Insurance companies are known to do well in a rising interest rate environment and recessionary times. With the Fed keen on bringing inflation down further, more interest rate hikes could be in the offing. To that end, it could be wise to invest in fundamentally strong insurance stocks Allianz SE (ALIZY), Loews Corporation (L), and CNA Financial Corporation (CNA).
Before discussing these stocks in detail, let me explain why the insurance industry is worth looking at.
The need for insurance is imperative in today’s world of uncertainties. The insurance industry appeals to conservative investors since these businesses are known to prosper regardless of the state of the economy. Various types of insurance are required by law to help protect people against unforeseen losses.
Insurance companies generate revenue by charging premiums from policyholders for the policies. They invest these premiums in various financial instruments such as bonds, stocks, and real estate. Although rising interest rates affect most sectors, the financial sector, which includes insurers, benefits.
Insurers hold long-term safe bonds to meet their promised returns to policyholders. In a rising interest rate environment, their investments yield higher returns. Moreover, insurance companies may be able to charge higher premiums due to the increased cost of capital. This can lead to improved underwriting margins.
Although inflation has cooled for the ninth consecutive month annually, the Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates at its next month’s policy meeting. The benchmark interest rate is expected to rise to the range between 5% and 5.25%.
The global property and casualty insurance market is expected to rise at a CAGR of 6.7% during the forecast period of 2023 to 2033. Investors’ interest in the property and casualty insurance industry is evident from the Invesco Property & Casualty Insurance ETF’s (KBWP) 9.5% returns over the past nine months.
Amid the uncertain economic climate, it could be wise to consider investing in ALIZY, L, and CAN.
Allianz SE (ALIZY)
Headquartered in Munich, Germany, ALIZY provides property-casualty insurance, life/health insurance, and asset management products and services worldwide. The company provides a range of reinsurance coverage, primarily to Allianz insurance entities and third-party customers. It operates in the Property-Casualty, Life/Health, Asset Management, Corporate and other segments.
In April 2023, ALIZY put its stake of about 5% in fintech N26 for sale. ALIZY is expected to make approximately $160 million from the stake sale, more than tripling its initial investment made over five years ago.
On March 23, 2023, Allianz Capital Partners, on behalf of ALIZY, signed an agreement in a consortium with Norges Bank Investment Management and AIP Management to purchase from German utility EnBW a 49.9% stake in the offshore windfarm He Dreiht. ALIZY will acquire a 16.6% stake in the 960MW project.
ALIZY’s Chief Investment Officer, Carsten Quitter, said, “Energy transition and energy security are high on our agenda. Allianz is keen to support the energy transition, which is underlined by our first direct investment into offshore wind in Germany. He Dreiht shall supply around 1.1 million households in Germany with green and safe energy while delivering stable and long-term cash yields for our insurance customers.”
In terms of forward EV/EBIT, ALIZY’s 8.11x is 24.3% lower than the 10.72x industry average. Its 0.58x forward Price/Sales is 72.2% lower than the 2.08x industry average. Likewise, its 0.76x forward EV/Sales is 59.9% lower than the 1.89x industry average.
ALIZY’s total revenues for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, increased 2.8% year-over-year to €152.67 billion ($167.76 billion). Its operating profit rose 5.7% over the prior-year period to €14.16 billion ($15.56 billion).
The company’s net income attributable to shareholders increased 1.9% year-over-year to €6.74 billion ($7.41 billion). In addition, its EPS came in at €16.26, representing an increase of 2.7% year-over-year.
Analysts expect ALIZY’s EPS for the quarter ended March 31, 2023, to increase 6.1% year-over-year to $48.48 billion. Its revenue for fiscal 2023 is expected to increase 4.2% year-over-year to $170.07 billion. Over the past six months, the stock has gained 42% to close the last trading session at $24.39.
ALIZY’s strong fundamentals are reflected in its POWR Ratings. It has an overall rating of B, which equates to a Buy in our proprietary rating system. The POWR Ratings are calculated by considering 118 different factors, with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.
It has a B grade for Momentum, Stability, and Sentiment. It is ranked #12 out of 56 stocks in the B-rated Insurance – Property & Casualty industry. Click here to see the additional ratings of ALIZY for Growth, Value, and Quality.
Loews Corporation (L)
L provides commercial property and casualty insurance in the United States and internationally. The company offers specialty insurance products like management and professional liability, other coverage products, surety and fidelity bonds, property insurance, and casualty insurance.
In terms of trailing-12-month EV/EBITDA, L’s 10.57x is 12.9% lower than the 12.13x industry average. Its 0.98x trailing-12-month Price/Sales is 58.7% lower than the 2.36x industry average. Likewise, its 1.62x trailing-12-month EV/Sales is 26.6% lower than the 2.21x industry average.
For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2022, L’s total revenues increased 3.6% year-over-year to $3.79 billion. Its adjusted EBITDA rose 32.8% over the prior-year quarter to $85 million. The company’s net income attributable to L increased 6.1% year-over-year to $364 million. In addition, its EPS came in at $1.53, representing an increase of 12.5% year-over-year.
Over the past six months, L’s stock has gained 1.7% to close the last trading session at $56.44.
L’s POWR Ratings reflect this promising outlook. The stock has an overall rating of B, which equates to Buy in our proprietary rating system.
It has a B grade for Momentum, Stability, and Sentiment. It is ranked #11 in the same industry. Click here to see the other ratings of L for Growth, Value, and Quality.
CNA Financial Corporation (CNA)
CNA is an insurance holding company. The company’s segments include Specialty, Commercial, International, Life & Group, and Corporate & other.
In terms of forward EV/Sales, CNA’s 1.02x is 46% lower than the 1.89x industry average. Its 0.82x forward Price/Sales is 60.3% lower than the 2.08x industry average. Likewise, its 1.02x forward EV/Sales is 46% lower than the 1.89x industry average.
CNA’s net earned premiums for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2022, increased 5% year-over-year to $2.23 billion. Its total revenues increased 2% over the prior-year quarter to $3.11 billion. The company’s net income and EPS came in at $248 million and $0.91, respectively.
Street expects CNA’s EPS and revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2023, to increase 5.5% and 9.3% year-over-year to $1.22 and $3.17 billion, respectively. Over the past month, the stock has gained 1.1% to close the last trading session at $39.21.
CNA’s POWR Ratings reflect solid prospects. The stock has an overall rating of B, which translates to a Buy in our proprietary rating system.
It has a B grade for Momentum and Stability. Within the Insurance – Property & Casualty industry, it is ranked #13. To see the other ratings of CNA for Growth, Value, Sentiment, and Quality, click here.
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ALIZY shares were unchanged in premarket trading Monday. Year-to-date, ALIZY has gained 13.71%, versus a 8.20% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
About the Author: Dipanjan Banchur
Since he was in grade school, Dipanjan was interested in the stock market. This led to him obtaining a master’s degree in Finance and Accounting. Currently, as an investment analyst and financial journalist, Dipanjan has a strong interest in reading and analyzing emerging trends in financial markets.3 Insurance Stocks That Continue to Look Strong Despite a Catastrophic Economy appeared first on StockNews.com