RLI Reports First Quarter 2018 Results

PEORIA, Ill.--()--RLI Corp. (NYSE: RLI) – RLI Corp. reported first quarter 2018 net earnings of $12.2 million ($0.27 per share), compared to $19.8 million ($0.45 per share) for the first quarter of 2017. Operating earnings(1) for the first quarter of 2018 were $26.7 million ($0.60 per share) compared to $19.4 million ($0.44 per share) for the same period in 2017.

 
          First Quarter
Earnings Per Diluted Share         2018         2017
Net earnings (2)         $ 0.27         $ 0.45
Operating earnings (1)         $ 0.60         $ 0.44
(1)   See discussion below: Non-GAAP and Performance Measures.
(2) Unrealized losses on equity securities and the related taxes were included in net earnings in 2018. See discussion below: Recently Adopted Accounting Standard and Tax Reform.
 

Highlights for the quarter included:

  • Underwriting income(1) of $17.5 million, resulting in a combined ratio(1) of 90.8.
  • 11% increase in gross premiums written and 9% increase in investment income.
  • Favorable development in prior years’ loss reserves resulting in a $12.5 million net increase in underwriting income.
  • Book value per share of $18.82, a decrease of 2% from year-end 2017, inclusive of dividends.

“RLI is off to an excellent start in 2018 with a 91 combined ratio and continued strong organic growth across much of our product portfolio,” said RLI Corp. Chairman & CEO Jonathan E. Michael. “Gross premium in the quarter was up 11%, marking the second consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. Most of our products contributed to this growth, including a healthy mix of newer and mature products. Underwriting income, combined with investment income growth of 9% in the quarter, drove operating EPS of $0.60 per share.” He continued, “Our results reflect the hard work of our talented team, who remain focused on delivering superior products and service to our customers.”

Underwriting Income

RLI achieved $17.5 million of underwriting income in the first quarter of 2018 on a 90.8 combined ratio, compared to $13.1 million of underwriting income on a 92.9 combined ratio in the same quarter for 2017. Results for both years include favorable development in prior years’ loss reserves which totaled $12.5 million and $4.7 million for 2018 and 2017, respectively.

The following table highlights underwriting income and combined ratios by segment.

 
Underwriting Income(1)         Combined Ratio(1)  
(in millions)       2018     2017     2018   2017
Casualty $ 1.6   $ (6.8 ) Casualty 98.8   105.8
Property 5.9 8.8 Property 83.3 75.5
Surety       10.0     11.1   Surety   65.4   63.5
Total     $ 17.5   $ 13.1   Total   90.8   92.9
 
(1) See discussion below: Non-GAAP and Performance Measures.
 

Other Income

RLI’s net investment income for the quarter increased 9.4% to $14.2 million, compared to the same period in 2017. The investment portfolio’s total return was -1.5% for the quarter.

Comprehensive earnings were -$14.2 million for the quarter (-$0.32 per share) compared to $31.6 million ($0.71 per share) for the same quarter in 2017. In addition to net earnings, comprehensive earnings included after-tax unrealized gains/losses from the fixed income portfolio in 2018 and after-tax unrealized gains/losses from the fixed income and equity portfolios in 2017. See Recently Adopted Accounting Standard and Tax Reform discussion below.

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated investees was $5.2 million for the quarter compared to $4.9 million from the same period last year. These results are related to Maui Jim, Inc. ($4.2 million), a producer of premium sunglasses, and Prime Holdings Insurance Services, Inc. ($1.0 million), a specialty E&S insurance company. For the first quarter of 2017, equity in earnings of unconsolidated investees from Maui Jim and Prime was $4.3 million and $0.6 million, respectively.

Dividends Paid in the First Quarter of 2018

On March 20, 2018, the company paid an ordinary dividend of $0.21 per share, the same amount as the prior quarter. RLI’s cumulative dividends total more than $611 million paid over the last five years.

