Universal Insurance (NYSE:UVE) and Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) are both finance companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership, valuation, earnings and profitability.

Profitability

This table compares Universal Insurance and Hartford Financial Services Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Universal Insurance 14.21% 25.50% 7.70%
Hartford Financial Services Group 9.53% 12.31% 1.57%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and price targets for Universal Insurance and Hartford Financial Services Group, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Universal Insurance 0 1 0 0 2.00
Hartford Financial Services Group 0 4 9 0 2.69

Universal Insurance presently has a consensus target price of $44.00, suggesting a potential upside of 50.63%. Hartford Financial Services Group has a consensus target price of $56.83, suggesting a potential upside of 11.68%. Given Universal Insurance’s higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Universal Insurance is more favorable than Hartford Financial Services Group.

Dividends

Universal Insurance pays an annual dividend of $0.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.2%. Hartford Financial Services Group pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. Hartford Financial Services Group pays out 27.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Hartford Financial Services Group has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years. Hartford Financial Services Group is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

74.4% of Universal Insurance shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 91.6% of Hartford Financial Services Group shares are held by institutional investors. 10.6% of Universal Insurance shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.5% of Hartford Financial Services Group shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Risk and Volatility

Universal Insurance has a beta of 1.19, suggesting that its share price is 19% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Hartford Financial Services Group has a beta of 0.72, suggesting that its share price is 28% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Universal Insurance and Hartford Financial Services Group’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Universal Insurance $823.82 million 1.24 $117.05 million N/A N/A
Hartford Financial Services Group $18.96 billion 0.97 $1.81 billion $4.33 11.75

Hartford Financial Services Group has higher revenue and earnings than Universal Insurance.

Universal Insurance Company Profile

Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated insurance holding company in the United States. The company develops, markets, and underwrites insurance products for personal residential homeowner's insurance. It also provides personal residential insurance, such as homeowners, renters/tenants, condo unit owners, and dwelling/fire, and commercial residential multi-peril; and allied lines, coverage for other structures, and personal property, as well as liability and personal articles coverages. In addition, the company offers policy and claims administration, and reinsurance intermediary services, as well as operates Universal Direct, a direct-to-consumer online platform, which enables homeowners to directly purchase, pay for, and bind homeowners' policies. It provides its products through a network of independent agents. The company was formerly known as Universal Heights, Inc. and changed its name to Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. in January 2001. Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Hartford Financial Services Group Company Profile

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance and financial services to individual and business customers in the United States. Its Commercial Lines segment offers workers' compensation, property, automobile, marine, livestock, liability, and umbrella coverages; and customized insurance products and risk management services, including professional liability, bond, surety, and specialty casualty coverages. This segment provides its products and services through regional offices, branches, sales and policyholder service centers, independent agents, brokers, and wholesalers. The company's Personal Lines segment offers automobile, homeowners, and personal umbrella coverages through direct-to-consumer channel and independent agents. Its Property & Casualty Other Operations segment provides coverage for asbestos and environmental exposures. The company's Group Benefits segment offers group life, and accident and disability coverages, as well as other group coverages to members of employer and affinity groups, and associations through direct insurance policies; reinsurance to other insurance companies; employer paid and voluntary product coverages; disability underwriting, administration, and claims processing to self-funded employer plans; and a single-company leave management solution. This segment distributes its group insurance products and services through brokers, consultants, third-party administrators, trade associations, and private exchanges. Its Hartford Funds segment provides investment products for retail and retirement accounts; exchange-traded products through broker-dealer organizations, independent financial advisers, defined contribution plans, financial consultants, bank trust groups, and registered investment advisers; and investment-management and administrative services, such as product design, implementation, and oversight. The company was founded in 1810 and is headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut.

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