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.


Price Change Since January


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%


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.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.