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The Case For Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (NYSE:RGA): Could It Be A Nice Addition To Your Dividend Portfolio?

Simply Wall St

Could Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (NYSE:RGA) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

While Reinsurance Group of America's 1.8% dividend yield is not the highest, we think its lengthy payment history is quite interesting. The company also bought back stock during the year, equivalent to approximately 1.2% of the company's market capitalisation at the time. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Reinsurance Group of America for its dividend, and we'll go through these below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

NYSE:RGA Historical Dividend Yield, January 16th 2020

Payout ratios

Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, then the dividend might become unsustainable - hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company's net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. In the last year, Reinsurance Group of America paid out 21% of its profit as dividends. Given the low payout ratio, it is hard to envision the dividend coming under threat, barring a catastrophe.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Reinsurance Group of America's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Reinsurance Group of America's dividend payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.36 in 2010, compared to US$2.80 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 23% per year over this time.

With rapid dividend growth and no notable cuts to the dividend over a lengthy period of time, we think this company has a lot going for it.

Dividend Growth Potential

While dividend payments have been relatively reliable, it would also be nice if earnings per share (EPS) were growing, as this is essential to maintaining the dividend's purchasing power over the long term. It's good to see Reinsurance Group of America has been growing its earnings per share at 15% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share are growing at a solid clip, and the payout ratio is low. We think this is an ideal combination in a dividend stock.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Reinsurance Group of America's dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We're glad to see Reinsurance Group of America has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. Next, growing earnings per share and steady dividend payments is a great combination. Reinsurance Group of America fits all of our criteria, and we think it's an attractive dividend idea that would warrant further investigation.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 6 Reinsurance Group of America analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.