Donegal Group Inc. Announces 53.8 Percent Increase in Fourth Quarter Net Income and Improved Full Year 2013 Results

MARIETTA, Pa., Feb. 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Donegal Group Inc. (Nasdaq:DGICA) (Nasdaq:DGICB) today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2013. Highlights included:

  • Net income of $9.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, with improved underwriting results generating a 53.8% increase over net income for the fourth quarter of 2012
  • Net income of $26.3 million for the full year of 2013, increasing 14.0% over the full year of 2012
  • 9.2% increase in net premiums earned and 7.9% increase in net premiums written for the fourth quarter of 2013, reflecting continuing organic growth in commercial lines and the benefit of premium rate increases
  • 95.4% statutory combined ratio1 for the fourth quarter of 2013, representing the lowest combined ratio for any quarterly period in the past five years
  • Operating income1 of $9.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, significantly outperforming operating income of $5.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2012

Three Months Ended December 31, Year Ended December 31,
2013 2012 % Change 2013 2012 % Change
(dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
Income Statement Data
Net premiums earned $ 132,982 $ 121,824 9.2% $ 515,292 $ 475,002 8.5%
Investment income, net 4,685 5,445 -14.0 18,795 20,169 -6.8
Realized (losses) gains (520) 1,709 -130.4 2,423 6,859 -64.7
Total revenues 139,395 131,904 5.7 547,110 514,983 6.2
Net income 9,564 6,220 53.8 26,322 23,093 14.0
Operating income 9,907 5,092 94.6 24,723 18,565 33.2
Per Share Data
Net income – Class A (diluted) $ 0.36 $ 0.25 44.0% $ 1.02 $ 0.91 12.1%
Net income – Class B 0.34 0.22 54.5 0.94 0.83 13.3
Operating income – Class A (diluted) 0.37 0.20 85.0 0.96 0.73 31.5
Operating income – Class B 0.35 0.18 94.4 0.88 0.67 31.3
Book value 15.02 15.63 -3.9 15.02 15.63 -3.9

1The "Definitions of Non-GAAP and Operating Measures" section of this release defines and reconciles data that the Company prepares on an accounting basis other than U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP").

Donald H. Nikolaus, President and Chief Executive Officer, noted, "Donegal Group ended 2013 on a positive note, reflecting favorable market conditions that were present in our operating regions throughout the past year as well as our achievement of key milestones marking progress toward our long-term performance objectives. Of note, for the second consecutive quarter, our GAAP and statutory combined ratios for the fourth quarter of 2013 were the best we have achieved for any quarter during the past five years.

"Our strategic business plan calls for us to outperform the property and casualty insurance industry in terms of service, profitability and book value growth over the long term," Mr. Nikolaus noted. "Our commercial lines business performed well against that standard over the past year. We achieved solid new commercial business growth during 2013 and continued to see renewal premium increases in the 5-7% range throughout the fourth quarter. For the full year of 2013, the statutory combined ratio for our commercial business segment was 95.7%. We believe our regional market presence and our proven commitment to the small to mid-size commercial insurance market provide potential for continuing progress in expanding this business segment in 2014 and beyond."

Mr. Nikolaus continued, "In our personal lines business, our strategic underwriting initiatives contributed to improved profitability with a full-year statutory combined ratio for this business segment of 98.8%. For the year 2013, losses from weather events and large fire losses were below the prior year level. Personal lines net written premium growth primarily reflected rate increases we have implemented over the past year.

"As we look ahead to 2014, we are optimistic about the opportunities for profitable growth within our regional markets as we continue to enhance our relationships with existing independent agents and seek to appoint new agencies in selected markets. Further, we continue to pursue appropriate acquisition opportunities to help us achieve our long-term objectives," Mr. Nikolaus added.

At December 31, 2013, the Company's book value per share was $15.02, compared to $15.63 at December 31, 2012. The lower book value per share reflected a reduction in net unrealized gains in the fair value of the Company's available-for-sale fixed-maturity securities portfolio due to increased market interest rates during the year. During 2013, the Company repurchased 24,240 Class A shares at an average cost of $15.53 per share.

Insurance Operations

Donegal Group is an insurance holding company whose insurance subsidiaries offer personal and commercial property and casualty lines of insurance in four Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania), three New England states (Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont), seven Southeastern states (Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) and eight Midwestern states (Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin). The insurance subsidiaries of Donegal Group conduct business together with Donegal Mutual Insurance Company as the Donegal Insurance Group.

