AIG May Not Look Great Right Now, But It Has Huge Potential

AIG is surging ahead with much stronger performance in its Property and Casualty Business. Life insurance and mortgage will do very well in the future.

Apr 10, 2014 at 7:09AM

Source: Flickr / tableatny.

With remnants of the financial crisis still connected to its name, AIG (NYSE:AIG) has had to take a lot of bold steps to reshape their business, which at first glance can look pretty messy. Looking deeper, though, it's clear to see that the company's management is making extremely smart moves. Although these moves might not look popular to the market and its short term outlook, they are setting the stage for an extremely solid, safe, and focused competitor in the insurance space.

Focusing on the breadwinners -- and focusing long-term
AIG's property and casualty insurance segment is the cornerstone of its business, making up approximately 65% of its revenues from insurance operations last year. As a result, the company is making the right move in devoting resources to the segment.

With underwriting losses already decreasing substantially in 2013 compared to the previous year, further investment in research and development to improve underwriting standards should lead to even better returns in the coming years.

AIG still has a long way to go in improving their underwriting profits as its combined ratio -- the metric that looks at incurred expenses paid out divided by premiums earned -- still stands well above 100%, meaning the company's insurance business is paying out more than it's bringing in.

While this does not look too good today, it is important to keep an eye on the trend in this ratio: with a renewed focus on insurance combined with increased resources devoted to the segment, a drop below 100% would be a huge milestone and bode extremely well for the company's future profitability.

Going Forward
In spite of all its troubles in the prior years, especially during the subprime crisis, AIG is showing that it's committed to becoming a much more focused company. While the numbers may not look great today compared to its peers, this company still presents an intriguing opportunity that should be watched quite closely.

At a price to tangible book value of 0.7, the market is still heavily discounting AIG, most likely due to a combination of these less-than-great current metrics and future uncertainty. However, smart investors are focusing on the business and the actions of management: by making unpopular moves today, AIG is taking a long-term bet that a simplified, streamlined company down the road will be much more profitable than its current state.

Ultimately, if you combine that with the discounted price that it's been trading at, this could be a huge opportunity for Foolish investors concerned with buying and holding quality businesses for the long haul, with big rewards.

A company that's revolutionizing banking
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Ishfaque Faruk has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends American International Group and Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of American International Group and Berkshire Hathaway and has the following options: long January 2016 $30 calls on American International Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.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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