Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results
Fort Lauderdale, FL, July 25, 2018 – Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UVE) today reported net income and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $46.1 million and $1.29, respectively for the second quarter of 2018.
Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sean P. Downes commented: “Universal once again reported excellent top line growth and strong underwriting profitability, leading to a solid bottom line result and an annualized ROE of 37.8% for the second quarter. We continue to post strong organic growth in our home state of Florida, while our expansion efforts into Other States remain on track and are delivering excellent results. Universal Direct? continues to generate steady growth, and contributed in each of our active states during the quarter. Our vertically integrated structure again contributed favorably to results, with improved profitability at Universal Adjusting Corporation (UAC) resulting from increased service activity following Hurricane Irma. Our balance sheet remains strong and conservatively positioned, and we completed our 2018-2019 reinsurance program during the quarter, building further on the recent trend of adding conservatism to our reinsurance program while lowering the percentage of premium spent on reinsurance. We were also active on the capital management front during the quarter, repurchasing $8.4 million of UVE stock and announcing an increased quarterly dividend beginning in the third quarter. We are very pleased with our second quarter results and believe Universal remains well positioned to deliver outstanding value to shareholders going forward.”
Second Quarter 2018 Highlights
- Organic Growth Continues – Direct premiums written grew 15.7% in the second quarter, with 13.0% growth in Florida and 36.5% growth in Other States, as Universal Direct? contributed to growth in all geographies. We began writing in New Hampshire in April and currently write in 17 states with licenses in 3 other states.
- Strong Underwriting Profitability – The second quarter net combined ratio was 77.2% compared to 81.3% in the prior year’s quarter, with improvement in both the loss and LAE ratio and the G&A expense ratio. Second quarter results include $5.0 million (2.6 points) of weather events beyond plan and $2.3 million (1.2 points) of unfavorable prior year reserve development, primarily related to Hurricane Matthew. The quarter also includes $8.4 million (4.4 points) of estimated pretax profit from additional income generated by UAC following Hurricane Irma. Additionally, second quarter results included a benefit of $6.5 million (3.4 points) related to a settlement of prior year premium tax audits. Our underlying underwriting results reflect increased loss trends resulting from the impact of continued geographic expansion, an increased level of catastrophic activity in recent years, and marketplace dynamics within Florida, including Assignment of Benefits (AOB) related claims.
- Solid Balance Sheet – Book value per share grew 6.2% from March 31, 2018 (16.7% from June 30, 2017) to $14.11. Our investment portfolio is conservatively positioned, we have minimal debt or goodwill, we believe our loss reserves are appropriately set at current levels, and we are protected by a comprehensive reinsurance program, which was further enhanced during the second quarter to provide greater balance sheet protection.
- Focused on Shareholder Returns – Annualized Return on Average Common Equity (ROE) was 37.8% for the second quarter of 2018. We paid dividends of $0.14 per share in the second quarter, and announced that we have increased the quarterly dividend to $0.16 per share beginning in the third quarter. During the second quarter, we repurchased 250,000 shares for $8.4 million ($33.48 per share) and $8.7 million remains on our current share repurchase authorization.
Second Quarter 2018 Results
Direct premiums written grew 15.7% from the prior year’s quarter to $342.8 million, with 13.0% growth in our Florida book and 36.5% growth in our Other States book. Our Florida organic growth strategy continues to produce solid results, with underlying growth in policies in force bolstered by the average statewide rate increase of 3.4% approved in late 2017. Our Other States organic geographic expansion efforts also continue to deliver excellent results, and in early April, we wrote our first policy in New Hampshire, our 17th state of operation. For the quarter, net premiums earned grew 13.8% to $192.3 million.
Commission revenue grew by 22.9% versus the prior year’s quarter to $5.7 million, including a benefit of approximately $0.9 million of reinstatement commissions received by Blue Atlantic Reinsurance Corporation during the second quarter of 2018. Policy fees grew by 9.8% versus the prior year’s quarter to $5.8 million, driven by an increase in the number of new and renewal policies written compared to the prior year. Other revenue of $1.6 million declined modestly by 1.1% compared to the prior year’s quarter.
The net combined ratio was 77.2% in the second quarter of 2018 compared to 81.3% in the prior year’s quarter, driven by a reduction in both the loss and loss adjustment expense ratio and the general and administrative expense ratio.
The net loss and LAE ratio was 46.7% in the second quarter of 2018, compared to 47.4% for the prior year’s quarter. The main drivers of the change in the loss and LAE ratio are as follows:
- The current year’s quarter includes $5.0 million (2.6 points) of weather events beyond plan, related to the Hawaiian Volcano and several other meaningful weather events during 2018. The prior year’s quarter included $6.0 million (3.6 points) of weather events beyond plan, which was the result of an increase to our underlying core loss ratio to reflect an increase of expected weather-related losses.
- Second quarter 2018 results include $2.3 million (1.2 points) of unfavorable prior year reserve development, primarily related to Hurricane Matthew (which occurred in the fourth quarter of 2016). The prior year’s quarter included $1.1 million (0.7 points) of unfavorable prior year reserve development, also related to Hurricane Matthew.
