Top Insurance Company Stocks to Buy in 2019
Insurance companies are financial institutions that are in the business of risk management. Generally, these companies are either life insurance or property and casualty insurance. The two types have different considerations.
Life Insurance companies are mandated by the government to maintain a certain level of reserve. These companies are thus less leveraged. It is important to note that insurers evaluate assets at market value but liabilities at book value. These life insurance policies have a long term outlook, as benefits are not paid out for many years.
Property and casualty insurance companies have shorter policy duration. Due to the nature of this type of insurance, timing and amount of liabilities are less certain than for life insurance companies. These insurance companies also go through an underwriting cycle.
🚑 Insurance Company
Manulife Financial (MFC-T) Life & Health Insurance
A Canadian multinational insurance company. They announced good earnings and profits, as well as pays a good dividend. They have been growing internationally, with growth particularly in Asia. They pay a dividend of 4.1%
Doesn't own any lifecos, prefers P&C and banks. Dogged by US business divisions, trying to divest. Canadian business is a modest grower. Star is the Asian business, which is 1/3 of operations. Always trades in single digits, 5+% yield, never seems to get above $30. He's neutral. Sell if it gets to $30.
Industrial-Alliance Life Ins (IAG-T)
A Quebec City based insurance company with a wealth management business. Their operations are more focused on personal insurance. A more regional insurer. The dividend at 3% is considered safe.
(A Top Pick Nov 13/20, Up 33%) Has started buying back shares and paying dividends. Financials should do well as the yield curve steepens. Valuation is not as compelling as before. Middle of the pack. Has moved to US banks and non-financial banks in Canada.
Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF-T)
One of the largest and oldest life insurance companies in the world. They are diversifying into wealth management and buying real estate. A long-term hold that pays a good dividend at 4%.
SLF vs. TD vs. CM All of the interest sensitives have been under pressure the last couple of months with rates rising.He favours TD. Tightly regulated oligopoly, and a levered play on the growth of the Canadian, and increasingly US, economy. Surplus of excess capital. 10x earnings. Dominant personal and commercial banking franchise. Good-sized banking…
Great West Lifeco (GWO-T)
A value pick with low volatility. They operate in North America, Europe and Asia through subsidiaries that are regionally focused. A good long-term hold when interest rates rise. However the short term rate outlook has changed and it has affected the stock. The yield is 5%.
Fairfax Financial (FFH-T) Property & Casualty Insurance
A financial holding company has activities in property, casualty and life insurance. They also operate in the investment management and insurance claims management sphere. It is well-run and a good long term hold.
P&C insurance is doing very well, though this year is tougher than most because of catastrophic losses. So they raise their prices. One of the lower combined ratios in the space. Benefits from higher interest rates. Outlook is for double-digit returns over the next several years.
Intact Financial (IFC-T)
The largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada. They have a strong balance sheet and has grown well. Intact is now well-positioned to make acquisitions.
It is the gold standard for companies in property and casualty insurance, but is expensive. He prefers Definity (DFY) which has better value, better results and is growing faster. Definity is transferring from a policy holder type of company to a corporation and there is lots of upside in acquisitions that could be made.
St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc. (TRV-N) Property & Casualty Insurance
One of the largest U.S. insurance companies for commercial property casualty insurance and personal insurance. They pay a dividend of 2.12%
First American Corp. (FAF-N)
They are in the home insurance business. This is a play on the US housing market where prices have softened. This has affected the stock performance this year. They have done a good job of consistently raising their dividend which is at 3%.
(A Top Pick Jun 27/18, Up 3%) They are in the home insurance business and more particularly title insurance. In the US housing markets, prices have softened. This has had a negative effect on this name. The title insurance premium charged is based on the price of the home. So this has hampered its stock…
An efficient insurance company that is generating free cash flow. They reduced their share count by half and raised dividends. Low interest rates have been detrimental as premiums are not generating as much income. The yield is at 2.1%
Increase in catastrophic losses means most insurers are suffering this year. For P&C insurers, bad news is good news, as they just raise prices. Great capital allocators. Raise dividends. Favour profits over market share, so divesting unprofitable businesses. Spectacularly well run. Free cashflow machine. Yield is 3.28%. (Analysts’ price target is $125.32)
Kingsway Financial Services (KFS-T)
A property and casualty insurer in the United States. They operate through several segments, each covering insurance underwriting, extended warranty, and leased real estate.
Markel Corporation. (MKL-N)
A holding company for insurance that invest its cash in stocks instead of bonds They are getting into wealth management through insurance but there were some hiccups last year. Still, it is a well run company with a good track record.
(A Top Pick Nov 19/19, Down 10%) Similar to Berkshire Hathaway. Would rather invest in a pure play that's easier to understand, so he sold. Good management. Good entry point here.
Progressive Corp Ohio (PGR-N)
The largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. They have low cost operations so their profitability and growth are higher than their peers. It’s enjoyed a long-term uptrend.
Shares have been rocketing, partly because they're using generative AI and their own data more than any insurer to assess risk and therefore making fewer mistakes.
Aflac Inc (AFL-N) Life & Health Insurance
The largest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States. They pay a dividend of 1.94%. They have consistently beat earnings and are growing. A low volatile name.
Global leaders in supplemental health insurance. Phenomenal track record of growth. A few ups and downs this year, but up nicely. Classic, long-term growth stock. If it drops, consider adding. If it goes to new highs, trim a bit.
A holding corporation for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. They are buying back stocks. The US retirement portfolio has been doing well, and they are growing in Asia and Europe.
(A Top Pick Sep 27/22, Up 7.4%)Stockchase Research Editor: Michael O’Reilly Our PAST TOP PICK with MET has triggered its stop at $65. To remain disciplined, we recommend covering the position at this time.
Prudential Financial Inc (PRU-N)
A financial company that has operations in insurance, wealth management and other financial products through their subsidiaries. It has been through a tough couple of years, but it may be changing. It pays a dividend of 4%.
Prudential Financial, Inc., a financial wellness leader and premier active global investment manager with more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management as of June 30, 2020, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential's diverse and talented employees help to make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people.…