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Eddy Elfenbein submits: Here’s an investing secret that many Wall Street professionals know about, but few individual investors are in on. Promise not to tell anyone.

OK, here goes. Most investors think the successful investing is about buying shares in some company that’s about to invent the Eight Dimension. Sure, we all know the story about our neighbor's aunt's best friend who knew this guy who went to high school with one of the Google guys, and now he's like totally loaded. Goody for him, but that's not what investing is really about.

In reality, some of the best profits can be made in the dullest of industries. In my view, the duller the better. A great example is insurance. For those who don’t know it, insurance can be insanely profitable. It's disgusting, really (I love it!). Think about it: Insurance is a low-risk business, it has tacit state protection (try driving a car without car insurance) and it can’t easily be replaced.

Here’s how some insurance stocks have performed over the last 30 years:

Progressive (NYSE:PGR).................................................95,548%
WR Berkley (BER)..................................................30,069%
AFLAC (NYSE:AFL)...........................................................23,184%
Loews (LTR)...........................................................12,597%
Cincinnati Financial (NASDAQ:CINF)......................................8,490%
American International Group (NYSE:AIG)........................7,916%
Selective Insurance Group (NASDAQ:SIGI)............................7,444%
Protective Life (NYSE:PL)..................................................4,617%
First American (NYSE:FAF).................................................4,055%
Old Republic International (NYSE:ORI)..............................3,947%

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 is up about 1,230%.

I should add that I don't mean all insurance stocks are great investments. But the cream of the industry is about the best you can do.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention Warren Buffett. Insurance forms the basis of his entire fortune. Over the last 30 years, Berkshire (NYSE:BRK.A) is up nearly 160,000%.

Source: Insurance Stocks: Wall Street's Biggest Secret