Recently Adopted Accounting Standard and Tax Reform

As disclosed in RLI’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, accounting guidance for financial instruments changed in 2018 under ASU 2016-01, Financial Instruments – Overall (Subtopic 825-10): Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities. We adopted this accounting standard update, effective January 1, 2018, using a cumulative-effect adjustment. This adjustment moved the historical unrealized gains and losses, net of tax, on the equity portfolio from accumulated other comprehensive earnings to retained earnings, but had no impact on overall shareholders’ equity. In addition, for 2018 and forward, the change in fair value for equity securities is required to be recognized through net earnings rather than through other comprehensive income. As defined below, we exclude these unrealized gains and losses in arriving at operating earnings and earnings per share from operations. For the first quarter of 2018, $26.8 million of unrealized losses, gross of tax, were recognized within pre-tax earnings and the income tax expense was reduced by $5.6 million. The impact to our income statement will vary depending upon the level of volatility in the performance of the securities held in our equity portfolio and the overall market.

The change in the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% commencing January 1, 2018, as enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), contributed to a lower effective tax rate for 2018 as compared to 2017.

Non-GAAP and Performance Measures

Management has included certain non-generally accepted accounting principles (“non-GAAP”) financial measures in presenting the Company’s results. Management believes that these non-GAAP measures better explain the Company’s results of operations and allow for a more complete understanding of the underlying trends in the Company’s business. These measures should not be viewed as a substitute for those determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). In addition, our definitions of these items may not be comparable to the definitions used by other companies.

Operating earnings and earnings per share (EPS) from operations consist of our GAAP net earnings adjusted by the net realized gains/(losses), net unrealized gains/(losses) on equity securities for 2018 only and taxes related thereto. The adjustment for net unrealized gains/(losses) on equity securities is only applicable for 2018 due to the adoption of the above mentioned accounting standard update. Net earnings and net earnings per share are the GAAP financial measures that are most directly comparable to operating earnings and EPS from operations. A reconciliation of the operating earnings and EPS from operations to the comparable GAAP financial measures is included in the 2018 financial highlights below.

Underwriting income or profit represents the pretax profitability of our insurance operations and is derived by subtracting loss and settlement expenses, policy acquisition costs and insurance operating expenses from net premium earned, which are all GAAP financial measures. The combined ratio, which is derived from components of underwriting income, is a performance measure commonly used by property and casualty insurance companies and is calculated as the sum of loss and settlement expenses, policy acquisition costs and insurance operating expenses, divided by net premiums earned, which are all GAAP measures.

Other News

At 10 a.m. central daylight time (CDT) tomorrow, April 19, 2018, RLI management will hold a conference call to discuss quarterly results with insurance industry analysts. Interested parties may listen to the discussion through the Internet at https://edge.media-server.com/m6/p/2cwpvw3e.

Except for historical information, this news release may include forward-looking statements (within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934) including, without limitation, statements reflecting our current expectations about the future performance of our company or our business segments or about future market conditions. These statements are subject to certain risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially. Various risk factors that could affect future results are listed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Form 10-K Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2017.

About RLI

RLI Corp. (NYSE: RLI) is a specialty insurer serving diverse, niche property, casualty and surety markets. The company provides deep underwriting expertise and superior service to commercial and personal lines customers nationwide. RLI’s products are offered through its insurance subsidiaries RLI Insurance Company, Mt. Hawley Insurance Company and Contractors Bonding and Insurance Company. All of RLI’s insurance subsidiaries are rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company. RLI has paid and increased regular dividends for 42 consecutive years and delivered underwriting profits for 22 consecutive years. To learn more about RLI, visit www.rlicorp.com.

