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Gloria Vogel, CFA

 
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  • Insurance and a Potential Turn in the Underwriting Cycle [View article]
    Most of the loss will be borne by the Japanese insurers. Despite the high risk of quake in Japan, few have purchased earthquake insurance. It isn't yet clear how tsunami claims will be treated -- whether they will be included in earthquake or separately. The large European reinsurers will be exposed, but smaller mid-sized reinsurers may also see significant losses. Through retrocessions, it is difficult at this stage to know where all the losses will occur. The best way to play a turn on pricing is via the insurance brokers.
    Mar 14, 2011. 12:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Insurance and a Potential Turn in the Underwriting Cycle [View article]
    The Insurance Information Institute (iii.org) has slides and data on insurance related issues that provide great historical information.
    Mar 14, 2011. 10:58 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Insurance and a Potential Turn in the Underwriting Cycle [View article]
    Earthquake insurance is available but at high cost within known quake regions -- i.e. the California Earthquake Authority. I am not aware of any special insurance coverage for tsunami.
    Mar 14, 2011. 09:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Life Insurance Is Still a Risky Business [View article]
    Yes, once the life insurers demutualized, they faced the same pressures as other stock companies to show higher returns for shareholders. As such, they began to reach for yield on their investments and to expand their products, moving more into variable annuities to achieve faster growth. Competition forced prices lower and contracted spreads, and when the market collapsed many firms were left with bad assets as well as reduced income. While the industry has made progress in the past year in cutting some risk exposure and raising capital, some firms remain vulnerable if there is a double dip. Just today, the SEC questioned Hartford Financial as to why its worst holdings have not been marked down.
    Jul 27, 2010. 12:01 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Another Reason to Be Cautious on Insurance Stocks [View article]
    Yes, there is a big difference between the signal from a cell tower and a phone. Cell towers are far more powerful. There are real health concerns about third-party workers (painters, roofers, electricians, etc) – those who must work in close proximity to powerful towers. Such workers are not given safety training, and may not even be aware of antennas hidden behind walls or within chimneys.

    As for the health evidence, here is a link to a peer reviewed science paper that shows the connection between mental disturbances and RF radiation.

    ewh.ieee.org/soc/embs/...
    May 10, 2010. 12:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Insurance Stocks: Time to Take Some Profits? [View article]
    A. M. Best earlier today issued a report titled "L/H Investments Show Mixed Signals" which said the following:

    "Even though some pressure on life insurers’ invested assets has alleviated, A.M. Best is maintaining its negative rating outlook on the life/health industry, given its perspective on the credit cycle and the potential negative impact on life insurance companies’ asset portfolios. A.M. Best’s view reflects concern regarding the sustainability of the positive trends (i.e., the shape of the economic recovery), as well as the potential for volatile equity markets and headline investment risk within commercial real estate as the credit cycle unwinds."
    Jan 7, 2010. 07:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Insurance Stocks: Time to Take Some Profits? [View article]
    Ted -

    The stocks appear cheap on historical multiple basis. However, in a near zero interest environment and with slow growth, recent historical multiples, in my view, are not a reliable measure. The stocks will hold their own if the market recovery is sustained. However, in any market correction or second dip, investment income will falter, top line growth will drop, and earnings will decline. That said, the non-life firms appear to be in a stronger financial position than the life insurers, barring any catastrophe.
    Jan 5, 2010. 09:13 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • TARP for Insurers: Blessing or a Curse? [View article]
    Agreed that most insurers were not like AIG. However, many do hold sub-prime or Alt-A mortgages, and some have securities lending operations or commercial mortgage loans that are having difficulty.


    On Apr 09 05:36 PM p2i wrote:

    > Gloria, not all the insurers were as stupid as AIG in allowing one
    > division to bring the whole company down. AIG sold credit default
    > swaps and lost billions in the housing meltdown. You describe the
    > listed insurers as buyers of "toxic assets". Most of the insurers
    > assets are not toxic at all; they are merely devalued due to economic
    > events. They hold 18% of all investment grade corporate bonds. Those
    > bonds have gone down in value. Does that make them toxic or temporarily
    > devalued? It doesn't matter thou since most of the bonds will not
    > default and were bought to hold until maturity. They invest in many
    > other temporarily devalued assets too which won't default. Some insurers
    > do have liquidity problems at this time, but not all.
    Apr 9, 2009. 05:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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