Company Quick10K Filing
Quick10K
EMC Insurance Group
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$32.15 22 $696
10-K 2018-12-31 Annual: 2018-12-31
10-Q 2018-09-30 Quarter: 2018-09-30
10-Q 2018-06-30 Quarter: 2018-06-30
10-Q 2018-03-31 Quarter: 2018-03-31
10-K 2017-12-31 Annual: 2017-12-31
10-Q 2017-09-30 Quarter: 2017-09-30
10-Q 2017-06-30 Quarter: 2017-06-30
10-Q 2017-03-31 Quarter: 2017-03-31
10-K 2016-12-31 Annual: 2016-12-31
10-Q 2016-09-30 Quarter: 2016-09-30
10-Q 2016-06-30 Quarter: 2016-06-30
10-Q 2016-03-31 Quarter: 2016-03-31
10-K 2015-12-31 Annual: 2015-12-31
10-Q 2015-09-30 Quarter: 2015-09-30
10-Q 2015-06-30 Quarter: 2015-06-30
10-Q 2015-03-31 Quarter: 2015-03-31
10-K 2014-12-31 Annual: 2014-12-31
10-Q 2014-09-30 Quarter: 2014-09-30
10-Q 2014-06-30 Quarter: 2014-06-30
10-Q 2014-03-31 Quarter: 2014-03-31
10-K 2013-12-31 Annual: 2013-12-31
8-K 2019-04-05 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-02-07 Earnings, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-01-18 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-01-08 Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-12-12 Enter Agreement
8-K 2018-11-15 Other Events, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-07 Earnings, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-05 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-10-30 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-10-29 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-10-05 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-28 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-23 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-07 Earnings, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-07-26 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-06-28 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-22 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-16 Amend Bylaw, Shareholder Vote, Exhibits
8-K 2018-04-16 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-15 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-02 Enter Agreement, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-02-08 Earnings, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-02-05 Enter Agreement
8-K 2018-01-30 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-01-08 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-01-02 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
PEP PepsiCo 171,900
SEAS Seaworld Entertainment 2,020
PZZA Papa John's 1,550
FFC 1st Franklin Financial 854
LBC Luther Burbank 610
TGH Textainer Group Holdings 598
SPKE Spark Energy 332
AFC Allied Capital 207
SOAN Angiosoma 0
CPTP Capital Properties 0
EMCI 2018-12-31
Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary
EX-10.2.9 a20181231ex1029.htm
EX-10.3.4 a20181231ex1034.htm
EX-10.3.5 a20181231ex1035.htm
EX-21 a20181231ex21.htm
EX-23 a20181231ex23.htm
EX-24 a20181231ex24.htm
EX-31.1 a20181231ex311.htm
EX-31.2 a20181231ex312.htm
EX-32.1 a20181231ex321.htm
EX-32.2 a20181231ex322.htm

EMC Insurance Group Earnings 2018-12-31

EMCI 10K Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

10-K 1 a2018123110k.htm 10-K Document

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES  EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ________________to __________________ 
Commission File Number: 0-10956
EMC INSURANCE GROUP INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Iowa
 
42-6234555
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
717 Mulberry Street, Des Moines, Iowa
 
50309
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:       
 
(515) - 345 - 2902
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
 
Common Stock, Par Value $1.00
 
The Nasdaq Global Select Market
(Title of Class)
 
(Name of each exchange on which registered)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12 (g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act
 
o
Yes
 
ý
No
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act
 
o
Yes
 
ý
No
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
 
ý
Yes
 
o
No
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
 
ý
Yes
 
o
No
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.
 
ý
 
 
 
 



Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
o
Large accelerated filer
ý
Accelerated filer
o
Non-accelerated filer
o
Smaller reporting company
o
Emerging growth company
 
 
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
 
 
 
 
 
o
Yes
 
ý
No
The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2018 was $270,981,899.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant's common stock, $1.00 par value, on February 28, 2019, was 21,640,617.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on May 16, 2019, and to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A within 120 days after the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, are incorporated by reference under Part III.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

 
 
Page
Part I
 
 
Item 1.
 
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
 
 
Part II
 
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
 
 
Part III
 
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
 
 
Part IV
 
 
Item 15.
 
Item 16.

1


PART I
ITEM 1.
BUSINESS
GENERAL
EMC Insurance Group Inc. is an insurance holding company that was incorporated in Iowa in 1974 by Employers Mutual Casualty Company (Employers Mutual) and became a public company in 1982 following the initial public offering of its common stock.  EMC Insurance Group Inc. is approximately 55 percent owned by Employers Mutual, a multiple-line property and casualty insurance company organized as an Iowa mutual insurance company in 1911 that is licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The term “Company” is used interchangeably to describe EMC Insurance Group Inc. (Parent Company only) and EMC Insurance Group Inc. and its subsidiaries.  Employers Mutual and all of its subsidiaries (including the Company) are referred to as the “EMC Insurance Companies.”
On November 20, 2018, the Company announced receipt of a non-binding indicative proposal dated November 15, 2018 from Employers Mutual to purchase all the outstanding common stock of the Company not already owned by Employers Mutual, and the formation of a special committee of the Company's board of directors to consider the proposal. The proposal, which is subject to certain conditions, provides that the shares will be purchased at a price of $30 per share in cash. The special committee, which consists of the Company's four independent directors, has retained its own independent financial and legal advisors to assist it in considering the proposal. There can be no assurance that any definitive agreement will be finalized and executed or that the proposal transaction or any other transaction will be approved or consummated.
The Company conducts operations in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance through its subsidiaries.  The Company primarily focuses on the sale of commercial lines of property and casualty insurance to small and medium-sized businesses.  These products are sold through independent insurance agents who are supported by a decentralized network of branch offices.  Although the Company actively markets its insurance products in 41 states, a large portion of its business is marketed and generated in the Midwest.
The Company conducts its insurance business through two business segments as follows:
businesssegments.jpg

2


Illinois EMCASCO was formed in Illinois in 1976 (and was re-domesticated to Iowa in 2001), Dakota Fire was formed in North Dakota in 1957 and EMCASCO was formed in Iowa in 1958, all for the purpose of writing property and casualty insurance.  EMC Reinsurance Company was formed in 1981 to assume reinsurance business from Employers Mutual.  The Company’s excess and surplus lines insurance agency, EMC Underwriters, LLC, was formed in Iowa in 1975 and was acquired by the Company in 1985.  Effective December 31, 1998, the excess and surplus lines insurance agency was converted to a limited liability company and the ownership was contributed to EMCASCO.
Property and casualty insurance is the most significant segment of the Company’s business, totaling 77 percent of consolidated premiums earned in 2018.  The property and casualty insurance operations are conducted through Illinois EMCASCO, Dakota Fire and EMCASCO and are integrated with the property and casualty insurance operations of Employers Mutual through participation in a reinsurance pooling agreement.  Because the Company conducts its property and casualty insurance operations together with Employers Mutual through the reinsurance pooling agreement, the Company shares the same business philosophy, management, employees and facilities as Employers Mutual and offers the same types of insurance products.  For a discussion of the reinsurance pooling agreement and its benefits, please see “Organizational Structure – Property and Casualty Insurance” below.
Reinsurance operations are conducted through EMC Reinsurance Company and accounted for 23 percent of consolidated premiums earned in 2018.  The principal business activity of EMC Reinsurance Company is to assume, through a quota share reinsurance agreement, 100 percent of Employers Mutual's assumed reinsurance business, subject to certain exceptions.  EMC Reinsurance Company also writes a relatively small amount of international assumed reinsurance business on a direct basis (outside the quota share reinsurance agreement).  For a discussion of the quota share reinsurance agreement and its benefits, please see “Organizational Structure – Reinsurance” below.
The Company’s insurance agency, EMC Underwriters, LLC, specializes in marketing excess and surplus lines of insurance.  The excess and surplus lines markets provide insurance coverage at negotiated rates for risks that are not acceptable to licensed insurance companies.  EMC Underwriters accesses this market by working through independent agents and functions as managing underwriter for excess and surplus lines insurance for the pool participants.  The Company derives income from this business based on the fees and commissions earned through placement of the business, as opposed to the underwriting of the risks associated with that business.

Organizational Structure
Property and Casualty Insurance
The Company’s three property and casualty insurance subsidiaries and two subsidiaries of Employers Mutual (Union Insurance Company of Providence and EMC Property & Casualty Company) are parties to reinsurance pooling agreements with Employers Mutual (collectively the “pooling agreement"). Under the terms of the pooling agreement, each company cedes to Employers Mutual all of its insurance business, and assumes from Employers Mutual an amount equal to its participation in the pool.  All premiums, losses, settlement expenses, and other underwriting and administrative expenses, excluding the voluntary reinsurance business assumed by Employers Mutual from nonaffiliated insurance companies, are prorated among the parties on the basis of participation in the pool.  Employers Mutual negotiates reinsurance agreements that provide protection to the pool and each of its participants, including protection against losses arising from catastrophic events. The aggregate participation of the Company’s property and casualty insurance subsidiaries in the pool is 30 percent.
An inter-company reinsurance program is in place between the Company's insurance subsidiaries in the property and casualty insurance segment and Employers Mutual. This reinsurance program is intended to reduce the volatility of the Company's quarterly results caused by excessive catastrophe and storm losses, and provide protection from both the frequency and severity of such losses. The reinsurance program consists of two semi-annual aggregate catastrophe excess of loss treaties. The first treaty is effective each year from January 1 through June 30, and the second treaty is effective each year from July 1 through December 31. All catastrophe and storm losses assumed by the property and casualty insurance subsidiaries (net of applicable reinsurance recoveries from external reinsurance protections purchased by the pool participants) are subject to the terms of these treaties, and there is no co-participation provision.
All transactions occurring under the pooling agreement and the inter-company reinsurance program are based on statutory accounting principles. Certain adjustments are made to the statutory-basis amounts assumed by the property and casualty insurance subsidiaries to bring the amounts into compliance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

3


Operations of the pool and the inter-company reinsurance program give rise to inter-company balances with Employers Mutual, which are generally settled during the subsequent month.  The investment and income tax activities of the pool participants are not subject to the pooling agreement.  The pooling agreement provides that Employers Mutual will make up any shortfall or difference resulting from an error in its systems and/or computation processes that would otherwise result in the required restatement of the pool participants’ financial statements.
The purpose of the pooling agreement is to spread the risk of an exposure insured by any of the pool participants among all the companies participating in the pool.  The particular benefits that the Company’s property and casualty insurance subsidiaries realize from participating in the pooling agreement include the following:
the ability to produce a more uniform and stable underwriting result from year to year than might be experienced individually, by spreading the risks over a wide range of geographic locations, lines of insurance written, rate filings, commission plans and policy forms;
the ability to benefit from the capacity of the entire pool (representing $1.8 billion in direct premiums written1 in 2018 and $1.5 billion in statutory surplus as of December 31, 2018) rather than being limited to policy exposures of a size commensurate with each participant’s own surplus level;
the achievement of an “A” (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best Company on a “group” basis;
the ability to take advantage of a significant distribution network of independent agencies that the participants most likely could not access on an individual basis;
the ability to negotiate and purchase reinsurance from third-party reinsurers on a combined basis, thereby achieving larger retentions and better pricing; and
the ability to achieve and benefit from economies of scale in operations.
1 Premiums written is an industry metric used to quantify the amount of insurance sold during a specified reporting period. Premiums earned is the recognition of the portion of premiums written directly related to the expired portion of an insurance policy for a given reporting period.
The amount of insurance a property and casualty insurance company writes under industry standards is commonly expressed as a multiple of its surplus calculated in accordance with statutory accounting practices.  Generally, a ratio of 3 or less is considered satisfactory by state insurance regulators.  The ratios of the pool participants for the past three years are as follows:
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Employers Mutual1
 
0.85

 
0.79

 
0.82

EMCASCO2
 
1.57

 
1.39

 
1.44

Illinois EMCASCO2
 
1.57

 
1.39

 
1.44

Dakota Fire2
 
1.67

 
1.46

 
1.51

EMC Property & Casualty Company1
 

 

 
(0.27
)
Union Insurance Company of Providence1
 

 

 
(0.27
)
1 The ratios for these companies reflect changes in their pool participation percentages in 2016. Effective January 1, 2016, the pool participation rates for EMC Property & Casualty Company and Union Insurance Company of Providence declined to zero, while Employers Mutual's pool participation rate increased to 68 percent. Effective January 1, 2018, Hamilton Mutual Insurance Company was merged into Employers Mutual. The balances for Employers Mutual reflect those of the merged entity as a 70 percent pool participant.
2 The ratios for these companies reflect the issuance of an aggregate $25.0 million of surplus notes to Employers Mutual. Surplus notes are considered to be a component of surplus for statutory reporting purposes; however, under GAAP, surplus notes are considered to be debt and are reported as a liability in the Company’s financial statements.


