On Sep 30, 2016, shares of Assurant Inc. (AIZ - Analyst Report) scaled a new 52-week high of $92.63. The upside was driven by the company’s deal with GamaSec to reduce the risk of potential cyber breaches. About 0.3 million shares exchanged hands in the last trading session and the stock finally closed at $92.25, up 0.85%. Year to date, the stock has returned 14.53%, which is substantially above 6.08% returned by S&P 500.
Last week, Assurant inked a deal with website security company, GamaSec, to significantly lower the risk of cyber breaches faced by small and medium business websites. Assurant will support the limited warranty issued by the cyber-security company with its new offering. The resultant product will cater to clients’ demands for cyber security and warranty protection at an affordable price.
This partnership is latest move by Assurant toward technology-based innovations for risk management. The multi line insurer rolls out innovative products and services time and again apart from entering into strategic partnerships.
Based on these factors, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has also inched up 0.2% for 2016 and 1.3% for 2017, over the last 60 days.
A strong franchise, consistent cash flow generation, moderate debt ratio, robust Solutions segment, business restructuring, and disciplined capital management are expected to drive long-term growth. Management projects at least 15% annual increase in operating earnings per share and 15% growth in return on equity by 2020. The insurer delivered positive surprise in three of the last four quarters.
Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider
Assurant presently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked insurers are Radian Group Inc. (RDN - Analyst Report) , W.R. Berkley Corp. (WRB - Analyst Report) and James River Group Holdings, Ltd. (JRVR - Snapshot Report) . Each of these carry Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Radian Group is a credit enhancement company which supports homebuyers, mortgage lenders, loan servicers and investors with a suite of private mortgage insurance and related risk-management products and services. The stock has returned 1.18% year to date.
James River Group is a provider of specialty insurance and reinsurance services in the United States. The stock has returned 2.66% year to date.
W.R. Berkley Corp is one of the nation’s premier commercial lines property casualty insurance providers. The stock has returned 5.50% year to date.
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