Hot on the heels of a $15 million Consumer Financial Protection Bureau settlement with mortgage insurers Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW ) , MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG ) , Radian Group (NYSE: RDN ) , and United Guaranty, a subsidiary of AIG (NYSE: AIG ) , over kickbacks�paid to banks for mortgage insurance, comes some bad news in the same vein -- this time, for Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) .
Insurance and reinsurance
Even as the above insurers are forking over settlement checks to the CFPB, the bureau is investigating further the whole sordid mess that prompted the settlement in the first place. Now, it is turning its gaze to the recipients of those bribes: mortgage lenders like B of A.
But, that is a future concern. Right now, Bank of America will be forced to deal with homeowners who filed suit against the bank last year, claiming just the type of kickback scheme for which the insurers ponied up. B of A tried to get the claims dismissed, but a judge decided a little over a week ago that the bank will have to face those charges.�
Top 5 Oil Service Stocks For 2015: Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG)
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (Gallagher), along with its subsidiaries, provides insurance brokerage and third-party claims settlement, and administration services to entities in the United States and abroad. It operates in three segments: brokerage, risk management and corporate. The Brokerage segment primarily consists of retail and wholesale insurance brokerage operations. The Company�� risk management segment provides contract claim settlement and administration services for enterprises that choose to self-insure some or all of their property/casualty coverages and for insurance companies that choose to outsource some or all of their property/casualty claims departments. Majority of its international brokerage operations are in Australia, Bermuda, Canada and the United Kingdom. Its international risk management operations are principally in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The Company operates in Australia and Canada primarily as a retail commercial property and casualty broker. In December 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the acquisition of Barmore Insurance Agency, Inc. In December 2013, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired McIntyre Risk Management, LLC. In December 2013, the Company acquired Cleaveland Insurance Group and Jenkins and Associates. Effective December 26, 2013, Arthur J Gallagher & Co acquired Rock Island-based Cleaveland Insurance Group. In February 2014, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co acquired Benefit Development Group of Selma, Alabama. In February 2014, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co announced the acquisition of Kent, Kent & Tingle in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Company�� retail brokerage operations negotiate and place property/casualty, employer-provided health and welfare insurance and retirement solutions principally for middle-market commercial, industrial, public entity, religious and not-for-profit entities. Many of the Company�� retail brokerage customers choose to place their insurance with insurance ! underwriters, while others choose to use alternative vehicles, such as self-insurance pools, risk retention groups or captive insurance companies. Its wholesale brokerage operations assist its brokers and other unaffiliated brokers and agents in the placement of specialized, and hard-to-place insurance programs.
The Company�� primary sources of compensation for its retail brokerage services are commissions paid by insurance carriers. It operates its brokerage operations through a network of more than 300 sales and service offices located throughout the United States and in 16 other countries. In addition, the Company offers client-service capabilities in more than 110 countries worldwide through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants. The Company�� retail brokerage operations place all lines of commercial property/casualty and health and welfare insurance coverage. Its retail brokerage operations are organized in more than 190 geographical centers located in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom and operate within certain key niche/practice groups, which account for approximately 67% of its retail brokerage revenues.
During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company�� wholesale insurance brokerage operations accounted for 22% of its brokerage segment revenues. Its wholesale brokers assist its retail brokers and other non-affiliated brokers in the placement of specialized and hard-to-place insurance. These brokers operate through over 65 geographical centers located across the United States, Bermuda and through its approved Lloyd�� of London brokerage operation. In certain cases, it acts as a brokerage wholesaler, and in other cases, it acts as a managing general agent or managing general underwriter distributing specialized insurance coverages for insurance carriers. Over 75% of the Company�� wholesale brokerage revenues come from non-affiliated brokerage customers.
