Company Quick10K Filing
Quick10K
Hallmark Financial Services
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$10.97 18 $199
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 2019-03-11 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-07 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-07 Earnings, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-06 Leave Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2018-06-25 Leave Agreement, Regulation FD
8-K 2018-06-19 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-31 Shareholder Vote
8-K 2018-05-24 Regulation FD
8-K 2018-03-15 Enter Agreement, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-12 Earnings, Regulation FD, Exhibits
LYG Lloyds Banking Group 60,430
CNP Centerpoint Energy 15,120
GBCI Glacier Bancorp 3,570
RES RPC 2,740
CLNC Colony Credit Real Estate 1,990
ILPT Industrial Logistics Properties Trust 1,330
OEC Orion Engineered Carbons 1,240
COHN Cohen 8
AST Asterias Biotherapeutics 0
CHP CNL Healthcare Properties 0
HALL 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 Accounting Fees and Services.
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules.
Item 16. Form 10–K Summary.
EX-21 hall-20181231ex21b6222f5.htm
EX-23.(A) hall-20181231ex23a7e5d56.htm
EX-31.(A) hall-20181231xex31a.htm
EX-31.(B) hall-20181231xex31b.htm
EX-32.(A) hall-20181231xex32a.htm
EX-32.(B) hall-20181231xex32b.htm

Hallmark Financial Services Earnings 2018-12-31

HALL 10K Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

10-K 1 hall-20181231x10k.htm 10-K hall_Current_Folio_10K

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10‑K

 

(Mark One)

☒   ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended DECEMBER 31, 2018

 

Or

 

☐   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 001‑11252

 

Hallmark Financial Services, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

 

Nevada

    

87‑0447375

(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

 

 

777 Main Street, Suite 1000, Fort Worth, Texas

 

76102

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code: (817) 348‑1600

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

 

 

 

Title of Each Class

    

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Common Stock $.00 par value

 

Nasdaq Global Market

 

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.

Yes ☐ 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.

Yes ☐ 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.

Yes ☒ 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 such files).

Yes ☒ No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the 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. ☒

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See definition of “accelerated filer”, “large accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b‑2 of the Exchange Act.:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large accelerated filer ☐

 

Accelerated filer  ☒

 

Non-accelerated filer ☐

 

Smaller reporting company ☒

 

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.    ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b‑2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒

 

State the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter. $129.5million

 

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date. 18,123,093 shares of common stock, $.18 par value per share, outstanding as of March 14, 2019.

 

 

 

 


 

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

The information required by Part III is incorporated by reference from the Registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this report.

Unless the context requires otherwise, in this Form 10‑K the term “Hallmark” refers solely to Hallmark Financial Services, Inc. and the terms “we,” “our,” “us” and the “Company” refer to Hallmark and its subsidiaries. The direct and indirect subsidiaries of Hallmark are referred to in this Form 10‑K in the manner identified in the chart under “Item 1. Business – Operational Structure.”

Risks Associated with Forward-Looking Statements Included in this Form 10‑K

This Form 10‑K contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created thereby. Forward-looking statements include statements which are predictive in nature, which depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, or which include words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “estimate” or similar expressions. These statements include the plans and objectives of management for future operations, including plans and objectives relating to future growth of our business activities and availability of funds. Statements regarding the following subjects are forward-looking by their nature:

·

our business and growth strategies;

·

our performance goals;

·

our projected financial condition and operating results;

·

our understanding of our competition;

·

industry and market trends;

·

the impact of technology on our products, operations and business; and

·

any other statements or assumptions that are not historical facts.

The forward-looking statements included in this Form 10‑K are based on current expectations that involve numerous risks and uncertainties. Assumptions relating to these forward-looking statements involve judgments with respect to, among other things, future economic, competitive and market conditions, legislative initiatives, regulatory framework, weather-related events and future business decisions, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many of which are beyond our control. Although we believe that the assumptions underlying these forward-looking statements are reasonable, any of the assumptions could be inaccurate and, therefore, there can be no assurance that the forward-looking statements included in this Form 10‑K will prove to be accurate. In light of the significant uncertainties inherent in these forward-looking statements, the inclusion of such information should not be regarded as a representation that our objectives and plans will be achieved.

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PART I

Item 1. Business.

Who We Are

We are a diversified property/casualty insurance group that serves businesses and individuals in specialty and niche markets.

We offer specialty commercial insurance, standard commercial insurance and personal insurance in selected market subcategories that are characteristically low-severity and predominately short-tailed risks. We focus on marketing, distributing, underwriting and servicing property/casualty insurance products that require specialized underwriting expertise or market knowledge. We believe this approach provides us the best opportunity to achieve favorable policy terms and pricing. The insurance policies we produce are written by our six insurance company subsidiaries as well as unaffiliated insurers.

We market, distribute, underwrite and service our property/casualty insurance products primarily through subsidiaries whose operations are organized into product-specific operating units that are supported by our insurance company subsidiaries. Our Contract Binding operating unit offers commercial insurance products and services in the excess and surplus lines market. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit offers general aviation and satellite launch insurance products and services, low and middle market commercial umbrella and primary/excess liability insurance, medical professional liability insurance products and services, financial professional liability insurance products and services and primary/excess commercial property coverages for both catastrophe and non-catastrophe exposures. Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit offers industry-specific commercial insurance products and services in the standard market. Our Workers Compensation operating unit specializes in small and middle market workers compensation business. Effective July 1, 2015, the Workers Compensation operating unit ceased marketing or retaining any risk on new or renewal policies. Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit offers non-standard personal automobile and renters insurance products and services.

Each operating unit has its own management team with significant experience in distributing products to its target markets and proven success in achieving underwriting profitability. Each operating unit is responsible for marketing, distribution and underwriting while we provide capital management, claims management, reinsurance, actuarial, investment, financial reporting, technology and legal services and other administrative support at the parent level. We believe this approach optimizes our operating results by allowing us to effectively penetrate our selected specialty and niche markets while maintaining operational controls, managing risks, controlling overhead and efficiently allocating our capital across operating units. We expect future growth to be derived from organic growth in the premium production of our existing operating units and selected opportunistic acquisitions that meet our criteria.

