Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

One out of the three major indices traded up today The three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 24.50 points (-0.2%) at 16,117 as of Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,202 issues advancing vs. 904 declining with 116 unchanged.

The Insurance industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which was unchanged. Top gainers within the Insurance industry included Unico American ( UNAM), up 4.2%, Kingstone Companies ( KINS), up 2.6%, Independence ( IHC), up 1.8%, Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), up 4.4% and 1347 Property Insurance Holdings ( PIH), up 3.5%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the industry higher today:

Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS) is one of the companies that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. Kingsway Financial Services was up $0.25 (4.4%) to $5.94 on light volume. Throughout the day, 19,437 shares of Kingsway Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 36,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $5.74-$5.97 after having opened the day at $5.74 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $5.69.

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 $97.4 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 45.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Kingsway Financial Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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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.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KFS go as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.38 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.
  • 44.12% is the gross profit margin for KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -9.71% 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 company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Insurance industry average. The net income increased by 52.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$10.29 million to -$4.92 million.

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

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At the close, Independence ( IHC) was up $0.24 (1.8%) to $13.37 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 19,501 shares of Independence exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $12.88-$13.51 after having opened the day at $13.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.13.

Independence Holding Company provides life and health insurance products in the United States, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Independence has a market cap of $227.8 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 3.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Independence a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Independence 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, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on IHC go as follows:

  • IHC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.16 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 101.73% to $3.32 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, INDEPENDENCE HOLDING CO has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 6.46%.
  • 37.91% is the gross profit margin for INDEPENDENCE HOLDING CO which we consider to be strong. Regardless of IHC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 2.82% trails the industry average.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 25.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Insurance industry average. The net income increased by 4.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $3.69 million to $3.85 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Independence 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.

Kingstone Companies ( KINS) was another company that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. Kingstone Companies was up $0.20 (2.6%) to $7.94 on average volume. Throughout the day, 17,181 shares of Kingstone Companies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 18,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $7.72-$7.95 after having opened the day at $7.74 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $7.74.

Kingstone Companies, Inc., through its subsidiary, Kingstone Insurance Company, underwrites property and casualty insurance products to small businesses and individuals in New York. Kingstone Companies has a market cap of $55.4 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 4.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Kingstone Companies a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kingstone Companies as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KINS go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 25.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 41.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • KINS has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 800.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 50.66% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, KINS should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • KINGSTONE COS 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. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, KINGSTONE COS INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.51 versus $0.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.68 versus $0.51).
  • 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 1892.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.07 million to $1.36 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Kingstone Companies 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.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.