Shares of Florida-based insurance company Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:UVE) are up nearly 14% in Monday’s trading session, following the news that Irma was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.
Ranked as one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic, Irma hit a wide swath of Florida on Sunday before being downgraded to a tropical storm. Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York, commented: “For now, we’re seeing a bit of a relief rally. It does appear that the worst-case scenario for Florida has been evaded.”
That said, according to JPMorgan analyst Sarah DeWitt, Hurricane Irma’s insured losses will still rank among the worst in history. The analyst noted, “We think Hurricane Irma could be a top 5 most costly hurricane in the U.S, although the losses could be in-line-to-lower than market expectations.”
“Nonetheless, we think the sell-off in the stocks since Hurricane Harvey more than reflects potential losses and P&C insurance stocks are poised to resume solid performance as they benefit from rational insurance pricing, consistent earnings and book value growth, and reasonable valuations,” the analyst continued.
On the ratings front, Keefe analyst Meyer Shields reiterated a Buy rating on UVE, with a price target of $29, in a report issued on August 17. The current price target represents a potential upside of 62% from where the stock is currently trading. According to TipRanks.com, Shields has a yearly average return of 2.9%, a 65% success rate, and is ranked #1453 out of 4633 analysts.
Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. is a vertically integrated insurance holding company, which through its subsidiaries, covers substantially all aspects of insurance underwriting, distribution, claims processing and exposure management services.