Insurance ETFs Riding High On Robust Q4 Earnings

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Performance of the insurance industry has been strong this reporting cycle, with the leading players posting robust earnings. Prominent players such as MetLife (MET - Free Report), Prudential Financial (PRU - Free Report), Chubb Corp (CB - Free Report), Allstate (ALL - Free Report), Aflac (AFL - Free Report), and Travelers (TRV - Free Report) surpassed estimates for both earnings and revenues.

Insurance Earnings in Focus

MetLife, the U.S. life insurance behemoth, reported earnings of $2.03 per share, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 50 cents and increased 3% from the year-ago quarter. Revenues rose 13% year over year to $20.57 billion and surpassed the consensus estimate of $15.94 billion. PRU, the second-largest U.S. life insurer, beat earnings and revenues estimates. Earnings per share of $2.93 topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.50, but were 30.8% higher than the year-ago reported figure. Revenues of $15.1 billion topped the consensus mark of $14 billion and declined 10.7% year over year.

One of the leading property and casualty insurers, Chubb, outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the top and the bottom lines by $905 million and 31 cents, respectively. Earnings per share climbed 39.5% year over year. Another property and casualty insurer, Allstate topped the consensus estimate for earnings by $2.05 and for revenues by $466 million. On a year-over-year basis, its earnings surged 87.5% and revenues were up 5.3%.

Earnings per share of $1.07 reported by Aflac, a seller of supplement health insurance, trumped the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents and increased 3.9% from the year-ago earnings. Revenues increased 5.5% year over year to $5.9 billion and beat the consensus mark by 6.96%.

Personal property and casualty insurer Travelers posted earnings per share of $4.91, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $1.91 and soaring 47.9% year over year. Revenues grew 3% year over year to $8.4 billion and outpaced the consensus mark of $8.1 billion.

ETFs in Focus

The string of solid fourth-quarter earnings from the insurance industry players had a positive impact on the related ETFs that saw smooth trading over the past week. SPDR S&P Insurance ETF (KIE - Free Reportand iShares U.S. Insurance ETF (IAK - Free Reportgained more than 5% each. Both funds have a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook.

Below, we highlight them in detail.


This fund follows the S&P Insurance Select Industry Index, holding 52 stocks in its basket. Each of the in-focus firms accounts for around 2% share. About 41.1% of the portfolio is allocated to property and casualty insurance, while life & health insurance accounts for 29.5% share. The ETF has managed $335.6 million in its asset base and trades in a good average daily volume of about 277,000 shares. The product has an expense ratio of 0.35%.


With AUM of $63.7 million, this product tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Select Insurance Index and charges 42 basis points in annual fees. Volume is light, trading in roughly 3,000 shares per day. In total, the fund holds 63 securities in its basket with the in-focus six firms occupying the top eight positions and collectively making up 38.9% of the assets. Here also, property & casualty insurance accounts for the largest share at 53%, while life & health insurance and multiline insurance round off the top three spots with a double-digit exposure each.

Disclosure: contains statements and statistics that have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but are not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. References to any ...

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