4


Reinsurance
The Company’s reinsurance subsidiary is party to a quota share reinsurance retrocessional agreement (the “quota share agreement”) with Employers Mutual.  Under the terms of the quota share agreement, the reinsurance subsidiary assumes 100 percent of Employers Mutual’s assumed reinsurance business, subject to certain exceptions.  EMC Reinsurance Company also writes a relatively small amount of international assumed reinsurance business on a direct basis (outside the quota share agreement).  
The Company's reinsurance subsidiary also has an inter-company reinsurance program in place with Employers Mutual that covers both business assumed from Employers Mutual through the quota share agreement, as well as business obtained outside the quota share agreement, and consists of two treaties. The first is a per occurrence catastrophe excess of loss treaty, and the second is an annual aggregate catastrophe excess of loss treaty. Any losses recovered under the per occurrence treaty inure to the benefit of the aggregate treaty, and only catastrophic events with total losses greater than $500,000 are subject to the terms of the aggregate treaty.
The reinsurance subsidiary, through Employers Mutual, purchases additional reinsurance protection in peak exposure territories from external parties in which coverage is triggered when losses experienced by the insurance industry from a catastrophic event exceed a specified threshold. Any reinsurance recoveries received from external parties reduces the amount of losses ceded to Employers Mutual under the inter-company reinsurance program, net of the reinsurance subsidiary's 20 percent co-participation.
All transactions occurring under the quota share agreement and the inter-company reinsurance program are based on statutory accounting principles. Certain adjustments are made to the statutory-basis amounts assumed by the Company's reinsurance subsidiary to bring the amounts into compliance with GAAP.
The reinsurance subsidiary does not directly reinsure any of the insurance business written by Employers Mutual or the other pool participants; however, Employers Mutual assumes reinsurance business from Mutual Re, which provides a small amount of reinsurance protection to the members of the EMC Insurance Companies pooling agreement. As a result, the reinsurance subsidiary’s assumed exposures include a small portion of the EMC Insurance Companies’ direct business, after ceded reinsurance protections purchased by Mutual Re are applied. In addition, the reinsurance subsidiary does not reinsure any “involuntary” facility or pool business that Employers Mutual assumes pursuant to state law. The reinsurance subsidiary assumes all foreign currency exchange gain/loss associated with contracts incepting on January 1, 2006 and thereafter that are subject to the quota share agreement.
Operations of the quota share agreement and the inter-company reinsurance program, as well as the purchase of the reinsurance protection from external parties, give rise to inter-company balances with Employers Mutual, which are generally settled during the month following the end of each quarter. The investment and income tax activities of the reinsurance subsidiary are not subject to the quota share agreement.

Property and Casualty Insurance and Reinsurance
The Company does not have any employees of its own.  Employers Mutual performs all operations for all of its subsidiaries.  Such services include data processing, claims, financial, actuarial, legal, auditing, marketing and underwriting.  Employers Mutual allocates a portion of the cost of these services to its subsidiaries that do not participate in the pooling agreement based upon a number of criteria, including usage of the services and the number of transactions.  The remaining costs are charged to the pooling agreement and each pool participant shares in the total cost in accordance with its pool participation percentage.
Investment expenses are based on actual expenses incurred by the Company and its subsidiaries, plus an allocation of other investment expenses incurred by Employers Mutual, which is based on a weighted-average of total invested assets and number of investment transactions.


5


NARRATIVE DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS
Principal Products
Property and Casualty Insurance
The Company’s property and casualty insurance subsidiaries and the other parties to the pooling agreement underwrite both commercial and personal lines of property and casualty insurance; however, on October 29, 2018, it was announced that a strategic decision had been made to exit personal lines business so that more time and resources could be dedicated to the commercial and reinsurance business.  The exit from personal lines of business is expected to be completed in early 2020. The coverages provided have consisted of the following types of insurance:
Commercial Lines
Automobile - policies purchased by insureds engaged in a commercial activity that provide protection against liability for bodily injury and property damage arising from automobile accidents, and protection against loss from damage to automobiles owned by the insured.
Property - policies purchased by insureds engaged in a commercial activity that provide protection against damage or loss to property (other than autos) owned by the insured.
Workers’ Compensation - policies purchased by employers to provide benefits to employees for injuries incurred during the course of employment.  The extent of coverage is established by the workers’ compensation laws of each state.
Liability - policies purchased by insureds engaged in a commercial activity that provide protection against liability for bodily injury or property damage to others resulting from acts or omissions of the insured or its employees.
Other - includes a broad range of policies purchased by insureds engaged in a commercial activity that provide protection with respect to burglary and theft loss, aircraft, marine and other types of losses.  This category also includes fidelity and surety bonds issued to secure performance.
Personal Lines
Includes automobile policies purchased by individuals that provide protection against liability for bodily injury and property damage arising from automobile accidents, and protection against loss from damage to automobiles owned by the insured; homeowners policies purchased by individuals that provide protection against damage or loss to property (other than autos) owned by the individual; and umbrella policies purchased by individuals that provide protection against liability for bodily injury or property damage to others resulting from acts or omissions of the insured.
The following table sets forth the aggregate direct premiums written of all parties to the pooling agreement for the three years ended December 31, 2018, by line of business.
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
($ in thousands)
Line of business
 
Amount
 
Percent of total
 
Amount
 
Percent of total
 
Amount
 
Percent of total
Commercial lines:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Automobile
 
$
449,286

 
24.8
%
 
$
420,513

 
24.2
%
 
$
383,503

 
23.4
%
Property
 
461,425

 
25.5
%
 
436,084

 
25.1
%
 
421,792

 
25.8
%
Workers' compensation
 
353,680

 
19.6
%
 
361,574

 
20.8
%
 
327,663

 
20.0
%
Other liability
 
372,860

 
20.6
%
 
350,579

 
20.2
%
 
340,337

 
20.8
%
Other
 
35,194

 
1.9
%
 
32,789

 
1.9
%
 
31,725

 
1.9
%
Total commercial lines
 
1,672,445

 
92.4
%
 
1,601,539

 
92.2
%
 
1,505,020

 
91.9
%

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Personal lines
 
135,821

 
7.6
%
 
134,902

 
7.8
%
 
132,697

 
8.1
%
Total
 
$
1,808,266

 
100.0
%
 
$
1,736,441

 
100.0
%
 
$
1,637,717

 
100.0
%


6


Reinsurance
As previously noted, the reinsurance subsidiary primarily assumes the voluntary reinsurance business written directly by Employers Mutual with unaffiliated insurance companies (subject to certain limited exceptions).  Employers Mutual writes both pro rata and excess of loss reinsurance for unaffiliated insurance companies.  Pro rata reinsurance is a form of reinsurance in which the reinsurer assumes a stated percentage of all premiums, losses and related expenses in a given class of business.  In contrast, excess of loss reinsurance provides coverage for a portion of losses incurred by an insurer which exceed predetermined retention limits.
The following table sets forth the net premiums written of the reinsurance subsidiary for the three years ended December 31, 2018. During 2018, 2017 and 2016, $5.3 million, $4.9 million and $5.1 million, respectively, of premiums written were ceded to Employers Mutual in accordance with the terms of the inter-company reinsurance program, and $10.0 million, $10.2 million and $10.1 million, respectively, of premiums written were ceded to external parties, through Employers Mutual, in connection with the purchase of reinsurance and through fronting activities. The ceded premiums associated with the inter-company reinsurance program were allocated entirely to the excess of loss line of business.
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
($ in thousands)
Line of business
 
Amount
 
Percent of total
 
Amount
 
Percent of total
 
Amount
 
Percent of total
Pro rata reinsurance
 
$
44,648

 
29.7
%
 
$
42,203

 
31.9
%
 
$
52,996

 
40.4
%
Excess of loss reinsurance
 
105,870

 
70.3
%
 
90,071

 
68.1
%
 
78,034

 
59.6
%
Total
 
$
150,518

 
100.0
%
 
$
132,274

 
100.0
%
 
$
131,030

 
100.0
%

Marketing and Distribution
Property and Casualty Insurance
The pool participants market a wide variety of commercial lines insurance products through 16 branch offices, which actively write business through independent agents in 41 states.  Since 2016, the oversight of personal lines business has been handled in the home office, with support provided by certain branch offices. The pool participants’ products are marketed exclusively through a network of more than 1,900 local independent agency relationships through more than 4,000 offices.  The pool participants primarily focus on the sale of commercial lines of property and casualty insurance to small and medium-sized businesses, which are considered to be policyholders that pay less than $100,000 in annual premiums.  The pool participants also seek to provide more than one policy to a given customer, because this “account selling” strategy diversifies risks and generally improves underwriting results.
The pool participants wrote approximately $1.8 billion in direct premiums in 2018, with 92 percent of this business coming from commercial lines products and 8 percent coming from personal lines products.  Although a large portion of the pool participants’ business is generated by sales in the Midwest, Employers Mutual’s branch offices are located across the country to take advantage of local market conditions and opportunities, as well as to spread risk geographically.  Each branch office performs its own underwriting, claims, marketing and risk management functions according to policies and procedures established and monitored by the home office.  This decentralized network of branch offices allows the pool participants to develop marketing strategies, products and pricing that target the needs of individual marketing territories and take advantage of different opportunities for profit in each market.  This operating structure also enables the pool participants to develop close relationships with their agents and customers.

7


Although each branch office offers a slightly different combination of products, the branches have generally targeted two customer segments:
a wide variety of small to medium-sized businesses, through a comprehensive package of property and liability coverages;
businesses and institutions eligible for the pool participants’ target market, safety dividend group and EMC Choice programs (described below), which offer specialized products geared to their members’ unique protection needs.
The pool participants write a number of target market, safety dividend group and EMC Choice programs throughout the country, and have developed a strong reputation for these programs within the marketplace.  These programs provide enhanced insurance protection to businesses or institutions that have similar hazards and exposures, and are willing to implement loss prevention programs.  These groups include public schools, small municipalities, petroleum marketers, and contractors.  As an example, the pool participants write coverage for approximately 1,500 school districts throughout the Midwest.  These programs have been successful because they offer loss control products and services that are targeted to the needs of the group members through local independent agents.
The following table sets forth the geographic distribution of the aggregate direct premiums written by all parties to the pooling agreement for the three years ended December 31, 2018.
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Illinois
 
4.1
%
 
4.1
%
 
4.2
%
Iowa
 
11.3
%
 
11.8
%
 
12.5
%
Kansas
 
6.9
%
 
7.4
%
 
8.0
%
Michigan
 
5.1
%
 
4.9
%
 
4.9
%
Minnesota
 
5.2
%
 
5.0
%
 
5.1
%
Nebraska
 
5.2
%
 
5.2
%
 
5.4
%
North Carolina
 
3.3
%
 
3.4
%
 
3.5
%
Texas
 
4.5
%
 
4.3
%
 
4.3
%
Wisconsin
 
7.4
%
 
7.5
%
 
5.9
%
Other *
 
47.0
%
 
46.4
%
 
46.2
%
 
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
* Includes all other jurisdictions, none of which accounted for more than 3 percent.

Reinsurance
The reinsurance subsidiary currently obtains 97 percent of its business from Employers Mutual through the quota share agreement, and writes 3 percent directly in certain foreign jurisdictions to comply with their regulatory requirements.  The reinsurance subsidiary relies on the financial strength of Employers Mutual to write reinsurance business, as well as the competitive advantage that Employers Mutual has by virtue of being licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Reinsurance marketing is undertaken by Employers Mutual in its role as the direct writer of the reinsurance business; however, the reinsurance subsidiary is utilized in the marketing efforts to help differentiate the reinsurance business from the direct insurance business that is written by Employers Mutual and the other pool participants.
The reinsurance business is derived from two sources.  Approximately 93 percent of the reinsurance subsidiary’s assumed reinsurance premiums written in 2018 was generated through the activities of Employers Mutual’s Home Office Reinsurance Assumed Department (also known as “HORAD”).  The reinsurance business written by HORAD is primarily generated through independent intermediaries.  The risks assumed through HORAD are directly underwritten by Employers Mutual.  As such, Employers Mutual has discretion with respect to the type and size of risks which it assumes and services through these activities.  Since the reinsurance subsidiary utilizes Employers Mutual’s underwriting personnel and systems to process its direct business, HORAD also includes the international business written directly by the reinsurance subsidiary.

8


The remaining 7 percent of the reinsurance subsidiary’s assumed reinsurance premiums written in 2018 was generated through Employers Mutual’s participation in Mutual Re, an unincorporated association through which Employers Mutual and four other unaffiliated insurance companies participate in a voluntary reinsurance pool to meet the reinsurance needs of small and medium-sized, unaffiliated mutual insurance companies.  Employers Mutual has participated in Mutual Re since 1957. Mutual Re is controlled by a board of directors composed of the five member companies, including one representative designated by Employers Mutual.  As a member of this organization, Employers Mutual assumes its proportionate share of the risks assumed by Mutual Re from unaffiliated insurers.  Since Mutual Re is structured on a joint liability basis, Employers Mutual, and therefore the Company’s reinsurance subsidiary, would be obligated with respect to the proportionate share of risks assumed by the other participants in the event they were unable to perform.  Mutual Re, which is operated by an independent management team, manages assumed risks through typical underwriting practices, including loss exposure controls provided through reinsurance coverage obtained for the benefit of Mutual Re.  The reinsurance risks for Mutual Re arise primarily from the Northeast and Midwest markets. Underwriting of risks and pricing of coverage is performed by Mutual Re management under general guidelines established by Employers Mutual and the other participating insurers.  Except for this general oversight, Employers Mutual has only limited control over the risks assumed by, and the operating results of, Mutual Re. Because of the joint liability structure, Mutual Re participating companies must generally maintain a rating of “A-” (Excellent) or above from A.M. Best Company, Inc. and meet certain other standards. 
Employers Mutual emphasizes writing excess of loss reinsurance business in its HORAD operation and works to increase its participation on existing contracts that have had favorable terms and/or results.  Employers Mutual strives to be flexible in the types of reinsurance products it offers, but generally limits its writings to direct reinsurance business, rather than providing retrocessional covers.  The reinsurance marketplace tends to favor “across the board” participation on excess of loss reinsurance contracts.  As a result, reinsurance companies must be willing to participate on all layers offered under a specific contract in order to be considered viable reinsurers.
It is customary in the reinsurance business for the assuming company to compensate the ceding company for the acquisition expenses incurred in the generation of the business.  Commissions incurred by the reinsurance subsidiary under the quota share agreement with Employers Mutual amounted to $30.0 million in 2018.  During 2018, the reinsurance subsidiary ceded to Employers Mutual $5.3 million of premiums under the inter-company reinsurance program.  The reinsurance subsidiary also assumes all foreign currency exchange gain/loss associated with contracts incepting on January 1, 2006 and thereafter that are subject to the quota share agreement.  The net foreign currency exchange gain assumed by the reinsurance subsidiary through the quota share agreement in 2018 was $266,000.

