Torchmark Corp (NYSE:TMK)

CAPS Rating: 2 out of 5

The Company is an insurance holding company engaged through its subsidiaries in a variety of nonparticipating ordinary life insurance products, supplemental health insurance products and Annuity products.

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Player Avatar samedi1234 (95.71) Submitted: 8/5/2007 7:26:27 PM : Outperform Start Price: $36.81 TMK Score: +77.12

This is the closest a publicly traded insurance stock gets to being a franchise, along with AFLAC. It's very similar to GEICO in that it has a very low expense ratio; it has a quasi-monopoly due to its sales to unions and other organizations; and if you take a look at its loss ratio over the past 10 years or so, it consistently is among the best in the business at handling risk.

In other words, Torchmark is about as predictable as you can be as an insurer.

Next, take a look at the return on equity for the past ten years -- averaging over 15% -- and the rate of growth in book value per share (Note -- there was spinoff of Waddell and Reed financial services a few years ago). This company has methodicallly increased the value of shareholders by buying back shares with its strong cash flow. The company's book value growth over the past ten years has been outstanding, and there's no reason to think that the next five years will be any different.

Finally, the company is now trading at a 1.6 price / book value. Delving a bit more deeply into the numbers (cash flow, value of the float, projected growth in equity, etc.), it's trading at a price that is reasonable both in terms of its historical pricing and in terms of intrinsic value.

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