Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015

A full service underwriter of fixed annuity and life insurance products, American Equity Investment Life Holding Company (AEL) is offering 6.625% senior unsecured notes worth $400 million with maturity scheduled on Jul 15, 2021. The company announced its intention to relaunch the notes on Jul 11, 2013. Previously, the notes were worth an aggregate amount of $250 million.

The proceeds from the issuance will be used to purchase the 5.25% contingent convertible senior notes maturing in 2029 and the 3.5% convertible notes maturing in 2015. In addition, American Equity Investment Life Holding Company also intends to use the proceeds to pay off the outstanding amounts under its existing revolving credit facility and related fees and expenses.

As of Mar 31, 2013, the debt-to-capital ratio for the company was 0.15x which was almost in line with the ratio at year end 2012. However, the current issuance of $400 million is expected to increase the debt-to-capital ratio g oing forward.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: Euler Hermes SA (ELE)

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

  • [By Sarah Jones]

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

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: Universal American Corp (UAM)

Universal American Corp., incorporated on December 22, 2010, through its health insurance and managed care subsidiaries, primarily serves the growing Medicare population by providing Medicare Advantage products. It provides a variety of healthcare services, including case management and care coordination, clinical quality and utilization review and behavioral health services to Medicaid agencies and other third parties. The Company’s business segments include Senior Managed Care, which provides Medicare Advantage segment reflects its Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS businesses, and Traditional Insurance segment reflects its insurance products not offered through government programs, which includes Medicare supplement, other senior health insurance, specialty health insurance and life insurance. The Company provides medical management services, information and analysis, and other support services to enable its health care partners to serve their patients better.

In addition , it seeks an opportunity to address the high cost of health care for the remaining 75% of the Medicare population enrolled in traditional fee-for-service Medicare and have joined primarily with primary-care and multi-specialty provider groups to form thirty-one Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs, pursuant to the Medicare Shared Saving Program, or Shared Savings Program.

On March 2, 2012, the Company acquired APS Healthcare, Inc., known as APS Healthcare. APS Healthcare provides specialty healthcare solutions primarily to Medicaid agencies. APS Healthcare offers a broad range of healthcare solutions, including case management and care coordination, clinical quality and utilization review, and behavioral health services that enable its customers to improve the quality of care and reduce healthcare costs.

Senior Managed Care – Medicare Advantage

The Company’s Senior Managed CareMedicare Advantage segment reflects its Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS bu! sinesses.. During the year ended December 31, 2012, the Company operated Medicare coordinated care plans including PPOs and HMOs as well as its network-based private fee-for-service (PFFS) and rural PFFS business, which provides coverage to Medicare beneficiaries in 36 states. These businesses provide managed care for persons with Medicare under contracts with CMS. Its HMO plans are offered under contracts with CMS and provide all basic Medicare covered benefits with reduced member cost-sharing as well as additional supplemental benefits, including a defined prescription drug benefit. It operates HMO plans are offered under contracts with CMS and provide all basic Medicare covered benefits with reduced member cost-sharing as well as additional supplemental benefits, including a defined prescription drug benefit. It also has Medicare Advantage HMO operations in locations outside of Southeastern Texas including four counties in North Texas offering TexasFirst Health Plans thro ugh SelectCare Health Plans; nine counties in Oklahoma City offering Generations Healthcare through Today’s Options of Oklahoma, Inc; and three counties in Indianapolis, Indiana offering Today’s Options HMO through SelectCare Health Plans.

The Company’s PPO plans are provided under the name Today’s Options PPO, which offered under contracts with CMS and provide all basic Medicare covered benefits with reduced member cost-sharing as well as additional supplemental benefits, including a defined prescription drug benefit. This coordinated care product is built around contracted networks of providers who, in cooperation with the health plan, coordinate an active medical management program. In 2012, the Company offered PPO plans to 41 markets in 120 counties in 17 states.

The Company’s PFFS plans are provided under the name Today’s Options, which offered under contracts with CMS and provide enhanced health care benefits compared to traditional Medic are, subject to cost sharing and other limitations. These pl! ans have l! imited provider network restrictions, which allow the members to have more flexibility in the delivery of their health care services than other Medicare Advantage plans with limited provider network restrictions. Some of these products include a defined prescription drug benefit. In addition to a fixed monthly payment per member from CMS, individuals in these plans may be required to pay a monthly premium in selected counties or for selected enhanced products. In 2012, it offered PFFS products in a total of 36 states, which included PFFS products with network restrictions to 51 markets in 280 counties in 18 states and PFFS products without network restrictions to 1,052 counties in 32 states.

