Thursday, May 14, 2015

Seeking Alpha: Arch Capital Keeps Going While The Going Gets Tougher

I like MetLife (NYSE:MET), ACE (NYSE:ACE), and W.R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB) quite a bit as insurance companies, but Arch Capital (NASDAQ:ACGL) has long been at the top of my list as a well-run insurance company with an uncanny knack for profitable allocating and reallocating of capital across multiple lines of business. That skill is increasingly valuable as P&C and reinsurance rates continue to fall and the industry looks to be heading into a tough multiyear stretch.

I don't believe that Arch Capital needs to join into the recent upswing in M&A activity, but the company does have the capital to get involved if the right opportunity should show up. Failing that, I expect the company to continue looking to mortgage insurance and selective alternative markets and excess and surplus lines as a source of growth and adequate returns.

Arch Capital has been something of a middle-of-the-road performer over the past year, but it's not yet particularly cheap even with long-range ROE estimates in the low teens. Buying into a part of the cycle where rates are falling, reserves are shrinking, and earnings are likely to come under pressure for many players is a risk on its own and given that backdrop I'd wait in the hopes of being able to buy Arch Capital's shares at a better price down the line.

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Arch Capital Keeps Going While The Going Gets Tougher

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