One company I have mentioned a number of times in this column is Amerisafe Incorporated (NASDAQ/AMSF). This small insurance company just ticks along, writing more insurance and making money investing the premiums.
I love finding companies like this one. Perhaps they are a little quirky, unknown, small, or overlooked, but they can still provide great returns to investors.
Over the years, I’ve experienced all kinds of investing and trading styles. I’ve determined that my favorite stocks are those that are the consistent growers rather than one-time wonders. They may not be the fastest moneymaking stocks, but if they give you consistent capital appreciation, the growth adds up fast.
Amerisafe has demonstrated that it is one of these companies. The company expects that its total gross premiums written this year will come in between $350 million and $360 million. This compares with premiums of $332.5 million generated in 2006.
In the insurance business, the most important thing a company needs to do is sell new insurance policies and invest that money wisely. With the exception of large natural disasters, insurance payout rates are well known and manageable. People and civilizations are fairly predictable.
With cash coming in, insurance companies need a strong stock market to really make money. This is how a company like Amerisafe can significantly grow its net income, while its actual revenue growth rate is much lower. Not surprisingly, a buoyant stock market really helps.
Since October of last year, Amerisafe has basically doubled in value on the stock market. I don’t see any reason why the stock won’t keep ticking higher from current levels.