ProAssurance Accelerates Reporting of Results for First Quarter 2019

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ProAssurance Corporation (NYSE: PRA) reports the following results for
the three months ended March 31, 2019. We are releasing results earlier
than previously announced, upon the substantial completion of the
quarterly financial close process. We expect to timely file our
quarterly report on Form 10-Q when our usual quarterly financial close
process is finalized.

CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT HIGHLIGHTS
    Three Months Ended March 31
($ in thousands, except per share data)

2019

 

2018

 

% Change

Revenues
Gross premiums written* $ 279,826 $ 243,010 15.1 %
Net premiums written $ 245,742 $ 215,132 14.2 %
Net premiums earned $ 208,149 $ 187,159 11.2 %
Net investment income $ 22,818 $ 22,027 3.6 %
Equity in earnings (loss) of unconsolidated subsidiaries $ (810 ) $ 1,640 (149.4 %)
Net realized investment gains (losses) $ 36,623 $ (12,517 ) 392.6 %
Other income (expense)* $ 2,095 $ 2,723 (23.1 %)
Total revenues* $ 268,875 $ 201,032 33.7 %
Expenses
Net losses and loss adjustment expenses $ 159,755 $ 129,786 23.1 %
Underwriting, policy acquisition and operating expenses* $ 61,392 $ 57,360 7.0 %
Total expenses* $ 230,264 $ 192,598 19.6 %
Income tax expense (benefit) $ 6,961 $ (3,422 ) 303.4 %
Net income (loss) $ 31,650 $ 11,856 167.0 %
Non-GAAP operating income $ 4,163 $ 21,487 (80.6 %)
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding
Diluted 53,808 53,682 0.2 %
Earnings per share
Net income (loss) per diluted share $ 0.59 $ 0.22 168.2 %
Non-GAAP operating income per diluted share $ 0.08 $ 0.40 (80.0 %)
 
* Consolidated totals include inter-segment eliminations. The
eliminations affect individual line items only and have no effect on
net income (loss). See Note 13 of the of the Notes to Condensed
Consolidated Financial Statements in the March 31, 2019 Form 10-Q
for amounts by line item, which is scheduled to be filed by May 2,
2019.
 
 
CONSOLIDATED KEY RATIOS
          Three Months Ended March 31

2019

   

2018

Current accident year net loss ratio 81.7 % 81.5 %
Effect of prior accident years’ reserve development (4.9 %) (12.2 %)
Net loss ratio 76.8 % 69.3 %
Expense ratio 29.5 % 30.6 %
Combined ratio 106.3 % 99.9 %
Operating ratio 95.3 % 88.1 %
Return on equity* 8.2 % 3.0 %
 
* Quarterly computations of ROE are annualized
 
 

Management Commentary

“Our concern about the broad loss trends in healthcare professional
liability continues to have a major impact on operating results, and
this increasing severity will likely affect our results for the
foreseeable future. Our view of these trends influences our current
accident year loss picks, which continue to rise, and leads us to
increased caution in our analysis of prior period reserves, both of
which have a significant impact on the operating results of our largest
operating segment, Specialty P&C. We make no apology for taking the
actions needed to protect our balance sheet, no matter the short-term
impact. This is consistent with our long-term strategy and the long tail
nature of our business. As has historically been the case the caution we
take in establishing our reserves allows us to focus on our future
without undue concerns about past liabilities, something that will be
especially important as Mike Boguski and his team bring together all of
our Specialty P&C operations under unified leadership. All of this
overshadows several positive aspects of the quarter, including higher
renewal pricing, solid retention of existing business, continued
profitability in our Workers’ Compensation Insurance segment, and a
recovery of the majority of last quarter’s mark-to-market losses in our
equity trading portfolio resulting in a quarter-over-quarter increase in
net income,” said Stan Starnes, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
of ProAssurance.

