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6 Insurers Set to Outperform Estimates This Earnings Season

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Per the latest Earnings Preview, the Finance sector’s earnings are expected to grow 51.5% while revenues are estimated to improve 2.3%. Insurance industry, one of the Finance sector industries, is set to report earnings growth of 5.3% on 2.3% higher revenues for the first quarter of 2021.

Performances of insurers are likely to have been aided by better pricing, exposure growth, prudent underwriting, solid products and service portfolio and increased adoption of technologies. Easy year-over-year comparison is a breather as the prior-year quarter was badly hit by the pandemic. Notably, since the third quarter of 2020, insurers have been witnessing a turnaround owing to reopening of the economy. However, a low rate environment may have been a dampener.

Frequent natural disasters accelerated the policy renewal rate and aided better pricing even in the first quarter. Most of the commercial insurance lines are likely to have witnessed rate increase in the to-be-reported quarter. Per Willis Towers Watson’s Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey, 29 U.S. commercial insurance lines are expected to witness price rise. Underwriting results are likely to reflect reinsurance covers, favorable reserve development and solid capital level.

A near-zero interest rate environment is likely to have weighed on the performance of life insurers and long tail property and casualty insurers in particular. Nonetheless, life insurers have been redesigning products by moving away from guaranteed savings products toward protection products of unit-linked savings products. Also, investment income, an important component of an insurer’s top line, is likely to have been affected. In the latest FOMC meeting, the interest rate was retained at a near-zero level with indication of no raises until 2023.

Nonetheless, increased adoption of technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, telematics, cloud computing and robotic process automation is expected to have aided business amid coronavirus-induced challenges and saved costs, thus aiding margins.

The insurance industry gained 7.9% in the first quarter, compared with the S&P 500 Index’s rise of 6.1% and the Finance sector’s increase of 10.2%.

Potential Q1 Outperformers

With the help of the Zacks Stock Screener, we have identified a few stocks poised to outshine the Zacks Consensus Estimate in first-quarter earnings.  These stocks have the ideal combination of two ingredients — a positive Earnings ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank — to surpass expectations. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they are reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

The Allstate Corporation (ALL - Free Report) is the third-largest P&C insurer and the largest publicly-held personal lines carrier in the United States.

Earnings ESP: +2.14%

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Cincinnati Financial Corporation (CINF - Free Report) markets property and casualty insurance.

Earnings ESP: +6.30%

Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

Manulife Financial (MFC - Free Report) is one of the three dominant life insurers within its domestic Canadian market and possesses rapidly growing operations in the United States and several Asian countries.

Earnings ESP: +4.65%

Zacks Rank #2

Primerica (PRI - Free Report) provides financial products to middle-income households in the United States and Canada.

Earnings ESP: +0.28%

Zacks Rank #2

Cigna Corporation (CI - Free Report) provides insurance and related products and services in the United States.

Earnings ESP: +1.06%

Zacks Rank #3

Unum Group (UNM - Free Report) provides financial protection benefit solutions primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Poland.

Earnings ESP: +6.55%

Zacks Rank #3

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