Genworth Financial (NYSE:GNW) is the largest provider of long-term-care insurance, or LTC, in the U.S. and is one of the largest mortgage insurance providers in the world, with operations in 25 countries that serve more than 15 million customers.
Shares have fallen by about 20% over the past few months, mainly because of a less-than-impressive quarterly report. However, there are a few points from Genworth's latest conference call that prospective investors should know about.
Operating income is on the rise
Genworth's net operating income grew by 19% year over year on particularly strong performance in mortgage insurance. The company's EPS also grew by about 15% from the same quarter last year, so although Genworth struggled in some areas and faces some headwinds, which we'll get to in a minute, the company had a good year overall.
Genworth wants to capitalize on mortgage insurance
On July 10, government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released the new Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements, among which are stronger capital levels, a clearly established performance monitoring system, and a strong focus on quality control requirements. You can see a more complete list on Slide 26 of the company's latest investor presentation.
During the conference call, Genworth stated its intention to be fully compliant with the new capital requirements before next June 30. Doing so will allow Genworth's U.S. mortgage insurance business to remain competitive.
In fact, this would be a year sooner than the two-year grace period the new regulations allow for. CEO Tom McInerney said during the conference call that being compliant with the new regulations early will create a competitive advantage for the company, particularly in terms of Genworth's relationship with its bank customers.
The company has a specific plan to prioritize its resources to meet the new requirements, and it expects to fund any shortfall with a portion of the net proceeds from its Australian IPO.
The company assures investors that despite the higher capital requirements, mortgage insurance is still one of Genworth's best business opportunities going forward.
Rate increases could make the losing LTC businesses profitable
Genworth's management said the company is actively seeking large premium increases in its older blocks of long-term care insurance, which are known as Pre-PCS, PCS I, and PCS II. These blocks of policies have been losing money for some time and could be improved to the point of breakeven if the company is allowed to raise the rates.
As of the latest conference call, 43 states had improved rate increases, which the company claims will result in $190 million to $200 million in premium increases once they are fully implemented by 2017.
The company plans to continue to work with the states that have not fully approved the proposed increases and says that if successful, these increases could make a difference of up to $100 million.
Long-term care could make or break Genworth's future
Genworth wants to take advantage for the growing consumer need for LTC insurance, which it believes could lead to excellent growth and profitability.
One of the key obstacles is to convince insurance regulators on both the state and federal level that it's in everybody's best interest -- investors, states, and taxpayers -- to create a strong private market for LTC insurance.
According to Genworth, of the 78 million baby boomers between 50 and 68, 70% will need some sort of LTC services, but only 7.4 million currently have LTC insurance. When you consider that the majority of baby boomers have less than $100,000 saved for retirement, it's easy to see the need for increased LTC insurance options.
To that end, Genworth recently launched its Privileged Choice FlexFit LTC Insurance product, which the company referred to as "a big deal" during the conference call. The insurance is designed to be easy for consumers to understand, and starts at just $80 to $90 per month for coverage.
The ROE guidance is still doable
Some time ago, Genworth set its long-term return-on-equity guidance, or ROE, at 7%-9% for 2016. However, the dynamics of the company's key segments, LTC and mortgage insurance, have changed significantly since then.
Nonetheless, the company wants investors to know that with the rate increases on the money-losing LTC policies, as well as the proactive strategy to create compelling new LTC products, achieving ROE in this range is still very likely in 2015.
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