AMERISAFE Announces 2017 First Quarter Results

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DERIDDER, La., April 26, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — AMERISAFE, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMSF), a specialty provider of hazardous workers’ compensation insurance, today announced results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017. 

  Three Months Ended  
  March 31  
    2017     2016   % Change

  (in thousands, except per share data)  
Net premiums earned $ 90,912   $ 95,961   -5.3 %
Net investment income   6,710     6,044   11.0 %
Net realized gains (losses) on      
investments  (pre-tax)   (181 )   248   NM  
Net income   13,524     24,257   -44.2 %
Diluted earnings per share $ 0.70   $ 1.27   -44.9 %
Operating net income   13,642     24,096   -43.4 %
Operating earnings per share $ 0.71   $ 1.26   -43.7 %
Book value per share $ 24.29   $ 24.96   -2.7 %
Net combined ratio   86.6 %   70.8 %  
Return on average equity   11.7 %   20.8 %  
       

G. Janelle Frost, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are pleased with our financial results this quarter.  Reporting a combined ratio of 86.6% speaks to AMERISAFE’s focus on underwriting discipline, controlled costs, and extensive claims management.  These results were accomplished as loss costs continued to decline, and competition continued to increase as the market further softened while insurers fought to retain accounts.  AMERISAFE has responded appropriately to the changing market with gradual price declines coupled with superior service to retain profitable accounts and grow policy count.”

Insurance Results 

  Three Months Ended      
  March 31      
    2017       2016     % Change
  (in thousands)      
                 
Gross premiums written $ 95,078     $ 100,382     -5.3 %
Net premiums earned   90,912       95,961     -5.3 %
Loss and loss adjustment expenses incurred   56,216       46,716     20.3 %
Underwriting and certain other operating costs,                    
commissions, salaries and benefits   21,222       20,134     5.4 %
Policyholder dividends   1,371       1,090     25.8 %
Underwriting profit (pre-tax) $ 12,103     $ 28,021     -56.8 %
                     
Insurance Ratios:                    
Current accident year loss ratio   69.0 %     67.9 %      
Prior accident year loss ratio   -7.2 %     -19.2 %      
Net loss ratio   61.8 %     48.7 %      
Net underwriting expense ratio   23.3 %     21.0 %      
Net dividend ratio   1.5 %     1.1 %      
Net combined ratio   86.6 %     70.8 %      
                     
  • Gross premiums written in the quarter decreased by $5.3 million, or 5.3%, primarily due to $4.4 million in lower payroll audits and slightly lower voluntary premiums written.  Payroll audits and related premium adjustments increased premiums written by $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $6.6 million in the first quarter of 2016.

  • Voluntary premium for policies written during the quarter ended March 31, 2017 declined by 0.6% compared with the first quarter of 2016.

  • The current accident year loss ratio for the first quarter was 69.0%, an increase of 1.1 percentage points from 67.9% in 2016.  During the quarter, the Company experienced favorable loss development for prior accident years which reduced loss and loss adjustment expenses by $6.5 million, mostly attributable to accident years 2014 and 2013.  These results reflect improved trends for both claims closing and severity of claims and by favorable case reserve development on claims that were closed during the quarter.

  • For the quarter ended March 31, 2017, the underwriting expense ratio was 23.3% compared to 21.0% in the same quarter in 2016.  The increase in the quarter was due to lower net premiums earned as well as slightly higher compensation, insurance assessment and premium tax expense compared with last year’s first quarter.

  • The effective tax rate for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 was 27.8% compared with 29.5% for the first quarter of 2016.  The decrease in the tax rate resulted from a lower proportion of underwriting income to tax-exempt income relative to the first quarter of 2016.

Investment Results 

  Three Months Ended  
  March 31  
    2017     2016   % Change
  (in thousands)  
Net investment income $   6,710   $   6,044   11.0 %
Net realized gains (losses) on       
investments (pre-tax)     (181 )     248   NM  
Pre-tax investment yield   2.3 %   2.1 %  
Tax-equivalent yield (1)   3.4 %   3.3 %  
                 
                 

(1) The tax equivalent yield is calculated using the effective interest rate and the appropriate marginal tax rate. 

  • Net investment income for the quarter ending March 31, 2017, increased 11.0% to $6.7 million from $6.0 million in the first quarter of 2016, largely due to a significant decline in value of an investment in a limited partnership hedge fund in last year’s first quarter.  The change in value in this investment is recorded in investment income each quarter.
  • As of March 31, 2017, the carrying value of AMERISAFE’s investment portfolio, including cash and cash equivalents, was $1.1 billion.  

Capital Management

The company paid a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.20 per share on March 24, 2017.  The $0.20 per share cash dividend reflects an 11% increase from the regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.18 paid in 2016.  On April 25, 2017 the Company’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.20 per share, payable on June 23, 2017 to shareholders of record as of June 9, 2017.

Book value per share at March 31, 2017 was $24.29, an increase of 2.4% from $23.72 as of December 31, 2016.  During the quarter, no shares were repurchased under the Company’s share repurchase plan. 