Traditional Insurance

The Company’s traditional insurance segment reflects the results of its Medicare supplement, other senior health insurance, specialty health insurance, and life insurance. It designed the products in this segment primarily for the senio r market and market them through its career agency force and its network of independent general agencies. The Company discontinued marketing and selling traditional insurance products after June 1, 2012. This segment also includes other products that it stopped selling several years ago, such as long-term care, medical insurance and disability insurance, as well as previously produced or acquired term, universal life, and whole life insurance products and single and flexible premium fixed annuities.

The Company competes with United Healthcare, Humana, Wellpoint, Aetna and Cigna

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Brian Orelli]

    Health insurers such as Universal American (NYSE: UAM  ) and Humana (NYSE: HUM  ) that offer supplementary Medicare insurance could be hurt if seniors decided to drop the added coverage, but I doubt the increased premiums will put a major dent in seniors’ budgets. Retirees making more than $85,000 per year will have to pay about $250 more per year than they do right now. Any losses will be more than be made up for by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ decision this month to reverse its  previously announced cuts to reimbursement rates.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: 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]

    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%

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: Unum Group(UNM)

Unum Group, together with its subsidiaries, provides group and individual disability insurance products primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom. It also provides a portfolio of other insurance products, including employer-and employee-paid group benefits, life insurance, long-term care insurance, and related services. Its products include group long-term and short-term disability; group life and accidental death, and dismemberment; individual disability; group long-term care; voluntary benefits; group life; accident, sickness, and disability; and cancer and critical illness insurance products. The company also provides individual life and corporate-owned life insurance, reinsurance pools and management operations, group pension, health insurance, and individual annuities. Unum Group markets its products primarily to employers interested in providing benefits to their employees. The company sells its products through field sales personnel, independent brokers, consultants, and agency sales force. Unum Group was founded in 1848 and is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Specialty insurance provider Unum (NYSE: UNM  ) announced yesterday its third-quarter dividend of $0.145 per share, an 11% increase to the payout made last quarter of $0.13 per share.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Among the biggest losers in the S&P 500: Air Products and Chemicals (APD), which dropped 3.3% to $103.20 as its Bill Ackman bounce fades, Charles Schwab (SCHW), which fell 2.4% to $21.76 as it became the 165th most popular short in the S&P 500, and Unum Group (UNM), which finished off 2.3% at $29.63 after Barron’s Sandra Ward recommended investors take profits on the insurance company.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: Triad Guaranty Inc (TGICQ)

Triad Guaranty Inc., incorporated in 1993, is a holding company which, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Triad Guaranty Insurance Corporation (TGIC), is a nationwide mortgage insurer. During the year ended December 31, 2011, Collateral Mortgage, Ltd. (CHL) owns 16.8% of the common stock of TGI. The Company has historically provided Primary and Modified Pool mortgages guaranty insurance coverage on United States residential mortgage loans.

Primary insurance provides mortgage default protection to lenders on individual loans and covers a percentage of unpaid loan principal, delinquent interest and certain expenses associated with the default and subsequent foreclosure (collectively, the insured amount or claim amount). Primary insurance was written on both flow and structured bulk transactions. Flow transactions consisted of loans originated by lenders that were submitted to the Company on a loan-by-loan basis, whereas structured bulk transactions involved un derwriting and insuring a group of loans with individual coverage for each loan. Insurance on primary policies consists of 80% of the Company’s total insurance in force at December 31, 2011.