Risk Management Segment
The Company�� ! risk mana! gement segment provides contract claim settlement and administration services for enterprises that choose to self-insure some or all of their property/casualty coverages and for insurance companies that choose to outsource some or all of their property/casualty claims departments. During 2011, approximately 67% of its risk management segment�� revenues were from workers compensation related claims, 26% were from general and commercial auto liability related claims and 7% were from property related claims. In addition, it generate revenues from integrated disability management (employee absence management) programs, information services, risk control consulting (loss control) services and appraisal services, either individually or in combination with arising claims. The Company manages its third-party claims adjusting operations through a network of approximately 110 offices located throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The Company competes with Aon Corporation, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., Wells Fargo Insurance Services, Inc., Brown & Brown Inc., Hub International Ltd., Lockton Companies, Inc., USI Holdings Corporation, Aon Hewitt, Towers Watson & Co., Crump Group, Inc., CRC Insurance Services, Inc., RT Specialty, AmWINS Group, Inc., Swett & Crawford Group, Inc., Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc., Crawford & Company, ACE Limited, AIG Insurance and Zurich Insurance.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Rich Duprey]
Expanding its presence in the United Kingdom, insurance provider Arthur J. Gallagher (NYSE: AJG ) will acquire the U.K.-based Property & Commercial Limited from�Barbon Insurance Group, the country's�largest provider of tenant references, the largest provider of rent guarantee, and one of the largest brokers to the social housing sector.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
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Top Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2014: Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd (AHL)
Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited (Aspen Holdings), incorporated on May 23, 2002, is a holding company. The Company conducts insurance and reinsurance business through its subsidiaries in three jurisdictions: Aspen Insurance UK Limited (Aspen U.K.) and Aspen Underwriting Limited (AUL), corporate member of Syndicate 4711 at Lloyd�� of London (United Kingdom), Aspen Bermuda Limited (Aspen Bermuda) and Aspen Specialty Insurance Company (Aspen Specialty) and Aspen American Insurance Company (AAIC). Aspen U.K. also has branches in Paris (France), Zurich (Switzerland), Dublin (Ireland), Cologne (Germany), Singapore, Australia and Canada. It operates in the global markets for property and casualty insurance and reinsurance. It manages its insurance and reinsurance businesses as two distinct underwriting segments, Aspen Insurance and Aspen Reinsurance (Aspen Re), to serve its global customer base. Its insurance segment is consisted of property, casualty, marine, energy and transportation insurance and financial and professional lines insurance. Its reinsurance segment is consisted of property reinsurance (catastrophe and other), casualty reinsurance and specialty reinsurance. In April 2013, the reinsurance segment of the Company announced the formation of a new division, Aspen Capital Markets.
In the Company�� insurance segment, property, casualty and financial and professional lines insurance business is written in the London Market through Aspen U.K. and in the United States through Aspen Specialty and AAIC. Its marine, energy and transportation insurance business is written through Aspen U.K. and AUL, which is the corporate member of Syndicate 4711 at Lloyd�� of London (Lloyd��), managed by Aspen Managing Agency Limited (AMAL). It also writes casualty business through AUL. In reinsurance, property reinsurance business is assumed by Aspen Bermuda and Aspen U.K. The property reinsurance business written in the United States is written by Aspen Re America and ARA-CA as reinsurance intermed! iaries with offices in Connecticut, Illinois, Florida, New York, Georgia and California. The business written in the United States is produced by Aspen Re America.
The Company�� reinsurance segment consists of property catastrophe reinsurance, other property reinsurance (risk excess, pro rata, risk solutions and facultative), casualty reinsurance (the United States treaty, international treaty and global facultative) and specialty reinsurance (credit and surety, structured, agriculture and specialty). Property catastrophe reinsurance is written on a treaty excess of loss basis where it provides protection to an insurer for an agreed portion of the total losses from a single event in excess of a specified loss amount. In the event of a loss, contracts provide for coverage of a second occurrence following the payment of a premium to reinstate the coverage under the contract, which is referred to as a reinstatement premium. The coverage provided under excess of loss reinsurance contracts may be on a global basis or limited in scope to selected regions or geographical areas.
Other property reinsurance includes risk excess of loss and proportional treaty reinsurance, facultative or single risk reinsurance and its risk solutions business. Risk excess of loss reinsurance provides coverage to a reinsured where it experiences a loss in excess of its retention level on a single risk basis. Proportional contracts involve close client relationships, including regular audits of the cedants��data. Its risk solutions business writes property insurance risks for a select group of the United States program managers. Casualty reinsurance is written on an excess of loss, proportional and facultative basis and consists of the United States treaty, international treaty and casualty facultative. Its United States treaty business consists of exposures to workers��compensation (including catastrophe), medical malpractice, general liability, auto liability, professional l! iability ! and excess liability, including umbrella liability. Its international treaty business reinsures exposures respect to general liability, auto liability, professional liability, workers��compensation and excess liability.
