs.

    Track historical share pricing, revenue and net income:

    [ Enlarge Image ]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here