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Life Insurer Financials Better Than Banks: Analyst

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Life insurers’ stock values appear to be more attractive than those of regional banks, a life insurance analyst says.

Andrew Kligerman, an analyst for UBS Investment Research, New York, pegs the price-to-tangible book value (P/TBV) for life insurers at 1, compared to a P/TBV of 1.5 for banks.

The numbers mean the analyst believes insurers’ stock prices are about right, while banks may currently be a bit overpriced.

“We think that life insurers will outperform regional banks over the near term–a conclusion two-thirds of respondents to our investor survey also reached,” Kligerman said.

Kligerman cites higher capital requirements for banks compared to insurers along with expected equity-raising moves by some banks and pressures on bank fees as reason for his assessment.

Life insurers also appear more shielded against harmful developments such as an unexpectedly slow economic recovery and increasing regulation, Kligerman says in a note to investors.