What We Do

We market commercial and personal lines property/casualty insurance products which are tailored to the risks and coverages required by the insured. We believe that most of our target markets are underserved by larger property/casualty insurers because of the specialized nature of the underwriting required. We are able to offer these products profitably as a result of the expertise of our experienced underwriters. We also believe our long-standing relationships with independent general agencies and retail agents and the service we provide differentiate us from larger property/casualty insurers.

Our Contract Binding operating unit primarily offers commercial property/casualty insurance products in the excess and surplus lines market. Excess and surplus lines insurance provides coverage for difficult to place risks that do not fit the underwriting criteria of insurers operating in the standard market. Our Contract Binding operating unit focuses on middle market commercial risks that do not meet the underwriting requirements of standard insurers due to factors such as loss history, number of years in business, minimum premium size and types of business operation. Our Contract Binding operating unit primarily writes commercial automobile, general liability, commercial property and excess casualty

3


 

 

coverages. Our Contract Binding operating unit markets its products in 37 states through 11 wholesale brokers and 114 general agency offices, as well as 27 independent retail agents in Texas. 

Our Specialty Commercial operating unit offers small and middle market commercial excess liability, umbrella, general liability and public entity excess liability insurance on both an admitted and non-admitted basis; general aviation property/casualty insurance primarily for private and small commercial aircraft and airports; satellite launch property/casualty insurance products;  medical and financial professional liability insurance on an excess and surplus lines basis; and primary/excess commercial property coverages on an excess and surplus lines basis for both catastrophe and non-catastrophe exposures. The principal focus of the excess and umbrella insurance products offered is transportation (trucking for hire and specialty automobile coverage). The Specialty Commercial operating unit also provides excess liability coverage for small to midsize businesses in class categories such as contracting, manufacturing, hospitality and service (non-transportation).  Typical risks range from one power unit to fleets of up to 1000 power units and up to $150 million in receipts (non-construction) or $200 million in receipts (construction) from operations. Public entity excess coverage is also offered on an insurance and reinsurance basis for cities, counties and other public entities with populations up to 1,000,000. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit markets these excess and umbrella products through 124 wholesale brokers in all 50 states. The aircraft liability and hull insurance products underwritten by our Specialty Commercial operating unit target standard general aviation aircraft risks. Airport liability insurance is marketed to smaller, regional airports. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit markets these general aviation insurance products through 186 independent specialty brokers in 48 states. The satellite launch property/casualty policies produced by our Specialty Commercial operating unit are marketed through underwriting agencies with technical knowledge of space insurance. We retain up to $2.0 million per risk for satellite launches and in-orbit coverage for up to 12 months.

The medical professional liability insurance is underwritten on an excess and surplus lines basis by our Specialty Commercial operating unit and focuses on physicians, mid-level providers, miscellaneous medical facilities, hospitals and healthcare organizations and senior care/nursing homes.  The physicians and mid-level providers are generally hard to place or non-standard risks.  These are individuals who do not meet the underwriting requirements of standard insurers due to factors such as loss history, number of years in business, minimum premium size and types of business operation. In addition to healthcare professionals, our Specialty Commercial operating unit also underwrites medical professional liability for standard medical facilities, hospitals and healthcare systems and senior care/nursing homes. The medical facilities are generally outpatient facilities such as surgery centers, imaging centers, labs, home health agencies and other non-hospital facilities providing medical services. The hospitals and healthcare systems are generally stand-alone acute care facilities, multi-hospital systems, integrated delivery systems, critical access hospitals and others specialty hospitals and healthcare systems providing medical services.  Our Specialty Commercial operating unit markets these products through 34 wholesale and retail brokers in 49 states. The Specialty Commercial operating unit also provides medical professional liability to senior care facilities through a program where a managing general agent underwrites on our behalf risks that meet specific underwriting criteria. The financial professional liability insurance underwritten on an excess and surplus lines basis by our Specialty Commercial operating unit focuses on management and professional liability products that include directors & officers, employment practices and retirement and benefit plan fiduciary services for private, public and non-profit entities as well as miscellaneous professional liability insurance for most non-financial institution service industries. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit distributes its financial professional liability insurance products through 30 wholesale brokers in 49 states. The primary/excess commercial property coverages underwritten by our Specialty Commercial operating unit specialize in shared and layered accounts on a non-admitted basis which target regional and national property programs. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit markets these products through 22 wholesale brokers in 50 states.

Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit primarily underwrites low-severity, short-tailed commercial property/casualty insurance products in the standard market. These products have historically produced stable loss results and include general liability, commercial automobile, commercial property and umbrella coverages. Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit currently markets its products through a network of 166 independent agency groups primarily serving businesses in the non-urban areas of 14 states predominately in the southwest and northwest regions.  In addition, our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit provides occupational accident coverage in Texas through an underwriting agency that specializes in the occupational accident insurance market. Effective June 1, 2016, we ceased marketing new or renewal occupational accident policies.

4


 

 

Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit primarily offers non-standard personal automobile policies, which generally provide the minimum limits of liability coverage mandated by state law to drivers who find it difficult to obtain insurance from standard carriers due to various factors including age, driving record, claims history or limited financial resources. Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit also provides a renters insurance product that complements our non-standard auto offering and fits well in our distribution channel. Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit markets and services these non-standard auto and renters insurance policies through 4,305 independent retail agent locations in 10 and 12 states, respectively.

Our insurance company subsidiaries are American Hallmark Insurance Company of Texas (“AHIC”), Hallmark Insurance Company (“HIC”), Hallmark Specialty Insurance Company (“HSIC”), Hallmark County Mutual Insurance Company (“HCM”), Hallmark National Insurance Company (“HNIC”) and Texas Builders Insurance Company (“TBIC”).  AHIC, HIC, HSIC and HNIC have entered into a pooling arrangement, pursuant to which AHIC retains 34% of the net premiums written by any of them, HIC retains 32% of the net premiums written by any of them, HSIC retains 24% of the net premiums written by any of them and HNIC retains 10% of the net premiums written by any of them. A.M. Best Company (“A.M. Best”), a nationally recognized insurance industry rating service and publisher, has pooled its ratings of these four insurance company subsidiaries and assigned a financial strength rating of “A–” (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating of “a-” to each of these individual insurance company subsidiaries and to the pool formed by these four insurance company subsidiaries. Also, A.M. Best has assigned a financial strength rating of “A–” (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating of    “a-” to HCM. A.M. Best does not assign a financial strength rating or an issuer credit rating to TBIC.