Modified Pool insurance was written only on structured bulk transactions. Policies insured as part of a Modified Pool transaction have individual coverage, but an aggregate stop-loss limit applies to the entire group of insured loans. In addition, some of the Modified Pool transactions included deductibles representing a percentage of the total risk originated under which the Company pays no claims until the losses exceed the deductible amount. Modified Pool insurance consists of 20% of the Company’s total insurance in force at December 31, 2011.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Zachary Tracer]

    Mortgage insurers PMI and Triad Guaranty Inc. (TGICQ) filed for bankruptcy after housing crashed. Old Republic International Corp. also retreated from the mortgage guaranty business.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: Tryg A/S (TRYG)

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

  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

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

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKB)

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire), incorporated on June 16, 1998, is a holding company owning subsidiaries engaged in a number of diverse business activities. The Company is engaged in the insurance businesses conducted on both a primary basis and a reinsurance basis, a freight rail transportation business and a group of utility, and energy generation and distribution businesses. Berkshire also owns and operates a number of other businesses engaged in a variety of activities. In October 2012, HomeServices acquired a 66.7% interest in the residential real estate brokerage franchise network in the United States. In May 2013, Berkshire acquired the remaining 20% stake in IMC International Metalworking Companies BV.

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 rein surance of property and casualty risks worldwide and also reinsure life, accident and health risks worldwide. The Company’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, GEICO Casualty Company, GEICO Advantage Insurance Company, GEICO Choice Insurance Company and GEICO Secure Insurance Company. These companies primarily offers private passenger automobile insurance to individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, GEICO insures motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles and small commercial fleets and acts as an agent for other insurers who offer homeowners, boat and life insurance to individuals. GEICO markets its policies primarily thro ugh direct response methods in which applications for insura! nce are submitted directly to the companies via 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, an 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/casualty 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). 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 23 countries) and through brokers (primarily through Faraday, which owns the managing agent of Syndicate 435 at Lloyd’s of London and provides capacity and participates in 100% 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 w rites 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/casualty business.

The Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group is a collection of primary insurance operations that provide a range of insurance coverages to insureds located principa lly in the United States. NICO and certain affiliates underw! rite moto! r 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 four 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 110 distinct specialty property and casualty insurance products. Medical Protective Corporation (MedPro) is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. MedPro offers products and solutions through its subsidiaries, The Medical Protective Company and Princeton Insurance Company and is a primary healthcare malpractice insurance coverage and patient safety sol utions to physicians, dentists, other healthcare providers and healthcare facilities. Other insurance operations include the Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies (BHHC), a group of six insurance companies that primarily offers standalone workers’ compensation, commercial auto and commercial property coverages.

Railroad Business

Through Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC (BNSF) Railway, BNSF operates a railroad network in North America with approximately BNSF operates a railroad network in North America with approximately 32,500 route miles of track (excluding multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings) in 28 states and two Canadian provinces as of December 31, 2012. BNSF owns approximately 23,000 route miles, including easements, and operates on approximately 9,500 route miles of trackage rights that permit BNSF to operate its trains with its crews over other railroads’ tracks. As of December 31, 2012, the total BNSF Railway system, includi ng single and multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings,! consiste! d of approximately 50,500 operated miles of track, all of which are owned by or held under easement by BNSF except for approximately 10,500 miles operated 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. 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 major cities and ports in the western and southern United States, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.

Utilities and Energy Businesses

MidAmerican’s businesses are managed as separate operating units. MidAmerican’s domestic regulated ene rgy interests are consisted of two regulated utility companies serving more than three million retail customers, 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 and a 50% interest in electric transmission businesses. Its Great Britain 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, the residential real estate brokerage firm in the United States and the residential real estate brokerage franchise network in the United States.

PacifiCorp is a regulated electric utility company, serving regulated retail electric customers in portions of Utah, Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and California. The combined service territory’s diverse regional econom y ranges from rural, agricultural and mining areas to urban,! manufact! uring and government service centers. As a vertically integrated electric utility, PacifiCorp owns approximately 10,600 net megawatts (MW) of generation capacity.

MidAmerican Energy Company (MEC) is a regulated electric and natural gas utility company, 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 urban and rural residential customers and a range of commercial and industrial customers. In addition to retail sales and natural gas transportation, MEC sells regulated electricity principally to markets operated by regional transmission organizations and regulated natural 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 7,400 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 system 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 also operates three underground natural gas storage facilities and two liquefied natural gas storage peaking units.

Kern River is based in Utah and owns an interstate natural gas pipeline system that consists of approximately 1,700 miles and extends from 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, major oil and natural gas companies or affiliates of such companies, electricity gen erating companies, energy marketing and trading companies, a! nd financ! ial institutions. The Great Britain utilities consist of Northern Powergrid (Northeast) Limited (Northern Powergrid (Northeast)) and Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire) plc (Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire)), which own a substantial Great Britain 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 offers integrated real estate services, including mortgage originations and mortgage banking primarily through joint ventures, title and closing services, property and casualty insurance, home warranties, relocation services and other home-related services. It operates under 27 residential real estate brand names with ove r 16,000 sales agents and in nearly 375 brokerage offices in 21 states.

