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Build an Insurance Circle of Competence


Opihiman
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Looking for recommendations on how to best go about building a circle of competence in Insurance. Sure, read the Berkshire Hathaway reports, other annual reports (recommendations?)

 

I like fat books on Industrial History -like Yergin's The Prize when it comes to oil, or Simmon's Twilight in the Desert. (Both great reads in the sector, btw.) Interested in similar tomes re: insurance.

 

Outside of working for a few brokers, as an investor I've stayed completely away from the financials, so I'm starting largely from scratch.

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Looking for recommendations on how to best go about building a circle of competence in Insurance. Sure, read the Berkshire Hathaway reports, other annual reports (recommendations?)

 

I like fat books on Industrial History -like Yergin's The Prize when it comes to oil, or Simmon's Twilight in the Desert. (Both great reads in the sector, btw.) Interested in similar tomes re: insurance.

 

Outside of working for a few brokers, as an investor I've stayed completely away from the financials, so I'm starting largely from scratch.

 

 

The Davis Dynasty is excellent, not only for understanding insurance companies, but for seeing the cycles and other historical patterns in the market.  It's on my top ten list of investment books. :)

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twacowfca - what are the other 9 books on your list? 

 

Of Permanent Value

 

Why Stock Markets Crash

 

The Intelligent Investor

 

The Davis Dynasty

 

The Essays of Warren Buffett

 

The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money (cpts 12, 14, 15, 16)

 

Against The Gods The Remarkable Story of Risk

 

Margin of Safety

 

Outsmarting the Smart Money

 

You Can Be a Stock Market Genius

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My answer is different...

 

Your circle of competence depends on yourself. i.e John Templeton travelled around the world and he was comfortable hunting bargains around the world. Charlie Munger is a ex - lawyer who needs to think everything (Politics, Science , Business) to solve a legal problem , hence his was a multi disciplinary way to look at Business. Martin Whitman was a vlulture invester , so he invest in distressed securities.

 

But lot of us will do better, if we just identify the bargains , Hire the experts and ask them to thrash you out your analysis. (Bruce Berkowitz way).

 

Vishnu

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twacowfca - what are the other 9 books on your list?  

 

 

Some of the best investing  advice comes from books that are not about investing per se.

 

Some of my favorites:

 

From Benjamin Franklyn's autobiography and related writings: franchising, network effects and this gem.  "Make no investments except such as have intrinsic value".

 

Shakespeare:  My favorite is from the Merchant of Venice.  "My ventures are not in one bottom only entrusted.  Nor to a single place. Nor is my entire estate upon the fortunes of a single year.  Therefore, my money makes me not sad."

 

The Bible.  Especially this one about focused investing when Jesus was asked, "What is the kingdom of heaven like?"  He replied, "There was a man who was a merchant in pearls.  He searched the world for valuable pearls.  And having found a pearl of great value, he sold everything he had and bought that pearl."

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Looking for recommendations on how to best go about building a circle of competence in Insurance. Sure, read the Berkshire Hathaway reports, other annual reports (recommendations?)

 

I like fat books on Industrial History -like Yergin's The Prize when it comes to oil, or Simmon's Twilight in the Desert. (Both great reads in the sector, btw.) Interested in similar tomes re: insurance.

 

Outside of working for a few brokers, as an investor I've stayed completely away from the financials, so I'm starting largely from scratch.

 

I asked a number of people this same question years ago when I was trying to learn more about insurance and one of the few books I heard mentioned repeatedly from people in the industry was "Invisible Bankers" by Andrew Tobias. It's out of print, but easy to find on Amazon and an excellent book on the insurance business.

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