Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) and EMC Insurance Group (NASDAQ:EMCI) are both finance companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, analyst recommendations, risk, profitability, institutional ownership, valuation and earnings.

Volatility & Risk

Hartford Financial Services Group has a beta of 0.73, meaning that its share price is 27% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, EMC Insurance Group has a beta of 0.5, meaning that its share price is 50% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

91.2% of Hartford Financial Services Group shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 27.4% of EMC Insurance Group shares are held by institutional investors. 1.7% of Hartford Financial Services Group shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.9% of EMC Insurance Group shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares Hartford Financial Services Group and EMC Insurance Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Hartford Financial Services Group 9.58% 12.46% 2.62%
EMC Insurance Group 3.66% 6.00% 2.06%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Hartford Financial Services Group and EMC Insurance Group’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Hartford Financial Services Group $18.96 billion 1.01 $1.81 billion $4.33 12.27
EMC Insurance Group $701.98 million 1.11 -$7.47 million $1.09 33.11

Hartford Financial Services Group has higher revenue and earnings than EMC Insurance Group. Hartford Financial Services Group is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than EMC Insurance Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Hartford Financial Services Group pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.3%. EMC Insurance Group pays an annual dividend of $0.92 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. Hartford Financial Services Group pays out 27.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. EMC Insurance Group pays out 84.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Hartford Financial Services Group has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years and EMC Insurance Group has raised its dividend for 9 consecutive years. EMC Insurance Group is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for Hartford Financial Services Group and EMC Insurance Group, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Hartford Financial Services Group 0 3 9 0 2.75
EMC Insurance Group 0 1 0 0 2.00

Hartford Financial Services Group presently has a consensus price target of $57.09, suggesting a potential upside of 7.43%. EMC Insurance Group has a consensus price target of $33.00, suggesting a potential downside of 8.56%. Given Hartford Financial Services Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, research analysts clearly believe Hartford Financial Services Group is more favorable than EMC Insurance Group.

Summary

Hartford Financial Services Group beats EMC Insurance Group on 12 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Hartford Financial Services Group

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance and financial services to individual and business customers in the United States. Its Commercial Lines segment offers workers' compensation, property, automobile, marine, livestock, liability, and umbrella coverages; and customized insurance products and risk management services, including professional liability, bond, surety, and specialty casualty coverages. This segment provides its products and services through regional offices, branches, sales and policyholder service centers, independent agents, brokers, and wholesalers. The company's Personal Lines segment offers automobile, homeowners, and personal umbrella coverages through direct-to-consumer channel and independent agents. Its Property & Casualty Other Operations segment provides coverage for asbestos and environmental exposures. The company's Group Benefits segment offers group life, and accident and disability coverages, as well as other group coverages to members of employer and affinity groups, and associations through direct insurance policies; reinsurance to other insurance companies; employer paid and voluntary product coverages; disability underwriting, administration, and claims processing to self-funded employer plans; and a single-company leave management solution. This segment distributes its group insurance products and services through brokers, consultants, third-party administrators, trade associations, and private exchanges. Its Hartford Funds segment provides investment products for retail and retirement accounts; exchange-traded products through broker-dealer organizations, independent financial advisers, defined contribution plans, financial consultants, bank trust groups, and registered investment advisers; and investment-management and administrative services, such as product design, implementation, and oversight. The company was founded in 1810 and is headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut.

About EMC Insurance Group

EMC Insurance Group Inc., an insurance holding company, provides property and casualty insurance, and reinsurance products in the United States. It operates through two segments, Property and Casualty Insurance, and Reinsurance. The Property and Casualty Insurance segment underwrites commercial and personal lines of insurance products. Its commercial lines of insurance products comprise automobile, property, workers' compensation, and liability, as well as other policies that provide protection with respect to burglary and theft loss, aircraft, marine, and other types of losses; and personal lines of insurance products include automobile, homeowners, and umbrella policies. The Reinsurance segment provides reinsurance for other insurers and reinsurers. EMC Insurance Group Inc. offers its products to small and medium-sized businesses, institutions, and individuals through independent insurance agents. The company was founded in 1974 and is based in Des Moines, Iowa. EMC Insurance Group Inc. is a subsidiary of Employers Mutual Casualty Company.

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