Insurance Companies Hartford Financial and Lincoln National Earnings Attract Interest

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE:HIG) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Net income for the property and casualty insurance company fell to $127 million (24 cents per share) vs. $619 million ($1.24 per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 79.5% from the year earlier quarter. Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. reported adjusted net income of 69 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 59 cents per share.

“The Hartford made good progress in the fourth quarter,” said The Hartford’s Chairman, President and CEO Liam E. McGee. “P&C Commercial pricing continued to firm and margins improved across the board, including a 7% rate increase in Middle Market. Margins are also expanding in Consumer Markets as we shift to a more preferred book of business. Wealth Management is focused on increasing returns and managing risk in this low-rate environment.”

Competitors to Watch: American Intl. Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG), HCC Insurance Hldgs., Inc. (NYSE:HCC), American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG), RLI Corp. (NYSE:RLI), Selective Insurance Group (NASDAQ:SIGI), Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ), First Mercury Financial Corp. (NYSE:FMR), The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TRV), CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE:CNA), and Hallmark Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALL).

Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Reported a loss of $514.3 million ($1.73 per diluted share) in the quarter. Lincoln National Corporation had a net income of $195.6 million or 60 cents per share in the year earlier quarter. Revenue was $2.57 billion last quarter. Lincoln National Corporation reported adjusted net income of $1 per share. By that measure, the company fell in line with the mean estimate of $1 per share. It fell short of the average revenue estimate of $2.77 billion.

“Lincoln’s 2011 operating results reflect continued strength in flows and deposits across our businesses, ongoing product repricing to achieve targeted returns, and significant capital management activities,” said President & CEO Dennis R. Glass. “We continue to give priority to relative returns in our capital allocation and business decisions, balancing reinvestment in our core businesses with the opportunity to create value through increased share repurchases.”

Competitors to Watch: National Western Life Insurance Co. (NASDAQ:NWLI), MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET), AEGON N.V. (NYSE:AEG), CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:CNO), Kansas City Life Insurance Co (NASDAQ:KCLI), Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK), Presidential Life Corp (NASDAQ:PLFE), StanCorp Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:SFG), Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU), and Independence Holding Co. (NYSE:IHC).