Munich Re: Steady-Eddie Insurer

09/30/2014 10:00 am EST

Focus: GLOBAL

Benjamin Shepherd

Analyst, Breakthrough Tech Profits, Global Income Edge and Personal Finance

If you’re after high income, insurance companies can be tough to beat; they collect premiums, invest the money, pay claims, and pay out much of the difference as dividends, explains Benjamin Shepherd in Personal Finance.

If they know their business, they will generate strong cash flows year in and year out.

Germany-based Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft (MURGY), which is better known as Munich Re, is a Steady-Eddie; this global, high-income insurer currently yields 3.5%.

It has paid a steadily growing dividend for a decade now, largely financed through the sheer size of the company, with more than $345 billion in assets.

It’s the world’s largest property and casualty reinsurance company, insuring other insurers against losses. That provides a double layer of risk protection, since the business has gone through two rounds of underwriting.

It also sells insurance in the P&C and life and health markets, and has an asset-management division known has Munich Health.

Munich Re is well-diversified geographically, muting the earnings impact of a catastrophic event in any particular region. North America contributes about a third of its revenues, Europe accounts for about another third, and the final third is spread throughout the world.

It may be a large company, but it has strong profit growth. Net income totaled $2.6 billion in the first six months of 2014, a 12% gain over the same period last year, while earnings per share rose from $10.97 to $12.87.

It also has helped out shareholders by repurchasing 4.5 million of its shares in the period, for a total value of $920 million. It paid out $1.7 billion in dividends.

For the full year, Munich Re management expects to bring in a total profit of $3.9 billion, which analysts predict is a conservative estimate since they forecast $5.3 billion in earnings. Those same analysts estimate that EPS should total $23 with a total dividend per share of $9.83.

BNY Mellon offers an American depositary receipt (ADR) for Munich Re, which represents 10 shares of Munich Re per ADR. Munich Re ADRs are a great income play up to $26.

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