These operating units are segregated into three reportable industry segments for financial accounting purposes. The Specialty Commercial Segment includes our Contract Binding operating unit and Specialty Commercial operating unit. The Standard Commercial Segment consists of the Standard Commercial P&C operating unit and the Workers Compensation operating unit. The Personal Segment consists solely of our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit. The following table displays the gross premiums written and net premiums written by these reportable segments for affiliated and unaffiliated insurers for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

 

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

 

 

(dollars in thousands)

Gross Premiums Written:

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

Specialty Commercial Segment

 

$

501,806

 

$

464,714

 

$

388,914

Standard Commercial Segment

 

 

86,121

 

 

78,228

 

 

76,891

Personal Segment

 

 

75,088

 

 

61,214

 

 

83,272

Total

 

$

663,015

 

$

604,156

 

$

549,077

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net Premiums Written:

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

Specialty Commercial Segment

 

$

251,731

 

$

265,022

 

$

249,072

Standard Commercial Segment

 

 

69,222

 

 

69,288

 

 

68,490

Personal Segment

 

 

42,845

 

 

31,273

 

 

44,267

Total

 

$

363,798

 

$

365,583

 

$

361,829

 

5


 

 

Operational Structure

Our insurance company subsidiaries retain a portion of the premiums produced by our operating units. The following chart reflects the operational structure of our organization, including the subsidiaries comprising our operating units and the operating units included in each reportable segment as of December 31, 2018.

Picture 2

Specialty Commercial Segment

The Specialty Commercial Segment of our business includes our Contract Binding operating unit and our Specialty Commercial operating unit. During 2018, our Contract Binding operating unit accounted for 34% and our Specialty Commercial operating unit accounted for 66% of the aggregate premiums produced by the Specialty Commercial Segment.

Contract Binding operating unit. Our Contract Binding operating unit markets, underwrites, finances and services commercial lines insurance in 37 states with a particular emphasis on commercial automobile, general liability and commercial property risks produced on an excess and surplus lines basis. Excess and surplus lines insurance provides coverage for difficult to place risks that do not fit the underwriting criteria of insurers operating in the standard market. During the second quarter of 2018 we discontinued offering premium financing through PAAC for both the Contract Binding operating unit as well as unaffiliated general and retail agents. During 2018 our Contract Binding operating unit accounts for 77% of the premium volume financed by PAAC.

Our Contract Binding operating unit focuses on middle market commercial risks that do not meet the underwriting requirements of traditional standard insurers due to issues such as loss history, number of years in business, minimum premium size and types of business operation. During 2018, commercial automobile, general liability and all other property/casualty accounted for 86%, 11% and 3%, respectively, of the premiums produced by our Contract Binding operating unit. Target risks for commercial automobile insurance are business auto and trucking for hire fleets, excluding

6


 

 

hazardous or flammable materials haulers. Target risks for general liability insurance are small business risk exposures including artisan contractors, sales and service organizations, and building and premises liability exposures. Target risks for commercial property insurance are low- to mid-value structures including office buildings, mercantile shops, restaurants and rental dwellings, in each case with aggregate property limits of less than $1,000,000. The commercial insurance products offered by our Contract Binding operating unit include the following:

·

Commercial automobile. Commercial automobile insurance provides third-party bodily injury and property damage coverage and first-party property damage coverage against losses resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of automobiles and trucks in connection with an insured’s business.

·

General liability. General liability insurance provides coverage for third-party bodily injury and property damage claims arising from accidents occurring on the insured’s premises or from their general business operations.

·

Commercial property. Commercial property insurance provides first-party coverage for the insured’s real property, business personal property, theft and business interruption losses caused by fire, wind, hail, water damage, vandalism and other insured perils. Windstorm, hurricane and hail are generally excluded in coastal areas.

·

Commercial excess liability.  Commercial excess liability insurance is designed to provide an extra layer of protection for bodily injury, personal and advertising injury, or property damage losses above the primary layer of commercial automobile, general liability and employer’s liability insurance. The excess insurance does not begin until the limits of liability in the primary layer have been exhausted. The excess layer provides not only higher limits, but catastrophic protection from large losses.

·

Commercial umbrella. Commercial umbrella insurance protects businesses for bodily injury, personal and advertising injury, or property damage claims in excess of the limits of their primary commercial automobile, general liability and employers liability policies, and for some claims excluded by their primary policies (subject to a deductible). Umbrella insurance provides not only higher limits, but catastrophic protection for large losses.

Our Contract Binding operating unit markets its products in 37 states through 11 wholesale brokers and 114 general agency offices, as well as 27 independent retail agents in Texas. Our Contract Binding operating unit strives to simplify the placement of its excess and surplus lines policies by providing our general agents with a web rating portal which allows for instantaneous quoting and signature-ready applications which can be emailed or faxed to its independent retail agents. During 2018, general agents produced 84%, retail agents produced 2% and wholesale brokers produced 14% of total premiums produced by our Contract Binding operating unit. During 2018, the top ten general agents produced 41%, the eleven wholesale brokers produced 14% and no general agent produced more than 8%, of the total premium volume of our Contract Binding operating unit. During the same period, the top ten retail agents produced 2%, and no retail agent produced more than 1%, of the total premium volume of our Contract Binding operating unit.

The majority of the commercial policies written by our Contract Binding operating unit are for a term of 12 months. Exceptions include certain commercial automobile policies that are written for a term that coincides with the annual harvest of crops and special event general liability policies that are written for the term of the event, which is generally one to two days. Commercial lines policies are paid in full up front or financed with various premium finance companies, including PAAC.

