NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Insurance stocks have rocketed 13% in the past month, more than twice the pace of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The following five insurers have significantly, and consistently, outperformed their peers.

5. Nymagic

( NYM) is a New York-based property and casualty insurer specializing in marine insurance.

One-Month Stock Increase:

16%

Stock Performance:

Nymagic dropped 4.3% over three months, compared with an increase of 14% for the average insurer. Analysts' price target indicates a 14% price gap.

News:

Nymagic reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, with a 30% increase in book-value-per share in 2009.

4. MetLife

(MET) - Get Report

, based in New York, is the largest U.S. life insurer with substantial annuity and property and casualty interests.

One-Month Stock Increase:

16%

Stock Performance:

MetLife has risen 13% over three months and 227% in a year, compared with the insurer average of 14% and 204%.

News:

MetLife announced it was purchasing AIG unit ALICO, which triggered an already primed pump. The deal is well-priced for MetLife, especially because of the stock element.

3. Ambac Financial Group

( ABK) is a New York-based bond insurer regulated by Wisconsin insurance authority.

One-Month Stock Increase:

23%

Stock Performance:

Ambac is a penny stock, the domain of speculators. The shares are down 6.4% this year but up 94% over 12 months, far below the 203% average for insurers. Analysts' price target is $1.

News:

Ambac will release 2009 earnings after the close of stock-market trading March 16. Speculation over restructuring by

Blackstone

(BX) - Get Report

, several lawsuits and the viability of the group -- combined with a delisting threat -- mean this volatile stock is in play.

2. Conseco

(CNO) - Get Report

is an Indiana-based life and health insurer.

One-Month Stock Increase:

37%

Stock Performance:

Conseco has gained 26% over three months and 14-fold in the past year. It's still trading 6.4% less than analysts' price target.

News:

Fourth-quarter earnings trailed analysts' estimates, though it did little to damp the stock. Hedge-fund firm

Paulson & Co.

exercised its right to buy 4.5 million shares in February to raise its holding to 24.5 million shares, or 9.7% of Conseco's common stock.

1. American International Group

(AIG) - Get Report

is a New York-based multiline insurer.

One-Month Stock Increase:

42%

Stock Performance:

The stock has kept pace with its peers this year, rising 9.3%. Over 12 months, it has jumped 368%, more than the 204% average.

News:

AIG has announced sales of both of its most valuable units, AIA and ALICO, for $51 billion, with half of the proceeds due to pay off bailout funding. Analysts are skeptical of the value and the cash-generating ability of the remaining businesses.

Gavin Magor is the senior analyst responsible for assigning financial-strength ratings to insurance companies. He conducts industry analysis and supports consumer products. Magor has more than 22 years of international experience in operations and credit-risk management, commercial lending and analysis. His experience includes international assignments in Sweden, Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. He holds a master's degree in business administration from The Open University in the U.K.