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On Dec 17, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Reinsurance Group of America Inc. (RGA - Analyst Report) to a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Reinsurance Group witnessed rising earnings estimates on the back of solid third quarter 2013 results. This life insurer delivered positive earnings surprise in the 3 of last 4 quarters. The expected long–term growth rate for the stocks comes at 6.9%.

Reinsurance Group’s third quarter operating income of $2.14 per share exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 17.6% and year-ago earnings by 58.5%. Higher revenues along with lower share count aided the earnings' outperformance.

Total revenue of Reinsurance Group increased 6.4% year over year to $2.47 billion in the third quarter and was also above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.45 billion

Book value per share of Reinsurance Group increased 9.6% year over year to $67.98 as on Sep 30, 2013.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 was up by a good 8.3% to $4.74 per share, as more than 85% of the estimates were raised over the last 60 days.

Reinsurance Group holds a significant position in the U.S. and Canada. The company is also focusing on its underwriting standards, prompt response on quotes, competitive pricing as well as capacity and flexibility to meet customer needs, in an attempt to preserve its position.

Additionally, the company is growing its international operations to reap the benefits of diversification.

Also a disciplined capital management strategy will continue to boost bottom-line earnings.

Other stocks to Consider

Other players in the life insurance industry, which look attractive at current levels, include StanCorp Financial Group, Inc. (SFG - Analyst Report),  American Equity Investment Life Holding Co. (AEL - Snapshot Report) and Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC - Analyst Report). While StanCorp Financial sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), American Equity and Manulife Financial carry Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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