Much was written about the insurance sector when the COVID pandemic hit the world. There were expectations that insurance companies will have to face significant losses as unprecedented effects of the pandemic played out. What makes Markel Corporation one of the top insurance stocks to buy is its structure. It is not a pure-play insurance company. The firm also has a sizeable investment portfolio similar to Berkshire Hathaway. Markel, therefore, earns a sizeable income from its investments.
A Brief Background of Markel Corporation
Markel Corporation is a holding company for insurance, reinsurance, and investment operations. It is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia but has operations throughout the world. The company operates its investment segment through Markel Ventures. Markel’s reinsurance business grew substantially after it acquired Alterra in 2013. The reinsurance premiums account for 20% of the company’s total insurance premiums. Markel Corporation uses income generated from its insurance business to invest in non-insurance sectors like bakery equipment, residential homebuilding, healthcare, and financial services. Markel resembles something similar to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Markel faces a “loss” whenever a claim is filed. The payout towards such claims is termed as a loss in industry parlance. Losses can come from not just pandemics, but events like a wildfire, a hurricane, or other events that are underwritten by Markel and are covered under its insurance policies.
Stock Performances Of The Top Insurance Stocks To Buy
Markel’s stock is up 8.5% for the past 5 years. On a 1-year basis, the stock is down 10%. Since hitting a low during the March market crash, Markel has gained about 34%. The stock’s price was $998.89 when the market closed on 23rd November 2020.
Markel’s competitor, Cincinnati Financial Corporation, is down 26% on a 1-year basis. The stock is up 27% on a 5-year basis. Since hitting a low in May 2020, it has gained 56%. The price of Cincinnati Financial Corporation’s stock closed at $77.63 on 23rd November 2020.