Specialty Commercial operating unit. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit offers small and middle market commercial excess liability, umbrella and general liability insurance on both an admitted and non-admitted basis focused primarily on trucking, specialty automobile and non-fleet automobile coverage, excess liability for most classes of public entity risks, general aviation property/casualty insurance primarily for private and small commercial aircraft and airports, satellite launch insurance products, medical and financial professional liability insurance on an excess and surplus lines basis and primary/excess commercial property coverage for both catastrophe and non-catastrophe exposures on an excess and surplus lines basis. Certain specialty programs are also managed by our Specialty Commercial operating unit.

7


 

 

The small and middle market commercial excess liability, umbrella and general liability insurance underwritten by our Specialty Commercial operating unit is offered on an admitted and non-admitted basis in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Limits of liability offered are from $1,000,000 to $6,000,000 (transportation) and $1,000,000 to $10,000,000 (non-transportation) in coverage in excess of the primary carrier’s limits of liability. The majority of the excess, umbrella and general liability insurance policies written by our Specialty Commercial operating unit are on an annual basis. However, exceptions are common in an attempt to have policy effective dates coincide with those of the primary insurance policies. Policy premiums are due in full 30 days from the inception date of the policy. During 2018, the top ten wholesale brokers accounted for 42% of our primary and excess casualty premium volume, with no single wholesale broker accounting for more than 9%. During 2018, commercial transportation excess liability risks accounted for 68% of the premiums, with the remaining 32% coming from non-transportation commercial excess, public entity and general liability risks.

The commercial excess, umbrella, general liability and public entity excess liability insurance products offered by our Specialty Commercial operating unit include the following:

·

Commercial excess liability.  Commercial excess liability insurance is designed to provide an extra layer of protection for bodily injury, personal and advertising injury, or property damage losses above the primary layer of commercial automobile, general liability and employer’s liability insurance. The excess insurance does not begin until the limits of liability in the primary layer have been exhausted. The excess layer provides not only higher limits, but catastrophic protection from large losses.

·

Commercial umbrella. Commercial umbrella insurance protects businesses for bodily injury, personal and advertising injury, or property damage claims in excess of the limits of their primary commercial automobile, general liability and employer’s liability policies, and for some claims excluded by their primary policies (subject to a deductible). Umbrella insurance provides not only higher limits, but catastrophic protection for large losses.

·

Commercial general liability. General liability insurance provides coverage for third-party bodily injury and property damage claims arising from accidents occurring on the insured’s premises or from their general business operations.

·

Public entity excess liability. Public entity excess liability is designed to provide an extra layer of protection for target classes of public entities for auto liability, general liability, public officials’ liability, wrongful acts, employment practices liability, law enforcement liability, educators’ legal liability and related coverages.

Our Specialty Commercial operating unit markets, underwrites and services general aviation property/casualty insurance in 48 states.    The marketing strategy of our Specialty Commercial operating unit is similar to only a few competitors in the U.S. and focuses on developing a well-defined niche centering on transitional pilots, older aircraft and small airports and aviation-related businesses. In addition, our Specialty Commercial operating unit offers satellite launch property/casualty policies marketed through underwriting agencies with technical knowledge of space insurance. The general aviation and satellite launch products offered by our Specialty Commercial operating unit include the following:

·

Aircraft. Aircraft insurance provides third-party bodily injury and property damage coverage and first-party hull damage coverage against losses resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of aircraft.

·

Airport liability. Airport liability insurance provides coverage for third-party bodily injury and property damage claims arising from accidents occurring on airport premises or from their operations.

·

Satellite. We retain up to $2.0 million per risk for satellite launches and in-orbit coverage for up to 12 months.

Our Specialty Commercial operating unit distributes its general aviation insurance products through 186 aviation specialty brokers. These specialty brokers submit requests for aviation insurance quotations received from the states in which we operate and our Specialty Commercial operating unit selectively determines the risks fitting its target niche for which it

8


 

 

will prepare a quote. During 2018, the top ten independent specialty brokers produced 39%, and no broker produced more than 9%, of the total general aviation premium volume of our Specialty Commercial operating unit. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit independently develops, underwrites and prices each general aviation coverage written. We target standard general aviation risks for both commercial (non-airline) and non-commercial uses. We do not accept aircraft that are used for hazardous purposes such as crop dusting or heli-skiing. Liability limits are controlled, with 93% of the aircraft written in 2018 bearing per-occurrence limits of $1,000,000 and per-passenger limits of $100,000 or less. The average insured aircraft hull value for aircraft written in 2018 was approximately $169,000. All general aviation policies produced by our Specialty Commercial operating unit are written through our insurance company subsidiaries.

Our Specialty Commercial operating unit markets medical professional liability insurance on an excess and surplus lines basis.  Medical professional liability insurance provides coverage for third-party bodily injury claims resulting from professional services provided by physicians, surgeons, podiatrists and medical entities, as well as outpatient medical facilities and hospitals and healthcare systems.  Our Specialty Commercial operating unit distributes its medical professional liability insurance products through 34 wholesale and retail brokers in 49 states. The Specialty Commercial operating unit also provides medical professional liability to senior care facilities through a program where a managing general agent underwrites on our behalf risks that meet specific underwriting criteria.

Our Specialty Commercial operating unit markets financial professional liability insurance on an excess and surplus lines basis.  Financial professional liability insurance provides liability insurance for management liability and professional liability on a claims-made basis. Our financial professional liability products target miscellaneous professional liability classes.  Our Specialty Commercial operating unit distributes its financial professional liability insurance products through 30 wholesale brokers in 49 states. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit markets primary/excess commercial property coverages, on a non-admitted basis, for both catastrophe and non-catastrophe exposures. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit distributes its primary/excess commercial property insurance products through 22 wholesale brokers in 50 states. The specialty programs within our Specialty Commercial operating unit consist of fronting and agency arrangements, as well as a program underwriter. The specialty programs business presently consists primarily of a fronting arrangement in Texas for a third party insurance company,   a program underwriter writing primarily commercial auto liability and physical damage risk in 16 states and a program underwriter writing primarily commercial auto coverage for risks specializing in daily rental operations in 45 states.    

Standard Commercial Segment

The Standard Commercial Segment of our business includes our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit and our Workers Compensation operating unit. Effective July 1, 2015, our Workers Compensation operating unit ceased marketing or retaining any risk on new or renewal policies. During 2018, our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit accounted for all of the premiums produced by the Standard Commercial Segment.