Specialty reinsurance is written on an excess of loss and proportional basis and consists of credit and surety reinsurance, structured risks, agriculture reinsurance and other specialty lines. Its credit and surety reinsurance business consists of trade credit reinsurance, international surety reinsurance (mainly European, Japanese and Latin American risks and excluding the United States) and a political risks portfolio. Its agricultural reinsurance business is written on a treaty basis covering crop and multi-peril business. Other specialty lines include reinsurance treaties and some insurance policies covering policyholders��interests in marine, energy, liability aviation, space, contingency, terrorism, nuclear, personal accident and crop reinsurance. A percentage of the property reinsurance contracts it writes exclude coverage for losses arising from the peril of terrorism. These contracts exclude coverage protecting against nuclear, biological or chemical attack.
The Company competes Arch Capital Group Ltd., Axis Capital Holdings Limited (Axis), Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. (Endurance), Everest Re Group Limited, Lancashire Holdings Limited, Montpelier Re Holdings Limited, PartnerRe Ltd., Platinum Underwriters Holdings Ltd., Renaissance Re Holdings Ltd., Validus Holdings Ltd., XL Capital Ltd. (XL) and various Lloyd�� syndicates.
The Company�� insurance segment consists of property insurance, casualty insurance, marine, energy and transportation insurance and financial and professional lines insurance. Its property insurance line comprises the United Kingdom commercial property and construction business and the United States property business. Property insurance provides physical damage and business interruption! coverage! for losses arising from weather, fire, theft and other causes. The United States commercial property team covers mercantile, manufacturing, municipal and commercial real estate business. The United States property also includes its program business, which writes property insurance risks for a select group of the United States program managers. The United Kingdom commercial team�� client base is predominantly the United Kingdom institutional property owners, middle market corporates and public sector clients.
The Company�� casualty insurance line comprises commercial liability, global excess casualty, the United States casualty insurance and environmental liability, written on a primary, quota share and facultative basis. Commercial liability is written in the United Kingdom and provides employers��liability coverage and public liability coverage for insureds domiciled in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The global excess casualty line comprises risk-managed insureds globally and covers risks at points, including general liability, commercial and residential construction liability, life science, railroads, trucking, product and public liability and associated types of cover found in general liability policies in the global insurance market. The United States casualty account consists of lines written within the general liability and umbrella liability insurance sectors. Coverage on its general liability line is offered on those risks that are miscellaneous, products liability, contractors (general contractors and artisans), real estate and retail risks and other general liability business. The United States environmental account provides contractors��pollution liability and pollution legal liability across industry segments that have environmental regulatory drivers and contractual requirements for coverage, including real estate and public entities, contractors and engineers, energy contractors and environmental contractors and consultants. The business is written in both the primar! y and exc! ess insurance markets.
The Company�� marine, energy and transportation insurance line comprises marine, energy and construction (M.E.C.) liability, energy physical damage, marine hull, specie, inland marine and ocean risks and aviation, written on a primary, quota share and facultative basis. The M.E.C. liability business includes marine liability cover related to the liabilities of ship-owners and port operators, including reinsurance of Protection and Indemnity Clubs (P&I Clubs). It also provides liability cover for companies in the oil and gas sector, both onshore and offshore and in the power generation and the United States commercial construction sectors. Energy physical damage provides insurance cover against physical damage losses in addition to Operators Extra Expenses (OEE) for companies operating in the oil and gas exploration and production sector. The marine hull team insures physical damage for ships (including war and associated perils) and related marine assets. The specie business line focuses on the insurance of property items on an all risks basis, including fine art, general and bank related specie, jewelers��block and armored car. The inland marine and ocean cargo team writes business covering builders��construction risk, contractors��equipment, transportation and ocean cargo risks in addition to exhibition, fine arts and museums insurance.
