Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015

The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) and the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) just recorded their best weekly performances of the year. The S&P 500 is now up 11.4% on the year.

Not surprisingly, then, the VIX (VOLATILITYINDICES: ^VIX  ) , Wall Street’s fear gauge, plumbed its lowest level since March 15 on Friday, even dipping below 12 on an intraday basis. (The VIX is calculated from S&P 500 option prices and reflects investor expectations for stock market volatility over the coming 30 days.)

The earnings drum is beating
As I’ve argued several times in this column, the rally that began off last year’s June low is being driven by valuation, rather than earnings, with the market willing to pay a higher multiple for a dollar of earnings, as investor risk aversion continues to dissipate. There are good reasons for this — to a certain extent — as fears of global macro dislocations have receded. However, I think it’s worth sounding a few words of caution.

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: Manulife Financial Corp (MFC)

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC) is a Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. The Company’s segments are Asia, Canadian and U.S. Divisions and the Corporate and Other segment. The Company’s international network agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to clients. It also provides asset management services to institutional customers. In January 2013, the Company acquired Benesure Canada Inc. In August 2013, John Hancock, the United States division of the Company, announced that it has acquired Landmark Square in Long Beach, California. In December 2013, MFC announced its subsidiary, Manulife (International) Limited, had completed the transaction to sell its life insurance business in Taiwan to CTBC Life Insurance Co., Ltd. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Patricio Kehoe] est Canadian life insurer by market capitalization, offering asset management, wealth management and financial services to customers in Asia, Canada and the U.S. However, the company’s annuity and segregated fund business has suffered over the past two years, due to the low interest rate environment, leading to a decline in earnings and operating results. Nonetheless, the firm has been undergoing some changes throughout 2013 and management expects profitability to increase for fiscal 2014, despite its underperformance during fourth quarter fiscal 2013. Thus, many investment gurus like George Soros (Trades, Portfolio) and Jim Simons’ (Trades, Portfolio) hedge fund remain bullish about Manulife’s future outlook, evidenced by their shares purchased in the past quarter.

    Of Hedging and Repricing

    Manulife’s capital sensitivity and volatile earnings have made it difficult for the company to maintain steady growth prospects in the past, but quarter four’s earnings report showed improvements in some aspects, especially regarding EPS growth, which jumped 73% year over year, closing at $1.62 per share. This is largely due to the company’s recent strategy of hedging two-thirds of its variable annuity business, and looking forward all newly written businesses in this segment will be hedged. Furthermore, the firm has been gradually trading most of its short-term bonds for long-term bonds, which will improve the bond duration of its investment portfolio, thereby reducing earning sensitivity. While insurance sales were weak for 2013, declining 13% from 2012 and 32% year over year for the quarter, Manulife’s shift towards expanding its wealth management business (wealth sales increased 37% over the past fiscal year) and mutual fund sales should help offset declines in t he future.

    In fact, today the company announced that it will be launching a new universal life product for the Canadian market called Manulife UL by May 26 of this year. The new

  • [By Eric Lam]

    Air Canada, the nation’s largest airline, surged 7.2 percent after reducing costs. Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC), Canada’s largest insurer, increased 2.6 percent for a fourth day of gains. Trilogy Energy Corp. plunged 9.8 percent after reporting a loss as sales declined. Detour Gold Corp. plunged 18 percent after saying it will not meet its 2013 production targets. Centerra Gold Inc. and HudBay Minerals Inc. sank at least 3.7 percent as gold dropped to a three-week low in New York.

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    Manulife Financial (MFC) is another stock that’s forming an ascending triangle pattern right now. In the case of this $33 billion Canadian financial services firm, resistance comes into play at $18, a price level that’s acted as a ceiling for shares since all the way back in July. The buy signal comes on a move through that $18 barrier.

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

    That $18 resistance level is a price where there has been an excess of supply of shares; in other words, it’s a place where sellers have been more eager to step in and take gains than buyers have been to buy. That’s what makes a breakout above it so significant — the move means that buyers are finally strong enough to absorb all of the excess supply above that price level.