First Quarter 2019

  • Consolidated gross premiums written were $280 million, an increase of
    $36.8 million, or 15.1% over the first quarter of 2018. In our Lloyd’s
    Syndicates segment, gross premiums written were $23.6 million, an
    increase of $11.2 million or 90.8%, quarter-over-quarter. Gross
    premiums written in our Specialty P&C segment were $166.4 million, an
    increase of $25.9 million or 18.4% quarter-over-quarter. In our
    Segregated Portfolio Cell Reinsurance segment, gross premiums written
    were $36.4 million, an increase of $4.0 million or 12.4% over 2018’s
    first quarter. Gross premiums written in our Workers’ Compensation
    Insurance segment were $89.4 million, a decline of $2.3 million or
    2.5% from last year’s first quarter.
  • Net premiums earned increased $21.0 million, or 11.2%
    quarter-over-quarter. Net premiums earned in our Specialty P&C segment
    were $124.1 million, an increase of 7.9% over the first quarter of
    2018. In our Workers’ Compensation Insurance segment, net earned
    premiums were $45.9 million, up 7.6% compared to the year-ago quarter.
    In our Segregated Portfolio Cell Reinsurance segment, net premiums
    earned were $19.5 million, a 14.5% quarter-over-quarter increase. Net
    premiums earned in our Lloyd’s Syndicates segment were $18.6 million,
    a quarter-over-quarter increase of 49.4%.
  • Our coordinated sales & marketing programs produced $8.5 million of
    business in the quarter and broker submissions increased 15.6% over
    the first quarter of 2018.
  • Our consolidated current accident year net loss ratio was 81.7%,
    essentially unchanged quarter-over-quarter.
  • Net favorable prior year reserve development in the first quarter of
    2019 was $10.3 million, compared to $22.8 million in the prior year
    quarter.
  • The consolidated underwriting expense ratio was 29.5%, just over a one
    point decline, quarter-over-quarter, due to the increase in net
    premiums earned which outpaced the increase in consolidated DPAC
    amortization.
  • Net realized investment gains were $36.6 million in the quarter,
    primarily reflecting mark-to-market adjustments in our equity trading
    portfolio. This compares to net realized investment losses of $12.5
    million in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Our consolidated net investment result was $22.0 million, a decline of
    $1.7 million compared to the first quarter of 2018. The decline in our
    consolidated net investment result was primarily due to a $2.5 million
    quarter-over-quarter decline in earnings from our unconsolidated
    subsidiaries, partially offset by an increase of approximately
    $800,000 in net investment income primarily attributable to higher
    earnings from our short-term investment holdings due to higher
    interest rates.
  • We recorded tax expense of $7.0 million in the quarter, compared to a
    tax benefit of $3.4 million in the first quarter of 2018. This was
    primarily driven by an increase in deferred taxes on the unrealized
    gains on our trading portfolio in the quarter.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Non-GAAP operating income is a financial measure that is widely used to
evaluate performance within the insurance sector. In calculating
Non-GAAP operating income, we have excluded the after-tax effects of the
items listed in the following table that do not reflect normal operating
results. We believe Non-GAAP operating income presents a useful view of
the performance of our insurance operations; however, it should be
considered in conjunction with net income computed in accordance with
GAAP. The following table reconciles net income (loss) to Non-GAAP
operating income:

RECONCILIATION OF NET INCOME TO NON-GAAP OPERATING INCOME
  Three Months Ended March 31
(In thousands, except per share data)

2019

 

2018

Net income (loss) $ 31,650 $ 11,856
Items excluded in the calculation of Non-GAAP operating income:
Net realized investment (gains) losses (36,623 ) 12,517
Net realized gains (losses) attributable to SPCs which no
profit/loss is retained (1)
1,741 (410 )
Guaranty fund assessments (recoupments) 88     84  
Pre-tax effect of exclusions (34,794 ) 12,191
Tax effect, 21% (2) 7,307     (2,560 )
After-tax effect of exclusions (27,487 )   9,631  
Non-GAAP operating income $ 4,163     $ 21,487  
Per diluted common share:
Net income (loss) $ 0.59 $ 0.22
Effect of exclusions (0.51 )   0.18  
Non-GAAP operating income per diluted common share $ 0.08     $ 0.40  
 
