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Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights MetLife, American International Group, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Old Republic International, and Horace Mann Educators

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 4, 2022 – Today, MetLife Inc. (MET - Free Report) , American International Group Inc. (AIG - Free Report) , The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG - Free Report) , Old Republic International Corp. (ORI - Free Report) and Horace Mann Educators Corp. (HMN - Free Report)

Industry: Insurance - Multiline

Link https://www.zacks.com/commentary/1891094/5-multiline-insurers-to-watch-as-pandemic-impact-recedes

Product diversification helps Zacks Multiline Insurance industry players to lower concentration risk, ensure uninterrupted revenue generation, and improve retention ratio. Better pricing, prudent underwriting, increased exposure, faster economic recovery on the receding impact of the pandemic and increased vaccinations should benefit MetLife Inc., American International Group Inc., The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Old Republic International Corp., and Horace Mann Educators Corp.. Accelerated digitalization will help in the smooth functioning of the industry.

The solid capital level of the multiline insurers will fuel merger and acquisition (M&A) activities. With the recent 25 basis points rise in interest rate, investment income should improve further as insurers are beneficiaries of a rising rate environment.

About the Industry

The Zacks Multiline Insurance industry comprises companies that provide a single insurance coverage, bundling automobile, homeowner, long-term care, life and health insurance to individuals and businesses. The insured pays a single premium and is covered for many things through a single contract.

These companies cover commercial and personal properties, automobiles, marine, livestock, aviation, personal accident, life including permanent and term insurance, supplemental accident and health insurance, workers' compensation, annuity products, private mortgage insurance, et al. The industry participants also provide risk management services.

Since the companies offer single insurance coverage for multiple products, customer retention improves. The insured stands to benefit from lower premium payment compared to paying individual premiums for insuring varied products.

3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Multiline Insurance Industry

Diversified portfolio lowers concentration risk:  Given the nature of the business, multiline insurers' product and service portfolios are diversified, which lowers concentration risk. Increased awareness driving higher demand for protection products should benefit sales and premiums for life insurance operations. Continued improvement in pricing should support premium growth for non-life insurance operations.

Per Deloitte Insights, The Swiss Re Institute estimates an increase in demand for insurance coverage across the globe, in turn driving a 3.9% rise in premiums in 2022. Per Deloitte Insights, life insurance premium is estimated to increase 4% while non-life insurance premium is expected to increase 3.7% in 2022.

Merger and acquisitions:  Consolidation in the multi-line insurance industry would continue as players look to diversify their operations into new business lines and geographies. Buying businesses in the same lines is driven by the players' need to gain a fair market share and grow in their niche areas. With the reopening of the economy, an optimistic growth outlook and a solid capital level of the insurers, 2021 saw 869 deals, up 40% from 620 in 2020. The total deal value surged 165% to $57.5 billion per Deloitte. With a favorable operating backdrop on the stride, the stage is set for the momentum to continue.

Increased adoption of technology: Digitalization has taken a leap in the industry with the pandemic hitting hard and companies gathering strength to operate amid pandemic-induced restrictions. The industry is witnessing greater use of technology like blockchain, AI, advanced analytics, telematics, cloud computing and robotic process automation to expedite business operations and save costs. 

Many life insurers have started selling policies online that appeal to the tech-savvy population. At the same time, the use of real-time data is making premium calculation easier and reducing risk. The P&C industry, in particular, also witnessed the emergence of insurtech — technology-led insurers — sparking competition for incumbent players. Moreover, the adoption of technology has helped in seamless underwriting and claims processing. Per Deloitte Insights, the technology budget is projected to increase 13.7% in 2022.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Dull Prospects

The group's Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates weak prospects in the near term. The Zacks Multiline Insurance industry, housed within the broader Zacks Finance sector, currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #207, which places it in the bottom 18% of 255 Zacks industries. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.

The industry's positioning in the bottom 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is the result of a negative earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. The industry's earnings estimates for the current year have been revised downward by 15.8% over a year's time.    

Before we present a few multiline insurance stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let's take a look at the industry's recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.

Industry Underperforms Sector and S&P 500

The Multiline Insurance industry has underperformed both the Zacks S&P 500 composite and its sector over the past year. The stocks in this industry have collectively lost 4.6% in the past year against the Finance sector's increase of 9.9%. Notably, the Zacks S&P 500 composite has gained 15% in the same time frame.            

Current Valuation

On the basis of its trailing 12-month price-to-book (P/B), which is commonly used for valuing insurance stocks, the industry is currently trading at 1.66X compared with the S&P 500's 6.84X and the sector's 3.41X.

Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 1.97X, as low as 0.84X and at the median of 1.57X.

5 Multiline Insurance Stocks to Keep an Eye On

We are presenting two Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stocks from the Multiline Insurance industry. We are also presenting three stocks with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) from the same industry. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Old RepublicInternational: Chicago, IL-based Old Republic is the third-largest title insurer in the country. Its position among title insurance providers to residential and commercial markets, niche focus, low property catastrophe exposure in its General Insurance segment and solid capital position it well for growth.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 and 2023 earnings of Zacks Rank #2 ORI has moved up 3.7% and 7.5%, respectively, in the past 60 days. Old Republic delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 38.74%.

Horace Mann Educators Corp.: Headquartered in Springfield, IL, this Zacks Rank #2 company operates as an insurance holding company in the United States. HMN is the largest multi-line financial services company serving the U.S. educator market. An 8% increase in K-12 teachers is anticipated between 2015 and 2027.

A demographic shift is expected as baby boomers retire and millennials make up a higher percentage of the workforce. Thus, Horace Mann is well poised to capitalize on the opportunity, given its strategic focus on designing products.  The addition of Supplemental products has enhanced cross-selling.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Horace Mann's 2022 and 2023 earnings has moved 8.4% and 11% north, respectively in the past 60 days and indicates a year-over-increase of 1.1% and 5.5%. HMN delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 22.80%.

MetLife: This New York, NY-based insurance-based global financial services company provides protection and investment products to a range of individual and institutional customers. MetLife's focus on businesses with growth potential and strategies to control cost and increase efficiency bode well for growth. MET carries a Zacks Rank #3.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 indicates a year-over-increase of 8.9% and has moved up 1% in the past 60 days. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 7.4%. MetLife delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 48.16%. MET has VGM Score of B.

American International Group: Headquartered in New York, this Zacks Rank #3 insurer provides insurance products for commercial, institutional, and individual customers in North America and internationally. Strategic business de-risking and acquisitions, cost-control efforts, and accelerated capital deployment will drive American International's growth.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 and 2023 indicates a year-over-increase of 1.1% and 5.5%. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is 10%. AIG delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 10%. American International has a VGM Score of B.

Hartford Financial: This Hartford, CT-based Zacks Rank #3 company is one of the major multi-line insurance and investment companies in the country, providing investment products, group life and group disability insurance, property and casualty insurance, and mutual funds in the United States. Hartford Financial's expanded product offerings, efforts to strengthen the commercial business, underwriting strength in products, capital appreciation and cost-curbing initiatives bode well for growth.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 and 2023 indicates a year-over-increase of 10.6% and 16.1%. The expected long-term earnings growth rate is pegged at 7%. Hartford Financial delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 34.94%. HIG has a VGM Score of B.

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