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Wells Fargo initiates research coverage of 4 life insurers

Wells FargoSecurities LLC has initiated research coverage on four lifeinsurance companies and resumed its coverage of eight with a change in analyst.

The move comes after Sean Dargan joined Wells Fargo from , whichceased its coverage of the life insurance, mortgage insurance and consumerfinance industries following the departure.

Dargan initiated coverage on , , andUnum Group.

The analyst initiated coverage on CNO Financial with an"outperform" rating. Dargan expects the company's price multiple toexpand in the near term, saying the market priced an "overlypessimistic" result related to the company's long-term care reinsurancetransaction withBeechwood Re. The analyst's EPS estimates are $1.36 for 2016 and $1.62 for 2017.

Dargan initiated coverage on Primerica with a "marketperform" rating, saying the company's stock is fairly valued at this pointand no material upside potential is expected. His EPS estimates on Primerica'sstock are $4.38 for 2016 and $4.90 for 2017.

Coverage on Reinsurance Group of America was initiatedwith a "market perform" rating. Dargan noted the company's potentialupside related to improving mortality and business rationalization by otherinsurance carriers, but said the risk/reward is fairly balanced given theupcoming retirementof CEO A. Greig Woodring, a smaller reinsurance market and competition in themarketplace. The analyst's EPS estimates are $9.75 for 2016 and $10.00 for 2017.

Initiating coverage on Unum Group with a "marketperform" rating, Dargan stated that in the current environmentcharacterized by volatility and continued low interest rates, the company'sfocus on mortality and morbidity underwriting is a positive. But therisk/reward is balanced due to Unum's closed block of long-term care policiesand higher exposure to bonds below investment grade, the analyst wrote. HisEPS estimates are $3.85 for 2016 and $4.05 for 2017.

Wells Fargo resumed coverage on andMetLife Inc. with an"outperform" rating; AflacInc., GenworthFinancial Inc., LincolnNational Corp., Prudential Financial Inc. and with a"market perform" rating; and with an"underperform" rating.