Aflac Inc (AFL): Today's Featured Insurance Winner

Aflac ( AFL) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, Aflac rose 29 cents (0.7%) to $43.90 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2.2 million shares of Aflac exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $43.55-$44.19 after having opened the day at $43.81 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $43.61. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: MGIC Investment Corporation ( MTG), up 10.7%, EMC Insurance Group ( EMCI), up 8.9%, Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), up 8%, and Homeowners Choice ( HCII), up 3.5%.

Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, provides supplemental health and life insurance. Aflac has a market cap of $20.39 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.7, equal to the average insurance industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 0.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Aflac a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Aflac as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in net income, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the negative front, Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings ( FSR), down 4.3%, American Safety Insurance Holdings ( ASI), down 3.6%, Unico American Corporation ( UNAM), down 3%, and StanCorp Financial Group ( SFG), down 2.7%, were all losers within the insurance industry with Genworth Financial ( GNW) being today's insurance industry loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the insurance industry could consider KBW Insurance ETF ( KIE) while those bearish on the insurance industry could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).