Manufacturing, Service and Retailing Businesses

Berkshire’s numerous and diverse manufacturing, service and retailing businesses. Marmon Holdings, Inc. (Marmon) consists of approximately 140 manufacturing and service businesses that operate independently within 11 diverse business sectors. These sectors are distribution services, electrical and plumbing products, industrial products, crane services, engineered wire and cable, transportation services and engineered products, food service equipment, highway technologies, retail home improvement products, retail store fixtures, and water treatment.

Distribution Services supplies specialty metal pipe and tubing, bar and sheet products to markets, including construction, industrial, aerospace and many others. Electrical and Plumbing Products is engaged in the distribution, supplying electrical building wire primarily for res idential and commercial construction, and copper tube for th! e plumbin! g, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration and industrial markets, through the wholesale channel. Industrial Products consists of metal fasteners and fastener coatings for the construction, 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 aluminum and brass forgings for the construction, energy, recreation 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.

Crane Services is engaged in providing the leasing and operation of mobile cranes primarily to the energy, mining and petrochemical markets. Engineered Wire and Cable is engaged in supplying electrical and electronic wire and cable for energy related markets and other industr ies. Transportation Services and Engineered Products includes manufacturing, leasing and maintenance of railroad tank cars, leasing of intermodal tank containers, in-plant rail services, 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.

Food Service Equipment is engaged in supplying commercial food preparation equipment for restaurants and shopping carts for retail stores. Highway Technologies primarily serve the heavy-duty highway transportation industry with trailers, fifth wheel coupling devices and undercarriage products, such as brake parts and suspension systems, and also serving the light vehicle aftermarket with clutches and related products. Retail Home Improvement Products is engaged in supplying electrical and plumbing products through the home center channel. Retail Stor e Fixtures provides shelving systems, other merchandising di! splays an! d related services for retail stores, as well as work and garden gloves sold at retail. Water Treatment includes 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.

McLane Company, Inc. (McLane) provides wholesale distribution and logistics services in all 50 states and internationally in Brazil to customers that include convenience stores, discount retailers, wholesale clubs, drug stores, military bases, quick service restaurants and casual dining restaurants. Operations include 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 19,000 chain restaurants nationwide.

Other Manufacturing, Other Service and Retailing Businesses

Berkshire’s apparel manufacturing businesses include manufacturers of a range 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 Sports. Fruit, Russell and VFB (together FOL) is primarily a vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor of basic apparel, underwear and athletic apparel and products. Products, under the Fruit of the Loom and JERZEES labels are primarily sold in the mass merchandise and wholesale markets. In the VFB product line, Vassarette, Bestform and Curvation ar e sold in the mass merchandise market, while Vanity Fair and! Lily of ! France products 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 Athletic and Spalding brands. Additionally, Spalding markets and sells balls in the mass merchandise market and dollar store channels.

Garan designs, manufactures, imports and sells apparel primarily for children, including boys, girls, toddlers and infants. Products are sold under its own trademark Garanimals and private labels of its customers. Garan also licenses its registered trademark Garanimals to independent third parties. Garan conducts its business through operating subsidiaries located in the United States, Central America and Asia. Fechheimer Brothers manufactures, distributes and sells uniforms, princi pally 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 western-style footwear under a number of brand names, including Justin, Tony Lama, Nocona, Chippewa, Carolina, Sofft, Double-H Boots, Eurosoft, and Softspots. Acme Building Brands (Acme) manufactures and distributes clay bricks (Acme Brick and Jenkins Brick), concrete block (Featherlite) and cut limestone (Texas Quarries). In addition, Acme distributes a range of other building products of other manufacturers, including glass block, floor and wall tile, wood flooring 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. Benjamin Moore & Co. (Benjamin Moore) is a formulator, manufacturer and retai ler of a range of architectural coatings, available principa! lly in th! e 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, Super Spec, MoorGard, Aura, Nattura, ben, Coronado, Insl-x and Lenmar.