Three Months Ended December 31, Year Ended December 31,
2013 2012 % Change 2013 2012 % Change
(dollars in thousands)
Net Premiums Written
Personal lines:
Automobile $ 46,661 $ 45,559 2.4% $ 196,363 $ 195,131 0.6%
Homeowners 25,708 22,340 15.1 106,420 97,118 9.6
Other 4,044 4,027 0.4 15,915 16,072 (1.0)
Total personal lines 76,413 71,926 6.2 318,698 308,321 3.4
Commercial lines:
Automobile 12,947 11,966 8.2 58,165 51,260 13.5
Workers' compensation 16,327 14,326 14.0 77,589 65,397 18.6
Commercial multi-peril 16,821 14,719 14.3 74,516 64,477 15.6
Other 1,262 1,760 (28.3) 4,463 6,992 (36.2)
Total commercial lines 47,357 42,771 10.7 214,733 188,126 14.1
Total net premiums written $ 123,770 $ 114,697 7.9% $ 533,431 $ 496,447 7.4%

The Company's net premiums written increased 7.9% for the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. This increase represented the combination of 10.7% growth in commercial lines writings and 6.2% growth in personal lines writings. The $9.1 million growth in net premiums written for the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012 included:

  • $2.1 million, or 1.8% of total net premiums written, related to a change in the Michigan Insurance Company ("MICO") quota-share reinsurance agreement that continued to increase the amount of business MICO retained. The Company acquired MICO in December 2010.
  • $3.4 million in commercial lines premiums, excluding the MICO reinsurance change, that the Company attributed primarily to premium rate increases and new commercial accounts the Company's insurance subsidiaries have written throughout their operating regions.
  • $3.6 million in personal lines premiums, excluding the MICO reinsurance change. The increase reflected modest new business premium, premium rate increases the Company has implemented over the past four quarters and lower reinsurance reinstatement premiums.

The Company's net premiums written increased 7.4% for the full year of 2013. The increase included $9.9 million related to the MICO reinsurance change. Excluding the MICO reinsurance change, commercial lines premiums rose $21.0 million, or 11.2%, and personal lines premiums increased $6.1 million, or 2.0%, for the full year of 2013 compared to the full year of 2012.

Three Months Ended Year Ended
December 31, December 31,
2013 2012 2013 2012
Statutory Combined Ratios
Personal Lines:
Automobile 107.0% 120.4% 103.2% 108.1%
Homeowners 88.9 89.3 93.0 100.9
Other 74.2 83.9 80.5 89.4
Total personal lines 99.3 108.9 98.8 105.0
Commercial Lines:
Automobile 108.0 76.5 104.9 94.5
Workers' compensation 86.4 113.5 96.9 98.1
Commercial multi-peril 84.5 87.5 92.9 90.5
Other NM2 NM NM 15.0
Total commercial lines 89.4 88.5 95.7 91.2
Total lines 95.4% 101.2% 97.4% 99.8%
GAAP Combined Ratios (Total Lines)
Loss ratio (non-weather) 59.1% 68.2% 61.0% 63.2%
Loss ratio (weather-related) 3.5 3.9 5.6 6.9
Expense ratio 31.9 29.3 31.8 31.2
Dividend ratio 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.3
Combined ratio 94.9% 101.7% 98.8% 101.6%
2Not meaningful.

For the fourth quarter of 2013, the Company's statutory loss ratio declined to 62.7%, compared to 72.3% for the fourth quarter of 2012. For the full year of 2013, the Company's statutory loss ratio declined to 66.8% from 70.3% for the full year of 2012.

Weather-related losses of $4.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, or 3.5 percentage points of the Company's loss ratio, were in line with the $4.7 million, or 3.9 percentage points of the Company's loss ratio, for the fourth quarter of 2012. Weather loss activity in the fourth quarter of 2013 was slightly lower than the Company's five-year average for fourth-quarter weather losses of $5.3 million.

Large fire losses totaling $6.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, or 4.8 percentage points of the Company's loss ratio, compared favorably to the $6.7 million, or 5.5 percentage points of the Company's loss ratio, for the fourth quarter of 2012. Development of reserves for losses incurred in prior accident years was negligible for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Mr. Nikolaus commented, "We are certainly pleased with the overall trend improvement in our underwriting results. As we noted, the fourth-quarter combined ratio was the best we have seen in five years.