(1) Net realized investment gains (losses) on investments
related to SPCs are recognized in our Segregated Portfolio Cell
Reinsurance segment and the portion of operating earnings, including
the gain or loss, net of our participation, is due to the external
cell participants through the SPC dividend expense (income). To be
consistent with our exclusion of net realized investment gains
(losses) recognized in earnings, we are excluding the portion of net
realized investment gains (losses) that is included in the SPC
dividend expense (income) which is due to the external cell
participants.
 
(2) The 21% rate is the annual expected statutory tax
rate associated with the taxable or tax deductible items listed
above. Excluding net realized investment (gains) losses, which are
discrete items and are tax effected at the annual expected statutory
tax rate in the period they are included in net income, our
effective tax rate for the respective periods was applied to these
items in calculating net income. See further discussion under the
heading “Taxes” in the Executive Summary of Operations section of
our March 31, 2019 Form 10-Q expected to be filed by May 2, 2019.
 
 
BALANCE SHEET HIGHLIGHTS
(In thousands, except per share data)              

March 31, 2019

   

December 31, 2018

Total investments $ 3,414,614 $ 3,349,382
Total assets $ 4,717,108 $ 4,600,726
Total liabilities $ 3,155,212 $ 3,077,724
Common shares (par value $0.01) $ 631 $ 630
Retained earnings $ 1,586,393 $ 1,571,847
Treasury shares $ (417,277 ) $ (417,277 )
Shareholders’ equity $ 1,561,896 $ 1,523,002
Book value per share $ 29.06 $ 28.39
 
 

Capital Management

We have not repurchased any shares of our stock in 2019 and did not
repurchase any shares in 2018. As of April 25, 2019, approximately $110
million remains available in our Board-authorized stock repurchase
program. In March 2019, our Board of Directors declared a regular
dividend of $0.31 per share, which was paid on April 22, 2019.

Conference Call Information

ProAssurance management will now discuss first quarter 2019 results
during a conference call at 9:00 a.m. ET on Friday, April 26, 2019. This
replaces the call originally scheduled for Friday, May 3, 2019. We
invite anyone who would like to participate in the call to dial (888)
349-0134 (US), (855) 669-9657 (Canada) (toll free) or (412) 317-5145; no
access code is required. We will webcast the call at Investor.ProAssurance.com.
A replay will be available by telephone through at least December 31,
2019 at (877) 344-7529 (US), (855) 669-9658 (Canada) (both toll-free),
or (412) 317-0088, using access code 10128025. A replay also will be
available for one year on our website, Investor.ProAssurance.com.
We also will make the replay and other information about ProAssurance
available on a free subscription basis through Investor.ProAssurance.com
or through Apple’s iTunes. Investors may follow @PRA_Investors
on Twitter to be notified of the latest financial news about
ProAssurance.

About ProAssurance

ProAssurance Corporation is an industry-leading specialty insurer with
extensive expertise in healthcare professional liability, products
liability for medical technology and life sciences, legal professional
liability, and workers’ compensation insurance. The Company is
recognized as one of the top performing insurance companies in America
by virtue of our inclusion in the Ward’s 50 for twelve straight years.
ProAssurance Group is rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best; ProAssurance
and its operating subsidiaries are rated “A” (Strong) by Fitch Ratings.
For the latest on ProAssurance and its industry-leading suite of
products and services, cutting edge risk management and practice
enhancement programs, follow @ProAssurance on Twitter or LinkedIn.
ProAssurance’s YouTube channel regularly presents thought provoking,
insightful videos that communicate effective practice management,
patient safety and risk management strategies.