Competition
Property and Casualty Insurance
The property and casualty insurance marketplace is very competitive.  The pool participants compete in the United States insurance market with numerous insurers, many of which have substantially greater financial resources.  Competition in the types of insurance in which the pool participants are engaged is based on many factors, including the perceived overall financial strength of the insurer, industry ratings, premiums charged, contract terms and conditions, services offered, speed of claim payments, reputation and experience.  Because the pool participants’ insurance products are marketed exclusively through independent agencies, they face competition to retain qualified agencies, as well as competition within the agencies. The pool participants also compete with direct writers, who utilize salaried employees and generally offer their products at a lower cost; exclusive agencies, who write insurance business for only one company; and to a lesser extent, internet-based enterprises.  Employers Mutual’s decentralized network of 16 branch offices allows the pool participants to enhance business relationships with agents and customers and develop products, marketing strategies and pricing parameters targeted to individual territories.  The pool participants also utilize a company-paid trip for qualified agents and a profit-sharing plan as incentives for the independent agencies to place high-quality insurance business with them.

Reinsurance
Employers Mutual, in writing reinsurance business through its HORAD operation, competes in the global reinsurance market with numerous reinsurance companies, many of which have substantially greater financial resources.  Competition for reinsurance business is based on many factors, including the perceived financial strength of the reinsurer, industry ratings, stability in products offered and licensing status.  There is a segment of the market that favors large, highly-capitalized reinsurance companies who are able to provide “mega” line capacity for multiple lines of business.

9


While reinsurer competition for national and regional company business is growing, management believes that Mutual Re has a competitive advantage in the smaller mutual company market that it serves due to its low operating costs.  Mutual Re understands the needs of the smaller company market and operates at a very low expense ratio, enabling it to offer reinsurance coverage (on business that generally presents less risk) to an under-served market at lower margins.  However, due to growth in the reinsurance intermediary marketplace, the size of this under-served market has declined.

A.M. Best Company, Inc. Ratings
Property and Casualty Insurance
A.M. Best Company, Inc. (A.M. Best) rates insurance companies based on their relative financial strength and ability to meet their contractual obligations.  During 2013, the Company’s property and casualty insurance subsidiaries' financial strength rating was raised from “A-” to “A” (Excellent) in their capacity as participants in the pooling agreement.  A.M. Best re-evaluates its ratings from time to time (normally on an annual basis) and there can be no assurance that the Company’s property and casualty insurance subsidiaries and the other pool participants will maintain their current rating in the future.  Management believes that an A.M. Best rating of “A-” (Excellent) or better is important to the Company’s business since many insureds require that companies with which they insure be so rated.  A.M. Best’s publications indicate that the “A” (Excellent)  rating is assigned to companies that have achieved excellent overall performance and have a strong ability to meet their obligations over a long period of time.  A downgrade of the Company’s property and casualty insurance subsidiaries’ rating (particularly below “A-”) would adversely affect the Company’s competitive position and make it more difficult for it to market its products, and retain its existing agents and policyholders.  A.M. Best’s ratings are based upon factors of concern to policyholders and insurance agents, and are not directed toward the protection of investors.
Reinsurance
The most recent A.M. Best Property Casualty Key Rating Guide gives the Company’s reinsurance subsidiary a financial strength rating of “A” (Excellent).  However, because the majority of the reinsurance business assumed by the reinsurance subsidiary is produced by Employers Mutual, the rating of the reinsurance subsidiary is not critical to the Company’s reinsurance operations.  The rating of Employers Mutual is, however, critical to the Company’s reinsurance operations, as the unaffiliated insurance companies that cede business to Employers Mutual view the rating as an indication of Employers Mutual’s ability to meet its obligations to those insurance companies.  Employers Mutual’s rating was increased from “A-” to “A” (Excellent) during 2013. This rating increase aids in marketing efforts because some insurance companies require a rating of “A” (Excellent) or higher.  A downgrade of Employers Mutual’s rating (particularly below “A-”) would have a material adverse impact on the Company’s reinsurance subsidiary, as a downgrade would negatively impact Employers Mutual’s ability to write reinsurance business and, consequently, to cede that business to the Company’s reinsurance subsidiary.

10


Statutory Combined Trade Ratios
The following table sets forth the statutory combined trade ratios of the Company’s insurance subsidiaries, and the property and casualty insurance industry averages, for the five years ended December 31, 2018.  The combined trade ratios below are the sum of the following:  the loss and settlement expense ratio, calculated by dividing losses and settlement expenses incurred by net premiums earned, and the expense ratio, calculated by dividing underwriting expenses incurred by net premiums written and policyholder dividends by net premiums earned.  Generally, if the combined trade ratio is below 100 percent, a company has an underwriting profit; if it is above 100 percent, a company has an underwriting loss.
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Property and casualty insurance1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loss and settlement expense ratio
 
67.2
%
 
64.2
%
 
64.6
%
 
65.5
%
 
70.5
%
Expense ratio
 
34.9
%
 
34.5
%
 
33.9
%
 
33.4
%
 
32.0
%
Combined trade ratio
 
102.1
%
 
98.7
%
 
98.5
%
 
98.9
%
 
102.5
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Reinsurance
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Loss and settlement expense ratio
 
83.0
%
 
88.3
%
 
68.0
%
 
64.1
%
 
73.9
%
Expense ratio
 
23.2
%
 
23.6
%
 
24.4
%
 
24.9
%
 
24.5
%
Combined trade ratio
 
106.2
%
 
111.9
%
 
92.4
%
 
89.0
%
 
98.4
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total insurance operations1
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Loss and settlement expense ratio
 
70.8
%
 
69.6
%
 
65.5
%
 
65.2
%
 
71.2
%
Expense ratio
 
32.2
%
 
32.1
%
 
31.8
%
 
31.6
%
 
30.4
%
Combined trade ratio
 
103.0
%
 
101.7
%
 
97.3
%
 
96.8
%
 
101.6
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Property and casualty insurance industry averages2
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Loss and settlement expense ratio
 
74.4
%
 
76.3
%
 
72.7
%
 
69.8
%
 
69.3
%
Expense ratio
 
27.1
%
 
27.7
%
 
28.2
%
 
28.5
%
 
28.1
%
Combined trade ratio
 
101.5
%
 
104.0
%
 
100.9
%
 
98.3
%
 
97.4
%
1 The expense ratios for the Company's property and casualty insurance subsidiaries reflect net periodic postretirement benefit income allocated to them as a result of a plan amendment to Employers Mutual's postretirement medical plan, which created a large prior service credit that is being amortized into benefit expense over a period of 10 years starting in 2014.
2 As reported by A.M. Best.  The ratio for 2018 is an estimate; the actual combined trade ratio is not currently available.

Claims Management
Effective claims management is critical to the success of the pool participants.  To this end, the pool participants have adopted a customer-focused claims management process that is cost efficient, and delivers a high level of claims service that produces superior results.  The claims management process is focused on handling claims from their inception, utilizing enhanced claims solutions to improve outcomes and lower costs, accelerating communication to insureds and claimants, and compressing the cycle time of claims to control both loss costs and claims-handling costs.  This process provides quality service and results in the appropriate handling of claims, allowing the pool participants to cost-effectively pay valid claims and contest fraudulent claims.

11


The claims management operation includes adjusters, appraisers, special investigators, attorneys, nurses and claims administrative personnel.  The pool participants conduct their claims management operations out of 16 branch offices and four service offices located throughout the United States.  The home office claims group provides advice and counsel for branch claims staff in investigating, reserving and settling claims.  The home office claims staff also evaluates branch claims operations and makes recommendations for improvements in performance.  Additional home office services provided include: complex claim handling, physical damage and property review, medical case management, medical bill review, legal coverage analysis, a special investigative unit, litigation management and subrogation.  Management believes these home office services assist the branch claims personnel in producing greater efficiencies than can be achieved at the local level.
Each branch office is responsible for evaluating and settling claims within the authority provided by home office claims.  Authority levels within the branch offices are granted based upon an adjuster’s experience and expertise.  A branch office must request input from home office claims once a case exceeds its authority level.  The Senior Vice President-Chief Claims Officer participates in a claims committee that exists within the home office.  This committee meets on a weekly basis to assist the branches in evaluating and settling claims beyond their authority level.
The pool participants manage litigated claims arising from value disputes and questionable liability, and will defend appropriate denials of coverage.  The pool participants retain outside defense counsel to defend such matters; however, internal claims professionals manage the litigation process.  The pool participants have implemented an internally developed litigation management system that allows the claims staff to evaluate the quality and cost effectiveness of outside legal services.  Cases are constantly reviewed to adjust the litigation plan as necessary, and all cases going to trial are carefully reviewed to assess the value of a trial verses a settlement.

Loss and Settlement Expense Reserves
The Company's liabilities for losses and settlement expenses represent management's best estimate at a given point in time of ultimate unpaid losses and settlement expenses for both reported and unreported claims. The estimates of the liabilities for losses and settlement expenses include assumptions of future trends and claims severity, judicial theories of liability, historic loss emergence and other factors.  Because of the inherent uncertainties involved in the establishment of reserves for less mature accident years, management’s reserving methodology for the current and more recent accident years utilizes a stochastically derived risk load associated with the Company’s enterprise risk management practices.  During the loss settlement period, which may cover many years in some cases, the inherent uncertainty associated with these accident years declines as the Company learns additional facts regarding individual claims and potential future claims, and consequently it often becomes necessary to refine and adjust its estimates of liability. The Company reflects any adjustments to its liabilities for losses and settlement expenses in its operating results in the period in which the changes in estimates are made.
The amount of reserves established for reported claims, known as “case loss reserves”, is primarily based upon a case-by-case evaluation of the specific type of claim, knowledge of the circumstances surrounding each claim and the policy provisions relating to the type of loss.  Case loss reserves on assumed reinsurance business are the amounts reported by the ceding companies. Established reserves (for both reported and unreported claims) are closely monitored and are frequently examined using a variety of formulas and statistical techniques for analyzing loss development, as well as other economic and social factors.
Settlement expense reserves are intended to cover the ultimate cost of investigating claims and defending lawsuits arising from claims.  Reserves are established separately for expenses specifically associated with a claim (allocated) and expenses not specifically associated with a claim (unallocated).  To the extent that adjustments are required to be made in the amount of loss reserves each year, settlement expense reserves are correspondingly revised, if necessary.
The Company does not discount reserves.  Inflation is implicitly provided for in the reserving function through analysis of cost trends, reviews of historical reserving results and projections of future economic conditions.  Estimates of individual case loss reserves are monitored and reviewed on a regular basis by claims staff members.  The home office claims group reviews and maintains a diary on files with reserves over $150,000, and also monitors catastrophic losses (fatalities, paraplegia, serious burns, etc.) regardless of claim size. Based on currently available information, individual case loss reserves are revised to reflect changes in the estimated average verdict value of the case in the applicable venue.
Despite the inherent uncertainties of estimating loss and settlement expense reserves, management believes that the Company’s reserves are being calculated in accordance with sound actuarial practices and, based upon current information, that the reserve for losses and settlement expenses at December 31, 2018 represents management’s best estimate of the Company’s overall liability.

