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Insurance Industry book recommendations


rossef2
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Not a book solely devoted to the insurance industry, but Pat Dorsey's book, The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing: Morningstar's Guide to Building Wealth and Winning in the Market contains a chapter on how to analyze insurance companies and the key variables to look out for.

 

Hope this helps.

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I read Stephen Catlin's book a couple of years ago.  Catlin set up Catlin Insurance in the 1980s and built it up into a major specialty insurer out of Lloyds, before selling out to XL Insurance in 2015.  You may have seen that he's at it again, setting up Convex Insurance in 2019.  As insurance books go, it's a light and enjoyable read, but there are enough learnings in it if you are not an insurance expert already.  I liked it because it was written by a practitioner - I don't think there aren't too many of those books around.  Whether it helps you with insurance turnaround stories is another matter (personally I think that is a very difficult if not dangerous pursuit).

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35607655-risk-reward

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I read Stephen Catlin's book a couple of years ago.  Catlin set up Catlin Insurance in the 1980s and built it up into a major specialty insurer out of Lloyds, before selling out to XL Insurance in 2015.  You may have seen that he's at it again, setting up Convex Insurance in 2019.  As insurance books go, it's a light and enjoyable read, but there are enough learnings in it if you are not an insurance expert already.  I liked it because it was written by a practitioner - I don't think there aren't too many of those books around.  Whether it helps you with insurance turnaround stories is another matter (personally I think that is a very difficult if not dangerous pursuit).

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35607655-risk-reward

"You don’t have to fight about everything you disagree with. Fight when it matters, and when you do fight, make certain you can win."

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I recommend the trade journals.  Schiff’s Insurance Observer no longer publishes, but the archive is available online at no charge.  Dowling’s IBNR, which Alice Schroeder used to write, is good too.  I’ve also enjoyed Fortune Magazine’s insurance-related reporting—particularly from Loomis and others in the 70s and 80s.

 

Other suggestions:

 

I learn by simply reading annual reports.  Try reading the annual reports (and statutory filings) of successful insurance businesses.  You can’t go wrong with Berkshire, but I’d also suggest companies like Progressive, WR Berkley, Markel, RLI, etc.

 

It’s also interesting to learn about the failures.  Why do great high-frequency-low-severity insurers like GEICO or 21 Century get into trouble (Loomis wrote a great article on GEICO’s issues in the 1970s).  Why did Fairfax have problems?  Why did Lloyd’s nearly fail (there are several good books on this)? 

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