    After it happens, I’d recommend keeping a protective stop at $16.50.

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: RSA Insurance Group PLC (RSA)

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

  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

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

  • [By Sarah Jones]

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

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: Cigna Corp (CI)

Cigna Corporation (Cigna), incorporated on November 3, 1981, is a holding company. Cigna is a global health service company, with insurance subsidiaries that are providers of medical, dental, disability, life and accident insurance and related products and services. In the United States, these products and services are offered through employers and other groups, and in selected international markets, Cigna offers supplemental health, life and accident insurance products and international health care coverage and services to businesses, governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals. The Company also has certain run-off operations, including a Run-off Reinsurance segment. Cigna’s revenues are derived from premiums, fees, mail order pharmacy, other revenues and investment income. Cigna operates in five segments: Health Care, Disability and Life, International, Run-off Reinsurance, and Other Operations, including Corporate-owned Life Insurance. On January 3 1, 2012, Cigna acquired HealthSpring, Inc. On November 30, 2011, the Company acquired FirstAssist Group Holdings Limited. In August 2012, the Company acquired Great American Supplemental Benefits from American Financial Group, Inc. In January 2013, the Company acquired select Arcadian and Humana Medicare Advantage plans in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. In September 2013, Cigna Corporation completed its acquisition of Alegis Care, a portfolio company of Triton Pacific Capital Partners. Effective September 3, 2013, Cigna Corp acquired Home Physicians Management LLC.

Health Care

Cigna’s Health Care segment (Cigna HealthCare) offers insured and self-insured medical, dental, behavioral health, vision, and prescription drug benefit plans, health advocacy programs and other products and services that may be integrated to provide health care benefit programs. Cigna HealthCare companies offer these products and services in all 50 states, the District of Co lumbia and the United States Virgin Islands. Cigna offers a ! range of products and services to employers and other groups that sponsor group health plans. With the exception of Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Medicare, Voluntary and stop loss products, each of Cigna HealthCare’s products is offered with alternative funding options. Cigna may sell multiple products under the same funding arrangement to the same employer. Approximately 85% of the Company’s medical customers are enrolled in self-insured plans, with the remainder split between guaranteed cost and experience-rated insured plans. Approximately 90% of its medical customers are enrolled in self-insured and experience-rated plans. Cigna also offers guaranteed cost medical and dental insurance to individuals. Cigna HealthCare offers a product line of indemnity managed care benefit plans on an insured (guaranteed cost or experience-rated) or self-insured basis. The Network, Network Open Access, and Open Access Plus In-Network products cover only those services provide d by Cigna HealthCare participating health care professionals (in-network) and emergency services provided by non-participating health care professionals (out-of-network). The Network point of service (POS), Network POS Open Access and Open Access Plus plans (OAP) cover health care services provided by participating, and non-participating health care professionals.

Cigna HealthCare offers a Preferred Provider Plans (PPO) product line that features a national network. Like Network and Open Access Plus Plans, the PPO product line is offered on an insured (guaranteed cost or experience-rated) or self-insured basis. Cigna HealthCare offers the Cigna Choice Fund suite of products, including Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). Cigna HealthCare offers stop loss insurance coverage for self-insured plans. This stop loss coverage reimburses the plan for claims in excess of a predetermined amount, either for individuals (specific) or the entire group (aggregate), ! or both. ! Cigna HealthCare provides Taft-Hartley trusts and other entities access to its national provider network and provides claim re-pricing and other services. Cigna HealthCare’s voluntary medical products are offered to employers with 51 or more eligible employees. As a result of the acquisition of HealthSpring, Cigna operates Medicare Advantage coordinated care plans in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Under the Medicare program, Medicare-eligible beneficiaries may receive health care benefits, including prescription drugs, through a managed care health plan, such as the Company’s coordinated care plans, and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reimburse the Company pursuant to a risk adjustment payment methodology.

