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Assurant (AIZ) Board Okays Share Buyback Program Worth $600M

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The board of directors of Assurant (AIZ - Free Report) recently authorized a share buyback program to return more value to investors. The latest authorization will allow the company to spend up to $600 million to repurchase its common stock.

The new program will be effective after completion of the current authorization that had $186 million remaining as on Dec 31, 2020. The company resumed buyback from the third quarter of 2020. The company plans to return $1.35 billion of capital to shareholders from 2019 to 2021, of which it has already paid back 65% in the last two years. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) global provider of risk management solutions in the housing and lifestyle markets believes it is poised to reach its capital return target, supported by strong cash flow generated by the lifestyle and housing businesses

Assurant has a strong capital management policy in place. It plans to deploy capital, mainly to fund business growth, finance other investments and return capital to shareholders via share buybacks and dividends. Traditionally, the company has been utilizing 50% of its free cash flow to repurchase shares. A solid capital position supports effective capital deployment.

Concurrently, its board of directors approved a quarterly dividend of 66 cents per share of common stock. The dividend will be paid out on Mar 15 to shareholders of record as of Feb 2. In November 2020, the board of directors had approved a dividend hike of 5%, marking the 16th consecutive dividend increase by the company since its initial public offering in 2004. Its dividend grew at a six-year (2014-2020) CAGR of 16.6%.

Shares of Assurant have gained 8.6% in a year against the industry’s decrease of 4.2%. Strong performance of the Global Lifestyle business, growing Service business and solid capital management should continue to drive shares.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks from the same industry are Kemper Corporation (KMPR - Free Report) , MGIC Investment Corporation (MTG - Free Report) and Radian Group (RDN - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Kemper delivered an earnings surprise of 49.45% in the last reported quarter.

MGIC Investment delivered an earnings surprise of 30.30% in the last reported quarter.

Radian delivered an earnings surprise of 22.92% in the last reported quarter.

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