Top Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now

Here at The Motley Fool, I’ve long cautioned investors to keep a close eye on inventory levels. It’s a part of my standard diligence when searching for the market’s best stocks. I think a quarterly checkup can help you spot potential problems. For many companies, products that sit on the shelves too long can become big trouble. Stale inventory may be sold for lower prices, hurting profitability. In extreme cases, it may be written off completely and sent to the shredder.

Basic guidelines
In this series, I examine inventory using a simple rule of thumb: Inventory increases ought to roughly parallel revenue increases. If inventory bloats more quickly than sales grow, this might be a sign that expected sales haven’t materialized. Is the current inventory situation at Buckeye Technologies (NYSE: BKI  ) out of line? To figure that out, start by comparing the company’s inventory growth to sales growth. How is Buckeye Technologies doing by this quick checkup? At first glance, OK, it seems. Trailing-12-month revenue decreased 8.8%, and inventory decreased 5.5%. Comparing the latest quarter to the prior-year quarter, the story looks decent. Revenue dropped 9.9%, and inventory shrank 5.5%. Over the sequential quarterly period, the trend looks OK but not great. Revenue dropped 4.3%, and inventory dropped 0.7%.

Top Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now : 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 Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: 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 Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: Federated National Holding Co (FNHC)

Federated National Holding Company (Federated National), formerly 21st Century Holding Company, is an insurance holding company, which through its subsidiaries and its contractual relationships with its independent agents and general agents, controls all aspects of the insurance underwriting, distribution and claims processes. Federated National is authorized to underwrite homeowners’ multi-peril (homeowners), personal umbrella, commercial general liability, following form commercial excess liability, personal and commercial automobile, fire, allied lines, workers’ compensation, business personal property and commercial inland marine insurance. On January 26, 2011, Federated National merged into the Company’s other wholly owned subsidiary, American Vehicle Insurance Company (American Vehicle), with resulting entity being Federated National.

Federated National markets and distributes its own and third-party insurers’ products and its other services thro ugh a network of independent agents. The Company also utilize a select number of general agents for the same purpose. During 2010, the Company processed property and liability claims stemming from its homeowners’, commercial general liability and private passenger automobile lines of business. Through contractual relationships with a network of approximately 4,200 independent agents, of which approximately 400 sell and service its products, Federated National is authorized to underwrite homeowners’, fire, allied lines and personal automobile insurance in Florida.

American Vehicle is licensed as an admitted carrier in Florida, and underwrites commercial general liability, and personal and commercial automobile insurance. American Vehicle is also licensed as an admitted carrier in Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas, and underwrites commercial general liability insurance in those states. American Vehicle operates as a non-admitted carrier in Arkansas, Califo rnia, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South ! Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, and can underwrite commercial general liability insurance in all of these states. During 2010, 79.7%, 12.3%, 4.1% and 3.9% of the premiums the Company underwrote were for homeowners’, commercial general liability, federal flood, and personal automobile insurance, respectively. Federated National internally processes claims made by its insured through its wholly owned claims adjusting company, Superior Adjusting, Inc. (Superior). It also offers premium financing to its own and third-party insured through its wholly owned subsidiary, Federated Premium Finance, Inc. (Federated Premium).

Homeowners’ Property and Casualty Insurance

Federated National underwrites homeowners’ insurance primarily in the South, West and Central Florida regions. Homeowners’ insurance protects an owner of real and personal property against covered causes of loss to that property. The Company’s homeowner insurance products provide max imum dwelling coverage in the amount of approximately $0.8 million, with the aggregate maximum policy limit being approximately $1.5 million. Premium rates are regulated and approved by the Florida OIR.

Commercial Residential Property Insurance

The Florida OIR has granted Federated National the authority to write commercial residential property insurance under the fire line of business. This class of business affords property coverage primarily to associations with property commonly owned by the tenants of the association. Aggregate policy limits ranged between $1.0 million and $20 million. Additionally, Federated National has secured automatic facultative reinsurance for insured values up to $10 million with permission to individually submit attractive risks greater than $10 million to its reinsurers for quote and binding authority.