Standard Commercial P&C operating unit. Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit markets, underwrites and services standard commercial lines insurance primarily in the non-urban areas of  14 states predominately in the southwest and northwest regions.  Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit targets customers that are in low-severity classifications in the standard commercial market, which as a group have relatively stable loss results. The typical customer is a small to midsize business with a policy that covers property, general liability and automobile exposures. Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit underwriting criteria exclude lines of business and classes of risks that are considered to be high-severity or volatile, or which involve significant latent injury potential or other long-tailed liability exposures. In addition, our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit previously provided occupational accident coverage in Texas through an underwriting agency that is a specialist in the occupational accident insurance market.  Effective June 1, 2016, we ceased marketing new or renewal occupational accident policies. Products offered by our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit include the following:

·

Commercial automobile. Commercial automobile insurance provides third-party bodily injury and property damage coverage and first-party property damage coverage against losses resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of automobiles and trucks in connection with an insured’s business.

9


 

 

·

General liability. General liability insurance provides coverage for third-party bodily injury and property damage claims arising from accidents occurring on the insured’s premises or from their general business operations.

·

Umbrella. Umbrella insurance provides coverage for third-party liability claims where the loss amount exceeds coverage limits provided by the insured’s underlying general liability and commercial automobile policies.

·

Commercial property. Commercial property insurance provides first-party coverage for the insured’s real property, business personal property, and business interruption losses caused by fire, wind, hail, water damage, theft, vandalism and other insured perils.

·

Commercial multi-peril. Commercial multi-peril insurance provides a combination of property and liability coverage that can include commercial automobile coverage on a single policy.

·

Business owner’s. Business owner’s insurance provides a package of coverage designed for small to midsize businesses with homogeneous risk profiles. Coverage includes general liability, commercial property and commercial automobile.

Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit markets its property/casualty insurance products through 166 independent agency groups operating in its target markets. Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit applies a strict agent selection process and seeks to provide its independent agents some degree of non-contractual geographic exclusivity. Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit also strives to provide its independent agents with convenient access to product information and personalized service. As a result, the Standard Commercial P&C operating unit has historically maintained excellent relationships with its producing agents, as evidenced by the 21 year average tenure of the 25 agency groups that each produced more than $1.0 million in premium during the year ended December 31, 2018. During 2018, the top ten agency groups produced 37%, and no individual agency group produced more than 7%, of the total premium volume of our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit.

Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit writes most risks on a package basis using a commercial multi-peril policy or a business owner’s policy. Umbrella policies are written only when our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit also writes the insured’s underlying general liability and commercial automobile coverage.

All of the commercial policies written by our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit are for a term of 12 months. If the insured is unable or unwilling to pay for the entire premium in advance, we provide an installment payment plan that requires the insured to pay 20% or 25% down and the remaining payments over eight months. We charge installment fees of up to $7.50 per payment for the installment payment plan.

Workers Compensation operating unit. Effective July 1, 2015, this operating unit ceased marketing or retaining any risk on new or renewal policies. The run-off of existing policies issued by our Workers Compensation operating unit is being administered by an independent third party.

Personal Segment / Specialty Personal Lines operating unit

The Personal Segment of our business consists solely of our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit. Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit markets and services non-standard personal automobile policies and renters insurance in 10 and 12 states, respectively. Our non-standard personal automobile insurance generally provides for the minimum limits of liability coverage mandated by state laws to drivers who find it difficult to purchase automobile insurance from standard carriers as a result of various factors, including driving record, vehicle, age, claims history, or limited financial resources. Products offered by our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit include the following:

·

Personal automobile. Personal automobile insurance is the primary product offered by our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit. Our policies typically provide third-party coverage to individuals for bodily injury and property damage at the minimum limits required by law, and for physical damage to an insured’s own vehicle

10


 

 

from collision and various other perils. In addition, many states require policies to provide for first party personal injury protection, frequently referred to as no-fault coverage.

·

Renters. Renters insurance provides coverage for the contents of a renter’s home or apartment and for liability. Renter’s policies are similar to homeowners insurance, except they do not cover the structure.

Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit markets its products through 4,305 independent retail agent locations operating in its target geographic markets. Non-standard automobile represented 96% of the premiums produced during 2018. Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit qualifies new agent appointments in order to establish an efficient network of independent agents to effectively penetrate its highly competitive markets. Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit periodically evaluates its independent agents and discontinues the appointment of agents whose production history does not satisfy certain standards. During 2018, the top ten independent agency locations produced 36%, and no individual agency location produced more than 6%, of the total premium volume of our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit.

During 2018, personal automobile liability coverage accounted for 72% and personal automobile physical damage coverage accounted for the remaining 28% of the total non-standard automobile premiums produced by our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit. Our most common policy term is a six month policy. We offer additional terms of one-month policies on a limited basis. Our typical non-standard personal automobile customer is unable or unwilling to pay a full or half year premium in advance. Accordingly, we currently offer a direct bill program where the premiums are directly billed to the insured on a monthly basis. We charge installment fees for each payment under the direct bill program.

Our Competitive Strengths

We believe that we enjoy the following competitive strengths:

·

Specialized market knowledge and underwriting expertise. All of our operating units possess extensive knowledge of the specialty and niche markets in which they operate, which we believe allows them to effectively structure and market their property/casualty insurance products. Our Contract Binding operating unit and Specialty Commercial operating unit have developed specialized underwriting expertise which enhances their ability to profitably underwrite non-standard property/casualty insurance coverages. Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit has significant underwriting experience in its target market for standard commercial property/casualty insurance products. In addition, our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit has a thorough understanding of the unique characteristics of the non-standard personal automobile market.

·

Tailored market strategies. Each of our operating units has developed its own customized strategy for penetrating the specialty or niche markets in which it operates. These strategies include distinctive product structuring, marketing, distribution, underwriting and servicing approaches by each operating unit. As a result, we are able to structure our property/casualty insurance products to serve the unique risk and coverage needs of our insureds. We believe these market-specific strategies enable us to provide policies tailored to the target customer that are appropriately priced and fit our risk profile.

