European Insurers Offer Investors Value, Goldman Says

European insurers, led by those providing a range of coverage and reinsurers, offer good value for investors, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts said.

Allianz SE (ALV), Europe’s biggest insurer, and London-based Prudential Plc (PRU) have the “greatest upside” of 34 percent and 28 percent respectively, William Elderkin and Vinit Malhotra wrote in a note to clients dated yesterday, keeping both companies on their conviction-buy list.

The 30-member Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index has gained 18 percent this year, led by Swiss Life Holding AG (SLHN), Grupo Catalana Occidente SA (GCO) and St. James’s Place Plc. (STJ)

Goldman downgraded Swiss insurers Swiss Life and Baloise Holding AG (BALN) as well as Paris-based trade-credit insurer Euler Hermes SA (ELE) to sell from neutral “largely on relative valuation grounds.” It upgraded Topdanmark A/S (TOP) to neutral from sell to “give more credit than previously to the company sustaining and increasing its buyback program.”

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