Cramer: Don't Sleep on Insurers' Strong Move
NEW YORK (Real Money) -- The relentlessness of the rallies in the insurers -- Travelers
The rallies are probably not over. That's because we are seeing some extraordinary quarters. Prudential just blew the doors off the quarter, a combination of terrific growth in Japan, now a primary market, excellent pickup in life insurance sales and a remarkable resurgence of its fixed-income portfolio. Virtually anyone who had subpar, subprime assets that didn't start as subprime as investments is seeing them spring to back to life, and Prudential is an extra special example of that.
Cigna is just minting money in all sorts of insurance businesses, including managed care, health and accident insurance. What a remarkable comeback.
Hartford, which we own for Action Alerts PLUS, showed a strength similar to Cigna's and had an excellent return on property and casualty, where everyone knows that premiums are going higher.
So did Travelers. The company never got in trouble with bad investments, and it has been able to raise rates and buy back stock pretty consistently. It bought back more than 40% of the stock outstanding in the last six years -- I call that a very real buyback.
Yesterday we saw the power of what happens when the mortgage insurance business turns. This has been a horrendous business, wiping out so many companies that offered it, in part because these companies designed models that showed that mortgage borrowers rarely walk away or default on home loans. That turned out to be dead wrong.
Now the survivors are starting to make hay while the sun shines. We saw two terrific quarters yesterday, from Radian