Supplemental disclosure regarding the earnings impact of specific items:

    Operating Earnings Per Share
  2018     2017

1st Qtr

1st Qtr

Operating Earnings Per Share(1) $ 0.60 $ 0.44
 
Specific items included in operating earnings per share:(2) (3)

• Favorable (unfavorable) development in casualty prior years' reserves

$ 0.12 $ (0.05 )

• Favorable development in property prior years' reserves

$ 0.01 $ 0.03

• Favorable development in surety prior years' reserves

$ 0.09 $ 0.09

• Catastrophe impact

▪ 2018 winter storms $ (0.03 ) $ -
 
(1)   See discussion above: Non-GAAP and Performance Measures.
(2) Includes incentive and profit sharing-related impacts which affected policy acquisition, insurance operating and general corporate expenses.
(3) Reserve development reflects changes from previously estimated losses.
 
RLI CORP.
2018 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
(Unaudited)
(Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
       
Three Months Ended March 31,
2018   2017   % Change

SUMMARIZED INCOME STATEMENT DATA:

Net premiums earned $ 190,027 $ 183,285 3.7 %
Net investment income 14,232 13,005 9.4 %
Net realized gains 8,404 624 -
Net unrealized losses on equity securities   (26,772 )   -   -    
Consolidated revenue $ 185,891 $ 196,914 (5.6 ) %
 
Loss and settlement expenses $ 92,421 $ 93,390 (1.0 ) %
Policy acquisition costs 66,734 63,503 5.1 %
Insurance operating expenses 13,385 13,335 0.4 %
Interest expense on debt 1,856 1,856 0.0 %
General corporate expenses   2,283     3,325   (31.3 ) %
Total expenses $ 176,679 $ 175,409 0.7 %
 
Equity in earnings of unconsolidated investees   5,166     4,938   4.6   %
 
Earnings before income taxes $ 14,378 $ 26,443 (45.6 ) %
Income tax expense   2,162     6,615   (67.3 ) %
Net earnings $ 12,216   $ 19,828   (38.4 ) %
 
Other comprehensive earnings (loss), net of tax   (26,398 )   11,769   -    
 
Comprehensive earnings (loss) $ (14,182 ) $ 31,597   -    
 
Operating earnings(1):
 
Net earnings $ 12,216 $ 19,828 (38.4 ) %
Less: Realized gains (8,404 ) (624 ) -
Income tax on realized gains 1,765 219 -
Less: Unrealized losses on equity securities 26,772 - -
Income tax on unrealized losses on equity securities   (5,622 )   -   -    
Operating earnings $ 26,727   $ 19,423   37.6   %
 
Return on Equity:
Net earnings (trailing four quarters)   11.4   %   11.8   %
Comprehensive earnings (trailing four quarters)   11.0   %   10.5   %
 
Per Share Data:

Diluted:

Weighted average shares outstanding (in 000's) 44,650 44,502
 
Net earnings per share $ 0.27 $ 0.45 (40.0 ) %
Less: Realized gains (0.19 ) (0.01 ) -
Income tax on realized gains 0.04 - -
Less: Unrealized losses on equity securities 0.60 - -
Income tax on unrealized losses on equity securities   (0.12 )   -   -    
EPS from operations(1) $ 0.60   $ 0.44   36.4   %
 
Comprehensive earnings per share $ (0.32 ) $ 0.71   -    
 
Cash dividends per share - ordinary $ 0.21 $ 0.20 5.0 %
 
Net Cash Flow provided by Operations $ 15,393   $ 11,265   36.6   %
 
(1) See discussion above: Non-GAAP and Performance Measures.
 
RLI CORP.
2018 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
(Unaudited)
(Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
       
 
March 31, December 31,
2018 2017 % Change

SUMMARIZED BALANCE SHEET DATA:

Fixed income $ 1,653,674 $ 1,672,239 (1.1 ) %
(amortized cost - $1,661,490 at 3/31/18)
(amortized cost - $1,646,411 at 12/31/17)
Equity securities 378,253 400,492 (5.6 ) %
(cost - $186,520 at 3/31/18)
(cost - $182,002 at 12/31/17)
Other invested assets 35,065 33,808 3.7 %
Cash and cash equivalents 28,927 34,251 (15.5 ) %
Total investments and cash $ 2,095,919 $ 2,140,790 (2.1 ) %
 
