Is Suncorp Group Ltd the best insurer to own?

Credit: Simon Cunningham

When it comes to investing in the insurance industry, Australian investors more or less have three options. These are of course QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE), Insurance Australia Group Ltd (ASX: IAG), and Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN).

Of these three insurers I would say without doubt that Suncorp is the best value of them all. At just 13x forecast FY 2017 earnings and expected to provide a fully franked 5.9% dividend according to CommSec, it beats its peers on both value and income.

As well as being great value and providing a strong dividend, I believe its new operating model is setting it up for solid earnings growth over the next few years.

One key change to its operating model is its “One Suncorp” strategy. Management has decided to simplify things by giving its customers full access to its marketplace and plethora of brands. This will allow them to select their own solutions based on prior product purchases.

In a recent presentation Suncorp’s management explained that it has adopted this strategy as it believes traditional cross-selling just isn’t effective. I believe the strategy will make operations more efficient and boost its sales.

Much like the banking industry, the insurance industry is at risk of disruption from emerging fintech companies. Thankfully Suncorp has embraced innovation and earlier this year announced that it had invested US$5 million in a growing fintech company by the name of Trov.

Trov provides users with on-demand insurance right from their smartphone and is targeted at under-insured millennials. It is still early days, but I really like the concept and believe it could have a bright future ahead of it.

Overall thanks to the changes the company has made since Michael Cameron joined as CEO in October 2015, I feel that Suncorp is in a strong position for a few years of positive growth. In light of this, Suncorp ticks a lot of boxes and I expect it will prove to be a great investment.

If you already have exposure to the insurance industry then these three dividend shares could be great options instead. Each pays a strong and growing fully franked dividend and could bolt higher in the months ahead in my opinion.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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