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3 Insurance stocks to own as premiums continue to rise

The rate of inflation is expected to continue to trend lower when the December CPI and PPI numbers are released the week of January 8, 2024. But one area where many Americans aren't experiencing much relief is in their insurance premiums.  

Both auto and home insurance premiums were up by double digits in 2023. Insurers cite inflation and severe weather conditions as two primary reasons for the sharp rise in interest rates. In an industry defined by risk management, many companies find it necessary to charge higher premiums to provide a safety net against potential, undefined losses.  

Unfortunately, those conditions that caused rates to rise sharply in 2023 are still in place in 2024.  

That's terrible for you as a consumer. But it's an opportunity for investors as many insurance stocks are trading near 52-week highs and have the juice to go higher.  

One of the best ways to invest in the sector is through multi-line insurance companies. These companies underwrite policies for several different lines of insurance products. You can find insurance stocks in MarketBeat's list of finance stocks. Here are three options for you to consider. 

Progressive Corporation 

The Progressive Corporation (NYSE: PGR) is a multi-line insurer that is also the second-largest car insurer in the United States. Up 25% in the last 12 months, trading at a 52-week high, and trading at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of over 30x, PGR may not be a discount stock. However, the company is projected to grow earnings by 51% in the next 12 months.  

The reason why investors could be optimistic is that auto insurance is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the rate of deaths via car crashes is up significantly since the pandemic. On the other hand, 49 states and the District of Columbia require drivers to have some form of auto insurance. So that will help keep a floor on revenue. 

American International Group 

American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) offers General Insurance and Life and Retirement Accounts. The company has posted strong year-over-year (YOY) revenue and earnings gains in the last two quarters. In remarks on the company's latest earnings call, chair and chief executive officer (CEO) Peter Zannino cited the company's focus on underwriting discipline as a reason for the YOY increase in the company's reserve development. 

The company is projected to grow earnings by 13% next year. AIG stock is also getting positive analyst sentiment. Most recently, HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE: HSBC) initiated coverage of the company with a Buy rating and an $86 price target.  

The company's dividend, with a yield of just over 2%, is not that exciting. However, AIG raised the dividend in 2023 for the first time since 2016.  

Chubb Limited 

One of the selling points for Chubb Limited (NYSE: CB) is that they unapologetically cater to high net-worth individuals. This allows the company to offer some attractive perks while not focusing on providing significant discounts.

The company is delivering strong YOY gains on the top and bottom lines and is projecting earnings growth of 7.4% in the next 12 months. However, CB stock is only up about 0.3% in the last 12 months.  

That may give the stock some upside. The Chubb Limited analyst ratings on MarketBeat have a consensus Moderate Buy rating with a $241.60 price target, providing an upside of over 7%. Plus, investors get the most attractive dividend of the three stocks on this list. If you look beyond the yield of 1.5%, you see a dividend that the company has increased for the last 30 consecutive years and has an annual payout of $3.44 per share.  

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