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Unum Group (UNM) Gains From Robust Segmental Performance

Unum Group UNM should continue to benefit from its strong segmental performance, effective capital deployment, and a solid liquidity position.

Long-Term Growth

The expected long-term earnings growth rate of 4.9% is in line with the industry average.

Estimate Revision

Estimates for 2021 has moved up nearly 2.1%, in the past 60 days that reflects investors’ optimism.

Earnings Surprise History

Unum has a decent earnings surprise history. It beat estimates in two of the last four quarters and missed in the other two, with the average beat being 4.54%.

Zacks Rank & Price Performance

Unum Group currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). In the past year, the stock has rallied 40.7%, compared with the industry’s increase of 45.8%.

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Business Tailwinds

The Unum U.S. segment is likely to grow on the back of higher income in the group disability line of business and group life and supplemental and voluntary line of business as well as an increase in accidental death and dismemberment line of business. Also, strong persistency in group lines and growth of new product lines like dental and vision should benefit the segment.

Banking on improved underlying benefits experience particularly in the group life line, growth in the in-force block, owing to the impact of rate increases in the group long-term disability product line, and higher persistency, the Unum U.K. segment is well poised for growth.

The Colonial Life segment of the company should gain from improved benefits experience and higher net investment income owing to higher income from bond calls. Also, it witnessed sequential improvement in both the accident, sickness and disability lines, and the cancer and critical illness line. The segment’s life insurance block improved with the decline in COVID-related mortality, thus leading to an improved benefit ratio.

The capital position of the insurer ensures significant financial flexibility. The insurer exited the second quarter with cash of $1.7 billion while the risk-based capital ratio for traditional U.S. insurance companies improved to 375%, both well above the targeted levels.

Such tailwinds enable the insurer to return more value to the shareholders. Per the deployment strategy, it remains focused on investing in the developments of its core business segments, both organically and through capability-driven acquisitions.

The company has hiked its dividend by 5.3% in the third quarter and currently yields 4.5%, which is better than the industry average of 2.4%. This makes the stock an attractive pick for yield-seeking investors.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the insurance space are AMERISAFE, Inc. AMSF, Aflac Incorporated AFL, and Athene Holding Ltd. ATH, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

AMERISAFE surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average being 41.80%.

Aflac’s earnings surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average being 19.92%.

The bottom line of Athene surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average being 47.78%.

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Aflac Incorporated (AFL): Free Stock Analysis Report
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