Do Auto Insurance Companies Make Money?

Buffett’s classic theory is that insurance companies can generate a lot of float from the premiums. The idea is that large numbers of people send in premiums every month, so as long as the amount of payments taken in exceeds the claims paid out, the insurer has a big pile of extra cash it can tap.

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All New Cars will be Self Driving by 2025

If that prediction is true auto insurance costs could drop by as much as 80% because accidents are the main risk ensured for. By the year 2040 your auto insurance bill could be $10 or $15 a month for a brand new car!! Naturally that won’t do Progressive (NYSE: PGR) and Allstate’s (NYSE: ALL) profit margins much good.

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Progressive’s Wireless Device Could Be a Safety Threat

The whole telematics issue raises the interesting question of whether auto insurers are still a good investment. Value investors like Warren Buffett have long thought of auto insurers that way because of all the float their premiums generate, but is that still true in the face of all the competition in today’s insurance industry?

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