"A closer look at the quarterly underwriting results for our various business lines reveals a few atypical ratios," Mr. Nikolaus noted. "While the total effect of weather-related losses for the fourth quarter was slightly below the year-earlier level, our personal and commercial automobile lines of business were both impacted by weather to a greater degree than usual. Winter weather events in our operating regions contributed to an increase in collision claim frequency. Those collision losses masked a modest decline in casualty loss severity for personal auto in the fourth quarter, while additions to a handful of prior-accident-year case reserves also affected the commercial automobile line of business."

Mr. Nikolaus observed, "Higher premium rates now in place for many of our lines of business, including personal auto and homeowners, continued to strengthen our underlying performance during 2013. In most of our regions, we are continuing to file personal lines rate increases to keep pace with increasing loss costs. Our workers' compensation and commercial multi-peril lines of business reported solid performance in the fourth quarter, again reflecting the continued strength of the commercial insurance market within our regions."

The Company's statutory expense ratio1 was 32.2% for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 28.5% for the fourth quarter of 2012. The increase in the Company's expense ratio reflected higher underwriting-based incentive costs that resulted from significantly improved underwriting results for the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. The Company's statutory expense ratio was 30.2% for the full year of 2013, compared to 29.3% for the full year of 2012.

Investment Operations

Donegal Group's investment strategy is to generate an appropriate amount of after-tax income on its invested assets while minimizing credit risk through investment in high-quality securities. As a result, the Company had invested 81.3% of its consolidated investment portfolio in diversified, highly rated and marketable fixed-maturity securities at December 31, 2013.

December 31, 2013 December 31, 2012
Amount % Amount %
(dollars in thousands)
Fixed maturities, at carrying value:
U.S. Treasury securities and obligations of U.S. government corporations and agencies $ 62,279 7.9% $ 72,311 9.0%
Obligations of states and political subdivisions 385,982 48.7 457,896 56.8
Corporate securities 55,547 7.0 77,356 9.6
Residential mortgage-backed securities 140,214 17.7 129,047 16.0
Total fixed maturities 644,022 81.3 736,610 91.4
Equity securities, at fair value 12,423 1.6 8,757 1.1
Investments in affiliates 35,685 4.5 37,236 4.6
Short-term investments, at cost 99,678 12.6 23,826 2.9
Total investments $ 791,808 100.0% $ 806,429 100.0%
Average investment yield 2.4% 2.5%
Average tax-equivalent investment yield 3.3% 3.5%
Average fixed-maturity duration (years) 4.5 4.8

The decrease in net investment income for the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012 primarily reflected the effect of a non-recurring allocation adjustment to 2012's quarterly investment expenses as well as the lower average investment yield on the Company's fixed-maturity securities portfolio. Net investment income of $4.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2013 exceeded the $4.6 million net investment income for the third quarter of 2013. Net realized investment losses were $520,000 for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to net realized investment gains of $1.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2012. The Company had no impairments in its investment portfolio that it considered to be other than temporary during the fourth quarters of 2013 or 2012.

Jeffrey D. Miller, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, in commenting on the Company's investment operations, noted, "During the fourth quarter of 2013, we implemented a number of proactive measures to lower the overall duration of our fixed-maturity securities portfolio and to position the Company to take advantage of anticipated increases in market interest rates.

"Those measures included the sale of approximately $34.0 million of longer duration fixed-maturity securities, the transfer of $212.2 million of longer duration available-for-sale fixed-maturity securities to the held-to-maturity classification, a plan to allocate a portion of our fixed-maturity portfolio to BBB-rated corporate securities and the engagement of an external investment advisor to manage $50.0 million of our fixed-maturity portfolio," Mr. Miller continued.

Mr. Miller concluded, "The actions taken in late 2013 reflect our intent to bolster investment income while remaining focused on our long-term goal of enhancing book value growth. Cash and short-term investments rose at year end because of the sale of the longer duration fixed maturity securities. We plan to invest those funds over time in shorter duration fixed-maturity securities and, to a lesser extent, dividend-paying equity securities."

The Company owns 48.2% of the outstanding stock of Donegal Financial Services Corporation ("DFSC"), which owns all of the outstanding capital stock of Union Community Bank. The Company accounts for its investment in DFSC using the equity method of accounting. The Company's equity in the earnings of DFSC was $408,000 for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to $912,000 for the fourth quarter of 2012. Donegal Mutual Insurance Company owns the remaining 51.8% of the outstanding stock of DFSC.