Premiums and reinsurance balances receivable 132,682 134,351 (1.2 ) %
Ceded unearned premiums 57,356 57,928 (1.0 ) %
Reinsurance balances recoverable on unpaid losses 308,703 301,991 2.2 %
Deferred policy acquisition costs 77,622 77,716 (0.1 ) %
Property and equipment 56,153 55,849 0.5 %
Investment in unconsolidated investees 85,564 90,067 (5.0 ) %
Goodwill and intangibles 54,793 59,302 (7.6 ) %
Other assets 25,400 29,250 (13.2 ) %
Total assets $ 2,894,192 $ 2,947,244 (1.8 ) %
 
Unpaid losses and settlement expenses $ 1,303,131 $ 1,271,503 2.5 %
Unearned premiums 444,296 451,449 (1.6 ) %
Reinsurance balances payable 12,233 21,624 (43.4 ) %
Funds held 67,415 74,560 (9.6 ) %
Income taxes - deferred 40,234 53,768 (25.2 ) %
Bonds payable, long-term debt 148,975 148,928 0.0 %
Accrued expenses 26,621 52,848 (49.6 ) %
Other liabilities 18,354 18,966 (3.2 ) %
Total liabilities $ 2,061,259 $ 2,093,646 (1.5 ) %
Shareholders' equity 832,933 853,598 (2.4 ) %
Total liabilities & shareholders' equity $ 2,894,192 $ 2,947,244 (1.8 ) %
 
 

OTHER DATA:

 
Common shares outstanding (in 000's) 44,253 44,148
 
Book value per share $ 18.82 $ 19.33 (2.6 ) %
Closing stock price per share $ 63.39 $ 60.66 4.5 %
Cash dividends per share - ordinary (annualized) $ 0.84 $ 0.83 1.2 %
Cash dividends per share - special $ - $ 1.75 (100.0 ) %
 
Statutory surplus $ 895,546 $ 864,554 3.6 %
 
RLI CORP.
2018 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
UNDERWRITING SEGMENT DATA
(Unaudited)
(Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
               

Three Months Ended March 31,

GAAP GAAP GAAP GAAP
Casualty Ratios Property Ratios Surety Ratios Total Ratios  

2018

 
Gross premiums written $ 140,455 $ 45,907 $ 30,502 $ 216,864
Net premiums written 118,316 35,890 29,240 183,446
Net premiums earned 125,850 35,182 28,995 190,027
Net loss & settlement expenses 78,969 62.8 % 13,100 37.2 % 352 1.2 % 92,421 48.6 %
Net operating expenses 45,320   36.0 % 16,200 46.1 % 18,599 64.2 % 80,119 42.2 %
Underwriting income (loss)(1) $ 1,561 98.8 % $ 5,882 83.3 % $ 10,044 65.4 % $ 17,487 90.8 %
 

2017

 
Gross premiums written $ 126,834 $ 37,079 $ 30,963 $ 194,876
Net premiums written 107,191 28,999 29,548 165,738
Net premiums earned 116,984 35,805 30,496 183,285
Net loss & settlement expenses 82,401 70.4 % 10,333 28.9 % 656 2.2 % 93,390 51.0 %
Net operating expenses 41,464   35.4 % 16,668 46.6 % 18,706 61.3 % 76,838 41.9 %
Underwriting income (loss)(1) $ (6,881 ) 105.8 % $ 8,804 75.5 % $ 11,134 63.5 % $ 13,057 92.9 %
 
(1) See discussion above: Non-GAAP and Performance Measures.
 

Contacts

RLI Corp.
Aaron Jacoby
Vice President, Corporate Development
309-693-5880
Aaron.Jacoby@rlicorp.com

Release Summary

RLI Corp. (NYSE: RLI) – RLI Corp. reported first quarter 2018 net earnings of $12.2 million ($0.27 per share).

Contacts

RLI Corp.
Aaron Jacoby
Vice President, Corporate Development
309-693-5880
Aaron.Jacoby@rlicorp.com