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 insulation, filtration, waterproofing, building, flooring, interiors and wind energy. The Shaw Industries Group, Inc. (Shaw) is a carpet manufacturer based on both revenue and volume of production. 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. Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is a manufacturer of recreational vehicles, utility, cargo and office trailers, buses and pontoon boats. Albecca Inc. (Albecca) does business primarily under the Larson-Juhl name. Albecca designs, manufactures and distributes a range of products, including wood and metal molding, matboard, foamboard, glass, equipment and other framing supplies in the United States, Canada and 15 countries outside of North America.

FlightSafety International Inc. (FSI) is engaged in professional aviation training services to individuals, businesses (including certain commercial aviation companies) and the United States. Government. FSI primarily provides training to pilots, aircraft maint enance technicians, flight attendants and dispatchers who op! erate and! support a range of business, commercial and military aircraft. NetJets Inc. (NJ) is a provider of fractional ownership programs for general aviation aircraft. TTI, Inc. (TTI) is a specialty distributor of passive, interconnect, electromechanical and discrete components used by customers in the manufacturing and assembling of electronic products. TTI’s customer base includes original equipment manufacturers, electronic manufacturing services, original design manufacturers, military and commercial customers, as well as design and system engineers. TTI services a range of industries, including telecommunications, medical devices, computers and office equipment, aerospace, automotive and consumer electronics.

Finance and Financial Products

The Company’s finance and financial products businesses include manufactured housing and finance (Clayton Homes), transportation equipment leasing (XTRA), furniture leasing (CORT), as well as various miscellaneou s financing activities. Clayton Homes, Inc. (Clayton) is a vertically integrated manufactured housing company. As of December 31, 2012, Clayton operated 34 manufacturing plants in 12 states. Clayton’s homes are marketed in 48 states through a network of 1,441 retailers, including 323 company-owned home centers. XTRA is a transportation equipment lessor operating under the XTRA Lease brand name. XTRA manages a diverse fleet of approximately 82,000 units located at 58 facilities throughout the United States and two facilities in Canada. The fleet includes over-the-road and storage trailers, chassis, temperature controlled vans and flatbed trailers. CORT Business Services Corporation is a provider of rental relocation services, including rental furniture, accessories and related services in the rent-to-rent segment of the furniture rental industry.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Stocks moving in the Premarket included:

    Boeing(NYSE: BA) lost 1.98 percent in premarket trade after falling 0.25 percent on Friday. Alcoa(NYSE: AA) fell 1.32 percent in premarket trade after gaining 3.58 percent last week. Perrigo Company PLC (NYSE: PRGO) gained 0.36 percent in premarket trade after rising 0.36 percent on Friday. Berkshire HathawayInc (NASDAQ: BRKB) gained 0.27 percent in premarket trade after increasing 5.95 percent last week.

    Earnings

  • [By WALLSTCHEATSHEET]

    Berkshire Hathaway is an investment manager with a variety of investments in a number of industries. It is being reported that the company made significant gains from investments during the Financial Crisis. The stock has been flying higher in recent years and is now consolidating near all time high prices. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenues have been rising. Relative to its peers and sector, Berkshire Hathaway  has been an average year-to-date performer. Look for Berkshire Hathaway to OUTPERFORM.

  • [By Tiernan Ray]

    Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) this afternoon reported Q2 operating earnings per Class-A share of $2,384, up 6% from the year-earlier period, and topping a consensus for $2,163 according to FactSet.

    The company’s book value per share rose 7.6% from the beginning of the year to $122,900.

    The company saw a $322 million gain on investments, better than the prior-year’s $81 million gain, and a $300 million gain on derivatives, versus a year-earlier $693 million loss.

    Total revenue for the company from all its holdings was up 16% at $44.69 billion.

    Total assets rose to $446.56 billion from $427.45 billion a year earlier.

    The full federal filing for the quarter is available on the company’s Web site.

