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The Insurance industry as a whole closed the day down 0.9% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.5%. Laggards within the Insurance industry included American Independence ( AMIC), down 1.6%, Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), down 2.1%, Crawford & Company ( CRD.A), down 1.7%, Tiptree Financial ( TIPT), down 2.7% and Baldwin & Lyons ( BWINB), down 2.1%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the industry lower today:

Stewart Information Services ( STC) is one of the companies that pushed the Insurance industry lower today. Stewart Information Services was down $0.59 (1.9%) to $30.92 on light volume. Throughout the day, 110,312 shares of Stewart Information Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 158,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $30.86-$31.60 after having opened the day at $31.37 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $31.51.

Stewart Information Services Corporation provides title insurance and real estate services worldwide. Stewart Information Services has a market cap of $676.4 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 2.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Stewart Information Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Stewart Information Services as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on STC go as follows:

  • STC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.05 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • STC, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 7.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • STEWART INFORMATION SERVICES has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, STEWART INFORMATION SERVICES reported lower earnings of $2.59 versus $4.43 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 48.6% in earnings ($1.33 versus $2.59).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 477.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $3.21 million to -$12.11 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Stewart Information Services Ratings Report

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At the close, Baldwin & Lyons ( BWINB) was down $0.54 (2.1%) to $25.00 on light volume. Throughout the day, 10,013 shares of Baldwin & Lyons exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 21,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $24.95-$25.41 after having opened the day at $25.33 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $25.54.

Baldwin & Lyons, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in marketing and underwriting property and casualty insurance products primarily in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Property and Casualty Insurance, and Reinsurance. Baldwin & Lyons has a market cap of $315.5 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 6.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Baldwin & Lyons as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on BWINB go as follows:

  • BWINB's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.03 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • BWINB, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 7.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 9.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 57.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $14.94 million to $6.36 million.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market, BALDWIN & LYONS's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Baldwin & Lyons Ratings Report

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Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS) was another company that pushed the Insurance industry lower today. Kingsway Financial Services was down $0.13 (2.1%) to $6.11 on light volume. Throughout the day, 11,048 shares of Kingsway Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 30,400 shares. The stock ranged in price between $6.00-$6.20 after having opened the day at $6.10 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $6.24.

Kingsway Financial Services Inc., through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the provision of property and casualty insurance products for individuals and businesses in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Insurance Underwriting and Insurance Services. Kingsway Financial Services has a market cap of $102.5 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 60.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kingsway Financial Services as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been very high debt management risk by most measures.

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Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KFS go as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market, KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 42.10% is the gross profit margin for KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -3.37% is in-line with the industry average.
  • KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. During the past fiscal year, KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC continued to lose money by earning -$3.17 versus -$3.95 in the prior year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 90.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$17.43 million to -$1.66 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Kingsway Financial Services Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.