Commercial General Liability and Inland Marine

The Company underwrite commercial general l iability insurance for approximately 350 classes of artisan ! (excludin! g home-builders and developers) and mercantile trades (such as owners, landlords and tenants). The limits of liability range from $100,000 per occurrence with a $200,000 policy aggregate to $1 million per occurrence with a $2 million policy aggregate. The Company markets the commercial general liability insurance products through independent agents and a limited number of general agencies unaffiliated with the Company.

Personal Automobile

Personal automobile insurance markets can be divided into two categories: standard automobile and nonstandard automobile. Standard personal automobile insurance is provided to insureds who present an average risk profile in terms of driving record, vehicle type and other factors. Nonstandard personal automobile insurance is provided to insureds that are unable to obtain standard insurance coverage because of their driving record, age, vehicle type or other factors, including market conditions. During 2010, the ave rage annual premium on policies was approximately $1,325, and the nonstandard personal automobile insurance lines represented 100% of its written premiums for personal automobile insurance. Federated National underwrites new and renewal policies for this coverage on primarily an annual basis and to a much lesser extent, on a semi-annual basis. American Vehicle underwrites standard personal automobile insurance policies.

Flood

Federated National writes flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Company writes the policy for the NFIP, which assumes 100% of the flood risk while it retains a commission for its service. The average flood policy premium is approximately $570 with limits up to $250,000.

Assurance MGA

Assurance MGA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Federated National, acts as Federated National’s and American Vehicle’s exclusive managing general agent in the state of Florida and is a lso licensed as a managing general agent in the states of Al! abama, Ar! kansas, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Assurance MGA has contracted with several unaffiliated insurance companies to sell commercial general liability, workers compensation, personal umbrella and inland marine insurance through Assurance MGA’s existing network of agents. Assurance MGA earns commissions and fees for providing policy administration, marketing, accounting and analytical services, and for participating in the negotiation of reinsurance contracts. The homeowner policy provides Assurance MGA the right to cancel any policy within a period of 90 days from the policy’s inception with 25 days’ notice, or after 90 days from policy inception with 95 days’ notice, even if the risk falls within its underwriting criteria.

Superior

Superior processes claims made by insured from Federated National and American Vehicle. Its agents have no authority to settle claims or otherwise exercise control over the claims process. Federated National also employs an in-house legal department to manage claims-related litigation and to monitor its claims handling practices for compliance.

Federated Premium

Federated Premium provides premium financing to Federated National’s, American Vehicle’s and third-party’s insureds. Premium financing has been marketed through the Company’s distribution network of general agents and independent agents. Premiums for property and casualty insurance, in certain circumstances, are payable at the time a policy is placed in- force or renewed. Federated Premium’s services allow the insured to pay a portion of the premium when the policy is placed in-force and the balance in monthly installments over a specified term, between six and nine months.

Insure-Link, Inc. (Insure-Link)

Insure-Link serves as an independent insurance agency. The insurance ag ency markets direct to the public to provide a variety of in! surance p! roducts and services to individual clients, as well as business clients, by offering a line of insurance products, including, but not limited to, homeowners’, personal and commercial automobile, commercial general liability and workers’ compensation insurance through their agency appointments with over fifty different carriers. There were no other agency relationships with affiliated captive or franchised agents during 2010.

The Company competes with Castle Key (formerly Allstate Floridian) Indemnity Insurance Company, Fidelity National Insurance Company, Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Royal Palm Insurance Company, St. Johns Insurance Company, Cypress Property and Casualty Insurance Company, American Strategic Insurance Company, Century Surety Insurance Company, Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company, Colony Insurance Company, Burlington/First Financial Insurance Companies, Kingsway Amigo Insurance Company, United Automobile Insurance Compa ny, Direct General Insurance Company, Ocean Harbor Insurance Company, Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, and GEICO.

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 Louis Navellier]

    Federated Nationals Insurance Company (FNHC) is another little insurance company that is showing huge profits right now. They also specialize in homeowners insurance as well as umbrella liability, workers comp and inland marine policies. Sales and profits were both up triple digits in the most recent quarter and posted an 84% positive earning surprise.

  • [By Damian Illia]

    As we can see, the firm ratio is higher than the ones shown by Alleghany, Fidelity, Federated National Holding Co. (FNHC) and Global Indemnity Plc (GBLI).

