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.

All three major indices traded up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 121 points (0.7%) at 17,751 as of Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,248 issues advancing vs. 830 declining with 135 unchanged.

The Insurance industry as a whole closed the day up 0.9% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.7%. Top gainers within the Insurance industry included Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), up 4.2%, Kansas City Life Insurance ( KCLI), up 11.0%, Tiptree Financial ( TIPT), up 2.1%, State Auto Financial ( STFC), up 2.9% and PICO Holdings ( PICO), up 3.7%.

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

PICO Holdings ( PICO) is one of the companies that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. PICO Holdings was up $0.44 (3.7%) to $12.38 on average volume. Throughout the day, 110,324 shares of PICO Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 88,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $11.86-$12.58 after having opened the day at $11.95 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.94.

PICO Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in water resource and water storage, real estate, and agribusiness activities in the United States. PICO Holdings has a market cap of $275.8 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 36.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates PICO Holdings a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates PICO Holdings as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on PICO go as follows:

  • PICO HOLDINGS INC's earnings per share declined by 25.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, PICO HOLDINGS INC reported poor results of -$2.30 versus -$0.98 in the prior year.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Diversified Financial Services industry average. The net income has significantly decreased by 27.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$13.25 million to -$16.83 million.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Financial Services industry and the overall market, PICO HOLDINGS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 44.58%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 25.86% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.55, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PICO Holdings Ratings Report

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

At the close, State Auto Financial ( STFC) was up $0.76 (2.9%) to $26.78 on average volume. Throughout the day, 41,224 shares of State Auto Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 39,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $26.00-$26.97 after having opened the day at $26.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $26.02.

State Auto Financial Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal, business, and specialty insurance products. It operates through four segments: Personal insurance, Business insurance, Specialty insurance, and Investment operations. State Auto Financial has a market cap of $1.1 billion and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 17.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates State Auto Financial a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates State Auto Financial 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on STFC go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.0%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • STFC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.11 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 2273.91% to $54.60 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, STATE AUTO FINANCIAL CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 12.79%.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, STATE AUTO FINANCIAL CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: State Auto Financial Ratings Report

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS) was another company that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. Kingsway Financial Services was up $0.22 (4.2%) to $5.47 on average volume. Throughout the day, 16,789 shares of Kingsway Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 17,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $5.04-$5.48 after having opened the day at $5.11 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $5.25.

Kingsway Financial Services Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides property and casualty insurance products in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Insurance Underwriting and Insurance Services. Kingsway Financial Services has a market cap of $104.5 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 5.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Kingsway Financial Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kingsway Financial Services as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KFS go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 two years. During the past fiscal year, KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.89 versus -$3.17 in the prior year.
  • KFS has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 14.11% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.17 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management.

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

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

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.