Insurance stocks can be steady performers throughout stock market cycles. Many investors are currently looking for the best insurance stocks to buy. Even when the economy is in the tank, customers who need their health insurance will continue to pay their premium. In most states, car insurance is required. In addition, many insurance stocks pay a dividend.
There are many different types (or lines) of insurance and investors should know the difference. Some insurance stocks focus on a single insurance line, while others focus on multiple lines. If you’re new to insurance stocks for need a refresher, here’s a quick recap of each insurance line.
- Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance companies write policies that cover property damage and liability protection. The two most common types of P&C insurance are auto and homeowners. It covers damages to the covered property and may also cover damage to other property or people that the policyholder causes. In addition to auto and homeowners, renters and pet insurance are also common types of P&C insurance.
- Life insurance pays a predetermined beneficiary upon the death of an insured policyholder. Term life insurance is a simple inexpensive way to fill life insurance needs. There are also very complex and costly forms of life insurance.
- Health insurance helps pay for healthcare costs. When a person is hurt of gets sick, a trip to the doctor can be expensive or sometimes unaffordable. Health insurance is so common, most employers offer it to employees and help pay the premiums.
With the stock market down this year and talk of a recession, insurance stocks may be an option for investors looking to protect their downside. Here are a few insurance stocks to think about.
Two Best Insurance Stocks to Buy and Interest Rates
When customers pay their premiums, insurance companies keep those premiums until it needs to pay out claims. In the meantime, the insurance company can earn interest on the money that it is holding. Most of the time, the insurance company invests the premium money in safe interest-bearing investments.
With interest rates on the rise, insurance stocks may stand to benefit. If you’re interested in insurance stocks, you may want to consider these.
No. 2 American International Group (NYSE: AIG)
AIG is a global insurer that operates in over 70 countries. It writes multiple lines of insurance ranging from P&C to life insurance. In addition to its insurance business, AIG offers financial services to its customers. At about 5x, AIG stock has one of the lowest P/E ratios of the insurance stocks.
No. 1 The Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE: HIG)
HIG is better known as The Hartford. It offers one of the most wide-ranging insurance products of the insurance stocks. It writes commercial, personal, P&C, group benefits. In addition, the company offers mutual funds to investors. The Hartford stock pays a dividend yield of over 2%.
Three Best Health Insurance Stocks to Buy
Due to the sky-high cost of healthcare, health insurance can be very expensive. For the same reason, it is also very necessary. The cost of health insurance premiums can be offset by employers or government subsidies. Either way those offsets help health insurance premiums rolling in the door for these insurance stocks.
No. 3 UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNG)
UNG is the biggest health insurance company in the world, by wide margin. UnitedHealth’s covers so many different locations, that it is the favorite health insurance provider for many large multi-national employers. UnitedHealth Group stock pays a dividend yield of over 1%.
No. 2 Anthem (NYSE ANTM)
ANTM is another health insurance stock to buy. The company offers its popular Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans in several U.S. states. It also has plans that cover every state in the U.S. For customers who qualify, Anthem sells Medicare and Medicaid health insurance plans. The stock has a P/E ratio of almost 20x.
No. 1 Humana (NYSE: HUM)
HUM is a leader in Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Its Medicare and Medicaid business writes plans for both individuals and groups. Humana is also a leader is group health insurance for small businesses in the U.S. Humana is a fast growing insurance stock, but pays a small dividend of less than 1%.
Two Best Property and Casualty Stocks
Most states in the U.S. require car owners to insure their themselves to pay for damages to themselves and others in the event of a car accident. In addition, lenders have an interest in the homes on which they have a mortgage. Those lenders require homeowners’ insurance to protect those homes.
No. 2 Progressive (NYSE: PGR)
In addition to PGR’s hilarious ads, the company is the biggest auto insurer in the U.S. In addition, the company insurer homes. As a leader in both, it offers customers a reduced premium for bundling both auto and home insurance together. Progressive has been growing fast over the last several years. As a result, the stock sports one of the higher P/E ratios among insurance stocks at 33x.
No. 1 Allstate (NYSE: ALL)
ALL has one of the biggest market caps of the insurance stocks at over $36 billion. The stock also pays one of the highest dividend yields in the group at over 2.5%. Allstate writes insurance that covers autos and homes like the other P&C insurance stocks. It also has a financial services arm that writes life, accident and health insurance.
Two Best Life Insurance Stocks to Buy
Compared to other insurance stocks, life insurance companies have the longest time to invest premiums before they need to pay out claims. This happens because the claims are paid upon the death of the insured person. Other insurance lines pay claims on fender benders, trips to the doctor, or damage to a home. Those claims occur much more frequently than for life insurance.
No. 2 MetLife (NYSE: MET)
MET is one of the larges life insurers in the U.S. The company also has wealth management arm that helps customers with retirement planning and saving. MetLife stock pays a healthy dividend yield of nearly 3%.
No. 1 Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU)
PRU is financial services and investment manager. Within its retirement planning arm, it writes life insurance and annuities. In addition, Prudential also provides mutual funds and investment management. The stock’s dividend yield of 4.5% compares favorably to other insurance stocks.
BJ Cook is a long-time stock nerd. He has held several roles in the equity research world and earned the right to use the CFA designation in 2014. When he’s not writing for Investment U, you can find him searching for new investment ideas. Outside the investment community, BJ is a die-hard Cubs fan.