Assurant (NYSE: AIZ) and Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) (NYSE:HIG) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitabiliy, valuation, risk, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, earnings and dividends.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

92.4% of Assurant shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 90.9% of Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.8% of Assurant shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.2% of Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

Assurant pays an annual dividend of $2.12 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.0%. Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) pays an annual dividend of $0.92 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.6%. Assurant pays out 27.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) pays out 51.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Assurant has increased its dividend for 4 consecutive years and Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) has increased its dividend for 13 consecutive years. Assurant is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and lower payout ratio.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for Assurant and Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The), as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Assurant 1 2 1 0 2.00
Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) 0 5 6 0 2.55

Assurant presently has a consensus price target of $98.33, suggesting a potential downside of 6.37%. Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) has a consensus price target of $53.60, suggesting a potential downside of 4.69%. Given Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The)’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) is more favorable than Assurant.

Risk and Volatility

Assurant has a beta of 0.77, indicating that its share price is 23% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) has a beta of 0.93, indicating that its share price is 7% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Assurant and Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The)’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Assurant $6.74 billion 0.86 $881.09 million $7.60 13.82
Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) $18.55 billion 1.10 $1.28 billion $1.79 31.42

Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) has higher revenue and earnings than Assurant. Assurant is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The), indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares Assurant and Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The)’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Assurant 6.53% 6.70% 0.95%
Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) 3.73% 9.13% 0.71%

Summary

Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) beats Assurant on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Assurant Company Profile

Assurant, Inc. is a provider of risk management solutions in the housing and lifestyle markets. The Company operates in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. The Company’s segments include Global Housing, Global Lifestyle and Global Preneed. Through its Global Housing segment, it provides lender-placed homeowners, manufactured housing and flood insurance; renters insurance and related products (multi-family housing business), and field services, valuation services and other property risk management services (mortgage solutions business). Through its Global Lifestyle segment, it provides mobile device protection products and related services and extended service products and related services for consumer electronics and appliances (global connected living business); vehicle protection services, and credit insurance. The Global Preneed segment provides pre-funded funeral insurance and annuity products. Its Global Preneed Segment operates in the United States and Canada.

Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The) Company Profile

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. is a holding company for insurance and financial services subsidiaries. The Company’s segments include Commercial Lines, which provides workers’ compensation, property, automobile, marine, livestock, liability and umbrella coverages primarily throughout the United States; Personal Lines, which provides automobile, homeowners and personal umbrella coverages to individuals across the United States; Group Benefits, which provides group life, accident and disability coverage, and other products and services; Property & Casualty Other Operations, which includes certain property and casualty operations; Mutual Funds, which provides investment management, administration, product distribution and related services to investors; Talcott Resolution, which consists of the run-off of the Company’s the United States individual and institutional annuity, and Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) businesses, and Corporate.

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