Insurance Stocks Delivering Profitable Growth to Shareholders

Assurant Inc. (NYSE:AIZ) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Reported a profit of $162.3 million ($1.73 per diluted share) in the quarter. Assurant Inc. had a net loss of $184.4 million or a loss $1.74 per share in the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 0.3% to $2.11 billion from the year earlier quarter. Assurant Inc. beat the mean analyst estimate of $1.37 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $2.07 billion.

“During 2011, our specialty strategy delivered on our long-term commitments that continue to build value for our shareholders,” said Robert B. Pollock, president and CEO of Assurant. “We broadened our product portfolio and improved our operations with an emphasis on consumers’ needs. We will build further on these efforts in 2012.”

Competitors to Watch: Hartford Financial Services (NYSE:HIG), American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG), HCC Insurance Hldgs., Inc. (NYSE:HCC), Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HTH), The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL), Old Republic Intl. Corp. (NYSE:ORI), American Intl. Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG), The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TRV), CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE:CNA), and The Chubb Corporation (NYSE:CB).

Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL) reported net income above Wall Street’s expectations for the fourth quarter. Net income for the property and casualty insurance company rose to $724 million ($1.43 per share) vs. $296 million (55 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This is a more than twofold rise from the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 1.8% to $8.24 billion from the year earlier quarter. Allstate Corporation beat the mean analyst estimate of 94 cents per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $6.47 billion.

“We continued to execute our strategy to increase shareholder value by improving overall returns and offering unique products for different customer segments. Operating income increased to $750 million in the fourth quarter, a $479 million increase from prior year due to substantially lower catastrophe losses. We maintained auto insurance profitability, raised underlying returns in homeowners and Allstate Financial, achieved excellent investment returns and expanded our new product offerings,” said Thomas J. Wilson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The Allstate Corporation. “While full year 2011 net income of $788 million was 15% below 2010, this reflects high catastrophe losses in 2011 that were largely offset by realized capital gains. The underlying combined ratio for 2011 of 89.3 was within the outlook established at the beginning of the year of 88 to 91. ”

Competitors to Watch: Horace Mann Educators Corp. (NYSE:HMN), The Progressive Corp. (NYSE:PGR), Safety Insurance Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAFT), 21st Century Holding Co. (NASDAQ:TCHC), The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TRV), Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HTH), Hallmark Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALL), Tower Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:TWGP), American Insurance Group (NYSE:AIG), Erie Indemnity Company (NASDAQ:ERIE), and Gainsco, Inc. (AMEX:GAN).

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com