Sunday, March 18, 2007

AIG Analysis

In this segment, we will look at AIG, a Dow component and look at its prospects. AIG's business is described as follows in the 10-K.

AIG’s General Insurance subsidiaries are multiple line companies writing substantially all lines of commercial property and casualty insurance and various personal lines both domestically and abroad. Domestic General Insurance operations are comprised of the Domestic Brokerage Group (DBG), Reinsurance, Personal Lines, and Mortgage Guaranty.
AIG is diversified both in terms of classes of business and geographic locations. In General Insurance, workers compensation business is the largest class of business written and represented approximately 15 percent of net premiums written for the year ended December 31, 2006. During 2006, 8 percent and 7 percent of the direct General Insurance premiums written (gross premiums less return premiums and cancellations, excluding reinsurance assumed and before deducting reinsurance ceded) were written in California and New York, respectively. No other state accounted for more than five percent of such premiums.
The majority of AIG’s General Insurance business is in the casualty classes, which tend to involve longer periods of time for the reporting and settling of claims. This may increase the risk and uncertainty with respect to AIG’s loss reserve development.

Insurance, especially long tail insurance can make the earnings lumpy. So, in this segment, let us look at various business lines to see how things look like.

The various business lines of AIG are:


AIG’s primary Domestic General Insurance division is DBG. DBG’s business in the United States and Canada is conducted through American Home, National Union, Lexington, HSB and certain other General Insurance company subsidiaries of AIG. During 2006, DBG accounted for 54 percent of AIG’s General Insurance net premiums written.


The subsidiaries of Transatlantic Holdings, Inc. (Transatlantic) offer reinsurance on both a treaty and facultative basis to insurers in the U.S. and abroad. Transatlantic structures programs for a full range of property and casualty products with an emphasis on specialty risk. Transatlantic is a public company owned 59.2 percent by AIG and therefore is included in AIG’s consolidated financial statements.

Personal Lines:

AIG’s Personal Lines operations provide automobile insurance through AIG Direct, a mass marketing operation, the Agency Auto Division and 21st Century Insurance Group (21st Century), as well as a broad range of coverages for high net-worth individuals through the AIG Private Client Group. 21st Century is a public company owned 61.9 percent by AIG and therefore is included in AIG’s consolidated financial statements. During the first quarter of 2007, AIG offered to acquire the outstanding shares of 21st Century not already owned by AIG and its subsidiaries.

Mortgage Guarantee:
The main business of the subsidiaries of United Guaranty Corporation (UGC) is the issuance of residential mortgage guaranty insurance, both domestically and internationally, on conventional first lien mortgages for the purchase or refinance of one to four family residences. UGC subsidiaries also write second lien and private student loan guaranty insurance.

Foreign General Insurance:

AIG’s Foreign General Insurance group accepts risks primarily underwritten through American International Underwriters (AIU), a marketing unit consisting of wholly owned agencies and insurance companies. The Foreign General Insurance group also includes business written by AIG’s foreign-based insurance subsidiaries. The Foreign General Insurance group uses various marketing methods and multiple distribution channels to write both commercial and consumer lines insurance with certain refinements for local laws, customs and needs. AIU operates in Asia, the Pacific Rim, Europe, including the U.K., Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. During 2006, the Foreign General Insurance group accounted for 25 percent of AIG’s General Insurance net premiums written.

For followers of Berkshire, the AIG credit rating is not as good as Berkshires. In 2005, the AIG credit rating was downgraded and as a result, AIG had to put up significantl collateral. In contrast, Berkshire enjoys the top most credit rating that can be given.

2006 was an unusually good year for AIG as was the case for insurance companies in general because of the absence of major catastrophes in the world. In 2005, AIG paid out about three billion for the Katrina and other related catastrophes. AIG's business segment revenues and incomes were as follows for 2006.

General Insurance - 49.2 billion
Life insurance and retirement services - 50.1 billion
Financial Services - 8 billion
Asset management - 5.8 billion

The income was as follows:

General Insurance - 10.4 billion
Life Ins and Retirement Service - 10 billion
Financial Service - 0.5 billion
Asset Management - 2.3 billion

The major uptick in income came in the general insurance section where the income increased from 2 billion to 10 billion. Income from Financial Services declined significantly by about 2 billion in 2006 compared to 2005.

AIG is expanding aggressively in Asia and so far about 20% of its revenue is from Asia. The company is seeing growth opportunities in China, India and Japan.

One can expect the insurance rates to be soft this year - car premiums are staying flat or declining because of the decrease in accidents. The re-insurance sector is also expected to be soft this year because of catastrophe free year of 2006.

The value line investment survey published a survey of AIG. According to valueline, AIG's EPS will be 7.80 by 2011 and book value will be $60.00. Valueline thinks the share price will be 135 to 180 dollars per share in this time frame. However, this assumes the Price/Book and Price to earnings ratios to remain high or higher.

Overall, the value line forecast seems a bit aggressive to me including the low end. While AIG is a good company, my opinion is that Berkshire is a very compelling investment as well. Berkshire does insurance better than AIG and has other well diversified business and stock holdings. Currently berkshire is selling for about 28% discount to fair value.

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