Definitions of Non-GAAP and Operating Measures

The Company prepares its consolidated financial statements on the basis of GAAP. The Company's insurance subsidiaries also prepare financial statements based on statutory accounting principles state insurance regulators prescribe or permit ("SAP"). In addition to using GAAP-based performance measurements, the Company also utilizes certain non-GAAP financial measures that it believes provide value in managing its business and for comparison to the financial results of its peers. These non-GAAP measures are operating income (loss) and statutory combined ratio.

Operating income (loss) is a non-GAAP financial measure investors in insurance companies commonly use. The Company defines operating income (loss) as net income (loss) excluding after-tax net realized investment gains or losses. Because the Company's calculation of operating income (loss) may differ from similar measures other companies use, investors should exercise caution when comparing the Company's measure of operating income (loss) to the measure of other companies.

The following table provides a reconciliation of the Company's net income to the Company's operating income for the periods indicated:

Three Months Ended December 31, Year Ended December 31,
2013 2012 % Change 2013 2012 % Change
(dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
Reconciliation of Net Income to Operating Income
Net income $ 9,564 $ 6,220 53.8% $ 26,322 $ 23,093 14.0%
Realized losses (gains) (after tax) 343 (1,128) NM (1,599) (4,528) NM
Operating income $ 9,907 $ 5,092 94.6% $ 24,723 $ 18,565 33.2%
Per Share Reconciliation of Net Income to Operating Income
Net income – Class A (diluted) $ 0.36 $ 0.25 44.0% $ 1.02 $ 0.91 12.1%
Realized losses (gains) (after tax) 0.01 (0.05) NM (0.06) (0.18) NM
Operating income – Class A $ 0.37 $ 0.20 85.0% $ 0.96 $ 0.73 31.5%
Net income – Class B $ 0.34 $ 0.22 54.5% $ 0.94 $ 0.83 13.3%
Realized losses (gains) (after tax) 0.01 (0.04) NM (0.06) (0.16) NM
Operating income – Class B $ 0.35 $ 0.18 94.4% $ 0.88 $ 0.67 31.3%

Statutory combined ratio is a non-GAAP standard measurement of underwriting profitability that is based upon amounts determined under SAP. The statutory combined ratio is the sum of:

  • the statutory loss ratio, which is the ratio of calendar-year incurred losses and loss expenses to premiums earned;
  • the statutory expense ratio, which is the ratio of expenses incurred for net commissions, premium taxes and underwriting expenses to premiums written; and
  • the statutory dividend ratio, which is the ratio of dividends to holders of workers' compensation policies to premiums earned.

The statutory combined ratio does not reflect investment income, federal income taxes or other non-operating income or expense. A statutory combined ratio of less than 100% generally indicates underwriting profitability.

Conference Call and Webcast

The Company will hold a conference call and webcast on Friday, February 21, 2014, beginning at 11:00 A.M. Eastern Time. You may listen via the Internet by accessing the webcast link on the Company's web site at http://investors.donegalgroup.com. A replay of the conference call will also be available via the Company's web site.

About the Company

Donegal Group is an insurance holding company. The Company's Class A common stock and Class B common stock trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbols DGICA and DGICB, respectively. As an effective acquirer of small to medium-sized "main street" property and casualty insurers, Donegal Group has grown profitably since its formation in 1986. The Company continues to seek opportunities for growth while striving to achieve its longstanding goal of outperforming the property and casualty insurance industry in terms of service, profitability and growth in book value.

As Forbes reported, Donegal Group Inc. was named to a list of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies for 2013 and 2012, ranking the company among firms that have consistently demonstrated transparent and conservative accounting practices and solid corporate governance and management. A reprint of the Forbes article is available as a "Featured Report" on the Company's web site.

Safe Harbor

We base all statements contained in this release that are not historic facts on our current expectations. These statements are forward-looking in nature (as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results could vary materially. Factors that could cause actual results to vary materially include: our ability to maintain profitable operations, the adequacy of the loss and loss expense reserves of our insurance subsidiaries, business and economic conditions in the areas in which we operate, interest rates, competition from various insurance and other financial businesses, terrorism, the availability and cost of reinsurance, adverse and catastrophic weather events, legal and judicial developments, changes in regulatory requirements, our ability to integrate and manage successfully the companies we may acquire from time to time and other risks we describe from time to time in the periodic reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. We disclaim any obligation to update such statements or to announce publicly the results of any revisions that we may make to any forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements.

