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Assurant (AIZ) Stock Up 39% in a Year: More Room for Upside?

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Assurant (AIZ - Free Report) shares have rallied 39.3% in a year compared with the industry's increase of 30% and the Finance sector’s increase of 37.4%. The Zacks S&P 500 composite has risen 34.1% in the said time frame. With market capitalization of $9.8 billion, average volume of shares traded in the last three months was 0.4 million.

Strong performing Global Lifestyle business and solid capital management continue to aid Assurant. The company has a decent track of beating earnings estimates in three of the last four reported quarters and missing in one, with the average beat being 21.71%.

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Return on equity of 8.8% in the trailing 12 months was better than the industry average of 8.5%, reflecting the company’s efficiency in utilizing shareholders’ fund.

Can it Retain the Momentum?

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 and 2022 earnings has moved up 1.7% and 2.4%, respectively in the past 60 days, indicating year-over-year increase of 22.9% and 10.1%.

The company projects 10% to 14% annual operating EPS growth excluding catastrophes. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 17.5%, better than the industry average of 13.2%.

Earnings at Global Lifestyle are expected to be led by mobile and will mainly come from new and expanded programs as well as contribution from recent acquisitions. For 2021, Assurant projects net operating income of Global Lifestyle to grow in the high single-digits compared with  $437 million reported in 2020. Growth is expected from all lines of business, particularly Connected Living. Adjusted EBITDA for this segment is projected to grow in double digits year over year.

The company is also focused on growing the fee-based capital-light businesses that presently consists of 52% segmental revenues. Management estimates the contribution to continue growing in double digits over the longer term.

Assurant’s decision to divest its Global Preneed business will help it intensify focus on connected world businesses and specialty property and casualty offerings. This also marks a step forward toward intensifying focus on market-leading lifestyle and housing businesses.

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) has a strong capital management policy in place.  It has been increasing dividends in each of the last 16 years. So far this year, the company’s board approved two share repurchase authorization.  Assurant is on track to return $1.35 billion of capital to shareholders by 2021, of which it has already paid back more than 70%.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks from the same space are Horace Mann Educators Corporation (HMN - Free Report) , Old Republic International Corporation (ORI - Free Report) , and Cincinnati Financial Corporation (CINF - Free Report) , each carrying Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Horace Mann delivered 44.74% earnings surprise in the last reported quarter.

Old Republic International delivered 53.33% earnings surprise in the last reported quarter.

Cincinnati Financial delivered 30.48% earnings surprise in the last reported quarter.

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