SPECIALTY P&C SEGMENT RESULTS

            Three Months Ended March 31
($ in thousands)

2019

   

2018

   

% Change

Gross premiums written $ 166,431 $ 140,520 18.4 %
Net premiums written $ 140,657 $ 118,848 18.4 %
 
Net premiums earned $ 124,067 $ 114,947 7.9 %
Other income 1,209       1,256   (3.7 %)
Total revenues 125,276 116,203 7.8 %
 
Net losses and loss adjustment expenses (107,658 ) (83,522 ) (28.9 %)
Underwriting, policy acquisition and operating expenses (29,615 )     (27,980 ) (5.8 %)
Total expenses (137,273 )     (111,502 ) (23.1 %)
Segment operating results $ (11,997 )     $ 4,701   (355.2 %)
 
SPECIALTY P&C SEGMENT KEY RATIOS
            Three Months Ended March 31

2019

   

2018

Current accident year net loss ratio 93.1 % 90.6 %
Effect of prior accident years’ reserve development (6.3 %) (17.9 %)
Net loss ratio 86.8 % 72.7 %
Underwriting expense ratio 23.9 % 24.3 %
Combined ratio 110.7 % 97.0 %
 
 

Gross premiums written in the Specialty P&C segment were $166.4 million,
an 18.4% increase from first quarter 2018. Compared to last year’s first
quarter, twelve month term physician premiums increased $19.9 million
which reflected timing differences of $6.8 million related to a few
large policies that shifted their 2018 renewal dates to the first
quarter of 2019. Excluding the effect of these timing differences,
twelve month term policies increased $13.1 million as compared to the
first quarter of 2018. The increase was primarily due to new business
written and an increase in premium assumed in which we participate on a
quota share basis. The growth in our twelve month term policies was
partially offset by a decline in twenty-four month term policies of $1.6
million which reflected the normal cycle of renewals. Premiums in our
healthcare facilities line grew 47.3% quarter-over-quarter, to $22.2
million. The increase in our healthcare facilities premium was driven by
new business, timing differences related to the renewal of certain
policies and an increase in renewal pricing due to changes in the loss
experience of a few large policies. New business in the first quarter of
2019 totaled $20.9 million, including $14.4 million of new physician
business and $4.3 million of new healthcare facilities business.

Our premium retention rate in physician professional liability, the
largest line in this segment, was 91% in the quarter, unchanged from the
year-ago quarter; premium retention in healthcare facilities was 71%
compared to 86% in the first quarter of 2018. The decrease in retention
in our healthcare facilities line is due to the loss of a single large
policy due to price competition, which underscores the fact that
retention in the healthcare facility line can be more volatile given the
size of average premiums and competition. Renewal pricing on physician
business increased 4% quarter-over-quarter, and renewal pricing in our
healthcare facilities line was 13% higher, quarter-over-quarter.

The current accident year net loss ratio was 93.1%, an increase of
approximately three points over first quarter 2018. The increase in the
current accident year net loss ratio was primarily due to the effect of
a reduction during the first quarter of 2018 to ceded premiums owed
under reinsurance agreements for prior accident years which increased
net premiums earned during the 2018 three-month period; however, no such
adjustments were made during the 2019 three-month period. As in previous
quarters, the increase is, in part, the result of our consideration of
potential higher severity trends associated with large, more complex
risks. In addition, the increase in the current accident year net loss
ratio was due to changes in the mix of business including a higher
volume of earned premium in our excess and surplus lines of business. As
we further penetrate the facility and large group space, we are writing
a majority of these risks on an excess & surplus lines basis, and many
are booked at a higher initial loss ratio due to the uncertainty of the
ultimate loss experience.