12


Reserving Methodology and Determination of Management’s Best Estimate of Overall Liability
Property and casualty insurance
The property and casualty insurance segment establishes case loss, IBNR loss and settlement expense reserves separately for three categories of losses, which are (1) all claims other than those stemming from storms, catastrophic events, asbestos and environmental exposures (general claims), (2) storms and catastrophic events, and (3) asbestos and environmental claims. Case loss reserves are established on a common basis for all three categories based on the specific facts for each reported claim. Individual case loss reserves are based on the probable, or most likely, outcome for each claim, with probable outcome defined as what is most likely to be awarded if the case were to be decided by a civil court in the applicable venue or, in the case of a workers’ compensation case, by that state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission. IBNR loss and settlement expense reserves are established differently for the three categories of losses as discussed below.
Reserves for General Claims
IBNR loss reserves for general claims are calculated by subtracting paid loss amounts and the case loss reserves carried on reported claims from the estimated ultimate loss amounts established by line of business and accident year. Allocated settlement expense reserves are established in a similar manner, except that only paid expenses to date are subtracted from the estimated ultimates, as adjusters do not establish case-basis settlement expense reserves. Unallocated settlement expenses reserves are determined through a study of historical paid expenses compared to paid losses. The unallocated settlement expense reserve established through this process is for all accident years combined, and the total is allocated to the various accident years proportional to the loss reserves.
Lines of Business and Process Overview
Reserves are evaluated for adequacy on a quarterly basis, and are the end-product of a broader process by which management establishes estimated ultimate loss (net of salvage, subrogation and reimbursement recoveries) and allocated settlement expense amounts by line of business and accident year. At quarter-end, carried bulk reserves are established as the difference between management's estimated ultimate amounts, and the reported amounts incurred to date. The actuarial department establishes estimated ultimate loss and allocated settlement expense amounts by accident year. During 2018, the number of line of business aggregations used in the actuarial reserving process was increased from eight to thirty-one in order to better align with pricing operations. For purposes of presentation, the finer line of business breakouts are aggregated into eight reserving lines of business: personal auto liability, commercial auto liability, auto physical damage, workers' compensation, other liability, commercial property, homeowners, and an “all other” category, which consists mostly of fidelity and surety bonds.
For each line of business, the establishment of IBNR loss and allocated settlement expense reserves begins with a review of historical experience as of the end of the first or second month of the quarter. The actuarial department utilizes standard actuarial incurred and paid chain ladder (triangle) development methods, expected loss and settlement expense ratio methods, and various methodologies which blend the development and expected ratio methods, such as the Bornhuetter-Ferguson method. The actuarial department employs these methods using incurred and paid losses and paid allocated settlement expenses aggregated on a calendar/accident year basis. The calendar/accident year development triangles generated in this process contain thirty-five years of historic data. The result of the process is a separate set of estimated ultimate ratios to earned premiums for losses and allocated settlement expenses by reserving line of business and accident year. At the end of each quarter, the selected estimated ultimate ratios are applied to the corresponding calendar year earned premiums to produce the estimated ultimate dollar amounts, from which the amounts reported to date are subtracted to produce the IBNR loss reserves and allocated settlement expense reserves to be recorded.
Several different averaging periods/methods are used in the incurred and paid chain ladder methods to produce development factors to ultimate. Since the pool participants do not establish settlement expense reserves on an individual claim basis, there is no corresponding incurred allocated settlement expense data upon which to apply the chain ladder method.
In addition to the accident year ultimate loss and allocated settlement expense estimates produced from the chain ladder methods, the actuarial department employs the following methodologies on an incurred and paid basis: Bornhuetter-Ferguson, Benktander (iterative Bornhuetter-Ferguson), Ultimate Frequency-Severity and Generalized Cape Cod. The actuarial department will also sometimes apply the Expected Loss Ratio Method for extremely immature accident years. For allocated settlement expenses, the actuarial department also produces ultimate estimates by applying the chain ladder approach to the ratio of paid allocated settlement expenses to paid losses. The ultimate factors from these paid-to-paid ratios are applied to the ultimate losses determined by the paid chain ladder method to produce ultimate allocated settlement expense dollar amounts.


13


Range of Reasonable Ultimates and Management's Best Estimate: Each of the above listed methods are employed to determine an unbiased actuarial central estimate of the ultimate loss or settlement expense ratio. The actuarial department examines the indicated ultimate amounts for each category (losses and allocated settlement expenses) and each accident year, and applies judgment and knowledge of each method’s biases (if any) to exclude unreasonable estimates and assign a weight to the remaining estimates. The weighted average of the included estimates becomes the “actuarial central estimate”, to which a risk load is applied to produce management’s best estimate. The maximum and minimum of the remaining estimates define the range of reasonable ultimates.
The selected point estimate for each accident year is divided by its corresponding earned premiums to produce the expected ultimate loss and allocated settlement expense ratios. At quarter end, the ratios are applied to the corresponding calendar year earned premiums to produce the ultimate estimated dollar amounts, from which the amounts incurred to date are subtracted to produce the IBNR loss and allocated settlement expense reserves to be recorded.
Reserves for Storms and Catastrophic Events
IBNR loss reserves for storms and catastrophic events are established by the branch offices in conjunction with the home office claims department. IBNR loss reserves associated with storms and catastrophic events are event-specific.  The pool participants define a storm or catastrophic event as any event for which the Property Liability Research Bureau (PLRB) assigns an occurrence number. When a storm or catastrophic event occurs, the location of the event is overlaid with a map of the pool participants’ exposures.  Using this information and other factors (such as wind speed and the size of any hail), the affected branch office(s) are contacted and requested to develop a loss estimate based on projections of loss frequency and severity in their location.  To develop this loss estimate, large accounts located in the affected areas are contacted.  Based on this information and discussions with local agents, both the number and severity of estimated losses are projected by location.  Management then compiles and analyzes this information and calculates a total loss estimate. The total loss estimate is generally established within two weeks of an event and is adjusted, if necessary, as the actual claims are inspected.  At each reporting date, the total amount of reported losses associated with each storm/catastrophic event is compared to the most recent total loss estimate for that event, and the difference is recorded as the storm/catastrophe IBNR loss reserve. Since the pool participants do not establish separate settlement expense reserves for individual storm and catastrophe claims, the reserving methodology for settlement expenses on these claims is included in the settlement expense reserving process for general claims.
Reserves for Asbestos and Environmental Claims
The IBNR loss and settlement expense reserves are established jointly for asbestos and environmental liabilities as the available estimation methodologies require the consideration of both loss and settlement expense payments together. Management's internal ultimate loss and settlement expense evaluations consist of runoff scenarios based on recent payment activity and various future payout decay assumptions. The assumptions include published research on industry payout curves as well as reasonable alternative assumptions selected by the actuarial department. Internal and industry survival ratios are also monitored to assist in validating assumptions underlying the payout scenarios.

Reinsurance
The IBNR loss reserves for the HORAD book of business are determined and booked each quarter along with the ceding companies’ reported reserves. The methodologies used to establish the IBNR loss reserves produce a range of indicated reserves for each contract type and contract year. Employers Mutual’s actuaries examine the reasonableness of each range, and then select a point estimate within those ranges. For the more recent contract years, the selected IBNR loss reserve estimate tends to be higher in the range, typically in the fourth quartile, due to the considerable uncertainty associated with these immature contract years. The IBNR loss reserve selected for the more mature contract years tends to be at, or slightly above, the midpoint of the range of reasonable reserves. In addition to the actuarially determined reserves, an additional IBNR loss reserve is established when large catastrophic events occur, based on an examination of impacted contracts/exposures and reported industry-wide loss estimates. In aggregate, the IBNR loss reserve selected using these methods and procedures, combined with reserves reported by the ceding companies, becomes management’s best estimate of the reinsurance segment’s overall liability. The next several paragraphs provide addition detail on the HORAD reserving process.
Reserves for the HORAD book of business are reviewed quarterly. Contract years 1988 and subsequent are reviewed every quarter, while accident years 1981-1987, for which detailed contract year information is not available, are reviewed separately during the fourth quarter. Management segregates claims data associated with specified catastrophe occurrences expected to exceed $2.0 million in losses, and establishes a catastrophe specific IBNR loss reserve based upon an evaluation of the exposed reinsurance contracts. Once established, catastrophe specific IBNR reserves are taken down as claims are reported, unless the ultimate expected loss is adjusted by management.

14


Premium, loss and settlement expense data is generally reported by ceding companies on a contract year basis; however, some loss and settlement expense data is reported on an accident year basis. Some ceding companies also report IBNR loss reserves. The reinsurance segment books these IBNR loss reserve amounts, and then deducts them from the indicated IBNR loss reserves calculated by Employers Mutual’s actuaries. The reinsurance segment may also book “additional case loss reserves” for ceding companies whose reported case loss reserves related to certain claims are believed to be less than adequate.
Using the reported data, excluding the reported IBNR loss reserves, Employers Mutual's actuaries develop an indicated ultimate loss, and corresponding IBNR loss reserve, by type of contract (property/casualty/excess/pro rata/multi-line) and by contract year. The actuaries employ the standard paid and incurred chain ladder (triangle) development methods and the Bornheutter-Furguson method to produce the indicated ultimate loss, and corresponding IBNR loss reserves. In addition, a loss ratio approach and judgment are applied to a few minor contract types which represent an insignificant portion of the totals.
For the major contract types, the reinsurance subsidiary uses its own paid and incurred development data aggregated on a contract year basis. The reason for aggregating by contract year, rather than accident year, is to ensure an accurate aggregation, as ceding companies have not always provided sufficient detail to determine the proper accident year assignment. In addition, the reinsurance subsidiary uses Reinsurance Association of America (RAA) development triangles to assist in estimating reserves for casualty excess contracts.
The expected loss ratios used in the Bornheutter-Ferguson method for the current contract year are calculated by contract type during the first quarter. Once established, the expected loss ratios for the various contract years are generally not revised. The expected loss ratios are calculated by dividing the projected ultimate losses for contract years having at least five years of maturity by the contract-year earned premiums brought to the current rate-level. The current rate-level loss ratios are then trended to the current contract period. In addition, when large accounts are first written, there is generally some underwriting or reserving data available from which an expected loss ratio may be determined.
After establishing the ultimate loss, and corresponding IBNR loss reserve, by treaty type and contract year, an allocation must be made in order to book the IBNR loss reserves by accident year and line-of-business. This is accomplished by a historical study of the ultimate accident year distribution of reported losses and reported loss types (for those treaty types which may cover multiple lines of business). For the latest contract years, consideration is also given to the distribution of the contract effective dates and the expected earnings patterns of the contract types (occurrence vs. risks attaching contracts).
The reinsurance subsidiary also books earned but not reported (EBNR) premiums on pro rata contracts, and accrued reinstatement premiums on catastrophe excess contracts. EBNR premium is estimated by applying selected earnings patterns to the expected ultimate contract year premium associated with each individual pro rata account, and netting the reported-to-date amount from the estimated earned-to-date amount. The account level earnings patterns are selected from an examination of all available information regarding distribution of risk attachment dates during the contract period and a review of each ceding company's historical reporting patterns. It is important to note that whenever EBNR premium is booked, there is an associated IBNR loss reserve established as well. Accrued reinstatement premiums are estimated by applying a historically selected ratio of ultimate reinstatement premiums to incurred losses to the expected ultimate incurred catastrophe loss by contract year. Netting the reported reinstatement premiums-to-date from this ultimate produces the recorded amount.
Reported case and IBNR loss reserves associated with the Mutual Re book of business are established by that entity’s management, and booked by the reinsurance subsidiary on a monthly basis. Mutual Re claims files are audited annually by the member companies’ reinsurance claim departments, and the member companies' actuarial departments perform an annual reserve adequacy review. The reinsurance subsidiary estimates and books a relatively small IBNR loss reserve and EBNR premium amount to account for a one month lag in reporting. The booking of the lag IBNR loss reserve may be suspended, and a negative bulk IBNR loss reserve may be booked, during periods when the Company's actuarial reviews indicate Mutual Re's carried reserves are more than adequate to cover its liabilities.

Reserve Development
Property and casualty insurance
There is an inherent amount of uncertainty involved in the establishment of insurance liabilities.  This uncertainty is greatest in the current and more recent accident years because a smaller percentage of the expected ultimate claims have been reported, adjusted and settled compared to more mature accident years.  For this reason, carried reserves for these accident years reflect prudently conservative assumptions.  As the carried reserves for these accident years run off, the overall expectation is that, more often than not, favorable development will occur.  However, there is also the possibility that the ultimate settlement of liabilities associated with these accident years will show adverse development, and such adverse development could be substantial and have a negative impact on the Company's financial condition and results of operations.

15


Reinsurance
There are inherent uncertainties involved in establishing reserves for assumed reinsurance business. Such uncertainties include the fact that a reinsurance company generally has less knowledge than the ceding companies about the underlying book of business and the ceding companies' reserving practices. For this reason, the carried reserves for the reinsurance segment are generally in the upper quartiles of the range of actuarial reserve indications. As the carried reserves run off, the overall expectation is that, more often than not, favorable development will occur.  However, there is also the possibility that the ultimate settlement of liabilities will show adverse development, and such adverse development could be substantial and have a negative impact on the Company's financial condition and results of operations.

See note 4 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for a reconciliation of beginning and ending reserves for losses and settlement expenses for the three years ended December 31, 2018, as well as ten years of incurred and paid development information for each major line of business. Following is a detailed analysis of the development the Company has experienced on its prior accident years’ reserves during the past three years.  Care should be exercised when attempting to analyze the financial impact of the reported development amounts because, as previously noted, the overall expectation is that, more often than not, favorable development will occur as the prior accident years’ reserves run off.