Cigna’s Medicare Part D prescription drug program, Cigna Medicare Rx, provides a number of plan options, as well as service and information support to Medicare and Medicaid eligible customers. Cigna Medicare Rx is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Cigna HealthCare offers medical management, disease management, and other health advocacy services to employers and other plan sponsors. These services are offered to customers covered under Cigna HealthCare administered plans, as well as individuals covered under plans insured and/or administered by competing insurers/third-party administrators. Cigna’s onsite services include more than 75 health centers and the annual administration of more than 400,000 biometric screenings, as well as approximately 2,200 wellness seminars each year. As a result of the acquisition of HealthSpring, Cigna operates three LivingWell Health Centers, where Medicare customers can receive care from physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, and nurses educators. Cigna arranges for behavioral health care services for customers through its network of participating behavioral health care professionals. Cigna offers behavioral health care case mana gement services, employee assistance programs (EAP), and wor! k/life pr! ograms to employers, Government entities and other groups sponsoring health benefit plans. As of December 31, 2011, Cigna’s behavioral national network had approximately 108,000 access points to psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers and approximately 9,000 facilities and clinics.

Cigna Pharmacy Management offers prescription drug plans to its insured and self-funded customers both in conjunction with its medical products and on a stand-alone basis. With a network of over 62,000 contracted pharmacies, Cigna Pharmacy Management is a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) offering clinical integration programs, specialty pharmacy solutions and home delivery of prescription medicines. Cigna’s specialty pharmacy outcome management program, TheraCare, manages specialty conditions. TheraCare is coordinated with other Cigna health advocacy programs and all data is captured for analysis and reporting. Cigna Dental Health offers a variety of dental care p roducts, including dental health maintenance organization plans (Dental HMO), dental preferred provider organization (DPPO) plans, dental exclusive provider organization plans, traditional dental indemnity plans and a dental discount program. As of December 31, 2011, Cigna Dental Health customers totaled approximately 10.9 million. Managed dental care products are offered in 38 states for Dental HMO and 43 states and the District of Columbia for Dental PPO through a network of independent health care professionals that have contracted with Cigna Dental Health to provide dental services. Cigna Dental Health customers access care from the dental PPO network in the United States and one of the dental HMO networks in the United States, with approximately 235,500 DPPO-contracted access points (approximately 92,000 health care professionals) and approximately 58,000 dental HMO-contracted access points (approximately 16,500 health care professionals).

Disability and L ife

Cigna’s Disability and Life segment (Cign! a Disabil! ity and Life) provides insurance products and their related services, such as group long-term and short-term disability insurance, group life insurance and accident and specialty insurance. These products and services are provided by subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation. Cigna Disability and Life markets products in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands and Canada. Cigna Disability and Life also provides assistance to employees in returning to work and assistance to their employers in managing the cost of employee disability. Cigna Disability and Life offers personal accident insurance coverage, which consists primarily of accidental death and dismemberment and travel accident insurance to employers. Group accident insurance may be employer-paid or employee-paid. Cigna Disability and Life also offers specialty insurance services that consist primarily of disability and life, accident, and hospital indemnity products to profession al or trade associations and financial institutions.

International

CIGNA’s International segment (CIGNA International) offers supplemental health, life and accident insurance products, as well as international health care products and services. These products and services are provided by subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including foreign operating entities. Cigna International provides employers, affinity groups and individuals with local and global health care and related financial protection programs. Supplemental health products provide a specified payment for a range of health risks and include personal accident, accidental death, critical illness, hospitalization, travel, dental, cancer and other dread disease coverages. Term life, as well as variable universal life insurance and other savings products are also included in the product portfolio. Cigna International’s supplemental health, life and accident insurance products are offered i n South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the European Un! ion, Chin! a, New Zealand, Thailand and Turkey. In China, Cigna International owns a 50% interest in a joint venture through, which its products and services are offered. Cigna International’s health care businesses primarily consist of products and services to meet the needs of local and multinational companies and organizations and their local and globally mobile employees and dependents. These products and services include insurance and administrative services for medical, dental, vision, life, accidental death and dismemberment, and disability risks. In addition, Cigna International’s health care businesses include products and services, which are primarily provided through group benefits programs to employees of businesses and other organizations in the United Kingdom and Spain. These products and services include medical indemnity insurance coverage, with some offerings having managed care or administrative service aspects.