Donegal Group Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Income
(unaudited; in thousands, except share data)
Quarter Ended December 31,
2013 2012
Net premiums earned $ 132,982 $ 121,824
Investment income, net of expenses 4,685 5,445
Net realized investment (losses) gains (520) 1,709
Lease income 211 225
Installment payment fees 1,629 1,789
Equity in earnings of DFSC 408 912
Total revenues 139,395 131,904
Net losses and loss expenses 83,193 87,772
Amortization of deferred acquisition costs 21,517 19,334
Other underwriting expenses 20,861 16,297
Policyholder dividends 637 542
Interest 382 574
Other expenses 554 362
Total expenses 127,144 124,881
Income before income tax expense 12,251 7,023
Income tax expense 2,687 803
Net income $ 9,564 $ 6,220
Net income per common share:
Class A - basic $ 0.37 $ 0.25
Class A - diluted $ 0.36 $ 0.25
Class B - basic and diluted $ 0.34 $ 0.22
Supplementary Financial Analysts' Data
Weighted-average number of shares
outstanding:
Class A - basic 20,711,539 20,045,761
Class A - diluted 21,391,352 20,217,567
Class B - basic and diluted 5,576,775 5,576,775
Net written premiums $ 123,770 $ 114,697
Book value per common share
at end of period $ 15.02 $ 15.63
Annualized return on average equity 9.7% 6.2%
Donegal Group Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Income
(unaudited; in thousands, except share data)
Year Ended December 31,
2013 2012
Net premiums earned $ 515,292 $ 475,002
Investment income, net of expenses 18,795 20,169
Net realized investment gains 2,423 6,859
Lease income 850 954
Installment payment fees 6,842 7,466
Equity in earnings of DFSC 2,908 4,533
Total revenues 547,110 514,983
Net losses and loss expenses 343,128 332,872
Amortization of deferred acquisition costs 81,753 74,314
Other underwriting expenses 82,197 73,915
Policyholder dividends 1,910 1,342
Interest 1,635 2,359
Other expenses 3,777 2,323
Total expenses 514,400 487,125
Income before income tax expense 32,710 27,858
Income tax expense 6,388 4,765
Net income $ 26,322 $ 23,093
Net income per common share:
Class A - basic $ 1.04 $ 0.92
Class A - diluted $ 1.02 $ 0.91
Class B - basic and diluted $ 0.94 $ 0.83
Supplementary Financial Analysts' Data
Weighted-average number of shares
outstanding:
Class A - basic 20,363,677 20,031,455
Class A - diluted 20,762,385 20,305,558
Class B - basic and diluted 5,576,775 5,576,775
Net written premiums $ 533,431 $ 496,447
Book value per common share
at end of period $ 15.02 $ 15.63
Return on average equity 6.6% 5.9%
Donegal Group Inc.
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(in thousands)
December 31, December 31,
2013 2012
(unaudited)
ASSETS
Investments:
Fixed maturities:
Held to maturity, at amortized cost $ 240,370 $ 42,100
Available for sale, at fair value 403,652 694,510
Equity securities, at fair value 12,423 8,757
Investments in affiliates 35,685 37,236
Short-term investments, at cost 99,678 23,826
Total investments 791,808 806,429
Cash 27,636 19,801
Premiums receivable 123,905 117,196
Reinsurance receivable 244,239 215,893
Deferred policy acquisition costs 43,628 40,122
Prepaid reinsurance premiums 112,664 111,156
Other assets 41,531 26,292
Total assets $ 1,385,411 $ 1,336,889
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY
Liabilities:
Losses and loss expenses $ 495,619 $ 458,827
Unearned premiums 382,735 363,088
Accrued expenses 19,265 17,141
Borrowings under line of credit 58,000 52,000
Subordinated debentures 5,000 20,465
Other liabilities 27,915 25,334
Total liabilities 988,534 936,855
Stockholders' equity:
Class A common stock 218 209
Class B common stock 56 56
Additional paid-in capital 189,116 176,417
Accumulated other comprehensive
(loss) income (2,313) 26,395
Retained earnings 222,889 209,670
Treasury stock, at cost (13,089) (12,713)
Total stockholders' equity 396,877 400,034
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 1,385,411 $ 1,336,889

CONTACT: Jeffrey D. Miller, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Phone: (717) 426-1931 E-mail: investors@donegalgroup.comSource:Donegal Group Inc.