Top Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: Metlife Inc (MET)

MetLife, Inc. (MetLife), incorporated on August 10, 1999, is a provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 50 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife operates in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. It is organized into six segments: Insurance Products, Retirement Products, Corporate Benefit Funding and Auto & Home (collectively, U.S. Business), and Japan and Other International Regions (collectively, International). In addition, the Company reports certain of its results of operations in Corporate & Other, which includes MetLife Bank, National Association (MetLife Bank) and other business activities. U.S. Business provides insurance and financial services products, including life, dental, disability, auto and homeowner insurance, guaranteed interest and stable value products, and annuities through independent retail distribution channels, as well as a t the workplace. Outside the U.S., it operates in Japan and over 50 countries within Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. MetLife is the life insurer in Mexico and also holds positions in Japan, Poland, Chile and Korea. This business provides life insurance, accident and health insurance, credit insurance, annuities, endowment and retirement and savings products to both individuals and groups. In August 2012, it acquired Reynolds Plantation. In January 2013, the Company completed the sale of MetLife Bank, N.A.’s deposit business. Effective July 25, 2013, MetLife Inc acquired Broadstone Laurel Highlands, from Alliance Residential Fund I. In September 2013, MetLife Inc and Thayer Lodging Group acquired the 365-room Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in a joint venture.

Insurance Products

The Insurance Products segment offers a range of protection products and services aimed at serving the financ ial needs of its customers throughout their lives. These pro! ducts are sold to individuals and corporations, as well as other institutions and their respective employees. It is organized in three businesses: Group Life, Individual Life and Non-Medical Health.

The Group Life insurance products and services include variable life, universal life, and term life products. It offer group insurance products as employer-paid benefits or as voluntary benefits where all or a portion of the premiums are paid by the employee. These group products and services also include employee paid supplemental life and are offered as standard products or may be tailored to meet specific customer needs.

The Individual Life insurance products and services include variable life, universal life, term life and whole life products. Additionally, through its broker-dealer affiliates, it offers a full range of mutual funds and other securities products. The products within both Group Life and Individual Life include Variable Life, Universa l Life, Term Life and Whole Life. Variable life products provide insurance coverage through a contract that gives the policyholder the policyholder flexibility in investment choices and, depending on the product, in premium payments and coverage amounts, with certain guarantees. With variable life products, premiums and account balances can be directed by the policyholder into a variety of separate account investment options or directed to the Company’s general account. In the separate account investment options, the policyholder bears the entire risk of the investment results.

Universal life products provide insurance coverage on the same basis as variable life, except that premiums, and the resulting accumulated balances, are allocated only to the Company’s general account. Universal life products may allow the insured to increase or decrease the amount of death benefit coverage over the term of the contract and the owner to adjust the frequency and amount of premium payments.

Term life products provid! e a guara! nteed benefit upon the death of the insured for a specified time period in return for the periodic payment of premiums. Specified coverage periods range from one year to 30 years, but in no event are they longer than the period over, which premiums are paid. Death benefits may be level over the period or decreasing. Decreasing coverage is used principally to provide for loan repayment in the event of death. Premiums may be guaranteed at a level amount for the coverage period or may be non-level and non-guaranteed. Term insurance products are sometimes referred to as pure protection products, in that there are typically no savings or investment elements. Term contracts expire without value at the end of the coverage period when the insured party is still living.

Whole life products provide a guaranteed benefit upon the death of the insured in return for the periodic payment of a fixed premium over a predetermined period. Premium payments may be required for the e ntire life of the contract period, to a specified age or period, and may be level or change in accordance with a predetermined schedule. Whole life insurance includes policies that provide a participation feature in the form of dividends. Policyholders may receive dividends in cash or apply them to increase death benefits, increase cash values available upon surrender or reduce the premiums required to maintain the contract in-force.