Run-off Reinsurance

Cigna ’s reinsurance segment reinsured guaranteed minimum death benefits (GMDB) (also known as variable annuity death benefits (VADBe)), under certain variable annuities issued by other insurance companies. These variable annuities are investments in mutual funds combined with a death benefit. The Company purchased retrocessional protection that covers approximately 5% of the assumed risks. The Company also maintains a dynamic hedge program. Cigna also reinsured guaranteed minimum income benefits (GMIB) under certain variable annuities issued by other insurance companies. These variable annuities are investments in mutual funds combined with minimum income and death benefits. These products under Cigna’s Run-off Reinsurance segment were sold principally in North America and Europe through a sales force and through intermediaries.

Other Operations

The principal products of the Corporate-owned Life Insurance (COLI) business are permanent insurance cont racts sold to corporations to provide coverage on the lives ! of certai! n employees for the purpose of funding employer-paid future benefit obligations. The principal services provided by the COLI business are issuance and administration of the insurance policies. COLI policies provide a death benefit for which Cigna collects fees to cover mortality risk. COLI policies also allow policy owners to borrow against a portion of their cash surrender value.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Susan J. Aluise]

    What’s worse: HHS is eying far tougher regulations next year against health plans with narrow provider networks. That means healthcare stocks like Humana (HUM), Cigna (CI), Aetna (AET) and WellPoint (WLP), which have gained more than 50% in the past year, could face headwinds as they try to expand provider networks while keeping premiums low.

  • [By Anora Mahmudova]

    Cigna Corp. (CI)  shares gained 3.3% after steep losses recently. The stock is down over 8% year to date.

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: Genworth Financial Inc (GNW)

Genworth Financial, Inc., a financial security company, provides insurance, wealth management, investment, and financial solutions in the United States and internationally. The company offers various insurance and fixed annuity products, including life and long-term care insurance products; payment protection insurance products for consumers primarily to meet specified payment obligations; and wealth management products, such as managed account programs with advisor support and financial planning services. It also provides mortgage insurance products and related services to insure prime-based, individually underwritten residential mortgage loans or flow mortgage insurance; and mortgage insurance on a structured or bulk basis, as well as offers services, analytical tools, and technology that enable lenders to operate and manage risk. In addition, the company provides institutional products consisting of funding agreements, funding agreements backing notes, and guaranteed in vestment contracts. Genworth Financial, Inc. distributes its products and services through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors, affinity groups, and sales specialists. The company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Henry Lee] Recent Posts: There’s Plenty to Like In Value Stocks Like Genworth (GNW) Apple’s Next Big Thing? Forget About It View All Posts

    If the recent volatility in the market has you feeling uneasy, you’re not alone. That feeling in your gut means something. Listen to it.

  • [By Mani]

    [Related -Genworth Financial (GNW): This Hot Financial Stock Still Has 70% Upside]

    The company could get additional capital in the following ways, which may be used for dividends and share repurchases.

  • [By Sue Chang and Saumya Vaishampayan]

    Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW)  shares added 4%. The insurer on Wednesday said it plans to expand and restructure its sales team this year to better work with mortgage originators.

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: Aflac Incorporated(AFL)

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

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dan Burrows]

    Stocks to Sell: Aflac (AFL)

    Click to Enlarge Source: Source: Charts courtesy of YCharts

    The Aflac (AFL) duck would probably cough up a hairball if it knew how bad June was shaping up to be for AFL stock. Shares in the supplemental insurance company have lost more than 8% so far this year, and the technicals say there’s more pain to come.