Year ended December 31, 2018
Property and casualty insurance segment
For the property and casualty insurance segment, the December 31, 2018 estimate of loss and settlement expense reserves for accident years 2017 and prior decreased $15.3 million from the estimate at December 31, 2017.  This decrease represents 3.0 percent of the December 31, 2017 gross carried reserves.  The following table displays development on prior years' reserves by line of business and type of reserve.
($ in thousands)
Line of business
 
Reported case and IBNR loss reserves
 
Allocated settlement expense reserves
 
Unallocated settlement expense reserves
 
Total
Personal lines
 
$
(196
)
 
$
(348
)
 
$
10

 
$
(534
)
Commercial auto liability
 
(413
)
 
1,318

 
(2,551
)
 
(1,646
)
Auto physical damage
 
(83
)
 
(97
)
 
420

 
240

Workers' compensation
 
2,951

 
(2,497
)
 
360

 
814

Other liability
 
(1,614
)
 
(4,502
)
 
(3,502
)
 
(9,618
)
Commercial property
 
(1,654
)
 
(1,109
)
 
(550
)
 
(3,313
)
Other
 
(1,061
)
 
(269
)
 
68

 
(1,262
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 
$
(2,070
)
 
$
(7,504
)
 
$
(5,745
)
 
$
(15,319
)

The favorable development reported for 2018 is generally attributed to lower loss severity assumptions underlying the loss and allocated settlement expense reserves carried at year-end 2018 than those underlying year-end 2017 reserves. The favorable development associated with the loss and allocated settlement expense reserves totaled $9.6 million, which consisted of $2.1 million of favorable loss reserve development and $7.5 million of favorable development from allocated settlement expense reserves.
The $9.6 million of favorable development on loss and allocated settlement expense reserves accounted for approximately 60 percent of the property and casualty insurance segment’s total reported favorable development of $15.3 million. The following table displays the development experienced in 2018 on reported case and IBNR loss reserves and allocated settlement expense reserves for the five most recent accident years, and all prior accident years, by line of business.


16


($ in thousands)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Calendar
accident
year
 
Personal
lines
 
Commercial
auto
liability
 
Auto
physical
damage
 
Workers'
compensation
 
Other
liability
 
Commercial
property
 
Other
 
Total
Prior
 
$
(88
)
 
$
(391
)
 
$
2

 
$
(1,266
)
 
$
(117
)
 
$
238

 
$
(54
)
 
$
(1,676
)
2013
 
(5
)
 
170

 
(55
)
 
(38
)
 
(2,120
)
 
(534
)
 
(15
)
 
(2,597
)
2014
 
(186
)
 
(442
)
 
(46
)
 
(1,114
)
 
(97
)
 
(617
)
 
101

 
(2,401
)
2015
 
(115
)
 
427

 
(107
)
 
528

 
(3,079
)
 
(632
)
 
179

 
(2,799
)
2016
 
(75
)
 
864

 
(31
)
 
(557
)
 
1,004

 
(116
)
 
(776
)
 
313

2017
 
(76
)
 
278

 
58

 
2,903

 
(1,706
)
 
(1,103
)
 
(768
)
 
(414
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 
$
(545
)
 
$
906

 
$
(179
)
 
$
456

 
$
(6,115
)
 
$
(2,764
)
 
$
(1,333
)
 
$
(9,574
)

In the table above, five of the seven lines of business exhibited favorable development: personal lines, auto physical damage, other liability, commercial property and all other (surety). For these lines of business, favorable development for most accident years was driven by decreases in the severity assumptions underlying the estimated ultimate accident year loss and allocated settlement expense ratios.
Personal lines experienced favorable development in nearly every accident year due to better than expected development on prior reported claims and lower than anticipated emerged IBNR and settlement expenses.
The commercial auto liability line of business experienced adverse development in four of the latest five accident years. Ultimate loss ratios increased for accident years 2013 and 2017, while both ultimate loss and settlement expense ratios increased for accident years 2015 and 2016 due to increases in higher estimated ultimate severity.
Auto physical damage ultimate loss and settlement expense ratios decreased for accident years 2013-2016, as ultimate severity estimates decreased. However, the accident year 2017 ultimate loss ratio increased due to an increase in estimated ultimate frequency.
Reserves in the prior years (years prior to 2013) in workers' compensation experienced favorable development during 2018 after having been significantly strengthened during 2017. Two of the most recent five accident years experienced adverse development. An increase in ultimate estimated severity is the driver for the accident year 2015 development. Accident year 2017 saw a significant increase in ultimate frequency mainly due to a surge in claims associated with winter weather that occurred in late 2017.
The other liability line experienced favorable development from lower ultimate frequency and/or severity estimates on all years except accident year 2016, for which the ultimate severity estimate was increased four percent.
Commercial property’s favorable development in the latest five accident years is the result of reductions in estimated ultimate claim severities. The prior years (years prior to 2013) adverse development was impacted by a large businessowners liability claim from accident year 2012.
The “other” line of business consists mostly of fidelity and surety bonds. Favorable development on three of the latest five accident years was driven by decreases in estimated ultimate claim frequency and severity. The adverse development experienced for accident years 2014 and 2015 is from a reduction in the estimated ultimate reimbursement recoveries on surety bonds.

Reinsurance segment
For the reinsurance segment, the December 31, 2018 estimate of loss and settlement expense reserves for accident years 2017 and prior decreased $3.4 million from the estimate at December 31, 2017.  This decrease represents 1.5 percent of the December 31, 2017 gross carried reserves.  Both the HORAD and the Mutual Re segments experienced favorable development.

17


The HORAD segment experienced favorable development of $3.2 million. The composition of the prior year development consisted of $2.7 million of favorable development from assumed operations, $5.2 million of favorable development from external reinsurance recoveries on accident year 2017 catastrophes, and $4.6 million of adverse development from the inter-company reinsurance program with Employers Mutual. The $2.7 million of favorable development from assumed operations was associated with lower estimated ultimate losses for casualty excess contracts for accident years 2008-2011 and 2016, nearly all contact types for accident year 2013, and catastrophe and per risk excess contracts for accident year 2017.
Operations attributable to Mutual Re experienced favorable development of $0.2 million. Actuarial reviews of the reserves assumed from Mutual Re have consistently indicated a level of adequacy which challenged the upper boundary of the range of reasonable reserves. To address this issue, the reinsurance segment currently maintains a $3.7 million negative bulk IBNR loss reserve to keep reserves within the reasonable range. The negative IBNR was reduced during 2018 from the $4.0 million carried at the end of 2017.
During 2018, the expected loss ratios utilized in the various reserving methodologies for prior contract years were unchanged except for one contract type. Based on conversations with and observed experience provided by a large cedant, the ocean marine pro rata expected loss ratios for contract years 2012 through 2017, excepting 2015, experienced reductions ranging from 2 points to 22 points. The expected loss ratios utilized in reserving methodologies for the 2018 contract year were based on an extensive actuarial analysis of trended historic ultimate loss ratios based on current-level earned premiums. Where applicable, new contract loss information or loss histories were also incorporated into the reserving process. Compared to the 2017 contract year selection, the 2018 contract year expected loss ratio for the property pro rata contract type increased 2.5 points. Compared to the 2017 contract year selection, the 2018 contract year expected loss ratio for the ocean marine pro rata contract type decreased 5.0 points. All other 2018 expected loss ratios were unchanged from what was used for contract year 2017.

Year ended December 31, 2017
Property and casualty insurance segment
For the property and casualty insurance segment, the December 31, 2017 estimate of loss and settlement expense reserves for accident years 2016 and prior decreased $15.7 million from the estimate at December 31, 2016. This decrease represented 3.2 percent of the December 31, 2016 gross carried reserves.  The following table displays development on prior years' reserves by line of business and type of reserve.
($ in thousands)
Line of business
 
Reported case and IBNR loss reserves
 
Allocated settlement expense reserves
 
Unallocated settlement expense reserves
 
Total
Personal lines
 
$
(1,691
)
 
$
(89
)
 
$
119

 
$
(1,661
)
Commercial auto liability
 
2,619

 
1,251

 
(1,850
)
 
2,020

Auto physical damage
 
(584
)
 
(78
)
 
424

 
(238
)
Workers' compensation
 
(3,712
)
 
256

 
(421
)
 
(3,877
)
Other liability
 
(10,167
)
 
1,432

 
(1,266
)
 
(10,001
)
Commercial property
 
(1,590
)
 
(693
)
 
(52
)
 
(2,335
)
Other
 
572

 
7

 
(221
)
 
358

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 
$
(14,553
)
 
$
2,086

 
$
(3,267
)
 
$
(15,734
)

The favorable development reported for 2017 was generally attributed to lower loss severity assumptions underlying the loss and allocated settlement expense reserves carried at year-end 2017 than those underlying year-end 2016 reserves. The favorable development associated with the loss and allocated settlement expense reserves totaled $12.5 million, which consisted of $14.6 million of favorable loss reserve development and $2.1 million of adverse development from allocated settlement expense reserves.
The $12.5 million of favorable development on loss and allocated settlement expense reserves accounted for approximately 80 percent of the property and casualty insurance segment’s total reported favorable development of $15.7 million. The following table displays the development experienced in 2017 on reported case and IBNR loss reserves and allocated settlement expense reserves for the five most recent accident years, and all prior accident years, by line of business.

18


($ in thousands)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Calendar
accident
year
 
Personal
lines
 
Commercial
auto
liability
 
Auto
physical
damage
 
Workers'
compensation
 
Other
liability
 
Commercial
property
 
Other
 
Total
Prior
 
$
(44
)
 
$
(13
)
 
$
(41
)
 
$
7,394

 
$
2,585

 
$
(65
)
 
$
(24
)
 
$
9,792

2012
 
75

 
59

 
22

 
187

 
88

 
185

 
(18
)
 
598

2013
 
(48
)
 
823

 
37

 
(153
)
 
(3,012
)
 
(104
)
 
(25
)
 
(2,482
)
2014
 
(147
)
 
478

 
42

 
365

 
(1,554
)
 
205

 
74

 
(537
)
2015
 
(372
)
 
803

 
(280
)
 
(1,693
)
 
(4,174
)
 
(1,139
)
 
1,139

 
(5,716
)
2016
 
(1,244
)
 
1,720

 
(442
)
 
(9,556
)
 
(2,668
)
 
(1,365
)
 
(567
)
 
(14,122
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 
$
(1,780
)
 
$
3,870

 
$
(662
)
 
$
(3,456
)
 
$
(8,735
)
 
$
(2,283
)
 
$
579

 
$
(12,467
)

In the table above, five of the seven lines of business exhibited favorable development; personal lines, auto physical damage, workers’ compensation, other liability and commercial property. For these lines of business, favorable development for most accident years was driven by decreases in the severity assumptions underlying the estimated ultimate accident year loss and allocated settlement expense ratios.
Personal lines experienced favorable development in nearly every accident year due to better than expected development on prior reported claims and lower than anticipated emerged IBNR.
The commercial auto liability line of business experienced adverse development in each of the latest five accident years. The severity assumption for accident year 2016 increased three percent over the assumption underlying the ultimate established at year-end 2016. For accident years 2012 through 2015, the severity assumption was increased between one and two percent.
Auto physical damage ultimate ratios were reduced for accident years 2016 and 2015, as claim severity estimates were lowered. Accident years 2014 and prior experienced little additional claim activity during 2017.
The workers’ compensation line of business experienced adverse development on accident years prior to 2012, as management strengthened those reserves in response to increases in the severity assumptions. During 2017, it became apparent that the severity assumption underlying the initial workers’ compensation ultimate ratio established for accident year 2016 was too conservative. The favorable development reported above was the result of using an updated assumption.
The other liability line of business experienced favorable development on all recent accident years due to lower severity estimates. The adverse development observed on accident years prior to 2012 was due to a settlement reached with a former insured, resulting in the Company recognizing $4.5 million (its share) of losses and settlement expenses to remove all past and future asbestos liability exposure related to that policyholder. Loss and settlement expense reserves for asbestos claims were also strengthened approximately $900,000. If not for this unanticipated asbestos settlement, development on prior accident years would have been favorable.
Commercial property’s favorable development was concentrated in accident years 2015 and 2016, as severity on reported and emerged claims was less than anticipated. Accident years 2014 and prior experienced minor fluctuations in claims activity with mostly offsetting changes in the ultimate severity assumptions.
The “other” line of business category consists almost exclusively of fidelity and surety bonds. Uncharacteristically, this line experienced adverse development stemming from unanticipated outcomes associated with two accident year 2015 claims.

Reinsurance segment
For the reinsurance segment, the December 31, 2017 estimate of loss and settlement expense reserves for accident years 2016 and prior decreased $3.9 million from the estimate at December 31, 2016.  This decrease represented 1.9 percent of the December 31, 2016 gross carried reserves.  All of the favorable development was attributable to the HORAD book of business, as the prior year development associated with Mutual Re was approximately zero in the aggregate.

19


In the HORAD book of business, $2.6 million of favorable development occurred in the pro rata line of business and $1.3 million of favorable development occurred in the excess of loss line of business. The favorable development in the pro rata line of business was driven by a change in loss development assumptions for property/casualty global pro rata contracts. Previously, ultimate losses for this contract type were determined by using a weighting of the reinsurance segment’s historical loss development experience with loss development factors from the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA). As the reinsurance segment’s exposure volume has increased over time, and as actual emerged losses have generally been significantly better than the weighted loss development history projections, the use of RAA factors was discontinued in favor of actual emerged loss development in the fourth quarter. In the excess of loss line of business, accident year 2015 was the greatest contributor to the favorable development, but was partially offset by reserve strengthening in accident year 2016 and several prior accident years.
As previously stated, Mutual Re experienced approximately zero development on prior accident years in aggregate. Actuarial reviews of the reserves assumed from Mutual Re have consistently indicated a level of adequacy which challenged the upper boundary of the range of reasonable reserves. To address this issue, the reinsurance segment maintained a $4.0 million negative bulk IBNR loss reserve to keep reserves within the reasonable range.
During 2017, the expected loss ratios utilized in the various reserving methodologies for prior contract years were unchanged. The expected loss ratios utilized in reserving methodologies for the 2017 contract year were based on an extensive actuarial analysis of trended historic ultimate loss ratios based on current-level earned premiums. Where applicable, new contract loss information or loss histories were also incorporated into the reserving process. Compared to the 2016 contract year selections, the 2017 contract year expected loss ratios for property pro rata and aggregate excess contract types decreased 2.5 points and 5.0 points, respectively, from the ratios established for contract year 2016. Additionally, the contract year 2017 expected loss ratio for casualty excess contracts was 2.5 points higher than what was used for contact year 2016. All other 2017 expected loss ratios were unchanged from what was used for contract year 2016.