    In the filing, Warren Buffett and his team outlined gains in the underwriting business, railroads, and energy, with a “mixed” bag of results for manufacturing, services and retail:

    Our insurance businesses generated significant underwriting gains in the first six months of 2013 and 2012. Our railroad and utilities and energy businesses continued to generate significant earnings in 2013. Earnings from our manufacturing, service and retailing businesses in 2013 were mixed, but as indicated in the table above earnings from these businesses increased about 4.8% during the second quarter and 7.4% during the first six months […] Premiums written [by Geico] in the second quarter and first six months of 2013 were $4,548 million and $9,389 million, respectively, representing increases of 11.7% and 11.5%, respectively, compared to the corresponding 2012 periods. Premiums earned in the second quarter and first six months of 2013 increased $465 million (11.3%) and $848 million (10.4%), respectively, compared to premiums earned in the corresponding 2012 periods. The growth in premiums earned for voluntary auto was 10.4%, reflecting an increase in policies-in-fo rce of 8.2% over the past year, and to a lesser d

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: Mapfre SA (MAP)

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

  • [By Ruth David]

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

  • [By Tom Stoukas]

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

    Centrica Slides

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

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: Reinsurance Group of America Inc (RGA)

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

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

!

United States Operations

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

Canada Operations

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

Europe & South Africa Operations

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

Asia Pacific Operations

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

Corporate and Other

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

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

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

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

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

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

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

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

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: CNO Financial Group Inc. (CNO)

CNO Financial Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the development, marketing, and administration of health insurance, annuity, individual life insurance, and other insurance products for senior and middle-income markets in the United States. The company markets and distributes Medicare supplement insurance, interest-sensitive and traditional life insurance, fixed annuities, and long-term care insurance products; Medicare advantage plans through a distribution arrangement with Humana Inc.; and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans through a distribution and reinsurance arrangement with Coventry Health Care. It also markets and distributes supplemental health, including specified disease, accident, and hospital indemnity insurance products; and life insurance to middle-income consumers at home and the worksite through independent marketing organizations and insurance agencies. In addition, the company markets primarily graded benefit and simplified issue life insurance products directly to customers through television advertising, direct mail, Internet, and telemarketing. It sells its products through career agents, independent producers, direct marketing, and sales managers. CNO Financial Group, Inc. has strategic alliances with Coventry and Humana. The company was formerly known as Conseco, Inc. and changed its name to CNO Financial Group, Inc. in May 2010. CNO Financial Group, Inc. was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    Up first is CNO Financial Group (CNO), a mid-cap financial stock that’s rocketed close to 60% higher since the calendar flipped over to January. Yup, it’s been a great year for the market, but it’s been a far better one for investors who own CNO. But that strong performance isn’t showing any signs of slowing yet. In fact, CNO looks primed for even more upside in the fourth quarter.

    That’s because CNO is currently forming a bullish pattern called an ascending triangle. The ascending triangle pattern is formed by a horizontal resistance level above shares — in this case at $14.75 — and uptrending support to the downside. Basically, as CNO bounces in between those two technical price levels, it’s getting squeezed closer and closer to a breakout above that $14.75 resistance level. When that breakout happens, it’s time to become a buyer.

    ACCO’s price action isn’t exactly textbook. After all, the pattern is coming in at the bottom of a downtrend, not after an uptrend. But ultimately, that doesn’t change the trading implications of a move through that $7.50 level.

    Whenever you’re looking at any technical price pattern, it’s critical to think in terms of those buyers and sellers. Ascending 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 $7.50 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.

    Don’t be early on this trade.

  • [By Vanin Aegea]

    I have heard many people comment about the insurance policies for cars, houses, life, assets, etc. The arguments always revolve around the same issue: Is it really necessary? What are the chances to be hit by a Hurricane, or to meet a sudden death? Well, nobody really knows. Some individuals however, sleep better when they know a policy backs their life investments. Here, I will look into three insurance companies that concentrate on different policies, or geographies. These are: China Life (LFC), and Conseco (CNO).

  • [By David Fried, Editor, The Buyback Letter]

    Insurance holding company CNO Financial Group (CNO) and its insurance subsidiaries—principally Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Washington National, and Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company—serve pre-retiree and retired Americans.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: Employers Holdings Inc (EIG)

Employers Holdings, Inc. (EHI), incorporated on March 9, 2005, is a holding company. The Company is a provider of workers compensation insurance focused on select small businesses in low to medium hazard industries. It employs a disciplined, conservative underwriting approach designed to individually select specific types of businesses, predominantly those in the lowest four of the seven workers’ compensation insurance industry defined hazard groups, that it believe will have fewer and less costly claims relative to other businesses in the same hazard groups. Workers’ compensation is provided for under a statutory system wherein employers are required to provide coverage for their employees’ medical, disability, vocational rehabilitation, and/or death benefit costs for work-related injuries or illnesses. It operates as a single reportable segment and conduct operations in 31 states and the District of Columbia, with a concentration in California, where over one-half of its business is generated.

