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Aflac Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of supplemental insurance giant Aflac (NYSE: AFL  ) fell as much as 10.9% today on very heavy trading.

So what: Not only does Aflac do about 75% of its business in Japan, which would be bad enough, but a longtime and very successful promotion partnership with comedian Gilbert Gottfried came to an abrupt end today.

Now what: Gottfried made some very tasteless tsunami jokes in the very public forum of Twitter, leaving Aflac no choice but to cook his goose. That adds to an already difficult situation, as the company we know as a workplace policy provider is the largest insurer of any kind in Japan. The damage control for Gottfried's antics is done; now it's up to Aflac to revamp that ducky ad campaign while dealing with a flood of legit claims from disaster victims. This will hurt for a while.

Interested in more info on Aflac? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Aflac is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of Aflac. 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 is investors writing for investors.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2011, at 6:18 PM, Fool wrote:


    I hear you that Aflac's got it's work cut out in dealing with the aftermath from Japan and replacing Mr. Gottfried. On a personal note, I loved his voice as the duck and am sad to see him go.

    But AFL's exposure is mostly to Japanese life insurance, rather than casualty/property insurance. Along with the fact that I don't think that Gilbert was THAT pivotal in their marketing campaign, I can't help but think that today's double-digit-drop was an overreaction from Mr. Market!

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2011, at 7:19 PM, wjcoffman wrote:

    Dollar cost average into the company! The last opportunity was when AFL got dumped along with banking stocks, dropping into the teens and not so long ago.


  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2011, at 11:29 AM, OldVMer wrote:

    Definetly an over reaction. I took the opportunity to increase my stake in Aflac.

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