Year ended December 31, 2016
Property and casualty insurance segment
For the property and casualty insurance segment, the December 31, 2016 estimate of loss and settlement expense reserves for accident years 2015 and prior decreased $30.0 million from the estimate at December 31, 2015.  During the third quarter of 2016, management implemented a new reserving methodology for the determination of direct bulk reserves in the property and casualty insurance segment. The new methodology produces specific line of business and accident year estimated ultimate loss and allocated settlement expense amounts based on explicit loss frequency and severity assumptions. The previous methodology used one process to determine the aggregate amount of IBNR loss and settlement expense reserves, and a separate process to allocate those reserves to the various accident years. The implementation of the new reserving methodology did not have a material impact on total carried reserves for the property and casualty insurance segment; however, there was some movement of allocated settlement expense reserves to IBNR loss reserves, and a reallocation of loss and allocated settlement expense reserves by accident year to align those reserves with the estimated ultimate loss and allocated settlement expense ratios. In connection with this reallocation of reserves by accident year, approximately $5.6 million of IBNR loss and allocated settlement expense reserves were moved from prior accident years to the current accident year in multiple lines of business. This reduction in prior accident years' reserves was reported as favorable development; however, this development was "mechanical in nature", and did not have any impact on earnings because the total amount of carried reserves did not change. Excluding this adjustment, the implied amount of favorable development that had an impact on earnings was approximately 5.1 percent of the December 31, 2015 gross carried reserves.  The following table displays development on prior years' reserves by line of business and type of reserve.

20


($ in thousands)
Line of business
 
Reported case and IBNR loss reserves
 
Allocated settlement expense reserves
 
Unallocated settlement expense reserves
 
Total
Personal lines
 
$
(1,242
)
 
$
(302
)
 
$
(33
)
 
$
(1,577
)
Commercial auto liability
 
6,807

 
(3,236
)
 
(1,222
)
 
2,349

Auto physical damage
 
(1,850
)
 
(34
)
 
205

 
(1,679
)
Workers' compensation
 
(11,271
)
 
(4,205
)
 
(844
)
 
(16,320
)
Other liability
 
(2,709
)
 
(9,936
)
 
(523
)
 
(13,168
)
Commercial property
 
1,296

 
982

 
174

 
2,452

Other
 
(1,426
)
 
(163
)
 
(481
)
 
(2,070
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 
$
(10,395
)
 
$
(16,894
)
 
$
(2,724
)
 
$
(30,013
)

The favorable development reported for 2016 was generally attributed to lower explicit loss frequency and severity assumptions underlying the loss and allocated settlement expense reserves carried at year-end 2016 than the implicit assumptions underlying the reserves carried at year-end 2015. The favorable development associated with the loss and allocated settlement expense reserves total $27.3 million, with $10.4 million coming from favorable loss reserve development and $16.9 million coming from favorable allocated settlement expense reserve development.
Favorable development on loss and allocated settlement expense reserves represented 91 percent of the property and casualty insurance segment’s total reported favorable development of $30.0 million. The following table displays the development experienced in 2016 on reported case and IBNR loss reserves and allocated settlement expense reserves for the five most recent accident years, and all prior accident years, by line of business.

($ in thousands)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Calendar
accident
year
 
Personal
lines
 
Commercial
auto
liability
 
Auto
physical
damage
 
Workers'
compensation
 
Other
liability
 
Commercial
property
 
Other
 
Total
Prior
 
$
(96
)
 
$
(490
)
 
$
(145
)
 
$
218

 
$
2,681

 
$
(158
)
 
$
(361
)
 
$
1,649

2011
 
(182
)
 
(277
)
 
(37
)
 
(770
)
 
(1,654
)
 
672

 
(83
)
 
(2,331
)
2012
 
(243
)
 
(67
)
 
(72
)
 
(1,910
)
 
(3,435
)
 
296

 
(200
)
 
(5,631
)
2013
 
(199
)
 
126

 
(116
)
 
(2,940
)
 
(495
)
 
557

 
(142
)
 
(3,209
)
2014
 
(211
)
 
1,129

 
(204
)
 
(3,643
)
 
(2,231
)
 
(332
)
 
(163
)
 
(5,655
)
2015
 
(613
)
 
3,150

 
(1,310
)
 
(6,431
)
 
(7,511
)
 
1,243

 
(640
)
 
(12,112
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 
$
(1,544
)
 
$
3,571

 
$
(1,884
)
 
$
(15,476
)
 
$
(12,645
)
 
$
2,278

 
$
(1,589
)
 
$
(27,289
)

The property and casualty insurance segment's new bulk reserving methodology is based on explicit assumptions concerning the ultimate number (frequency) and average size (severity) of claims expected to be incurred. The prior methodology separated the calculation of the aggregate reserves from the allocation of those reserves to the various accident years, and thus did not utilize explicit claim frequency and severity assumptions. Under the new reserving methodology, management seeks to better align expected and actual development by line of business and accident year. As this was a transitional year, there were some discontinuities in the development amounts reported for 2016. The following comments are based on a comparison of the explicit assumptions underlying the December 31, 2016 carried reserves to the implicit assumptions underlying the December 31, 2015 carried reserves.

21


In the table above, five of the seven lines of business exhibited favorable development on a fairly consistent basis over the prior five accident years, those being personal lines, auto physical damage, workers’ compensation, other liability and other. For these lines of business, favorable development for most accident years was driven by decreases in the frequency and/or severity assumptions underlying the estimated ultimate accident year loss and allocated settlement expense ratios. The workers’ compensation line of business experienced adverse development on accident years prior to 2011, as management strengthened those reserves in response to increases in the severity assumptions for those years due to the expansion of the experience review period to thirty-five accident years.
The commercial auto liability line of business experienced adverse development in each of the latest three accident years. Comparing the explicit assumptions utilized at December 31, 2016 to the implicit assumptions underlying the December 31, 2015 reserves, the ultimate claim frequency and severity assumptions for accident year 2015 were underestimated by 1.8 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively. Using the same comparison, claims severity for accident year 2014 was underestimated by 3.4 percent, and for accident year 2013, claim frequency was slightly underestimated.
The commercial property line of business experienced the greatest number of development discontinuities by accident year in connection with the change in reserving methodology. Under the previous methodology, negative bulk case loss reserves were often carried in the commercial property line of business due to the perceived strength of the case loss reserves relative to the other lines of business. With the elimination of the bulk case loss reserves under the new methodology, the reserves for the commercial property line of business were reallocated in total and by accident year in accordance with the explicit claim frequency and severity assumptions developed during 2016. The implicit assumptions utilized at year-end 2015 underestimated claim frequency for each of the five most recent accident years, and underestimated loss severity for all of those years except 2014.
The Company increased asbestos and environmental IBNR loss and settlement expense reserves by $3.5 million during 2016, which was primarily reflected in the other liability line of business. The increase was in response to an indicated increase in the ultimate asbestos liability produced by internal payout decay models. Management also noted that A.M. Best increased the industry’s estimated ultimate liability by $15 billion during 2016. Newly reported asbestos claims had decreased slightly for the last two calendar years. Asbestos and environmental reserves constituted less than 3 percent of the property and casualty insurance segment’s total direct reserves.

Reinsurance segment
For the reinsurance segment, the December 31, 2016 estimate of loss and settlement expense reserves for accident years 2015 and prior decreased $10.9 million from the estimate at December 31, 2015.  This decrease represented 5.5 percent of the December 31, 2015 carried reserves.  Approximately $7.1 million of favorable development was attributable to the HORAD book of business, with the remaining $3.8 million of favorable development associated with Mutual Re.  
In the HORAD book of business, $7.4 million of favorable development occurred in the pro rata line of business and $0.3 million of adverse development occurred in the excess of loss line of business. The favorable development in the pro rata line of business primarily occurred in the 2015 accident year, with accident years 2012 - 2014 generating $1.4 million of adverse development and the remaining prior accident years experiencing little development in the aggregate. In the excess of loss line of business, the 2015 accident year experienced over $3.0 million of favorable development; however, this favorable development was more than offset by adverse development in many of the prior 21 accident years, with the greatest amount of adverse development concentrated in accident years 2005 - 2014.
The favorable development experienced on the Mutual Re business was mostly attributed to an increase in the amount of negative bulk IBNR loss reserve carried on prior years' reserves. Recent actuarial reviews of Mutual Re's reported reserves had consistently indicated that those reserves challenged the upper level of the range of reasonable reserves. To address this issue, a $2.0 million negative bulk IBNR loss reserve was established in 2015 for this business. During 2016, the negative bulk IBNR loss reserve was increased to $4.0 million, with $5.3 million of negative IBNR loss reserve carried on prior accident years and $1.3 million of positive lag IBNR loss reserve carried on the 2016 accident year. The recognition of the additional negative IBNR loss reserve accounted for $3.3 million of the $3.8 million of favorable development experienced during 2016.
During 2016, the expected loss ratios utilized for prior contract years remained unchanged, except for ocean marine pro rata business. The expected loss ratios associated with this contract type were decreased by approximately 2.5, 4.0 and 5.0 percentage points for contract years 2012, 2014 and 2015, respectively, from the ratios utilized during 2015. Additionally, the expected loss ratio for contract year 2013 was increased by approximately 2.0 percentage points relative to the 2015 value. These changes were made in response to reserving information supplied by the ceding company, a large writer of ocean marine pro rata business.

22


The expected loss ratios utilized for the 2016 contract year were based on an extensive actuarial analysis of trended historic ultimate loss ratios based on current-level earned premiums. Where applicable, new contract loss information or loss histories were also incorporated into the reserving process. Compared to the 2015 contract year selections, the 2016 contract year expected loss ratios for per risk excess and casualty excess business increased by 2.5 percentage points, while the expected loss ratio for aggregate excess business decreased by 5.0 percentage points. The 2016 contract year expected loss ratio for ocean marine pro rata business increased approximately 2.5 percentage points above the initial 2015 contract year selection, but was approximately 7.5 percentage points above the revised ratio.
 
Asbestos and Environmental Claims
The Company has exposure to asbestos and environmental related claims associated with the insurance business written by the parties to the pooling agreement and the reinsurance business assumed from Employers Mutual by the reinsurance subsidiary.  With regard to the assumed reinsurance business, however, all asbestos and environmental exposures related to 1980 and prior accident years are retained by Employers Mutual.
Estimating loss and settlement expense reserves for asbestos and environmental claims is very difficult due to the many uncertainties surrounding these types of claims.  These uncertainties exist because the assignment of responsibility varies widely by state and claims often emerge long after a policy has expired, which makes assignment of damages to the appropriate party and to the time period covered by a particular policy difficult.  In establishing reserves for these types of claims, management monitors the relevant facts concerning each claim, the current status of the legal environment, social and political conditions, and the claim history and trends within the Company and the industry.
The following table presents asbestos and environmental-related losses and settlement expenses incurred and reserves outstanding, net of reinsurance, for the Company:
 
 
Year ended December 31,
($ in thousands)
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Losses and settlement expenses incurred:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Asbestos:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Property and casualty insurance
 
$
1,274

 
$
5,177

 
$
3,475

Reinsurance
 

 

 

 
 
1,274

 
5,177

 
3,475

Environmental:
 
 

 
 

 
 

Property and casualty insurance
 

 
(97
)
 
652

Reinsurance
 

 

 

 
 

 
(97
)
 
652

Total losses and settlement expenses incurred
 
$
1,274

 
$
5,080

 
$
4,127

 
 
Year ended December 31,
($ in thousands)
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Loss and settlement expense reserves:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Asbestos:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Property and casualty insurance
 
$
9,521

 
$
9,652

 
$
11,134

Reinsurance
 
318

 
332

 
359

 
 
9,839

 
9,984

 
11,493

Environmental:
 
 

 
 

 
 

Property and casualty insurance
 
635

 
730

 
846

Reinsurance
 
655

 
664

 
666

 
 
1,290

 
1,394

 
1,512

Total loss and settlement expense reserves
 
$
11,129

 
$
11,378

 
$
13,005


23


The property and casualty insurance subsidiaries have exposure to asbestos and environmental claims arising primarily from the other liability line of business.  These exposures are closely monitored by management, and IBNR loss reserves have been established to cover estimated ultimate losses.  The loss and settlement expense reserves associated with asbestos claims have been increased each year for the last several years due to continued reporting of new claims at a rate not previously anticipated, as well as updated internal ultimate loss and settlement expense evaluations. In 2018, the settlement expense reserves for asbestos claims were strengthened by $1.5 million. During 2017, a settlement was reached with a former insured, resulting in the Company recognizing $4.5 million (its share) of losses and settlement expenses to remove all past and future asbestos liability exposure related to that policyholder.
Reserves for environmental claims are established in consideration of the implied three-year survival ratio.  Estimation of ultimate liabilities for these exposures is unusually difficult due to unresolved issues such as whether coverage exists, the definition of an occurrence, the determination of ultimate damages and the allocation of such damages to financially responsible parties. Therefore, any estimation of these liabilities is subject to greater than normal variation and uncertainty, and ultimate payments for losses and settlement expenses for these exposures may differ significantly from the carried reserves.
Based upon current facts, management believes the reserves carried for asbestos and environmental-related claims at December 31, 2018 are adequate.  Although future changes in the legal and political environment may result in adjustment to these reserves, management believes any adjustment will not have a material impact on the Company's financial condition or results of operations.