Net favorable prior year reserve development, which is also affected by
our cautious analysis of current loss trends, was $7.9 million, compared
to $20.6 million in the year-ago quarter. While we have not seen signs
of increased severity in our paid losses, we remain concerned about
these loss trends in the broader market.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE SEGMENT RESULTS

            Three Months Ended March 31
($ in thousands)

2019

   

2018

   

% Change

Gross premiums written $ 89,354 $ 91,667 (2.5 %)
Net premiums written $ 51,407 $ 55,481 (7.3 %)
 
Net premiums earned $ 45,939 $ 42,700 7.6 %
Other income 729       851   (14.3 %)
Total revenues 46,668 43,551 7.2 %
 
Net losses and loss adjustment expenses (30,443 ) (27,825 ) (9.4 %)
Underwriting, policy acquisition and operating expenses (14,192 )     (13,030 ) (8.9 %)
Total expenses (44,635 )     (40,855 ) (9.3 %)
Segment operating results $ 2,033       $ 2,696   (24.6 %)
 
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE SEGMENT KEY RATIOS
            Three Months Ended March 31

2019

   

2018

Current accident year net loss ratio 68.2 % 66.1 %
Effect of prior accident years’ reserve development (1.9 %) (0.9 %)
Net loss ratio 66.3 % 65.2 %
Underwriting expense ratio 30.9 % 30.5 %
Combined ratio 97.2 % 95.7 %
 
 

Gross premiums written in the Workers’ Compensation Insurance segment
decreased 2.5% quarter-over-quarter, to $89.4 million, primarily
reflecting decreases in new business, a decrease in audit premium and a
decline of 2% in renewal pricing, partially offset by a one-point
increase in our retention rate to 87%. New business was $7.5 million in
2019, compared to $16.6 million in 2018, and audit premium decreased 46%
to approximately $700,000. Of note, the Great Falls renewal rights
transaction accounted for $3.7 million of new business in the first
quarter of 2018, the first full quarter after the transaction, compared
to approximately $800,000 of new business in our New England region in
the first quarter of 2019. The renewal pricing declines and the decrease
in new business reflects our adherence to our underwriting and pricing
standards in a very competitive market.

Our alternative market business, which we predominately cede to the
Segregated Portfolio Cell Reinsurance segment, accounted for $34.6
million of the gross premiums written in the quarter, a 6.1% increase
over the prior year period.

The calendar year net loss ratio increased from 65.2% to 66.3%,
quarter-over-quarter, due to an increase in the current accident year
net loss ratio, partially offset by an increase in net favorable prior
year reserve development. The increase in the current accident year net
loss ratio from 66.1% to 68.2% primarily reflected the effect of the
continuation of intense price competition and the resulting decline in
renewal pricing. Net favorable prior year reserve development of
approximately $900,000 in the quarter resulted from overall favorable
trends in claim closing patterns, primarily in the 2016 accident year,
and includes purchase accounting amortization of approximately $400,000.

The underwriting expense ratio increased from 30.5% to 30.9%
quarter-over-quarter, primarily reflecting the impact of the decline in
audit premium.

SEGREGATED PORTFOLIO CELL REINSURANCE SEGMENT RESULTS

      Three Months Ended March 31
($ in thousands)

2019

   

2018

   

% Change

Gross premiums written $ 36,365 $ 32,340 12.4 %
Net premiums written $ 32,682 $ 28,962 12.8 %
 
Net premiums earned $ 19,502 $ 17,036 14.5 %
Net investment income 448 356 25.8 %
Net realized gains (losses) 2,141 (473 ) 552.6 %
Other income 87 30 190.0 %
Net losses and loss adjustment expenses (10,745 ) (9,953 ) (8.0 %)
Underwriting, policy acquisition and operating expenses (5,235 )     (5,114 ) (2.4 %)
SPC net operating results 6,198 1,882 229.3 %
Segregated portfolio cell dividend (expense) income (1) (4,787 )     (1,747 ) (174.0 %)
Segment operating results (2) $ 1,411       $ 135   945.2 %
 
(1) Represents the operating (profit) loss due to
external cell participants.
 
(2) Represents our share of the operating profit (loss)
of the SPCs in which we participate.
 