The Non-Medical Health products and services include dental insurance, group short- and long-term disability, individual disability income, long-term care (LTC), critical illness and accidental death & dismemberment coverage. Other products and services include employer-sponsored auto and homeowners insurance provided through the Auto & Home segment and prepaid legal plans. The Company also sells administrative services-only (ASO) arrangements to some employers. The products in this area are Dental, Disability and Long-term Care (LT C). Dental products provide insurance and ASO plans that ass! ist emplo! yees, retirees and their families in maintaining oral health while reducing out-of-pocket expenses and providing superior customer service. Dental plans include the Preferred Dentist Program and the Dental Health Maintenance Organization. Disability products provide a benefit in the event of the disability of the insured. This benefit is in the form of monthly income paid until the insured reaches age 65. In addition to income replacement, the product may be used to provide for the payment of business overhead expenses for disabled business owners or mortgage payment protection. This is offered on both a group and individual basis. LTC products provide protection against the potentially high costs of LTC services. They generally pay benefits to insureds that need assistance with activities of daily living or have a cognitive impairment.

Retirement Products

The Retirement products segment includes a variety of variable and fixed annuities that are primarily sold to individuals and employees of corporations and other institutions. The products in this area are Variable Annuities and Fixed Annuities. Variable annuities provide for both asset accumulation and asset distribution needs. Variable annuities allow the contract holder to make deposits into various investment options in a separate account, as determined by the contract holder. The risks associated with such investment options are borne entirely by the contract holder, except where guaranteed minimum benefits are involved.

Fixed annuities provide for both asset accumulation and asset distribution needs. Fixed annuities do not allow the same investment flexibility provided by variable annuities, but provide guarantees related to the preservation of principal and interest credited.

Corporate Benefit Funding

The Corporate Benefit Funding segment includes a range of annuity and investment products, including, guaranteed intere st products and other stable value products, income annuitie! s, and se! parate account contracts for the investment management of defined benefit and defined contribution plan assets. This segment also includes certain products to fund postretirement benefits and company, bank or trust owned life insurance used to finance non-qualified benefit programs for executives. The products in this area are Stable Value Products, Pensions Closeouts, Torts and Settlements, Capital Markets Investment Products and other Corporate Benefit Funding Products and Services. The Company offers general account guaranteed interest contracts, separate account guaranteed interest contracts, and similar products used to support the stable value option of defined contribution plans. It also offers private floating rate funding agreements that are used for money market funds, securities lending cash collateral portfolios and short-term investment funds.

The Company offers general account and separate account annuity products, generally in connection with the termination of defined benefit pension plans, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. It also offers partial risk transfer solutions that allow for partial transfers of pension liabilities and annuity products that include single premium buyouts. It offers strategies for complex litigation settlements, primarily structured settlement annuities. Under the Capital Markets Investment Products, the products offered include funding agreements, Federal Home Loan Bank advances and funding agreement-backed commercial paper. Under the Other Corporate Benefit Funding Products and Services, it offers specialized insurance products designed specifically to provide solutions for non-qualified benefit and retiree benefit funding purposes.

Auto & Home

The Auto & Home segment includes personal lines property and casualty insurance offered directly to employees at their employer’s worksite, as well as to individuals through a variety of retail distributi on channels, including independent agents, property and casu! alty spec! ialists, direct response marketing and the individual distribution sales group. Auto & Home primarily sells auto insurance, which represented 67% of Auto & Home’s total net earned premiums in 2011. Homeowners and other insurance represented 33% of Auto & Home’s total net earned premiums in 2011. The products in this area are Auto Coverages and Homeowners and Other Coverages. Auto insurance policies provide coverage for private passenger automobiles, utility automobiles and vans, motorcycles, motor homes, antique or classic automobiles and trailers. Auto & Home offers traditional coverage, such as liability, uninsured motorist, no fault or personal injury protection, as well as collision and comprehensive. Homeowners’ insurance policies provide protection for homeowners, renters, condominium owners and residential landlords against losses arising out of damage to dwellings and contents from a variety of perils, as well as coverage for liability arising from ownership or occupancy. Other insurance includes personal excess liability (protection against losses in excess of amounts covered by other liability insurance policies), and coverage for recreational vehicles and boat owners. Most of Auto & Home’s homeowners’ policies are traditional insurance policies for dwellings, providing protection for loss on a replacement cost basis. These policies also provide additional coverage for reasonable, normal living expenses incurred by policyholders that have been displaced from their homes.

