Assurant Inc (AIZ): Today's Featured Insurance Laggard

Assurant ( AIZ) pushed the Insurance industry lower today making it today's featured Insurance laggard. The industry as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Assurant fell 38 cents (-1.1%) to $35.85 on average volume. Throughout the day, 835,190 shares of Assurant exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.1 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $35.63-$35.95 after having opened the day at $35.95 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.23. Other companies within the Insurance industry that declined today were: 21st Century Holding Company ( TCHC), down 3.9%, Homeowners Choice ( HCII), down 3.3%, PICO Holdings ( PICO), down 3.1%, and Independence Holding Company ( IHC), down 3.1%.

Assurant, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides specialized insurance products and related services in the North America and internationally. It operates in four segments: Assurant Solutions, Assurant Specialty Property, Assurant Health, and Assurant Employee Benefits. Assurant has a market cap of $2.93 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.8, equal to the average insurance industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 11.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is one analyst that rates Assurant a buy, four analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Assurant as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

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).

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