·

Superior agent and customer service. We believe performing the underwriting, billing, customer service and claims management functions tailored to the needs of each operating unit allows us to provide superior service to both our independent agents and insured customers. The easy-to-use interfaces and responsiveness of our operating units enhance their relationships with the independent agents who sell our policies. We also believe our consistency in offering our insurance products through hard and soft markets helps to build and maintain the loyalty of our independent agents. Our customized products, flexible payment plans and prompt claims processing are similarly beneficial to our insureds.

·

Market diversification. We believe operating in various specialty and niche segments of the property/casualty insurance market diversifies both our revenues and our risks. We also believe our operating units generally operate on different market cycles, producing more earnings stability than if we focused entirely on one product. As a result of the pooling arrangement among four of our insurance company subsidiaries, we are able to

11


 

 

efficiently allocate our capital among these various specialty and niche markets in response to market conditions and expansion opportunities. We believe this market diversification reduces our risk profile and enhances our profitability.

·

Experienced management team. Our senior corporate management team has extensive insurance experience. In addition, our operating units have strong management and underwriting teams, that also have extensive insurance industry experience. Our management has significant experience in all aspects of property/casualty insurance, including underwriting, claims management, actuarial analysis, reinsurance and regulatory compliance. In addition, Hallmark’s senior management has a strong track record of acquiring businesses that expand our product offerings and improve our profitability profile.

Our Strategy

We strive to become a “Best in Class” specialty insurance company offering products in specialty and niche markets through the following strategies:

·

Focusing on underwriting discipline and operational efficiency. We seek to consistently generate an underwriting profit on the business we write in hard and soft markets. Our operating units have a strong track record of underwriting discipline and operational efficiency, which we seek to continue. We believe that in soft markets our competitors often offer policies at a low or negative underwriting profit in order to maintain or increase their premium volume and market share. In contrast, we seek to write business based on its profitability rather than focusing solely on premium production. To that end, we provide financial incentives to many of our underwriters and independent agents based on underwriting profitability.

·

Achieving organic growth in our existing business lines. We believe we can achieve organic growth in our existing business lines by consistently providing our insurance products through market cycles, expanding geographically, expanding our product offerings, expanding our agency relationships and further penetrating our existing customer base. We believe our extensive market knowledge and strong agency relationships position us to compete effectively in our various specialty and niche markets. We also believe there is a significant opportunity to expand some of our existing business lines into new geographical areas and through new agency relationships while maintaining our underwriting discipline and operational efficiency. In addition, we believe there is an opportunity for some of our operating units to further penetrate their existing customer bases with additional products offered by other operating units.

·

Pursuing selected, opportunistic acquisitions. We seek to opportunistically acquire insurance organizations that operate in specialty or niche property/casualty insurance markets that are complementary to our existing operations. We seek to acquire companies with experienced management teams, stable loss results and strong track records of underwriting profitability and operational efficiency. Where appropriate, we intend to ultimately retain profitable business produced by the acquired companies that would otherwise be retained by unaffiliated insurers. Our management has significant experience in evaluating potential acquisition targets, structuring transactions to ensure continued success and integrating acquired companies into our operational structure.

·

Maintaining a strong balance sheet. We seek to maintain a strong balance sheet by employing conservative investment, reinsurance and reserving practices and to measure our performance based on long-term growth in book value per share.

Distribution

We market our property/casualty insurance products predominately through independent general agents, retail agents and specialty brokers. Therefore, our relationships with independent agents and brokers are critical to our ability to identify, attract and retain profitable business. Each of our operating units has developed its own tailored approach to establishing and maintaining its relationships with these independent distributors of our products. These strategies focus on providing excellent service to our agents and brokers, maintaining a consistent presence in our target niche and specialty markets

12


 

 

through hard and soft market cycles and fairly compensating the agents and brokers who market our products. Our operating units also regularly evaluate independent general and retail agents based on the underwriting profitability of the business they produce and their performance in relation to our objectives.

Except for the products of our Specialty Commercial Segment, the distribution of property/casualty insurance products by our operating units is geographically concentrated. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2018, five states accounted for approximately 54% of the gross premiums written by our insurance company subsidiaries. The following table reflects the geographic distribution of our insured risks, as represented by direct and assumed premiums written by our business segments for the twelve months ended December 31, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Specialty

    

Standard

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Commercial

 

Commercial

 

Personal

 

 

 

 

Percent of

 

State

    

Segment

    

Segment

    

Segment

    

Total

    

Total

 

 

 

(dollars in thousands)

 

Texas

 

$

177,410

 

$

21,558

 

$

18,163

 

$

217,131

 

32.8

%

California

 

 

56,591

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

56,591

 

8.5

%

Arizona

 

 

3,319

 

 

1,136

 

 

28,249

 

 

32,704

 

4.9

%

Florida

 

 

26,057

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

26,057

 

3.9

%

Oklahoma

 

 

15,023

 

 

 —

 

 

7,836

 

 

22,859

 

3.5

%

All other states

 

 

223,406

 

 

63,427

 

 

20,840

 

 

307,673

 

46.4

%

Total gross premiums written

 

$

501,806

 

$

86,121

 

$

75,088

 

$

663,015

 

  

 

Percent of total

 

 

75.7

%  

 

13.0

%  

 

11.3

%  

 

100.0

%  

  

 

 

Underwriting

The underwriting process employed by our operating units involves securing an adequate level of underwriting information, identifying and evaluating risk exposures and then pricing the risks we choose to accept. Each of our operating units offering commercial, healthcare professional, aviation or public entity insurance products employs its own underwriters with in-depth knowledge of the specific niche and specialty markets targeted by that operating unit. We employ a disciplined underwriting approach that seeks to provide policies appropriately tailored to the specified risks and to adopt price structures that will be supported in the applicable market. Our experienced commercial, healthcare professional, aviation and public entity underwriters have developed underwriting principles and processes appropriate to the coverages offered by their respective operating units.

We believe that managing the underwriting process through our operating units capitalizes on the knowledge and expertise of their personnel in specific markets and results in better underwriting decisions. All of our underwriters have established limits of underwriting authority based on their level of experience. We also provide financial incentives to many of our underwriters based on underwriting profitability.

