7 Stocks to Weather a Stormy Market

You've seen the ads. A man introduces something that demands insurance -- a raccoon in the attic, the blind spot on your car, or the referee leaving town after blowing an important call in the "big game." The man is Mayhem personified.

He alone did not damage property and casualty insurance stocks. This year has been one for the ages when it comes to weather, with Midwest tornadoes, Mississippi River flooding, and a couple of U.S. hurricanes, not to mention the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Combine that with a yo-yoing stock market for much of the year, and you can find some cheap stocks to help protect your portfolio from further damage.

Company

Price Change Since January

Price/Book

Dividend Yield

Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE: HIG  ) (37%) 0.32 2.4%
Allstate (NYSE: ALL  ) (19%) 0.70 3.3%
Cincinnati Financial (Nasdaq: CINF  ) (8%) 0.95 5.8%
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) (7%) 1.16 N/A
Progressive (NYSE: PGR  ) (7%) 1.93 2.1%
Travelers (NYSE: TRV  ) (1%) 0.88 3%
Chubb Group (NYSE: CB  ) 10% 1.15 2.4%

Source: FinViz.com.

In valuation terms, a P/B below 1.0 generally indicates a big value. One pretty savvy investor thinks Berkshire Hathaway is significantly undervalued and has purchased some shares of the company. Mr. Mayhem's own company, Allstate, is currently trading at 70% of book value with a pretty sizable dividend, making it a strong choice as well. If you're looking for a pure dividend play, Cincinnati Financial pays the largest dividend of this group and hasn't lowered its quarterly distribution since 1960.

Are you insured?
Mayhem can occur in even the best years, so it's good that most of this country carries insurance. Any of these companies can be a strong addition to your portfolio. To keep an eye on these insurers, add them to your free, personalized version of the Fool's My Watchlist by following the links below.

Fool contributor Robert Eberhard owns no shares in the companies mentioned here. Follow him on Twitter, where he goes by @GuruEbby. The Motley Fool owns, and Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying, shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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