HCC Insurance Holdings Reports Record Earnings for 2014

Highlights:

  • Net earnings of $458.3 million, or $4.61 per diluted share, for the full year
  • Return on equity of 12.1% and operating return on equity(a) of 11.0% for the full year
  • GAAP combined ratio of 81.9% for the fourth quarter and 82.1% for the full year
  • Gross written premium increased 3% to $691.4 million in the fourth quarter and 4% to $3.0 billion for the full year
  • Book value per share increased 10% for the full year to $40.44

HOUSTON, Feb. 10, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HCC) today released results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2014.

Net earnings were $113.0 million, or $1.16 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $115.0 million, or $1.14 per diluted share, in the same quarter of 2013. Net earnings were $458.3 million, or $4.61 per diluted share, in 2014, versus $407.2 million, or $4.04 per diluted share, in 2013.

The Company's combined ratio was 81.9% for the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to 81.2% for the same quarter of 2013. The combined ratio was 82.1% for 2014, versus 83.4% for 2013. The net paid loss ratio was 58.7% for 2014, compared to 56.5% for 2013.

HCC had net favorable loss development of $25.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $34.1 million in the same quarter of 2013, and $56.4 million for the full year of 2014, versus $73.7 million in the same period of 2013.

The Company's 2014 accident year net loss ratio was 57.8% and its 2014 accident year combined ratio was 84.4%. These ratios include 1.1 percentage points for catastrophes.

"The diversity of our businesses and the strength of our underwriting operations combined to generate the third consecutive year of record earnings for our shareholders. We continue to grow profitably and expect to find new opportunities for growth in the coming year as merger and acquisition activity heats up. We remain nimble, opportunistic and well-positioned for another strong year in 2015," said Christopher J.B. Williams, HCC's Chief Executive Officer.

The 2014 results included accident year pretax net catastrophe losses of $12.1 million and $26.4 million in the fourth quarter and full year, respectively, which reduced net earnings by $0.08 and $0.18 per share in the respective periods. The 2013 results included pretax net catastrophe losses of $7.5 million and $52.0 million in the fourth quarter and full year, respectively, which reduced net earnings by $0.05 and $0.34 per share in the respective periods.

Gross written premium increased 3% to $691.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $671.7 million in the same quarter of 2013. Net written premium increased 5% to $550.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, versus $525.4 million in the same quarter of 2013. Net earned premium increased 7% to $601.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $560.0 million in the same quarter of 2013.

For the full year of 2014, compared to 2013, gross written premium increased 4% to $3.0 billion; net written premium increased 5% to $2.4 billion; and net earned premium increased 4% to $2.3 billion.

Investment income was $54.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $54.5 million in the same quarter of 2013, and increased to $221.6 million in the full year of 2014, versus $220.2 million in the same period of 2013. As of December 31, 2014, HCC's fixed maturity securities portfolio had an average rating of AA, a duration of 4.7 years and an average long-term tax equivalent yield of 4.3%.

HCC generated cash flow from operations of $478.6 million in 2014, compared to $262.7 million in 2013. The Company's cash flow was decreased by U.S. Surety collateral repayments of $20.3 million in 2014 and $121.7 million in 2013. At December 31, 2014, the Company had $360.3 million of cash and short-term investments and $294.1 million of available capacity under its $825.0 million revolving loan facility.

The Company purchased 4.7 million shares of its common stock during 2014 for $224.7 million at an average cost of $47.70 per share.

As of December 31, 2014, total assets were $10.7 billion, shareholders' equity was $3.9 billion and the Company's debt to total capital ratio was 17.4%.

For further information about HCC's 2014 fourth quarter earnings results, see the supplemental financial schedules that are available in the Investor Relations section of the Company's website at http://ir.hcc.com.

HCC will hold an open conference call beginning at 8:00 a.m. Central Standard Time on Wednesday, February 11. To participate, the number for domestic calls is (800) 374-0290 and the number for international calls is (706) 634-0161. There will also be a live webcast available on a listen-only basis that can be accessed through the Investor Relations section of the Company's website at http://ir.hcc.com. The webcast replay will be archived in the Investor Relations section of the HCC website through Friday, May 15, 2015.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. is a leading specialty insurer with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland. HCC's major domestic and international insurance companies have financial strength ratings of "AA (Very Strong)" from Standard & Poor's Corporation, "A+ (Superior)" from A.M. Best Company, Inc., "AA (Very Strong)" from Fitch Ratings, and "A1 (Good Security)" from Moody's Investors Service, Inc.

For more information about HCC, please visit http://www.hcc.com.

a) Non-GAAP Financial Measure

Annualized operating return on equity is a non-GAAP financial measure under Regulation G and is calculated as net earnings excluding after-tax net realized investment gain/loss, other-than-temporary impairment credit losses, and foreign currency benefit/expense (collectively, operating earnings) divided by average shareholders' equity excluding accumulated other comprehensive income. See the supplemental financial schedules for a reconciliation of this non-GAAP financial measure to corresponding GAAP amounts. Management believes annualized operating return on equity is a useful measure for understanding the Company's profitability relative to shareholders' equity before consideration of investment-related gains/losses and foreign currency benefit/expense, both of which management excludes when evaluating operating results internally.

Forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made under "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The types of risks and uncertainties which may affect the Company are set forth in its periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONTACT: Doug Busker, Director of Investor Relations HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. Telephone: (713) 996-1192

Source:HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc.