Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.'s MMC unit Marsh recently launched a China desk in Dubai to gain traction from the expanding commercial links between China, the Middle East and Africa. Marsh is the latest multinational arm to create a China desk in Dubai, which is the primary channel for regional business taking place in China's Belt and Road initiative.
Since setting up the desk, the company has been constantly making efforts to explore opportunities for growth. It has a few projects in Africa but not restricted to the region. There's also a Chinese investment involved in the Middle East. Marsh is mainly concentrating on China and Chinese contractors and principles.
Africa and the Middle East are important parts of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road initiative, which is a $126-billion project to boost a network of infrastructure connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Marsh is expected to receive an insurance broking license in Iraq next year where reconstruction of infrastructure is highly imperative after a four-year war against the Islamic State. All these initiatives poise the company well for growth.
Marsh has been quite active when it comes to expanding and boosting its portfolio. Recently, it closed the buyout of Otis-Magie Insurance Agency Inc. Last month, it also announced the unveiling of Bluestream, a cloud-based digital broker platform targeting the affinity market. With this introduction, Marsh’s affinity clients would be able to provide customers with insurance products and services through a new and streamlined method. It is also likely to start a new specialty business called Marsh-JLT Specialty, subject to the completion of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group’s acquisition.
Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have lost 7.6% in a year’s time, wider than its ’s slip of 1.4%.
Stocks to Consider
Investors interested in the insurance industry might consider a few better-ranked stocks like Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company WLTW, eHealth, Inc. EHTH and Cigna Corporation CI.
Willis Towers works as an advisory, broking and solutions company worldwide. The company carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and managed to deliver positive results in the trailing four reported quarters, the average being 7.13%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
eHealth offers private online health insurance exchange services in the United States and China. It holds a Zacks Rank of 2 and came up with average three-quarter earnings surprise of 7.29%.
Cigna provides insurance and related products and services in the United States and internationally. The stock sports a Zacks Rank #1 and pulled off average four-quarter beat of 13.46%.
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