Which Insurance Stocks Could Take a Hit: Pros
Hurricane Sandy could hit a few insurance stocks harder than others, KBW insurance analyst Cliff Gallant said Monday on CNBC.
"The industry's going to take a lot of losses, companies like Allstate, Chubb and Travelers are all going to be there taking losses on the commercial property side as well with flooding," he said on "Fast Money."
But, Gallant reminded, assessing risk is built into the business.
"Their balance sheets are actually pretty strong, particularly after what has been a benign year to date," he said, adding that he expected to see shares in insurance companies trade lower when the market reopens, likely on Wednesday.
(Read More: Will Hurricane Sandy Cause Gas Shortage?: Pros)
"But that's probably a buying opportunity," he said. "You have to remember that that's what these companies do."
Asked to pick a top insurance company, Gallant said, "Chubb is a very high-quality company that's going to take some losses here but probably the one with the strongest balance sheet."
Brian Kelly of Shelter Harbor Capital said that the reinsurers were worth a look, many of which trade on European markets, which were not affected by the East Coast storm systems.
Mike Murphy of Rosecliff Capital said that the stock-price drops could present an opportunity.
"When insurance stocks tend to trade lower after any sort of a natural disaster … often the first cut is the deepest, and they rebound from there," he said. "After these major catastrophes happen, these insurance companies can jack up the premiums, so you have more money coming in. you buy the initial pullback if it comes."
Jon Najarian of OptionMonster.com said the insurance companies' bottom lines might not be affected due to their offloading of risk to reinsurers.
"If this really slams the wrong way … that's not going to be as bad for Chubb and Allstate as it is will be for these reinsurers," he said, adding that a few such companies were owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.
Trader disclosure: On Oct. 29, 2012, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: JJ Kinahan is short SPY; Jon Najarian is long ALL Puts; Jon Najarian is long DAL Puts; Brian Kelly is short OIL; Mike Murphy is long HTZ.
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