- Universal Adjusting Corporation (UAC) generated additional revenues following Hurricane Irma (which occurred during the third quarter of 2017). During the second quarter of 2018, UAC produced $8.4 million (4.4 points) of pretax profit, the vast majority related to additional revenues resulting from Hurricane Irma.
- Our underlying loss and LAE ratio reflects continued geographic expansion into states outside of Florida (where non-catastrophe loss ratios are generally higher than in Florida), an increased level of catastrophic activity in recent years, and the marketplace dynamics within our home state of Florida, including the impact of Assignment of Benefits (AOB) related claims.
The net general and administrative expense ratio was 30.5% in the second quarter of 2018, compared to 33.9% for the prior year’s quarter, as both the policy acquisition cost ratio and the other operating expense ratio declined compared to the prior period. The net policy acquisition cost ratio was 17.4% compared to 19.5% in the prior year, while the net other operating expense ratio was 13.0% compared to 14.4% in the prior year. General and administrative expenses for the second quarter of 2018 included a benefit of $6.5 million (3.4 points), included within policy acquisition costs, related to a settlement of prior year premium tax audits.
Net investment income grew by 79.5% from the prior year’s quarter to $5.8 million, driven by an increase in total cash and invested assets compared to the prior year, a shift in asset mix, and an increased yield as compared to the prior year’s quarter. Net realized investment gains were $0.1 million in the second quarter of 2018, compared to net realized gains of $1.7 million in the prior year’s quarter. Net unrealized investment losses were $1.5 million during the second quarter of 2018; we highlight that this line item was added during the quarter ended March 31, 2018, because of the adoption of accounting guidance for equity securities, and as such, this item was not presented in the comparable prior year’s quarter. Total unrestricted cash and invested assets was $1.06 billion at June 30, 2018, growth of 20.2% from $880.4 million at June 30, 2017.
Interest expense was $90 thousand for the second quarter of 2018, compared to $86 thousand in the prior year’s quarter, with long term debt of $12.1 million at June 30, 2018 (debt-to-equity of 2.5%), compared to $13.6 million as of June 30, 2017 (debt-to-equity of 3.2%).
The effective tax rate for the second quarter of 2018 was 24.8%, compared to 38.7% in the prior year’s quarter. The decrease in our effective tax rate is primarily the result of the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which resulted in a reduction in the federal corporate tax rate from 35.0% to 21.0% effective January 1, 2018. The current year’s quarter included net discrete items of $0.6 million, primarily from excess tax benefits resulting from stock-based awards that vested and/or were exercised during the second quarter, benefitting the current quarter’s effective tax rate by 1.0 percentage points.
Stockholders’ equity was $492.1 million at June 30, 2018, growth of 5.8% from March 31, 2018 or 16.9% from June 30, 2017. Book value per common share was $14.11 at June 30, 2018, growth of 6.2% from March 31, 2018 or 16.7% from June 30, 2017. Annualized Return on Average Common Equity (ROE) was 37.8% for the second quarter of 2018 compared to 27.9% for the second quarter of 2017.
During the second quarter, the Company repurchased 250,000 shares for $8.4 million, or an average cost of $33.48 per share. Our current share repurchase authorization program has $8.7 million remaining and runs through December 31, 2018.
On April 12, 2018, the Company announced that its Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.14 per share of common stock, which was paid on May 4, 2018 to shareholders of record as of April 27, 2018. On May 29, 2018, the company announced that its Board of Directors declared an increased quarterly cash dividend of $0.16 per share of common stock for the third quarter of 2018, an increase of $0.02 per share or 14.3% from the dividend paid in the first and second quarters of 2018. The third quarter dividend was paid on July 16, 2018 to shareholders of record on July 2, 2018.
Members of the Universal management team will host a conference call on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 10:00 AM ET to discuss second quarter 2018 financial results. Following prepared remarks, management will conduct a question and answer session. The call will be accessible by dialing toll free at (855) 752-6647 or internationally (toll) at (503) 343-6667 using the Conference ID: 4628248. A live audio webcast of the call will also be accessible on the Universal Insurance website at https://www.universalinsuranceholdings.com. A replay of the call can be accessed toll free at (855) 859-2056 or internationally (toll) at (404) 537-3406 using the Conference ID: 4628248, and will be available through August 9, 2018.
About Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc.
Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc., with its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is a vertically integrated insurance holding company performing all aspects of insurance underwriting, distribution and claims. Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company (UPCIC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, is one of the leading writers of homeowners insurance in Florida and is now fully licensed and has commenced its operations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Hawaii, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and New Hampshire. American Platinum Property and Casualty Insurance Company (APPCIC), also a wholly-owned subsidiary, currently writes homeowners multi-peril insurance on Florida homes valued in excess of $1 million, which are limits and coverages currently not targeted through its affiliate UPCIC. APPCIC is additionally licensed and has commenced writing Fire, Commercial Multi-Peril, and Other Liability lines of business in Florida. For additional information on the Company, please visit our investor relations website at https://www.universalinsuranceholdings.com.