1Q07 Insurance Earnings: What's Working, What's Not (Part IX)

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Includes: CNO, HCC-OLD, MMC, PL, UHCO
by: David Merkel, CFA

Earnings season finally slows down. Here’s some commentary on what Insurance companies reported on Tuesday (see part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V, part VI, part VII and part VIII).

Life

Protective Life (NYSE:PL) beats and raises. Last quarter, many parties got hung up on an accounting adjustment, and drove the stock down. This quarter there is no adjustment, but instead an improvement in margins, so PL guides up. Conseco (NYSE:CNO) misses; the clean-up of their administration systems persists, though these adjustments should be over with the second quarter report. The old LTC block is still an albatross. The sale of the annuity lines to Swiss Re (OTC:SWCEY) with an expanded buyback may provide some price support today, but perhaps at a lower level.

Universal American (UHCO) misses, but the stock goes up because of the purchase of a private Pharmacy Benefits Manager, MemberHealth. It certainly seems like they got a favorable p;rice, but they had to issue a lot of stock to make the deal work.

The Bermudans

Allied World (NYSE:AWH) beats handily. The price action today may be muted by their conservatism in not writing so much premium in the first quarter.

Brokers

Marsh & McLennan (NYSE:MMC) misses on higher revenues overall. I don’t think they have worked out how to replace lost contingent fee income from their brokerage businesses.

Primary Casualty

HCC (NYSE:HCC-OLD) beats on higher revenues; all segments show some improvement The big news is that they see opportunities to grow profitably at present. Wonderful news if true.

Now to bed; I am beat.

Full disclosure: long AWH CNO