The aviation team writes physical damage insurance on hulls and spares (including war and associated perils) and comprehensive legal liability for airlines, smaller operators of airline equipment, airports and associated business and non-critical component part manufacturers. It also provides aviation hull deductible cover. Its financial and professional lines comprise financial institutions, professional liability (including management and technology liability), financial and political risks and the United States surety risks, written on a primary, quota share and facultative basis. Its financial institutions ! business ! is written on both a primary and excess of loss basis and consists of professional liability, crime insurance and directors��and officers��(D&O) cover. It covers financial institutions, including commercial and investment banks, asset managers, insurance companies, stockbrokers and insureds with hybrid business models. Its professional liability business is written out of the United States (including Errors and Omissions (E&O)), the United Kingdom and Switzerland and is written on both a primary and excess of loss basis.
The Company insures a range of professions, including lawyers, accountants, architects and engineers. Its management and technology liability teams write on both a primary and excess basis D&O insurance, technology-related policies in the areas of network privacy, misuse of data and cyber liability and warranty and indemnity insurance in connection with, or to facilitate, corporate transactions. The financial and political risks team writes business covering the credit/default risk on a range of project and trade transactions, as well as political risks, terrorism (including multi-year war on land cover), piracy and kidnap and ransom (K&R). It writes financial and political risks globally but with concentrations in a range of countries, such as Russia, China, Brazil, the Netherlands and United States. Its surety team writes commercial surety risks, admiralty bonds and similar maritime undertakings, including federal and public official bonds, license and permits and fiduciary and miscellaneous bonds and privately owned companies in the United States.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Jake L'Ecuyer]
Equities Trading UP
Aspen Insurance Holdings (NYSE: AHL) shares shot up 11.05 percent to $43.72 after Endurance Specialty Holdings (NYSE: ENH) offered to buy Aspen Insurance for $47.50 per share in a cash and stock deal.
- [By Sally Jones] % over 12 months, Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. has a market cap of $2.63 billion; its shares were traded at around $40.06 with a P/E ratio of 13.50. The dividend yield is 1.80%.
The GuruFocus analysis for AHL shows six warning signs.
Track historical share pricing, revenue and net income:
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Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Arnold Schneider reduced his position by 89.42%, selling 109,081 shares at an average price of $36.77, for a gain of 8.9%.
Over five quarters, Schneider has averaged a 28% gain on 166,209 shares bought at an average price of $31.34 per share. He gained 8% selling 153,305 shares at an average price of $37.03 per share.
Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Jim Simons increased his position by 387.47%, buying 501,000 shares at an average price of $36.77, for a gain of 8.9%. His current shares are 630,300.
Over five years, Simons has sold out three times. He has averaged a 15% gain on 876,900 shares bought at an average price of $34.82 per share. He gained 13% on 246,600 shares sold at an average price of $35.35 per share.
Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Steven Cohen increased his position by 190.15%, buying 15,037 shares at an average price of $36.77, for a gain of 8.9%. His current shares are 22,945.
Cohen has averaged an 18% gain on 36,658 shares bought at an average price of $33.98 per share. He gained 22% on 13,713 shares sold at an average price of $32.85 per share.
Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, top guru stakeholder David Einhorn reduced his position by 36.93%, selling 1,451,581 shares at an average price of $36.77, for a gain of 8.6%. This trade impacts his portfolio by -1%. His current shares are 2,478,935 or 3.67% of shares outstanding.
Over five years, Einhorn has averaged a 67% gain on 5,700,182 shares bought at an average price of $23.88 per share. He gained 15% on 3,221,247 shares sold at an average price of $34.57 per share.
- [By Jake L'Ecuyer]
Equities Trading UP
Aspen Insurance Holdings (NYSE: AHL) shares shot up 11.33 percent to $43.83 after Endurance Specialty Holdings (NYSE: ENH) offered to buy Aspen Insurance for $47.50 per share in a cash and stock deal.
Top Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2014: Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FRFHF)Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (Fairfax) is a financial services holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is principally engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and the associated investment management. The Company�� segments consist of Insurance, Reinsurance, Insurance and Reinsurance Other, Runoff, and Corporate and Other. On December 22, 2011, the Company completed the acquisition of 75% interests in Sporting Life Inc. On August 16, 2011, the Company acquired William Ashley China Corporation. On March 24, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of The Pacific Insurance Berhad. On February 9, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of First Mercury Financial Corporation. In October 2012, its RiverStone runoff subsidiary acquired all the outstanding shares of Brit Insurance Limited. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Tim Brugger]
Citing the letter of intent to be acquired�for $9 a share signed Monday with a consortium led by its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial (NASDAQOTH: FRFHF ) , BlackBerry� (NASDAQ: BBRY ) �has opted to cancel its conference call and webcast following the 7 .a.m EST release of Q2 earnings this Friday, the company announced yesterday.
