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AMERISAFE Announces 2016 First Quarter Results

DERIDDER, La., April 27, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AMERISAFE, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMSF), a specialty provider of hazardous workers’ compensation insurance, today announced results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016.

Three Months Ended
March 31,
2016 2015 % Change
(in thousands, except per share data)
Net premiums earned $ 95,961 $ 94,787 1.2%
Net investment income 6,044 6,833 -11.5%
Net realized gains on
investments (pre-tax) 248 59 NM
Net income 24,257 15,130 60.3%
Diluted earnings per share $ 1.27 $ 0.79 60.8%
Operating net income 24,096 15,092 59.7%
Operating earnings per share $ 1.26 $ 0.79 59.5%
Book value per share $ 24.96 $ 24.32 2.6%
Net combined ratio 70.8% 85.0%
Return on average equity 20.8% 13.3%

G. Janelle Frost, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Leading off with a 70.8% combined ratio was a great way to start the year, particularly given the challenges our industry is facing. Our results were led by favorable case development, an outcome of our claims management practices and underwriting selection in prior periods. While continued underwriting discipline has slowed our top line growth, we believe this discipline is prudent for the long-term benefit of our stakeholders.”

Insurance Results

Three Months Ended
March 31,
2016 2015 % Change
(in thousands)
Gross premiums written$ 100,382 $ 100,789 -0.4%
Net premiums earned 95,961 94,787 1.2%
Loss and loss adjustment expenses incurred 46,716 60,006 -22.1%
Underwriting and certain other operating costs,
commissions, salaries and benefits 20,134 20,370 -1.2%
Policyholder dividends 1,090 215 NM
Underwriting profit (pre-tax)$ 28,021 $ 14,196 97.4%
Insurance Ratios:
Current accident year loss ratio 67.9% 69.8%
Prior accident year loss ratio -19.2% -6.5%
Net loss ratio 48.7% 63.3%
Net underwriting expense ratio 21.0% 21.5%
Net dividend ratio 1.1% 0.2%
Net combined ratio 70.8% 85.0%

  • Gross premiums written in the quarter decreased by $0.4 million, or 0.4% due to lower voluntary premiums written, offset in part by positive payroll audits. Payroll audits and related premium adjustments increased premiums written by $6.6 million in the first quarter of 2016, compared with $4.4 million in the first quarter of 2015.

  • Voluntary premium for policies written during the quarter ended March 31, 2016 declined by 3.3% compared with the first quarter of 2015.

  • The current accident year loss ratio for the first quarter was 67.9%, a decrease of 1.9 percentage points from 69.8% in 2015. During the quarter, the Company experienced favorable loss development for prior accident years which reduced loss and loss adjustment expenses by $18.4 million, mostly attributable to accident years 2012, 2013 and 2014. These results reflect improved trends for both claims closing and severity of claims and were driven largely by favorable case reserve development on claims that were closed during the quarter.

  • For the quarter ended March 31, 2016, the underwriting expense ratio was 21.0% compared to 21.5% in the same quarter in 2015. The decrease in the quarter was due to slightly lower premium tax expense and compensation expense compared with last year’s first quarter as well as growth in net premiums earned.

  • The effective tax rate for the quarter ended March 31, 2016 was 29.5% compared with 28.6% for the first quarter of 2015. The increase in the tax rate resulted from a higher proportion of underwriting income to tax-exempt income relative to the first quarter of 2015.

Investment Results

Three Months Ended
March 31,
2016 2015 % Change
(in thousands)
Net investment income $ 6,044 $ 6,833 -11.5%
Net realized gains on investments (pre-tax) 248 59 NM
Pre-tax investment yield 2.1% 2.4%
Tax-equivalent yield (1) 3.4% 3.5%
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(1) The tax equivalent yield is calculated using the effective interest rate and a 35% marginal tax rate.

