Friday, June 23, 2017

Aspen Insurance Not Operating At A Top-Notch Level

Aspen (NYSE:AHL) wasn't my favorite idea in P&C insurance back when I last wrote about the stock in early 2016 (I preferred Chubb (NYSE:CB)), as I thought the apparent undervaluation in the shares was overshadowed by some operational risks. While the shares have climbed about 10% since then, a lot of those operational risks have emerged as bigger issues, and Aspen has underperformed other insurance companies like Chubb and Travelers (NYSE:TRV), as well as the broader Dow Jones P&C Insurance Index (which is up about 25% since I last wrote about Aspen).

Aspen's "build it and they will come" strategy for insurance hasn't worked out yet, and the company has seen both higher adjusted loss ratios and higher expense ratios. The company's underwriting profitability has declined significantly and weak pricing is not going to help matters.

Aspen is shrinking its programs business and taking a harder look at expenses, but shrinking reserve releases and the prospect of claims inflation are worries. While I still believe that Aspen can get to low double-digit ROEs over the long term, and the shares are priced for high single-digit to low double-digit returns, there is still risk to those projections and it's hard for me to get excited about Aspen outside of potential M&A interest.

Read more here:
Aspen Insurance Not Operating At A Top-Notch Level

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