International

International provides life insurance, accident and health insurance, credit insurance, annuities, endowment and retirement & savings products to both individuals and groups. The Company focuses on markets primarily within Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. It operates in international markets through subsidiaries and affiliates. The Company operates in 22 countries in Latin America, with o perations in Mexico, Chile and Argentina. It operates in fou! r countri! es in Asia Pacific with operations in Korea, Hong Kong and Australia. It operates in 35 countries in Europe and the Middle East with operations in Poland, the United Kingdom, France, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as through a consolidated joint venture in India.

Corporate & Other

Corporate & Other contains the excess capital not allocated to the segments, which is invested to optimize investment spread and to fund company initiatives and various start-up and run-off entities. Mortgage products offered by MetLife Bank include forward and reverse residential mortgage loans. Residential mortgage loans are originated through MetLife Bank’s national sales force, mortgage brokers and mortgage correspondents. The residential mortgage banking activities include the origination and servicing of mortgage loans. Mortgage loans are held-for-investment or sold primarily into Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corpo ration (FHLMC) or Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) securities. Deposit products include traditional savings accounts, money market savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs) and individual retirement accounts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Wolfe]

    MetLife (MET)

    The guru’s fourth largest holding is in MetLife where he maintains 1,617,399 shares of the company’s stock. This position makes up for 3.4% of his total holdings as well as 0.15% of the company’s shares outstanding.

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Of course, since it’s earnings season, Apple wasn’t the only dividend stock rewarding investors with increased payouts; utility holding company Southern (SO) also came through, as did insurance sector giant MetLife (MET).

Top Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: Allstate Corp (ALS)

The Allstate Corporation (Allstate), November 5, 1992, is a holding company for Allstate Insurance Company. The Company’s business is conducted principally through Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Life Insurance Company and their affiliates. It is engaged, principally in the United States, in the property-liability insurance, life insurance, retirement and investment product business. Allstate’s primary business is the sale of private passenger auto and homeowners insurance. The Company also sells several other personal property and casualty insurance products, select commercial property and casualty coverages, life insurance, annuities, voluntary accident and health insurance and funding agreements. Allstate primarily distributes its products through exclusive agencies, financial specialists, independent agencies, call centers and the Internet. It conducts its business primarily in the United States. Allstate has four business segments: Allstate Protection, Allstate Financial, Discontinued Lines and Coverages and Corporate and Other. The Company is a personal lines insurer in the United States. Customers can access Allstate products and services, such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance through nearly 12,000 exclusive Allstate agencies and financial representatives in the United States and Canada. In October 2011, the Company acquired Esurance and Answer Financial from White Mountains Insurance Group.

ALLSTATE PROTECTION SEGMENT

In this segment, the Company principally sells private passenger auto and homeowners insurance through agencies and directly through call centers and the Internet. These products are marketed under the Allstate, Encompass and Esurance brand names. The Allstate Protection segment also includes a separate organization called Emerging Businesses, which comprises Business Insurance (commercial products for small business owners), Consumer Household (specialty products including moto rcycle, boat, renters and condominium insurance policies), A! llstate Dealer Services (insurance and non-insurance products sold primarily to auto dealers), Allstate Roadside Services (retail and wholesale roadside assistance products) and Ivantage (insurance agency). The Company also participates in the involuntary or shared private passenger auto insurance business in order to maintain its licenses to do business in many states. In some states, Allstate exclusive agencies offer non-proprietary property insurance products. Allstate brand auto and homeowners insurance products are sold primarily through Allstate exclusive agencies and serve customers who prefer local personal advice and service and are brand-sensitive. In most states, customers can also purchase certain Allstate brand personal insurance products, and obtain service, directly through call centers and the Internet.

During the year ended December 31, 2011, total Allstate Protection premiums written were $25.98 billion. Its broad-based network of approximately 10,000 Allstate exclusive agencies in approximately 9,700 locations in the United States produced approximately 86% of the Allstate Protection segment’s written premiums in 2011. It provides personal property and casualty insurance products through independent agencies in the United States. Additionally, Allstate distribution, through brokering arrangements, offers non-proprietary products to consumers when an Allstate product is not available.

