The insurance industry, which broadly encompasses life, property and casualty, multi-line insurers and insurance brokers, is likely to have delivered a solid performance in the first quarter of 2020.
While insurers on the whole are likely to have suffered from low interest rates, increase in premium rates for Commercial and Property lines are likely to have benefited property and casualty insurers.
However, life insurers are more likely to bear the brunt of very low interest rate levels, given their exposure to products that offer guaranteed minimum returns. P&C insurers too have been witnessing weak investment income, induced by soft investment yields and equity market declines. Notably, property and casualty insurers are more a widely exposed to equity investments than life insurers.
Against the current economic backdrop that is prevalent since the coronavirus outbreak over the first quarter, property and casualty insurers should be better placed than life insurers. These companies have been benefiting from strong top lines on the back of their vast and diversified businesses. Premium rates in Personal and Commercial lines of insurance have been rising over the last several quarters, a trend that most likely continued in the to-be-reported quarter.
The PC industry might have suffered weather-related catastrophe loss from the March tornado in Nashville. Overall catastrophe activity in the to-be-reported quarter is likely to have aggravated from the prior-year quarter. Also, charges from the COVID-19 impact are expected to have dented margins.
Meanwhile, insurance brokers have been gaining traction from top-line growth owing to their vast and varied business profiles. Brokers are likely to have been aided by better commissions and fees, higher consulting and brokerage services, new business generation, etc. Their bottom line is also likely to have been supported by their share buybacks.
However, a still low interest rate environment is expected to have continuously weighed on investment yields and consequently, hurt investment income, which in turn, might have affected quarterly revenues.
The companies are also likely to have incurred elevated expenses due to several growth-related initiatives taken.
The latest Earnings Preview indicates that total earnings for the Finance sector, which comprises the insurance industry, are expected to be down 28.4% while revenues are projected to be 2.5% higher year over year.
Per the Zacks model, the combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the chances of an earnings beat. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.
Let’s take a look at the following four insurance stocks that are slated to report first-quarter 2020 results on Apr 30.
Cigna Corp.’s CI results are likely to have been driven by solid segmental contributions.
The company’s International activity is expected to have grown on brisk business and expanded margins.
Medical membership is likely to have strengthened on the back of higher membership in Select and Middle Market segments, partially offset by a decline in National Accounts and U.S. Individual. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s earnings per share is pegged at $4.42, indicating an increase of 13.33% from the year-ago reported figure.
Our proven model predicts an earnings beat for Cigna this time around. It has a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of +0.02%.
You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
(Read More: Will Membership Growth Drive Cigna's Earnings in Q1?)
Cigna Corporation Price and EPS Surprise
Cigna Corporation price-eps-surprise | Cigna Corporation Quote
Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.’s MMC first-quarter results might reflect on the strength in both Risk and Insurance Services segment and Consulting segment.
However, on fourth-quarter earnings call, management had stated that it expected JLT’s employee benefits margins to be soften in the first quarter. It also expected the Consulting margin to contract due to volatility.
The company is likely to have steadily deployed capital owing to its balance sheet strength.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Marsh & McLennan’s first-quarter earnings of $1.56 per share implies a 2.6% increase from the prior-year reported number.
Our proven model predicts an earnings beat for Marsh & McLennan this time around. It has a Zacks Rank of 3 and an Earnings ESP of +0.59%.
(Read More: What's in Store for Marsh & McLennan's Q1 Earnings?)
Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. price-eps-surprise | Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Quote
Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company’s WLTW first-quarter results are likely to reflect improved organic commissions and fees, higher consulting and brokerage services, new business generation and higher renewals.
Commissions and fees are expected to have benefited from organic growth across segments and contribution from acquisitions.
Continued enrolment and a robust sales pipeline are expected to have fueled growth for exchange business.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Willis Towers’ earnings of $3.17 per share implies a 6.3% increase from the prior-year reported number.
Our proven model doesn’t predict an earnings beat for Willis Towers this season. The company a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of -0.25%.
(Read More: Willis Towers to Report Q1 Earnings: What's in Store?)
Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company Price and EPS Surprise
Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company price-eps-surprise | Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company Quote
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s AJG first-quarter performance is likely to have benefited from higher revenues, which in turn, might have been boosted by improved commissions and fees. Its results are likely to reflect strong revenues in Brokerage and Risk Management segments. However, the company’s Corporate segment is likely to reflect drained revenues for the to-be-reported quarter.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter revenues is pegged at $2.1 billion, suggesting an improvement of 5.8% from the prior-year reported number.
Our proven model doesn’t predict an earnings beat for Arthur J. Gallagher this reporting cycle. The stock is Zacks #3 Ranked and has an Earnings ESP of -1.34%.
(Read More: What's in Store for Arthur J. Gallagher's Q1 Earnings?)
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Price and EPS Surprise
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. price-eps-surprise | Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Quote
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