Product diversification helps Zacks Multiline Insurance industry players to lower concentration risk, ensure uninterrupted revenue generation and improve the retention ratio. Better pricing, prudent underwriting, increased exposure, faster economic recovery on the receding impact of the pandemic and increased vaccinations should benefit MetLife Inc. MET, American International Group Inc. AIG, Prudential Financial Inc. PRU, MGIC Investment Corporation MTG and Radian Group RDN. Accelerated digitalization will help in the smooth functioning of the industry.
The solid capital level of the multiline insurers will fuel merger and acquisition (M&A) activities. With five hikes in the interest rate this year so far and more to come in the future, investment income should improve further as insurers are beneficiaries of a rising rate environment.
About the Industry
The Zacks Multiline Insurance industry comprises companies that provide single insurance coverage, bundling automobile, homeowner, long-term care, life and health insurance to individuals and businesses. The insured pays a single premium and is covered for many things through a single contract. These companies cover commercial and personal properties, automobiles, marine, livestock, aviation, personal accident, life, including permanent and term insurance, supplemental accident and health insurance, workers’ compensation, annuity products, private mortgage insurance, et al. The industry participants also provide risk management services. Since the companies offer single insurance coverage for multiple products, customer retention improves. The insured stands to benefit from lower premium payment compared to paying individual premiums for insuring varied products.
3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Multiline Insurance Industry
Diversified portfolio lowers concentration risk: Given the nature of the business, multiline insurers’ product and service portfolios are diversified, which lowers concentration risk. Increased awareness, driving higher demand for protection products, should benefit sales and premiums for life insurance operations. Continued improvement in pricing and an increase in exposure should support premium growth for non-life insurance operations. Per Deloitte Insights, The Swiss Re Institute estimates an increase in demand for insurance coverage across the globe, in turn driving a 3.9% rise in premiums in 2022. Per Deloitte Insights, life insurance premium is estimated to increase 4%, while non-life insurance premium is expected to increase 3.7% in 2022.
Merger and acquisitions: Consolidation in the multi-line insurance industry would continue as players look to diversify their operations into new business lines and geographies. Buying businesses in the same lines is driven by the players’ need to gain a fair market share and grow in their niche areas. With the reopening of the economy, an optimistic growth outlook and a solid capital level of the insurers, 2021 saw 869 deals, up 40% from 620 in 2020 while the total deal value surged 165% to $57.5 billion per Deloitte. However, with high inflation and rise in interest rate (the Fed has already made five rate hikes this year), momentum in the M&A environment is likely to calm down. Per Deloitte, so far this year, the number of deals dropped about 30% while deal value dropped by about 25% and estimated to hit a low point.
Increased adoption of technology: Digitalization has taken a leap in the industry with the pandemic hitting hard and companies gathering strength to operate amid pandemic-induced restrictions. The industry is witnessing greater use of technology like blockchain, AI, advanced analytics, telematics, cloud computing and robotic process automation to expedite business operations and save costs. Many life insurers have started selling policies online that appeal to the tech-savvy population. At the same time, the use of real-time data is making premium calculation easier and reducing risk. The P&C industry, in particular, also witnessed the emergence of insurtech — technology-led insurers — sparking competition for incumbent players. Moreover, the adoption of technology has helped in seamless underwriting and claims processing. Per Deloitte Insights, the technology budget is projected to increase 13.7% in 2022.
Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright Prospects
The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates solid prospects in the near term. The Zacks Multiline Insurance industry, housed within the broader Zacks Finance sector, currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #96, which places it in the top 38% of 255 Zacks industries. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.
The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is the result of a positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. The bright outlook reflects industry’s earnings estimates being revised upward by the analysts for the current year.
Before we present a few multiline insurance stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.
Industry Outperforms Sector and S&P 500
The Multiline Insurance industry has outperformed both the Zacks S&P 500 composite and its sector over the past year. The stocks in this industry have collectively lost 7.1% in the past year compared with the Finance sector’s decrease of 15.8% and the Zacks S&P 500 composite’s decline of 19.2% in the same time frame.
One-Year Price Performance
On the basis of its trailing 12-month price-to-book (P/B), which is commonly used for valuing insurance stocks, the industry is currently trading at 2.3X compared with the S&P 500’s 5.35X and the sector’s 3.24X.
Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 2.43X, as low as 0.84X and at the median of 1.6X.
Price-to-Book (P/B) Ratio (TTM)
Price-to-Book (P/B) Ratio (TTM)
5 Multiline Insurance Stocks to Keep an Eye on
We are presenting two Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and three Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stocks from the Multiline Insurance industry. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Radian Group: Philadelphia, PA-based Radian Group is a credit enhancement company, which supports homebuyers, mortgage lenders, loan servicers and investors with a suite of private mortgage insurance and related risk-management products and services. This Zacks Rank #1 insurer is poised to grow on improvement in quality and size of mortgage insurance in force, a decline in claim payments, given the strong credit characteristics of the new loans insured, maintenance of capital in compliance with regulations, and solid capital position.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings indicates a 49.5% year-over-year increase. It has moved 12.7% north in the past seven days. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 5%. Radian delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 45.10%.
Price and Consensus: RDN
MGIC Investment: Based in Milwaukee, WI, MGIC Investment is the largest private mortgage insurer in the United States. Improving premiums, a decline in claim payments and decreasing delinquencies an improving housing market, outstanding credit quality and new business augur well for the growth of this Zacks Rank #1 insurer.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings indicates a 41.4% year-over-year increase and moved 5.9% north in the last seven days. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 5%. Radian delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 45.10%.
Price and Consensus: MTG
MetLife: This New York, NY-based insurance-based global financial services company provides protection and investment products to a range of individual and institutional customers. MetLife’s focus on businesses with growth potential and strategies to control cost and increase efficiency bode well for growth. MET carries a Zacks Rank #3.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 indicates a year-over-increase of 16.1%. It has moved up 1 cent in the past seven days. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 36.3%, better than the industry average of 13.3%. MetLife delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 28.00%. MET has VGM Score of B.
Price and Consensus: MET
American International Group: Headquartered in New York, this Zacks Rank #3 insurer provides insurance products for commercial, institutional, and individual customers in North America and internationally. Strategic business de-risking and acquisitions, cost-control efforts, and accelerated capital deployment will drive American International’s growth.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 indicates a year-over-increase of 44.2% and has moved up 3.1% in the past seven days. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 10%. AIG delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 13.01%. American International has a VGM Score of B.
Price and Consensus: AIG
Prudential Financial: This Newark, NJ, headquartered Rank #3 company is a financial services leader having a leading position in universal, term and variable life insurance and an expanding Retirement business. Prudential Financial’s high-performing asset management business, deeper reach in the pension risk transfer market, improved margins and international operations bode well. PRU is on track to become a higher growth, less market-sensitive business and thus is rearranging its businesses.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 indicates a year-over-increase of 22.4%. It has moved up 0.4% in the past seven days. PRU delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 3.64%. Prudential has a VGM Score of B.
Price and Consensus: PRU
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