Supplemental Information 

  Three Months Ended
  March 31
    2017       2016  
  (in thousands, except share and per share data)
               
Net income $ 13,524     $ 24,257  
Less: Net realized gains (losses) on investments   (181 )     248  
Tax effect (1)   63       (87 )
Operating net income (2) $ 13,642     $ 24,096  
               
Average shareholders’ equity (3) $ 461,626     $ 466,367  
Less: Average accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)   (16 )     3,984  
Average adjusted shareholders’ equity $ 461,642     $ 462,383  
               
Diluted weighted average common shares   19,230,125       19,163,789  
               
Return on average equity (4)   11.7 %     20.8 %
Operating return on average adjusted equity (2)   11.8 %     20.8 %
Diluted earnings per share $ 0.70     $ 1.27  
Operating earnings per share (2) $ 0.71     $ 1.26  
________________________________              

(1) The tax effect of net realized capital gains is calculated assuming an annual tax rate of 35%.

(2) Operating net income, operating return on average adjusted equity and operating earnings per share are non-GAAP financial measures.  Management believes that investors’ understanding of core operating performance is enhanced by AMERISAFE’s disclosure of these financial measures.

(3) Average shareholders’ equity is calculated by taking the average of the beginning and ending shareholders’ equity.

(4) Return on average equity is calculated by dividing the annualized net income by the average shareholders’ equity.

Conference Call Information

AMERISAFE has scheduled a conference call for April 27, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss the results for the quarter, as well as the outlook for future periods.  To participate in the conference call dial 877-225-7695 (Domestic) or 720-545-0027 (International) at least ten minutes before the call begins and ask for the AMERISAFE conference call.  A replay of the call will be available approximately two hours after the live broadcast ends and will be accessible through May 4, 2017.  To access the replay, dial 855-859-2056 or 404-537-3406 and use the pass code 90372860#.

Investors, analysts and the general public will also have the opportunity to listen to the conference call over the Internet by visiting http://www.amerisafe.com.  To listen to the live call on the web, please visit the website at least fifteen minutes before the call begins to register, download and install any necessary audio software.  For those who cannot listen to the live webcast, an archive will be available shortly after the call at http://www.amerisafe.com.

About AMERISAFE

AMERISAFE, Inc. is a specialty provider of workers’ compensation insurance focused on small to mid-sized employers engaged in hazardous industries, principally construction, trucking, logging and lumber, manufacturing, and agriculture.  AMERISAFE actively markets workers’ compensation insurance in 27 states. 

Forward Looking Statements

Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts, including statements accompanied by words such as “will,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “estimate,” or similar words are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding AMERISAFE’s plans and performance.  These statements are based on management’s estimates, assumptions and projections as of the date of this release and are not guarantees of future performance and include statements regarding management’s views and expectations of the workers’ compensation market, the Company’s growth opportunities, underwriting margins and actions by competitors.  Actual results may differ materially from the results expressed or implied in these statements if the underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect or as the results of risks, uncertainties and other factors including the factors set forth in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including AMERISAFE’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016.  AMERISAFE cautions you not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release.  AMERISAFE does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events, information or circumstances that arise after the date of this release.

- Tables to follow -

 
AMERISAFE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Income
(in thousands)
     
  Three Months Ended
  March 31
    2017       2016  
  (unaudited)
Revenues:              
Gross premiums written $ 95,078     $ 100,382  
Ceded premiums written   (2,391 )     (2,551 )
Net premiums written $ 92,687     $ 97,831  
               
Net premiums earned $ 90,912     $ 95,961  
Net investment income   6,710       6,044  
Net realized gains (losses) on investments   (181 )     248  
Fee and other income   101       82  
Total revenues   97,542       102,335  
               
Expenses:              
Loss and loss adjustment expenses incurred   56,216       46,716  
Underwriting and other operating costs   21,222       20,134  
Policyholder dividends   1,371       1,090  
Total expenses   78,809       67,940  
               
Income before taxes   18,733       34,395  
Income tax expense   5,209       10,138  
Net income $ 13,524     $ 24,257  
               
AMERISAFE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Income (cont.)
(in thousands, except per share amounts)
     
  Three Months Ended
  March 31
    2017     2016  
  (unaudited)
Basic EPS:            
Net income $ 13,524   $ 24,257  
             
Basic weighted average common shares   19,150,400     19,057,941  
Basic earnings per share $ 0.71   $ 1.27  
             
Diluted EPS:            
Net income $ 13,524   $ 24,257  
             
Diluted weighted average common shares:            
Weighted average common shares   19,150,400     19,057,941  
Stock options and performance shares   79,725     105,848  
Diluted weighted average common shares   19,230,125     19,163,789  
             
Diluted earnings per  share $ 0.70   $ 1.27  
             
AMERISAFE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Balance Sheets
     
  March 31 December 31,
    2017     2016
  (unaudited)  
Assets          
Investments  $   1,107,270   $   1,084,474
Cash and cash equivalents     39,353       58,936
Amounts recoverable from reinsurers     82,897       83,666
Premiums receivable, net     191,276       183,005
Deferred income taxes     33,311       33,811
Deferred policy acquisition costs     19,866       19,300
Other assets     62,563       55,664
  $   1,536,536   $   1,518,856
           
Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity          
Liabilities:          
Reserves for loss and loss adjustment expenses $   749,496   $   742,776
Unearned premiums     163,803       162,028
Insurance-related assessments     33,312       31,742
Other liabilities     122,824       126,160
           
Shareholders’ equity     467,101       456,150
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity $   1,536,536   $   1,518,856
           
Contact:Neal A Fuller, EVP & CFOAMERISAFE, Inc.337-463-9052

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