Workers’ compensation provides insurance coverage for the statutorily prescribed benefits that employers are required to provide to their employees who may be injured or suffer illness in the course of employment. The level of benefits varies by state, the nature and severity of the injury or disease, and the wages of the injured worker. Each state has a statutory, regulatory, and adjudicatory system that sets the amount of wage replacement to be paid, determines the level of medical care required to be provided, establishes the degree of permanent impairment, and specifies the options in selecting healthcare providers. These state laws generally require two types of benefits for injured employees: medical benefits, including expenses related to the diagnosis and treatment of an injury, disease, or both, as well as any required rehabilitation and (indemnity payments, which consists of temporary wage replacement, permanent disability payme nts, and death benefits to surviving family members.

Disciplined Underwriting

The Company focuses on disciplined underwriting and continues to pursue profitable growth opportunities across market cycles. It carefully monitor market trends to assess new business opportunities that it expects will meet its pricing and risk standards. It prices its policies based on the specific risks associated with each potential insured rather than solely on the industry class in which a potential insured is classified. Its disciplined underwriting approach is a critical element of its culture and its believe that it has allowed them to offer competitive prices, diversify its risks, and out-perform the industry.

It executes its underwriting processes through automated systems and experienced underwriters with specific knowledge of local markets. It has developed automated underwriting templates for specific classes of business that produce faster quotes when certain underwriting criteria are met. Its underwritin g guidelines consider many factors, such as type of business, nature of operations, and risk exposures, and are designed to minimize or prevent underwriting of certain undesirable classes of business.

Loss Control

Its loss control professionals provide consultation to policyholders to assist them in preventing losses and containing costs once claims occur. They also assist its underwriting personnel in evaluating potential and current policyholders and are an important part of its underwriting discipline.

Premium Audit

It conducts premium audits on substantially all of its policyholders annually upon the policy expiration. Premium audits allow them to comply with applicable state and reporting bureau requirements and to verify that policyholders have accurately reported their payroll and employee job classifications. It also selectively perform interim audits on certain classes of business or if unusual claims are filed or concerns are raised regarding projected annual payrolls, whi! ch could ! result in substantial variances at final audit.

Claims and Medical Case Management

The role of its claims department is to actively and efficiently investigate, evaluate, and pay claims, and to aid injured workers in returning to work in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. It has implemented rigorous claims guidelines and control procedures in its claims units and have claims operations throughout the markets it serves. It also provides medical case management services for those claims that it determines will benefit from such involvement. utilize medical provider networks affiliated with Anthem Blue Cross of California (Anthem) and Coventry Health Care, Inc. and make every appropriate effort to direct injured workers into these networks for medical treatments.

In addition to its medical networks, it work closely with local vendors, including attorneys, medical professionals, and investigators, to bring local to its report ed claims. It pays special attention to reducing costs and have established discounting arrangements with the aforementioned service providers. It uses preferred provider organizations, bill review services, and utilization management to closely monitor medical costs. It actively pursues fraud and subrogation recoveries to mitigate claims costs. Subrogation rights are based upon state and federal laws, as well as the insurance policies it issues. Its fraud and subrogation efforts are handled through dedicated units.

The Company competes with The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., Travelers Insurance Group Holdings, Inc., Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., and Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Employers Holdings (EIG) is a provider of worker’s compensation insurance focused on select small businesses engaged in low to medium hazard industries. This stock closed up 2.9% at $28.48 in Thursday’s trading session.

    Thursday’s Volume: 252,000

    Three-Month Average Volume: 119,789

    Volume % Change: 75%

    From a technical perspective, EIG jumped notably higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $26.48 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last five months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $21.03 to its recent high of $29.12. During that move, shares of EIG have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of EIG within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if EIG manages to take out its 52-week high at $29.18 with high volume.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in EIG as long as it’s trending above Thursday’s low of $27.65 or above its 50-day at $26.48 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high at $29.18 with volume that’s near or above 119,789 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then EIG will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $33 to $35.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: HCI Group Inc (HCI)

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

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

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

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

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

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

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

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

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy 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 Adam J. Wiederman]

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

  • [By Rich Duprey]

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

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2015: 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:

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    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