Reinsurance Ceded
Property and Casualty Insurance
The pool participants cede insurance in the ordinary course of business for the primary purpose of limiting their maximum loss exposure.  The pool participants also purchase catastrophe reinsurance to cover multiple losses arising from a single event.
All major reinsurance treaties, with the exception of the pooling agreement, the personal boiler contract, the employment practices liability contract, and the data compromise, cyber liability and identity recovery contracts, are on an “excess of loss” basis whereby the reinsurer agrees to reimburse the pool participants for covered losses in excess of a predetermined amount, up to a stated limit.  The personal boiler contract, data compromise, cyber liability and identity recovery contracts, and the employment practices liability contract provide for 100 percent reinsurance of the pool’s applicable direct exposures. Facultative reinsurance from approved markets, which provides reinsurance on an individual risk basis and requires specific agreement of the reinsurer as to the limits provided, is purchased when an insured requires coverage in excess of treaty capacity, where a high-risk type policy could expose the treaty reinsurance programs, or other reasons where the pool participants wish to reduce their net loss exposure from a particular risk.
Excess of loss reinsurance coverage is purchased in layers subject to retentions determined by reinsurance market conditions and the surplus position of the EMC Insurance Companies.  The pooling agreement aids efficient buying of reinsurance since it allows for higher retention levels and correspondingly decreased dependence on the reinsurance marketplace.
Summaries of the reinsurance treaties benefiting the pool participants during 2018 are presented below.  
Property Catastrophe Program
5th Layer Property Catastrophe $35 million excess $195 million
4th Layer Property Catastrophe $95 million excess $100 million
3rd Layer Property Catastrophe $60 million excess $40 million
2nd Layer Property Catastrophe $20 million excess $20 million (91.15% placed)
1st Layer Property Catastrophe $10 million excess $10 million (60.30% placed)
$10 million Retention plus $10 million Annual Aggregate Deductible

24


Property Per Risk, Casualty and Workers' Compensation Excess Program
Property per Risk $60 million excess $20 million
Workers' Compensation Catastrophe $50 million excess $40 million
Casualty $20 million excess $20 million (Casualty, Umbrella, Workers' Compensation)
2nd Layer Multiline $10 million excess $10 million (Combined Property per Risk, Casualty, Umbrella, Workers' Compensation)
1st Layer Multiline $6 million excess $4 million (Combined Property per Risk, Casualty, Umbrella, Workers' Compensation)
$4 million Retention
Fidelity and Surety Program
3rd Layer Surety $30 million excess $15 million
2nd Layer Surety $8 million excess $7 million (90% placed)
1st Layer Fidelity and Surety $5 million excess $2 million (95% placed)
$2 million Retention

($ in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Type of reinsurance treaty
 
Retention
 
Limits
Boiler - commercial lines (1/1/18 through 5/31/18)
 
$

 
100 percent of $100,000
Boiler - commercial lines (6/1/18 through 12/31/18)
 
$
25

 
$100,000 excess $25
Boiler - personal lines
 
$

 
100 percent of $100
Employment practices liability
 
$

 
100 percent of $1,000
Data compromise
 
$

 
100 percent of $1,000
Identity recovery
 
$

 
100 percent of $25
Cyber liability
 
$

 
100 percent of $1,000

Although reinsurance does not discharge the original insurer from its primary liability to its policyholders, it is the practice of insurers for accounting purposes to treat reinsured risks as risks of the reinsurer since the primary insurer would only re-assume liability in those situations where the reinsurer is unable to meet the obligations it assumes under the reinsurance agreements.  The ability to collect reinsurance is subject to the solvency of the reinsurers.
The major reinsurers in the pool participants’ reinsurance programs during 2018 are presented below.  The percentages represent the reinsurers’ share of the total reinsurance protection under all coverages.  Each type of coverage is purchased in layers, and an individual reinsurer may participate in more than one type of coverage and in various layers.  All programs (except the boiler, data compromise, cyber liability, identity recovery, and employment practice liability programs, and the top layer of the property catastrophe program) are handled by reinsurance brokers who cede coverage to 55 domestic and foreign reinsurers.
In formulating reinsurance programs, Employers Mutual is selective in its choice of reinsurers.  Employers Mutual selects reinsurers on the basis of financial stability and long-term relationships, as well as price and coverage terms. Reinsurers are generally required to have an A.M. Best rating of “A” (Excellent) or higher and a minimum policyholders’ surplus of $500 million.

25



 
Percent of total reinsurance protection
 
A.M. Best rating
Property catastrophe, property per risk and casualty coverages
 
 
Underwriters at Lloyd's of London
 
22.4
%
 
 
A
Mutual Re
 
12.4
%
 
 
(1)
Hannover Ruckversicherung AG
 
9.1
%
 
 
A+
R + V Versicherung AG
 
7.6
%
 
 
(2)
MAPFRE Re Compania De Reaseguros, SA
 
4.5
%
 
 
A
QBE Reinsurance Corporation
 
3.8
%
 
 
A
Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation
 
3.7
%
 
 
A+
Tokio Milennium Re AG
 
3.4
%
 
 
A+
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fidelity and surety coverages
 
 

 
 
 
Transatlantic Reinsurance Company
 
31.6
%
 
 
A+
Hannover Ruckversicherung AG
 
21.4
%
 
 
A+
Axis Reinsurance Company
 
14.7
%
 
 
A+
Odyssey America Reinsurance Corp.
 
12.1
%
 
 
A
Everest Reinsurance Company
 
12.1
%
 
 
A+
Endurance Assurance Corporation
 
8.1
%
 
 
A+
 
 
 
 
 
 
Boiler - commercial lines coverage
 
 

 
 
 
Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
 
100.0
%
 
 
A++
 
 
 
 
 
 
Boiler - personal lines coverage
 
 

 
 
 
Factory Mutual Insurance Company
 
100.0
%
 
 
A+
 
 
 
 
 
 
Employment practices liability coverage
 
 

 
 
 
Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
 
100.0
%
 
 
A++
 
 
 
 
 
 
Data compromise, cyber liability and identity recovery
 
 

 
 
 
Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
 
100.0
%
 
 
A++
(1)
Mutual Re is composed of Employers Mutual and four other unaffiliated mutual insurance companies.  Mutual Re is backed by the financial strength of the five member companies.  Two of the other member companies have an “A” (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best, while the other two have “A-” (Excellent) ratings.
(2)
R + V Versicherung AG is not rated by A.M. Best, but maintains an AA- rating from Standard & Poor’s.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 (effective through December 31, 2020, referred to herein as the "TRIA") continues the Federal backstop on losses from certified terrorism events.  TRIA covers most direct commercial lines of business, including coverage for losses from nuclear, biological and chemical exposures if coverage was afforded by an insurer, but with exclusions for commercial automobile insurance, burglary and theft insurance, surety insurance, professional liability insurance, and farmowners multiple peril insurance.  
The program trigger threshold for federal participation in losses was $160.0 million in 2018, and increases $20.0 million per year until reaching $200.0 million on January 1, 2020. A loss must be $5.0 million or more to count towards the program trigger threshold. Each insurer has a deductible amount (20 percent of the prior year’s direct commercial lines premiums earned for the applicable lines of business) and a retention above the deductible (18 percent in 2018, increasing by one percentage point each year until reaching 20 percent on January 1, 2020). TRIA caps losses at $100.0 billion annually, so no insurer that has met its deductible will be liable for payment of any portion of losses above that amount. For the Company, the TRIA deductible is approximately $66.0 million.

26


Coverage for terrorism losses is included in the pool participants’ reinsurance programs for property and casualty risks (including coverage for the aggregation of property claims from catastrophic losses).  In summary, coverage under the property contracts includes both domestic and foreign terrorism, though it is restricted to exclude from coverage nuclear, biological, chemical and radiation (NBCR) losses.  Coverage under the casualty contracts also includes both domestic and foreign terrorism, though NBCR terrorism is covered for one limit per layer.

Reinsurance
The reinsurance subsidiary purchases additional reinsurance protection in peak exposure territories from external parties in which coverage is triggered when losses experienced by the insurance industry from a catastrophic event exceed a specified threshold. Any reinsurance recoveries received from external parties reduces the amount of losses ceded to Employers Mutual under the inter-company reinsurance program, net of the reinsurance subsidiary's 20 percent co-participation. The net cost of this external reinsurance protection was approximately $6.0 million, $5.6 million and $3.5 million in 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. During 2018, the reinsurance subsidiary recovered $5.2 million under the treaty purchased in 2017, 80 percent of which was ceded to Employers Mutual in accordance with the co-participation provision of the inter-company reinsurance program. No recoveries were made from external parties in 2017 or 2016.
The reinsurance subsidiary also assumes and cedes some selected reinsurance business through the quota share agreement in connection with “fronting” activities initiated by Employers Mutual whereby an agreed upon percentage of the selected assumed business is ceded to other reinsurer(s) on a pro rata basis.  Ceded earned premiums associated with this fronting activity amounted to $3.8 million, $4.2 million and $3.7 million during 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.  The ceding of this reinsurance business through these fronting activities does not discharge the reinsurance subsidiary from its assumed liability to the original cedants, and the ability to collect reinsurance is subject to the solvency of the reinsurers.

Property and Casualty Insurance and Reinsurance
The Company’s portion of premiums written ceded (unaffiliated and excluding premiums ceded to mandatory pools) by the property and casualty insurance segment and the reinsurance segment for the year ended December 31, 2018 is presented below.  Reinsurance coverage for the property and casualty insurance segment is often purchased in layers, and an individual reinsurer may participate in more than one type of coverage and at various layers within the coverages.  Since each layer of coverage is priced separately, with the lower layers being more expensive than the upper layers, a reinsurer’s overall participation in a reinsurance program does not necessarily correspond to the amount of premiums it receives.  The premium amounts ceded by the reinsurance subsidiary reflect the purchase of additional reinsurance protection from external parties and fronting transactions handled through the quota share agreement, and excludes premiums written ceded to Employers Mutual under the inter-company reinsurance program.
 
 
Premiums written ceded
($ in thousands)
Reinsurer
 
Property and casualty insurance segment
 
Reinsurance segment
 
Total
Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
 
$
7,278

 
$

 
$
7,278

Underwriters at Lloyd's of London
 
1,078

 
2,949

 
4,027

Transatlantic Reinsurance Company
 
1,854

 
1,750

 
3,604

Country Mutual Insurance Company
 

 
2,568

 
2,568

Hannover Ruckversicherung AG
 
2,524

 

 
2,524

Tokio Millenium Re AG
 
66

 
1,150

 
1,216

QBE Reinsurance Corporation
 
1,140

 

 
1,140

Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation
 
856

 

 
856

TOA Reinsurance Company of America
 
844

 

 
844

R + V Versicherung AG
 
673

 

 
673

Other Reinsurers
 
4,389

 
1,562

 
5,951

Total
 
$
20,702

 
$
9,979

 
$
30,681



27


The property and casualty insurance segment also cedes reinsurance on a mandatory basis to state organizations in connection with various workers’ compensation and assigned risk programs. The Company’s portion of premiums written ceded to these organizations for the year ended December 31, 2018 is presented below.
($ in thousands)
Reinsurer
 
Property and casualty insurance segment
Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau
 
$
7,246

Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association
 
929

Other Reinsurers
 
288

Total
 
$
8,463


The following table presents amounts due to the Company from reinsurers for losses and settlement expenses, contingent commissions, and prepaid reinsurance premiums as of December 31, 2018.  This presentation differs from the presentation utilized in the consolidated financial statements, where all amounts flowing through the pooling and quota share agreements and inter-company reinsurance programs with Employers Mutual are reported as “affiliated” balances.
 
 
Amount recoverable
 
 
 
 
($ in thousands)
 
Property and casualty insurance segment
 
Reinsurance segment
 
Total
 
Percent of total
 
A.M. Best rating
Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau
 
$
10,314

 
$

 
$
10,314

 
22.3
%
 
(1)
Country Mutual Insurance Company
 

 
6,250

 
6,250

 
13.5
%
 
A+
Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
 
3,869

 

 
3,869

 
8.4
%
 
A++
Hannover Ruckversicherung AG
 
3,485

 

 
3,485

 
7.5
%
 
A+
Transatlantic Reinsurance Company
 
2,448

 
729

 
3,177

 
6.9
%
 
A+
Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association
 
2,099

 

 
2,099

 
4.6
%
 
(1)
Mutual Re
 
915

 
1,155

 
2,070

 
4.5
%
 
(2)
Underwriters at Lloyd's of London
 
710

 
996

 
1,706

 
3.7
%
 
A
TOA Reinsurance Company of America
 
1,429

 

 
1,429

 
3.1
%
 
A
QBE Reinsurance Corporation
 
1,373

 

 
1,373

 
3.0
%
 
A
Other Reinsurers
 
9,769

 
609

 
10,378

 
22.5
%
 
 
 
 
$
36,411

 
$
9,739

 
$
46,150

(3)
100.0
%
 
 
(1)
Amounts recoverable reflect the property and casualty insurance subsidiaries’ aggregate pool participation percentage of amounts ceded to these organizations by Employers Mutual in connection with its role as “service carrier.”  Under these arrangements, Employers Mutual writes business for these organizations on a direct basis and then cedes the business (typically at 100 percent) to these organizations.  Credit risk associated with these amounts is minimal as all companies participating in these organizations are responsible for the liabilities of such organizations on a pro rata basis.
(2)
Mutual Re is composed of Employers Mutual and four other unaffiliated mutual insurance companies.  Mutual Re is backed by the financial strength of the five member companies.  Two of the other member companies have an “A” (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best, while the other two have “A-” (Excellent) ratings.
(3)
The total amount recoverable at December 31, 2018 represents $36.6 million in unpaid losses and settlement expenses, $766,000 in unpaid contingent commissions, and $8.8 million in prepaid reinsurance premiums. Employers Mutual settles with the pool participants (monthly) and the reinsurance subsidiary (quarterly) ceded paid losses and settlement expenses under the reinsurance contracts and provides full credit for the ceded paid losses and settlement expenses generated during the period (not just the collected portion). As a result, Employers Mutual's recoverable for paid losses and settlement expenses represents, to the Company, an off-balance sheet arrangement with an unconsolidated entity that results in credit-risk exposure that is not reflected in the Company’s financial statements.  See note 1 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further discussion of off-balance sheet credit exposures.

