On Mar 18, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
) by a notch to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
Amerisafe has been experiencing rising earnings estimates on
the back of strong fourth-quarter 2013 results and a significant
growth momentum. Additionally, this workers' compensation
insurance provider outperformed the 6-month Nasdaq index, which
posted growth of 14.3% against a robust return of 27% clocked by
On Feb 26, Amerisafe reported fourth-quarter 2013 operating
earnings per share of 90 cents, which outpaced the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of 55 cents, delivering a positive earnings
surprise of 63.6%. Furthermore, the result significantly outpaced
the year-ago quarter number of 49 cents.
Strong double-digit top-line growth, higher investment
income and reduced total expenses marked the
highlights of the quarter. Higher premiums, favorable reserves
and lower-than-expected growth in loss and loss adjusted expenses
also boosted underwriting profits, margins and the bottom line.
Moreover, capital position remained sturdy with appreciated
investment portfolio, return on equity (ROE) and book value per
Along with intense focus on improving underwriting results and
ROE, Amerisafe efficient capital deployment initiatives and
strong creditworthiness score well with the ratings agencies.
Last month, the company also hiked its regular dividend payout by
50%, boosting investors' confidence in the stock.
Based on Amerisafe's fundamental strength and prudent risk
management, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 moved north by
1.5% to $2.67 per share over the last 30 days. Meanwhile, the
estimate for 2015 rose 8.1% to $3.19 a share during the same
Moreover, the Most Accurate Estimate for Amerisafe's 2014 and
2015 earnings stands at $2.70 and $3.32 a share, resulting in an
of +1.1% and +4.1%, respectively. Furthermore, no downward
revision in estimates was witnessed for both the years.
Other Stocks to Consider
Investors eyeing the insurance industry may also consider
other top-ranked players such as
Global Indemnity Plc
Navigators Group Inc.
). All these stocks sport the same Zacks Rank as Amerisafe.
AMERISAFE INC (AMSF): Free Stock Analysis
EMC INSURANCE (EMCI): Free Stock Analysis
GLOBAL INDEMNTY (GBLI): Get Free Report
NAVIGATORS GRP (NAVG): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.