  • Net investment income for the quarter ending March 31, 2016, declined 11.5% to $6.0 million from $6.8 million in the first quarter of 2015, largely due to the decline in value of an investment in a limited partnership hedge fund where the change in value is recorded in investment income each quarter.

  • As of March 31, 2016, the carrying and fair value of AMERISAFE’s investment portfolio, including cash and cash equivalents, was $1.2 billion.

Capital Management

The company paid a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.18 per share on March 28, 2016. The $0.18 per share cash dividend reflects a 20% increase from the regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 paid in 2015. On April 26, 2016 the Company’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.18 per share, payable on June 24, 2016 to shareholders of record as of June 10, 2016.

During the quarter, no shares were repurchased under our share repurchase plan.

Supplemental Information

Three Months Ended
March 31,
2016 2015
(in thousands, except share and per share data)
Net income $ 24,257 $ 15,130
Less: Net realized capital gains 248 59
Tax effect (1) (87) (21)
Operating net income (2) $ 24,096 $ 15,092
Average shareholders’ equity (3) $ 466,367 $ 454,311
Less: Average other comprehensive income 3,984 3,219
Average adjusted shareholders’ equity $ 462,383 $ 451,092
Diluted weighted average common shares 19,163,789 19,047,479
Return on average equity (4) 20.8% 13.3%
Operating return on average adjusted equity (2) 20.8% 13.4%
Diluted earnings per common share$ 1.27 $ 0.79
Operating earnings per common share (2) $ 1.26 $ 0.79
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(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 28, 2016, 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 5, 2016. To access the replay, dial 855-859-2056 or 404-537-3406 and use the pass code 80913252#.

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, manufacturing, agriculture and oil and gas. 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 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, 2015. 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,
2016 2015
(unaudited)
Revenues:
Gross premiums written $ 100,382 $ 100,789
Ceded premiums written (2,551) (2,536)
Net premiums written $ 97,831 $ 98,253
Net premiums earned $ 95,961 $ 94,787
Net investment income 6,044 6,833
Net realized gains on investments 248 59
Fee and other income 82 109
Total revenues 102,335 101,788
Expenses:
Loss and loss adjustment expenses incurred 46,716 60,006
Underwriting and other operating costs 20,134 20,370
Policyholder dividends 1,090 215
Total expenses 67,940 80,591
Income before taxes 34,395 21,197
Income tax expense 10,138 6,067
Net income $ 24,257 $ 15,130


AMERISAFE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Income (cont.)
(in thousands, except per share amounts)
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2016 2015
(unaudited)
Basic EPS:
Net income $ 24,257 $ 15,130
Basic weighted average common shares 19,057,941 18,847,792
Basic earnings per share $ 1.27 $ 0.80
Diluted EPS:
Net income$ 24,257 $ 15,130
Diluted weighted average common shares:
Weighted average common shares 19,057,941 18,847,792
Stock options and performance shares 105,848 199,687
Diluted weighted average common shares 19,163,789 19,047,479
Diluted earnings per common share $ 1.27 $ 0.79

AMERISAFE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Balance Sheets
March 31,December 31,
2016 2015
(unaudited)
Assets
Investments $ 1,079,334 $ 1,045,152
Cash and cash equivalents 79,290 69,481
Amounts recoverable from reinsurers 92,429 91,077
Premiums receivable, net 197,185 185,364
Deferred income taxes 28,051 29,905
Deferred policy acquisition costs 20,222 20,412
Other assets 61,049 60,654
$ 1,557,560 $ 1,502,045
Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity
Liabilities:
Reserves for loss and loss adjustment expenses $ 722,178 $ 718,033
Unearned premiums 169,853 167,983
Insurance-related assessments 33,313 32,329
Other liabilities 153,463 129,719
Shareholders’ equity 478,753 453,981
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity $ 1,557,560 $ 1,502,045

Contact: Neal A Fuller, EVP & CFO AMERISAFE, Inc. 337-463-9052

Source:AMERISAFE, Inc.