  • [By John Kell]

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

  • [By Daniela Pylypczak]

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

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

    CEO Commentary

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

    AFL’s Dividend

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

    Stock Performance 

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

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: AmTrust Financial Services Inc (AFSI)

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

Small Commercial Business

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

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

Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty

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

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

Specialty Program

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

Personal Lines Reinsurance

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

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By , Zacks Investment Research]

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

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

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

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

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

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: 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 Heather Long]

    Four of his picks — LinkedIn (LNKD, Tech30), 3D Systems (DDD), Fidelity National (FNF) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) — did extremely well. Then there was Lululemon (LULU) — the yoga apparel retailer whose shares sank more than 20%.

  • [By WWW.DAILYFINANCE.COM]

    Getty Images One of the joys we have as parents is teaching our three kids about money. With the oldest being just 6, a big part of that revolves around her piggy bank. Whenever she gets a small amount of money, it goes in there, and we talk with her about the importance of saving, giving, and having some to spend on things she wants, which is usually along the lines of a gumball. With a piggy bank, you put money in and take it out. It’s a fairly simple tool, and it’s great for what it’s used for. A 401(k), on the other hand, is a great tool to save for retirement. But increasingly, 401(k)s are being used as something they aren’t -– piggy banks. Startling Statistics Recent studies show that Americans are increasingly pilfering from their 401(k) accounts. With the economy being the way it has been since the financial crisis, that’s understandable on one level, but the choice can put your retirement plans on a slippery slope. According to the IRS, $57 billion was withdrawn prematurely from 401(k) accounts in 2011 — up 37 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2003. You could argue that if a person needed the money to survive, then an early withdrawal from a 401(k), even with the tax penalty, is better than other options. That would be right — to a point. The most disconcerting number, in my opinion, is that younger individuals are withdrawing the most. According to a Fidelity (FNF) study, nearly 40 percent of workers between 20 and 39 are cashing out their 401(k) plans when they change jobs. There could be many reasons for this, but the Fidelity study points out that many don’t see the need to roll over their old 401(k)s when the amount being considered is “only” several thousand dollars or a little more. Add that to those people who take out 401(k) loans to fund such things as real estate purchases, and it paints a worrisome picture. The Real Purpose of a 401(k) To a degree that it hasn’t for decades, the burden of retirement planning now fall

  • [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

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (MMC)

Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., a professional services company, provides advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy, and human capital. It operates in two segments, Risk and Insurance Services, and Consulting. The Risk and Insurance Services segment provides risk management and insurance broking, reinsurance broking, and insurance program management services for businesses, public entities, insurance companies, associations, professional services organizations, and private clients. The Consulting segment offers advice and services to the managements of organizations in the area of human resource consulting, comprising retirement and investments, health and benefits, outsourcing and talent; and strategy and risk management consulting, such as management, economic, and brand consulting. The company also provides investment consulting services for endowments and foundations in the United States; health and benefit recordkeeping, and employee enrollment technology; human resource knowledge, data, and solutions for professionals in various industries; and Medicaid policy consulting services. It principally serves customers in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Asia Pacific, and Continental Europe. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. was founded in 1871 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Christina Rexrode]

    Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc. (MMC) and MetLife Inc. (MET) have been rising since those companies reported earnings earlier this week.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Progressive (PGR) was downgraded from Strong Buy to Market Perform at Raymond James, while Marsh & McLennan (MMC) was cut to Outperform from Strong Buy.

  • [By Keith Speights]

    Flourishing
    While the federal Obamacare exchanges flail, private health insurance exchanges are flourishing. For example, Mercer, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC  ) , announced in April that several large insurers — including Aetna, Cigna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare — would be part of its Mercer Marketplace private exchange. Mercer Marketplace allows employers to contribute a defined amount for its employees to use on health coverage. Employees use the system to shop around for the insurance plans that best meet their needs.

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: ACE Ltd (ACE)

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

Insurance-North American

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

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

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

Insurance-Overseas General

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

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

Global Reinsurance

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

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

Life

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

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

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By gurujx]

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

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

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

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

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Watch For 2015: United Insurance Holdings Corp (UIHC)

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

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

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

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By , Zacks Investment Research]

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

  • [By Louis Navellier]

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