28


Investments
The Company’s total invested assets at December 31, 2018 are summarized in the following table:
 
 
December 31, 2018
($ in thousands)
 
Amortized
cost
 
Fair
value
 
Carrying value
 
Percent of total carrying value
Fixed maturity securities available-for-sale
 
$
1,273,132

 
$
1,282,909

 
$
1,282,909

 
83.0
%
Equity investments, at fair value
 
160,371

 
215,363

 
215,363

 
13.9
%
Short-term investments
 
28,204

 
28,204

 
28,204

 
1.8
%
Equity investments, at alternative measurement of cost less impairments
 
1,200

 
XXXX

 
1,200

 
0.1
%
Other long-term investments
 
19,316

 
XXXX

 
19,316

 
1.2
%
 
 
$
1,482,223

 
XXXX

 
$
1,546,992

 
100.0
%

The Company’s investment strategy is to conservatively manage its investment portfolio by investing primarily in readily marketable, investment-grade fixed maturity securities and equity investments.  The board of directors of each of the Company’s insurance company subsidiaries have established investment guidelines and regularly review the investment portfolio for compliance with those guidelines.  The Company does not hold foreign denominated investments.  The Company does not purchase non-investment grade securities.  Any non-investment grade securities held are the result of rating downgrades that occurred subsequent to their purchase.  
At December 31, 2018, the portfolio of fixed maturity securities consisted of 0.7 percent U.S. Treasury, 23.8 percent government agency, 20.9 percent asset-backed, 21.5 percent municipal and 33.1 percent corporate securities.  As of December 31, 2018, the effective duration of the Company’s fixed maturity portfolio, excluding interest-only securities, was 4.9, and the effective duration of its liabilities was 2.7. At December 31, 2018, the Company held $4.2 million of non-investment grade fixed maturity securities in a net unrealized loss position of $421,000.
The Company has two separate common stock equity portfolios that are diversified across a large range of industry sectors and are managed for fees based on total assets under management (a large-cap blend equity portfolio managed by BMO Global Asset Management and a high dividend value equity portfolio managed by Schafer Cullen Capital Management).  As of December 31, 2018, the common stock equity portfolios were invested in the following industry sectors:
 
 
Percent of equity portfolio
Financial services
 
21.9
%
Information technology
 
16.5
%
Healthcare
 
18.1
%
Consumer staples
 
6.9
%
Consumer discretionary
 
11.9
%
Energy
 
7.0
%
Industrials
 
10.2
%
Other
 
7.5
%
 
 
100.0
%

The Company's other long-term investments primarily consist of holdings in limited partnerships, and privately placed common and non-redeemable convertible preferred stock in start-up technology companies with ties to the insurance industry. The equity method of accounting is used for these investments, with changes in the carrying value recorded as realized investment gains (losses). Also included in other long-term investments are holdings in limited liability companies that convey renewable energy tax credits that are carried at amortized cost.  

29


Employees
EMC Insurance Group Inc. and its subsidiaries have no employees.  The Company’s business activities are conducted by the approximately 2,500 employees of Employers Mutual.  EMC Insurance Group Inc., EMC Reinsurance Company and EMC Underwriters, LLC are charged their proportionate share of salary and employee benefit costs based on time allocations.  Costs not allocated to these companies, and other subsidiaries of Employers Mutual outside the pooling agreement, are charged to the pooling agreement.  The Company’s property and casualty insurance subsidiaries share the costs charged to the pooling agreement in accordance with their pool participation percentages.

Regulation
The Company’s insurance subsidiaries are subject to extensive regulation and supervision by their states of domicile, as well as those states in which they do business.  The purpose of such regulation and supervision is primarily to provide safeguards for policyholders, rather than to protect the interests of stockholders.  The insurance laws of the various states establish regulatory agencies with broad administrative powers, including the power to grant or revoke operating licenses and regulate trade practices, investments, premium rates, deposits of securities, the form and content of financial statements and insurance policies, accounting practices and the maintenance of specified reserves and capital for the protection of policyholders.
Premium rate regulation varies greatly among jurisdictions and lines of insurance.  In most states in which the Company’s subsidiaries and the other pool participants write insurance, premium rates for the various lines of insurance are subject to either prior approval or limited review upon implementation.  States require rates for property and casualty insurance that are adequate, not excessive, and not unfairly discriminatory.
Like other insurance companies, the pool participants are required to participate in mandatory shared-market mechanisms or state pooling arrangements as a condition for maintaining their insurance licenses to do business in various states.  The purpose of these state-mandated arrangements is to provide insurance coverage to individuals who, because of poor driving records or other underwriting reasons, are unable to purchase such coverage voluntarily provided by private insurers. These risks can be assigned to all insurers licensed in the state and the maximum volume of such risks that any one insurance company may be assigned typically is proportional to that insurance company’s annual premium volume in that state.  The underwriting results of this mandatory business traditionally have been unprofitable.
The Company’s insurance subsidiaries are required to file detailed annual reports with the appropriate regulatory agency in each state in which they do business based on applicable statutory regulations, which differ from U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.  Their business and accounts are subject to examination by such agencies at any time.  Since three of the Company’s four insurance subsidiaries and Employers Mutual are domiciled in Iowa, the State of Iowa exercises principal regulatory supervision, and Iowa law requires periodic examination.
State laws governing insurance holding companies also impose standards on certain transactions with related companies, which include, among other requirements, that all transactions be fair and reasonable and that an insurer’s surplus as regards policyholders be reasonable and adequate in relation to its liabilities.  Under Iowa law, dividends or distributions made by registered insurers are restricted in amount and may be subject to approval from the Iowa Commissioner of Insurance. “Extraordinary” dividends or distributions are subject to prior approval and are defined as dividends or distributions made within a 12-month period which exceed the greater of 10 percent of statutory surplus as regards policyholders as of the preceding December 31, or net income of the preceding calendar year on a statutory basis.  North Dakota imposes similar restrictions on the payment of dividends and distributions, though its restriction is set at the lower of 10 percent of statutory surplus as regards policyholders as of the preceding December 31, or net income of the preceding calendar year on a statutory basis excluding capital gains.  At December 31, 2018, $48.0 million was available for distribution to the Company in 2019 without prior approval.  See note 6 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
Under state insurance guaranty fund laws, insurance companies doing business in a state can be assessed for certain obligations of insolvent insurance companies to such companies’ policyholders and claimants.  Maximum assessments allowed in any one year generally vary between one percent and two percent of annual premiums written in that state, but it is possible that caps on such assessments could be raised if there are numerous or large insolvencies.  In most states, guaranty fund assessments are recoverable either through future policy surcharges or offsets to state premium tax liabilities.

30


The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) utilizes a risk-based capital model to help state regulators assess the capital adequacy of insurance companies and identify insurers that are in, or are perceived as approaching, financial difficulty.  This model establishes minimum capital needs based on the risks applicable to the operations of the individual insurer.  The risk-based capital requirements for property and casualty insurance companies measure three major areas of risk:  asset risk, credit risk and underwriting risk.  Companies having less statutory surplus than required by the risk-based capital requirements are subject to varying degrees of regulatory scrutiny and intervention, depending on the severity of the inadequacy.  At December 31, 2018, the Company’s insurance subsidiaries had total adjusted statutory capital of $527.1 million, which exceeds the minimum risk-based capital requirement of $101.9 million.

AVAILABLE INFORMATION
The Company’s internet address is investors.emcins.com.  The Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to these reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) are available free of charge through the Company’s website as soon as reasonably practicable after the filing or furnishing of such material with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

31


EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE COMPANY
The Company’s executive officers, their positions and ages are shown in the table below:
NAME
 
AGE
 
POSITION
Dan D. Aksamit
 
54
 
Senior Vice President-Chief Risk Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual since 2018. Assistant Vice President of Employers Mutual from 2015 through 2017. He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 2004.
 
 
 
 
 
Ian C. Asplund
 
38
 
Senior Vice President-Chief Analytics Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual since 2018. Senior Vice President-Strategic Analytics of the Company and Employers Mutual from 2016 through 2017. Vice President-Chief Actuary of the Company and Employers Mutual from 2015 to 2016. Assistant Vice President of Employers Mutual from 2012 to 2014. He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 2003.
 
 
 
 
 
Dan C. Crew
 
50
 
Senior Vice President-Chief Underwriting Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual since 2018. Vice President-Underwriting of Employers Mutual from 2014-2017. Assistant Vice President of Employers Mutual from 2007-2013. He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 1995.
 
 
 
 
 
Bradley J. Fredericks
 
45
 
Senior Vice President-Chief Investment Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual since 2017. Vice President-Chief Investment Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual from 2014 to 2017.  Assistant Vice President of Employers Mutual from 2013 to 2014. He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 2010.
 
 
 
 
 
Lisa L. Hamilton
 
64
 
Senior Vice President-Chief Brand Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual since 2018. Vice President of Employers Mutual from 2012 through 2017. Assistant Vice President of Employers Mutual from 2009 to 2012. She has been employed by Employers Mutual since 2002.
 
 
 
 
 
Scott R. Jean
 
47
 
Executive Vice President-Finance & Strategy of the Company and Employers Mutual since 2018. Executive Vice President for Finance & Analytics of the Company and Employers Mutual from 2015 through 2017. Senior Vice President-Chief Actuary of the Company and Employers Mutual from 2014 to 2015. Vice President-Chief Actuary of the Company and of Employers Mutual from 2009 to 2014.  He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 1993.
 
 
 
 
 
Bruce G. Kelley
 
64
 
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual since 1992. Reappointed Treasurer of the Company and Employers Mutual in 2014 (previously held that title for Employers Mutual from 1996 to 2000 and the Company from 1996 to 2001). President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual from 1991 to 1992 and Executive Vice President of the Company and Employers Mutual from 1989 to 1991.  He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 1985.
 
 
 
 
 
Meyer T. Lehman
 
43
 
Senior Vice President-Chief Actuarial Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual upon his hiring in 2017. Prior to joining Employers Mutual he was Product Management Vice President & Chief Actuarial Officer of Continental Western Group & Berkley Agribusiness Risk Specialists from 2012 to 2017.
 
 
 
 
 
Robert L. Link
 
61
 
Senior Vice President-Chief Administrative Officer and Assistant Secretary of the Company and Senior Vice President-Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary of Employers Mutual since 2018. Senior Vice President and Assistant Secretary of the Company and Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary-Administration of Employers Mutual from 2012 through 2017. Vice President of the Company from 2007 to 2012 and Vice President and Corporate Secretary-Administration of Employers Mutual from 2005 to 2012. He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 1977.
 
 
 
 
 

32


Mick A. Lovell
 
56
 
Executive Vice President-Operations of the Company and Employers Mutual since 2018. Executive Vice President for Corporate Development of the Company and Employers Mutual from 2015 through 2017. Senior Vice President for Corporate Development of the Company and Employers Mutual from 2014 to 2015. Vice President of the Company and Vice President-Business Development of Employers Mutual from 2011 to 2014.  Assistant Vice President of the Company and Assistant Vice President-Director of Product Management of Employers Mutual from 2003 to 2011. He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 2003.
 
 
 
 
 
Elizabeth A. Nigut
 
49
 
Senior Vice President-Chief Human Resources Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual since 2018. Senior Vice President of the Company and Senior Vice President-Human Resources of Employers Mutual from 2014 through 2017. Vice President of the Company and Vice President-Human Resources of Employers Mutual from 2010 to 2014.  She has been employed by Employers Mutual since 2010.
 
 
 
 
 
Larry W. Phillips
 
65
 
Senior Vice President-Chief Field Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual since 2018. Senior Vice President-Business Development of the Company and Employers Mutual from 2015 through 2017. Vice President-Underwriting of Employers Mutual from 2013 to 2015. He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 2012.
 
 
 
 
 
Mark E. Reese
 
61
 
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company and of Employers Mutual since 2004.  Vice President of the Company and Employers Mutual from 1996 to 2004 and has been Chief Financial Officer of the Company and Employers Mutual since 1997.  He has been employed by Employers Mutual since 1984.
 
 
 
 
 
Lisa A. Simonetta
 
59