SEGREGATED PORTFOLIO CELL REINSURANCE SEGMENT KEY RATIOS
            Three Months Ended March 31

2019

   

2018

Current accident year net loss ratio 66.7 % 67.2 %
Effect of prior accident years’ reserve development (11.6 %) (8.8 %)
Net loss ratio 55.1 % 58.4 %
Underwriting expense ratio 26.8 % 30.0 %
Combined ratio 81.9 % 88.4 %
 
 

The Segregated Portfolio Cell Reinsurance segment represents the
operating results (underwriting profit or loss, plus investment results)
of Segregated Portfolio Cells (SPCs) within Eastern Re and Inova Re, our
Cayman Islands SPC operations. The segment operating results of $1.4
million represent our share of the results of segregated portfolio cell
programs in which we participate to a varying degree.

Gross written premiums increased 12.4% quarter-over-quarter, to $36.4
million, primarily reflecting a six-point increase in the workers’
compensation renewal retention rate to 97% and an increase in audit
premium, partially offset by a decrease in new business and a decline of
2% in renewal pricing. The renewal pricing declines and decrease in new
business reflect the competitive worker’s compensation pricing
environment. The majority of the gross written premium in the quarter,
$32.1 million, related to workers’ compensation, while the remainder was
primarily from healthcare professional liability. We retained all 10 of
the available alternative market programs, including nine workers’
compensation programs and one healthcare professional liability program
up for renewal during the three months ended March 31, 2019.

The current accident year net loss ratio decreased slightly from 67.2%
to 66.7%, which primarily reflected a decline in severity-related claim
activity, partially offset by the effect of the continuation of intense
price competition and the resulting renewal pricing decreases.

The favorable trends in prior accident year claim closing patterns,
particularly in accident years 2015-2017, resulted in net favorable
prior year reserve development of approximately $2.3 million, compared
to $1.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

The underwriting expense ratio in the Segregated Portfolio Cell
Reinsurance segment primarily reflects the ceding commission percentage
paid to the Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Specialty P&C segments
for insurance services provided to the segregated portfolio cell
programs. The ceding commissions are primarily reflected in the
respective segments as a reduction to underwriting expenses.

LLOYD’S SYNDICATES SEGMENT RESULTS

            Three Months Ended March 31
($ in thousands)

2019

   

2018

   

% Change

Gross premiums written $ 23,588 $ 12,361 90.8 %
Net premiums written $ 20,996 $ 11,841 77.3 %
 
Net premiums earned $ 18,641 $ 12,476 49.4 %
Net investment income 1,006 751 34.0 %
Other gains (losses) 32       277   (88.4 %)
Total revenues $ 19,679 $ 13,504 45.7 %
 
Net losses and loss adjustment expenses (10,909 ) (8,486 ) (28.6 %)
Underwriting, policy acquisition and operating expenses (8,469 )     (7,246 ) (16.9 %)
Total expenses (19,378 ) (15,732 ) (23.2 %)
Total income tax expense (benefit) (304 )     (6 ) (4,966.7 %)
Segment operating results $ (3 )     $ (2,234 ) 99.9 %
 
LLOYD’S SYNDICATES SEGMENT KEY RATIOS
            Three Months Ended March 31

2019

   

2018

Current accident year net loss ratio 54.5 % 70.7 %
Effect of prior accident years’ reserve development 4.0 % (2.7 %)
Net loss ratio 58.5 % 68.0 %
Underwriting expense ratio 45.4 % 58.1 %
 
 

Results of our Lloyd’s Syndicates segment are generally reported on a
one-quarter lag and include the operating results from our majority
participation in Lloyd’s of London Syndicate 1729 and our 100%
participation in Syndicate 6131, which is a Special Purpose Arrangement
that underwrites on a quota share basis with Syndicate 1729.

Contacts

Frank B. O’Neil, IRC
Sr. Vice President, Corporate Communications &
Investor Relations
800-282-6242 • 205-877-4461 • [email protected]

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