To better diversify our revenue sources and manage our risk, we seek to maintain an appropriate business mix among our operating units. At the beginning of each year, we establish a target net loss ratio for each operating unit. We continually monitor actual net loss ratios against targets. If any line of business fails to meet its target net loss ratio, we seek input from our underwriting, actuarial and claims management personnel to develop a corrective action plan. Depending on the particular circumstances, that plan may involve tightening underwriting guidelines, increasing rates, modifying product structure, re-evaluating independent agency relationships or discontinuing unprofitable coverages or classes of risk.

An insurance company’s underwriting performance is traditionally measured by its statutory loss and loss adjustment expense ratio, its statutory expense ratio and its statutory combined ratio. The statutory loss and loss adjustment expense ratio, which is calculated as the ratio of net losses and loss adjustment expenses (“LAE”) incurred to net premiums earned, helps to assess the adequacy of the insurer’s rates, the propriety of its underwriting guidelines and the performance of its claims department. The statutory expense ratio, which is calculated as the ratio of underwriting and operating expenses to net premiums written, assists in measuring the insurer’s cost of processing and managing the business. The statutory combined ratio, which is the sum of the statutory loss and LAE ratio and the statutory expense ratio, is indicative of the

13


 

 

overall profitability of an insurer’s underwriting activities, with a combined ratio of less than 100% indicating profitable underwriting results.

The following table shows, for the periods indicated, (i) our gross premiums written (in thousands); and (ii) our underwriting results as measured by the net statutory loss and LAE ratio, the net statutory expense ratio, and the net statutory combined ratio of our insurance company subsidiaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

 

 

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

 

Gross premiums written

 

$

663,015

 

$

604,156

 

$

549,077

 

Net statutory loss & LAE ratio

 

 

69.8

%  

 

79.1

%  

 

71.2

%

Net statutory expense ratio

 

 

25.5

%  

 

27.0

%  

 

29.4

%

Net statutory combined ratio

 

 

95.3

%  

 

106.1

%  

 

100.6

%

 

These statutory ratios do not reflect the deferral of policy acquisition costs, investment income, premium finance revenues, or the elimination of inter-company transactions required by U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”).

The premium-to-surplus percentage measures the relationship between net premiums written in a given period (premiums written, less returned premiums and reinsurance ceded to other carriers) to policyholders surplus (admitted assets less liabilities), determined on the basis of statutory accounting practices prescribed or permitted by insurance regulatory authorities. State insurance department regulators expect insurance companies to maintain a premium-to-surplus percentage of not more than 300%. For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, our consolidated premium-to-surplus ratios were 147%, 157% and 146%, respectively.

Claims Management and Administration

We believe that effective claims management is critical to our success and that our claims management process is cost-effective, delivers the appropriate level of claims service and produces superior claims results. Our claims management philosophy emphasizes the delivery of courteous, prompt and effective claims handling and embraces responsiveness to policyholders and agents. Our claims strategy focuses on thorough investigation, timely evaluation and fair settlement of covered claims while consistently maintaining appropriate case reserves. We seek to compress the cycle time of claim resolution in order to control both loss and claim handling cost. We also strive to control legal expenses by negotiating competitive rates with defense counsel and vendors, establishing litigation budgets and monitoring invoices.

Each of our operating units maintains its own dedicated staff of specialized claims personnel to manage and administer claims arising under policies produced through their respective operations. The claims process is managed centrally through a combination of experienced claims managers, seasoned claims supervisors, trained staff adjusters and independent adjustment or appraisal services, when appropriate. All adjusters are licensed in those jurisdictions for which they handle claims that require licensing. Limits on settlement authority are established for each claims supervisor and staff adjuster based on their level of experience. Certain independent adjusters have limited authority to settle claims. Claim exposures are periodically and systematically reviewed by claim supervisors and managers as a method of quality and loss control. Large loss exposures are reviewed at least quarterly with senior management of the operating unit and monitored by Hallmark senior management.

Claims personnel receive in-house training and are required to attend various continuing education courses pertaining to topics such as best practices, fraud awareness, legal environment, legislative changes and litigation management. Depending on the criteria of each operating unit, our claims adjusters are assigned a variety of claims to enhance their knowledge and ensure their continued development in efficiently handling claims. As of December 31, 2018, we had a total of 92 claims managers, supervisors and adjusters with an average experience of approximately 16 years.

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Analysis of Losses and LAE

Our consolidated financial statements include an estimated reserve for unpaid losses and LAE. We estimate our reserve for unpaid losses and LAE by using case-basis evaluations and statistical projections, which include inferences from both losses paid and losses incurred. We also use recent historical cost data and periodic reviews of underwriting standards and claims management practices to modify the statistical projections. We give consideration to the impact of inflation in determining our loss reserves, but do not discount reserve balances.

The amount of reserves represents our estimate of the ultimate cost of all unpaid losses and LAE incurred. These estimates are subject to the effect of trends in claim severity and frequency. We regularly review the estimates and adjust them as claims experience develops and new information becomes known. Such adjustments are included in current operations, including increases and decreases, net of reinsurance, in the estimate of ultimate liabilities for insured events of prior years.

Changes in loss development patterns and claim payments can significantly affect the ability of insurers to estimate reserves for unpaid losses and related expenses. We seek to continually improve our loss estimation process by refining our ability to analyze loss development patterns, claim payments and other information within a legal and regulatory environment that affects development of ultimate liabilities. Future changes in estimates of claim costs may adversely affect future period operating results. However, such effects cannot be reasonably estimated currently.

Additional information relating to our loss reserve development is included under Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and Note 6, “Reserves for Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses,” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Reinsurance

We reinsure a portion of the risk we underwrite in order to control the exposure to losses and to protect capital resources. We cede to reinsurers a portion of these risks and pay premiums based upon the risk and exposure of the policies subject to such reinsurance. Ceded reinsurance involves credit risk and is generally subject to aggregate loss limits. Although the reinsurer is liable to us to the extent of the reinsurance ceded, we are ultimately liable as the direct insurer on all risks reinsured. Reinsurance recoverables are reported after allowances for uncollectible amounts. We monitor the financial condition of reinsurers on an ongoing basis and review our reinsurance arrangements periodically. Reinsurers are selected based on their financial condition, business practices and the price of their product offerings. In order to mitigate credit risk to reinsurance companies, most of our reinsurance recoverable balance as of December 31, 2018 was with reinsurers that had an A.M. Best rating of “A–” or better. We also mitigate our credit risk for the remaining reinsurance recoverable by obtaining letters of credit.

