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At least one insurance company run by people that I respect, White Mountains, touts tangible book value as a non-GAAP but important method of measuring the current value of the company. In fact, that is the number that WTM's posts on their website each earning release (not earnings, ROE etc).

I like Hewitt's point that one is looking for only the very best value -so we are looking for reasons to NOT further evaluate a company. We have the entire universe of stocks. Our viewpoint distinctly differs in this regard to a banker or venture capitalist reviewing an application or presentation - the decision must be made on risk and return for that particular company.

While leverage can increase rate of return, all other things being equal, we'd rather have a company with no debt, since the type of debt and debt covenants immensely complicate assessing risk.

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