• Why Investor Relations?

    For more than 40 years, the CFA Institute has advocated for efficient capital markets that are ethical, transparent, and provide investor protections. One of the Institute’s guiding principles states: “Investors need complete, accurate, timely and transparent information from securities issuers.”

  • Why InsuranceIR?

    Insurance companies face unique challenges when communicating with investors and InsuranceIR is uniquely suited to help with industry-specific support.

    The primary purpose of this blog is to offer specific ideas on how insurance companies can achieve that objective.

    The supporting pages offer information on InsuranceIR's capabilities and how firm principal Heather J. Wietzel can help your company improve your investor communications.

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  • Copyright 2012

Market Demographics May Support Your Case

So far, first-quarter releases and calls are rolling out in fairly orderly fashion with the biggest question being whether reserve releases are realistic and the biggest debate being whether some companies should have pre-released their catastrophe losses (and not “missed” consensus). Reflecting conversations with a few analysts over the past several weeks, I’m planning to look at the “to pre-release or not” topic for insurance companies in time for consideration for the second quarter.

In the meantime, I was reminded by an SNL marketing email of one valuable way insurance companies can address another topic — helping investors see their potential as the market hardens. SNL is promoting their “Market Demographics” template. According to their email, it’s a “pre-built model” that let’s you “view comprehensive data on key demographic indicators, including population, median income, home value and unemployment” by state, county or MSA. In other words, they are making it easy to do useful research.

The economic recovery is expected to be a major factor in the return to premium growth. But not all markets are equal and supporting your company’s specific plans with market data can help make your case.

For example, when talking about geographic expansion, population growth is expected be above 7% over the next five years in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Utah (compared with a 4.6% average for the U.S.). If these are your target states for expansion, you may be able to bolster your case for your outlook.

Or you may already be seeing growth in some states (supporting lagging results in others). You could make a case that you are seeing quality business opportunities if the growth was in Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont. In those states, March unemployment was below 7.5% compared with a 9.7% average for the U.S. This type of data also may add color to discussions of audit premium trends.

* InsuranceIR LLC purchases SNL data services and participates in their “IR Partner Program.” Under the terms of that program, any company that contracts for services from SNL based on my recommendation receives a $500 credit on their initial bill. InsuranceIR does not receive any cash compensation for referrals. By participating in various marketing activities with SNL, I may receive non-cash benefits, such as higher visibility.

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What This Slide Is Supposed To Show …

I’m still reviewing presentation handouts from AIFA, looking for ideas on how companies can best tell their stories.

The process is reminding me that all too often the best information is hidden behind a comment that begins, now “what this slide is supposed to show” is …

If you find yourself with that line in the remarks for your investor presentation, you probably have a slide in the deck that has great information on a complex topic. But it is a slide that is not gaining you the value it deserves.

To resolve this problem, consider supplementing the work of your communications team on the presentation with input from your marketing or sales group. Those individuals are communicators who know your company (from a slightly different perspective). Asking them to look at your investor presentation with you once or twice a year can give new insight to help you effectively shape these complex points.

Conference Call Registration

I learned of a “pet peeve” from an insurance analyst this week. He had a legitimate objection to being asked to register every quarter for the conference calls of companies he knows well. Keep in mind, professional investors may listen to 50 or more calls during a single earnings season.

A simple solution can make life easier for your company’s closest followers.  Even better, the solution also can help make sure that your company’s call is not overlooked and that investors likely to ask questions are participating in the call rather than the webcast.

As background, announcements of upcoming conference calls often encourage those interested in the company to access the webcast. Webcast participation usually is encouraged because there is no “per user” expense for the company. Those interested in dialing in are asked to register to receive the number.

I recommend working to put your company’s call directly on the calendar of your top followers by sending them a “meeting invitation” after the broadly disseminated announcement of the call. The invitation would include the dial-in number and any necessary pass code.

Top followers normally would include all analysts covering your company, your top holders and selected targets on both the buy- and sell-side. (I do not recommend using these invitations to introduce your company to new investors.) Others who ask for the dial-in number would be registered in your company’s normal fashion.

Your followers will appreciate the convenience.

Podcasts

My plan is to focus this blog on strategic investor communications topics for insurance companies.

But sometimes there is value in the details. So I’m making a case for PODCASTS.  (I was surprised how few of the year-end calls were available as podcasts when I was organizing “entertainment” for my trip to New York last week.)

This is such a simple way to make your company a bit easier to follow. And it is truly simple.  With just a call to your Web site vendor, you will have podcasts of your investor presentations and calls on your site (expect a small fee).

Bottom-line, investors can’t be in two places, or listen to two events, at once. For a variety of reasons, your company’s event may not be that day’s top priority. A podcast can encourage interest by making it easy for your followers to take the replay on the road or to the gym!

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to stand out from the crowd.