The insurance industry like any other industry is facing operational challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, having lost 19.8% year to date compared with the Zacks S&P 500 composite’s decline of 3.3%
In fact, insurers have stated that their second-quarter results will be impacted largely due to coronavirus-induced restrictions.
To provide impetus to the economy, affected by lockdown of various degrees that hampered commercial and industrial activities and lowered demand, the Federal Reserve slashed interest rate to 0-0.25% in March. It announced increase in its holdings of Treasury securities and agency residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities to ensure credit flow to households and businesses.
A near-zero interest rate is a concern for long-tail Property and Casualty insurance providers and Life insurers (whose earnings are typically derived from the spread between their investment returns and what they credit as interest on insurance policies and products). Unemployment and furlough also affected new sales for insurers.
Though there have been signs of improvement lately like 2.5 million job additions in May, unemployment rate falling to 13.3% (from 14.7% in April) and improvement in oil prices, Fed Chair Powell stated that ‘the report was a welcome surprise but just one month’s data’.
Insurers That Crushed S&P 500
Despite the adversities, better pricing, exposure growth (an increase in the number and value of insurable interests), a not-so-active catastrophe environment, sturdy policyholders’ surplus, pause in sale of long duration term life insurance, changes to product portfolio, and work from home leveraging technology to provide uninterrupted service to clients have been helping insurers to weather the challenging operating environment.
Though the insurance industry and the benchmark index have declined year to date, there are some insurers that gained more than 10% over the same time frame.
EverQuote EVER operates an online marketplace for insurance shopping in the United States. Shares of the company have rallied 77.4% year to date. Also, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) insurer has an impressive Growth Score of A. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 and 2021 earnings indicates year-over-year growth of 21.4% and 84.6% respectively.
Kinsale Capital Group KNSL provides casualty and property insurance products in the United States. Shares of the company have rallied 49.8% year to date. Moreover, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) insurer has an impressive Growth Score of A. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 and 2021 earnings indicates year-over-year growth of 21.6% and 8% respectively.
Palomar Holdings PLMR provides specialty property insurance. Shares of this Zacks Rank #2 insurer have gained 61.7% year to date. Also, the company has a favorable Growth Score of B. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 and 2021 indicates year-over-year growth of 20.8% and 18.3% respectively.
The Progressive Corporation PGR provides personal and commercial auto insurance, residential property insurance, and other specialty property-casualty insurance and related services primarily in the United States. Shares of the company have rallied 11.7% year to date. Moreover, this Zacks Rank #3 insurer has an impressive VGM Score of A. The consensus estimate for 2020 has moved north by 9% in the past 60 days.
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The Progressive Corporation (PGR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
EverQuote, Inc. (EVER) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Kinsale Capital Group, Inc. (KNSL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Palomar Holdings, Inc. (PLMR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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