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You Have To Love Selective Insurance Group, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:SIGI) Dividend

Simply Wall St

Could Selective Insurance Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SIGI) 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. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company's dividend doesn't live up to expectations.

A slim 1.4% yield is hard to get excited about, but the long payment history is respectable. At the right price, or with strong growth opportunities, Selective Insurance Group could have potential. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Selective Insurance Group for its dividend, and we'll focus on the most important aspects below.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Selective Insurance Group!

NasdaqGS:SIGI Historical Dividend Yield, January 15th 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, Selective Insurance Group paid out 20% 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 Selective Insurance Group's latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well - nasty. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Selective Insurance Group'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$0.52 in 2010, compared to US$0.92 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 5.9% a year over that time.

Companies like this, growing their dividend at a decent rate, can be very valuable over the long term, if the rate of growth can be maintained.

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 Selective Insurance Group has been growing its earnings per share at 16% a year over the past five years. Rapid earnings growth and a low payout ratio suggests this company has been effectively reinvesting in its business. Should that continue, this company could have a bright future.

Conclusion

When we look at a dividend stock, we need to form a judgement on whether the dividend will grow, if the company is able to maintain it in a wide range of economic circumstances, and if the dividend payout is sustainable. Firstly, we like that Selective Insurance Group has a low and conservative payout ratio. We like that it has been delivering solid improvement in its earnings per share, and relatively consistent dividend payments. Selective Insurance Group fits all of our criteria, and we think it's an attractive dividend idea that would warrant further investigation.

Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 7 analysts we track are forecasting for Selective Insurance Group for free with public 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.