- [By Charles Sizemore]
BlackBerry (BBRY) has been a value trap that has ensnared more than its share of value hunting investors in recent years — yours truly included. Buying BlackBerry stock will also likely go down in history as the single-worst investing mistake in the otherwise illustrious career of Prem Watsa — the chairman of Fairfax Financial (FRFHF) and the man commonly known as the ��arren Buffett of Canada.��/p>
- [By Dan Caplinger]
That business model has been so successful that other, smaller insurance companies have emulated it. For instance, Fairfax Financial (NASDAQOTH: FRFHF ) and Markel (NYSE: MKL ) have used the same investing model to take advantage of their respective core insurance businesses. Both Fairfax and Markel have had substantial success, showing the power of using temporarily available premium reserves to make higher-return investments.
Top Insurance Stocks To Buy For 2014: Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF)
Fidelity National Financial, Inc. provides title insurance, mortgage services, and diversified services in the United States. The company provides title insurance, escrow, and other title related services, including collection and trust activities, trustee’s sales guarantees, recordings, and reconveyances, as well as home warranty insurance to various customers in the residential and commercial market sectors of the real estate industry. It is also involved in the design, manufacture, remanufacture, market, and distribution of aftermarket and original equipment electrical components for automobiles, light trucks, heavy-duty trucks, and other vehicles worldwide. In addition, the company owns and operates restaurants comprising the O'Charley's, Ninety Nine Restaurants, Max & Erma's, Village Inn, Bakers Square, and Stoney River Legendary Steaks concepts in the United States. Fidelity National Financial, Inc. is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Rich Duprey]
Title insurance company�Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF ) announced yesterday its third-quarter dividend of $0.16 per share, the same rate it's paid for the past three quarters after raising the payout 14% from $0.14 per share.
- [By Heather Long]
Four of his picks -- LinkedIn (LNKD, Tech30), 3D Systems (DDD), Fidelity National (FNF) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) -- did extremely well. Then there was Lululemon (LULU) -- the yoga apparel retailer whose shares sank more than 20%.
- [By Adam J. Wiederman]
Getty Images Bitcoin made headlines last year when the value of all outstanding pieces of the electronic currency reached nearly $10 billion. It's not just speculators drawn to the new currency. Many businesses are also attempting to cash in on this growth: Several public companies, including Zynga (ZNGA) and Overstock.com (OSTK), accept Bitcoins as a form of payment. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen's firm has invested nearly $50 million in Bitcoin-related ventures, and it is looking to invest even more. And the Winklevoss twins -- who notoriously accused Facebook's (FB) Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea -- have been "in dialogue" with the SEC about opening the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, according to Bloomberg. Yet a new survey from TheStreet.com (TST) reveals that 76 percent of consumers are not familiar with Bitcoin -- and 79 percent would never consider owning a currency like it. Does this signal opportunity for savvy investors? Or is this a fad you'd be wise to avoid? The Basics of Bitcoin Bitcoin is a completely unregulated form of currency developed by an anonymous Japanese programmer (according to some apocryphal claims) as a completely digital, peer-to-peer payment system that is independent of national currencies (which, Bitcoin users argue, are all subject to the riskiness of the underlying country). Bitcoins are rewarded throughout the day to a "Bitcoin miner" whose computer solves a series of algorithms quicker than other miners. The puzzles become more difficult over time, so the calculations take longer and the computations require more computing power. There will eventually be a total of 21 million Bitcoins (12.4 million are in circulation today) and we won't reach the point that they are effectively "mined out" until 2040. The value of a Bitcoin is supposed to be market-driven, meaning they're worth whatever the two parties in a transaction value them as. For example, in one of the original Bitcoin transactions, a "mi
- [By Jon C. Ogg]
Fidelity National Financial Inc. (NYSE: FNF) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette & Woods.
Finish Line Inc. (NASDAQ: FINL) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital Markets.