Relative valuation of U.S. insurance companies

Relative valuation of U.S. insurance companies This study examines the accuracy of relative valuation methods in the U.S. insurance industry, using price as a proxy for intrinsic value. The approaches differ in terms of the fundamentals used, the adjustments made to the fundamentals, the use of conditioning variables, and the selection of comparables. Selected findings include the following. First, over the last decade, book value multiples have performed significantly better than earnings multiples in valuing insurance companies. Second, inconsistent with the practice of many analysts, excluding accumulated other comprehensive income from book value worsens rather than improves valuation accuracy. Third, as expected, using income before special items, instead of reported income, improves valuation accuracy, but, surprisingly, excluding realized investment gains and losses does not. An exception to this latter result occurred during the financial crisis, likely due to an increase in “gains trading.” Fourth, conditioning the price-to-book ratio on return on equity significantly improves the valuation accuracy of book value multiples. Finally, while valuations based on analysts’ earnings forecasts outperform those based on reported earnings or book value, the gap between the valuation performance of forecasted EPS and the conditional price-to-book approach was relatively small during the last decade. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Accounting Studies Springer Journals

Relative valuation of U.S. insurance companies

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Economics / Management Science; Accounting/Auditing; Finance/Investment/Banking; Public Finance & Economics
ISSN
1380-6653
eISSN
1573-7136
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11142-012-9213-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study examines the accuracy of relative valuation methods in the U.S. insurance industry, using price as a proxy for intrinsic value. The approaches differ in terms of the fundamentals used, the adjustments made to the fundamentals, the use of conditioning variables, and the selection of comparables. Selected findings include the following. First, over the last decade, book value multiples have performed significantly better than earnings multiples in valuing insurance companies. Second, inconsistent with the practice of many analysts, excluding accumulated other comprehensive income from book value worsens rather than improves valuation accuracy. Third, as expected, using income before special items, instead of reported income, improves valuation accuracy, but, surprisingly, excluding realized investment gains and losses does not. An exception to this latter result occurred during the financial crisis, likely due to an increase in “gains trading.” Fourth, conditioning the price-to-book ratio on return on equity significantly improves the valuation accuracy of book value multiples. Finally, while valuations based on analysts’ earnings forecasts outperform those based on reported earnings or book value, the gap between the valuation performance of forecasted EPS and the conditional price-to-book approach was relatively small during the last decade.

Journal

Review of Accounting StudiesSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 9, 2012

References

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