ALLSTATE FINANCIAL SEGMENT

Allstate Financial segment provides life insurance, retirement and investment products, and voluntary accident and health insurance products. Its principal products are interest-sensitive, traditional and variable life insurance; fixed annuities, including deferred and immediate; and voluntary accident and health insurance. Its institutional products consist of funding agreements sold to unaffiliated trusts that use them to back medium-term notes issued to institutional and individ ual investors. Banking products and services were offered to! customer! s through the Allstate Bank through September 2011. In 2011, after receiving regulatory approval to voluntarily dissolve, Allstate Bank ceased operations.

The Company sells Allstate Financial products to individuals through multiple intermediary distribution channels, including Allstate exclusive agencies and exclusive financial specialists, independent agents, specialized structured settlement brokers and directly through call centers and the Internet. The Company sells products through independent agents affiliated with approximately 125 master brokerage agencies. Independent workplace enrolling agents and Allstate exclusive agencies also sell its voluntary accident and health insurance products primarily to employees of unaffiliated businesses. Its mortgage loan portfolio, which is primarily held in the Allstate Financial portfolio, totaled $7.14 billion as of December 31, 2011

Allstate Financial, through several companies, is authorized to sell life insurance and retirement products in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States, Virgin Islands and Guam. Allstate Financial distributes its products to individuals through multiple distribution channels, including Allstate exclusive agencies and exclusive financial specialists, independent agents (including master brokerage agencies and workplace enrolling agents), specialized structured settlement brokers and directly through call centers and the Internet.

OTHER BUSINESS SEGMENTS

The Company’s Corporate and Other segment consistsof holding company activities and certain non-insurance operations. It’s Discontinued Lines and Coverages segment includes results from insurance coverage that it no longer writes and results for certain commercial and other businesses in run-off. Its exposure to asbestos, environmental and other discontinued lines claims is presented in the segment. The segment also includes the hist orical results of the commercial and reinsurance businesses ! sold in 1! 996.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Adrian Day]

    Adrian Day: Yes, yes, I like the concept of looking up the secondary plays. I mean, you know we own Altius (ALS) for example, rather than Alderon (ADV). Altius owns 30% of Alderon, that is more diversified, has a better balance sheet. If Alderon succeeds, Atius will succeed.

Top Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: 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 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.

  • [By Damian Illia]

    ACE Limited (ACE) is an insurance and reinsurance organization. The company provides commercial insurance products and service offerings such as risk management programs, loss control and engineering and complex claims management. The company’s segments are: Insurance – North American, Insurance – Overseas General, Global Reinsurance, and Life.

  • [By Dividends4Life]

    This week a few companies answered the call and rewarded their shareholders with higher cash dividends:

    Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED) engages in regulated electric, gas, and steam delivery businesses. January 16th the company increased its quarterly dividend 2.4% to $0.63 per share. The dividend is payable March 15, 2014, to stockholders of record on February 12, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 4.7%.

    Cousins Properties Incorporated (CUZ), a real estate investment trust (REIT), owns, develops, and manages real estate portfolio, as well as performs certain real estate-related services. January 16th the company increased its quarterly dividend 66.7% to $0.075 per share. The dividend is payable February 24, 2014, to stockholders of record on February 10, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.8%.

    Wisconsin Energy Corporation (WEC) generates and distributes electric energy, as well as distributes natural gas. The company operates in two segments, Utility Energy and Non-Utility Energy. January 16th the company increased its quarterly dividend 2% to $0.3900 per share. The dividend is payable March 1, 2014, to stockholders of record on February 14, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 3.8%.

    BlackRock Inc. (BLK) is a publicly owned investment manager. The firm primarily provides its services to institutional, intermediary, and individual investors. January 16th the company increased its quarterly dividend 14.9% to $1.93 per share. The dividend is payable March 24, 2014, to stockholders of record on March 7, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.4%.

    ONEOK Inc. (OKE) operates as a diversified energy company in the United States. January 15th the company increased its quarterly dividend 5.3% to $0.40 per share. The dividend is payable February 18, 2014, to stockholders of record on February 10, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.5%.

    Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. (OHI) is a real es

Top Insurance Stocks To Own Right Now: Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF)

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

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By 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