Inflation Coming? Better Get Insured (Fool TV)

Most economists agree that the United States is girding for a bout with inflation. And the prevailing wisdom is that when greenbacks are cheap, investors should look to hard assets such as oil and gold, or consumer-goods brands, which continue to command premium prices in good times and bad.

But before you start trading in precious metals or picking up shares of ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) or PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) , Buck Hartzell, The Motley Fool's director of Analyst Learning, thinks there might be a better place for your money right now: insurers.

It may not sound sexy, but with interest rates still suppressed and homebuilding sluggish, insurance companies have been taking it on the chin, and many are trading well below book value. As home-starts pick up and borrowing rates rise -- as they inevitably will -- insurance companies such as Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) and Markel (NYSE: MKL  ) should see their interest  income rise as well. And that'll mean their stock prices will jump -- for joy.

For more from Fool TV:

Buck Hartzell owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Markel, which are both Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Berkshire Hathaway is also a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick, and the Fool owns shares. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on PepsiCo, which is also a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2010, at 7:55 AM, oneilldp wrote:

    Insurance tends to be a horrible investment during times of inflation. Inflaton eats away at the insurance companies reserves portfolio and replacement costs soar above what they expected to pay out in claims. Inflation ruined many insurance companies during the late 70s and early 80s. Although, you did pick two very good insurance companies that are much better prepared for inflation than the industry (I own both).

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