The following table presents our gross and net premiums written and earned and reinsurance recoveries for each of the last three years (in thousands).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

 

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

Gross premiums written

 

$

663,015

 

$

604,156

 

$

549,077

Ceded premiums written

 

 

(299,217)

 

 

(238,573)

 

 

(187,248)

Net premiums written

 

$

363,798

 

$

365,583

 

$

361,829

Gross premiums earned

 

$

641,596

 

$

568,769

 

$

524,229

Ceded premiums earned

 

 

(278,509)

 

 

(207,732)

 

 

(170,859)

Net premiums earned

 

$

363,087

 

$

361,037

 

$

353,370

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reinsurance recoveries

 

$

199,690

 

$

144,948

 

$

116,057

 

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Investment Portfolio

Our investment objective is to maximize current yield while maintaining safety of capital together with sufficient liquidity for ongoing insurance operations. Our investment portfolio is composed of fixed-income securities, equity securities and other investments. As of December 31, 2018, we had total invested assets of $627.9 million. If market rates were to increase by 1%, the fair value of our fixed-income securities as of December 31, 2018 would decrease by approximately $7.6 million. The following table shows the fair values of various categories of fixed-income securities, the percentage of the total fair value of our invested assets represented by each category and the tax equivalent book yield of each category of invested assets as of December 31, 2018 and 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of December 31, 2018

 

As of December 31, 2017

 

 

 

Fair

 

Percent of

 

 

 

Fair

 

Percent of

 

 

 

 

    

Value

    

Total

    

Yield

    

Value

    

Total

    

Yield

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

(in thousands)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category:

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

Corporate bonds

 

$

242,152

 

44.4

%  

2.8

%  

$

279,073

 

46.1

%  

2.5

%

Collateralized corporate bank loans

 

 

126,528

 

23.2

%  

5.0

%  

 

125,937

 

20.8

%  

3.9

%

Municipal bonds

 

 

115,527

 

21.1

%  

3.6

%  

 

134,256

 

22.2

%  

2.9

%

US Treasury securities and obligations of U.S. Government

 

 

48,106

 

8.8

%  

1.9

%  

 

49,947

 

8.2

%  

1.8

%

Mortgage backed

 

 

13,557

 

2.5

%  

3.1

%  

 

16,533

 

2.7

%  

2.6

%

Total

 

$

545,870

 

100.0

%  

3.4

%  

$

605,746

 

100.0

%  

2.9

%

 

The weighted average credit rating for our fixed-income portfolio was BBB+ at December 31, 2018. The following table shows the distribution of our fixed-income portfolio by rating as a percentage of total fair value as of December 31, 2018 and 2017:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

As of

    

As of

 

 

 

December 31, 2018

 

December 31, 2017

 

Rating:

 

  

 

  

 

"AAA"

 

13.6

%  

4.3

%

"AA"

 

6.7

%  

20.3

%

"A"

 

11.8

%  

8.4

%

"BBB"

 

44.3

%  

46.3

%

"BB"

 

19.1

%  

15.0

%

"B"

 

0.3

%  

1.3

%

"CCC"

 

0.2

%  

0.1

%

"CC"

 

1.0

%  

 —

%

"D"

 

 —

%  

0.7

%

"NR"

 

3.0

%  

3.6

%

Total

 

100.0

%  

100.0

%

 

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The following table shows the composition of our fixed-income portfolio by remaining time to maturity as of December 31, 2018 and 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of December 31, 2018

 

As of December 31, 2017

 

 

    

 

 

    

Percentage of

    

 

 

    

Percentage of

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

Fair Value

 

Fair Value

 

Fair Value

 

Fair Value

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

(in thousands)

 

Remaining time to maturity:

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

  

 

  

 

Less than one year

 

$

120,127

 

22.0

%  

$

116,060

 

19.2

%

One to five years

 

 

284,947

 

52.2

%  

 

308,829

 

51.0

%

Five to ten years

 

 

102,047

 

18.7

%  

 

124,168

 

20.5

%

More than ten years

 

 

25,192

 

4.6

%  

 

40,156

 

6.6

%

Mortgage-backed

 

 

13,557

 

2.5

%  

 

16,533

 

2.7

%

Total

 

$

545,870

 

100.0

%  

$

605,746

 

100.0

%

 

Our investment strategy is to conservatively manage our investment portfolio by investing primarily in readily marketable, investment-grade, fixed-income securities. As of December 31, 2018, 13% of our investment portfolio was invested in equity securities. Our investment portfolio is managed internally. We regularly review our portfolio for declines in value. For fixed maturity investments that are considered other-than-temporarily impaired and that we do not intend to sell and will not be required to sell, we separate the amount of the impairment into the amount that is credit related (credit loss component) and the amount due to all other factors. The credit loss component is recognized in earnings and is the difference between the investment’s amortized cost basis and the present value of its expected future cash flows. The remaining difference between the investment’s fair value and the present value of future expected cash flows is recognized in other comprehensive income.

The following table details the net unrealized gain balance by invested asset category as of December 31, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net Unrealized Gain Balance

 

    

(in thousands)

Category

 

 

 

U.S. Treasury securities and obligations of U.S. Government

 

$

(503)

Corporate bonds

 

 

(1,162)

Collateralized corporate bank loans

 

 

(5,251)

Municipal bonds

 

 

2,953

Mortgage-backed

 

 

(435)

Equity securities

 

 

12,187

Other investments

 

 

(2,615)

Total

 

$

5,174

 

As part of our overall investment strategy, we also maintain an integrated cash management system utilizing on-line banking services and daily overnight investment accounts to maximize investment earnings on all available cash.

Technology

The majority of our technology systems are based on products licensed from insurance-specific technology vendors that have been substantially customized to meet the unique needs of our various operating units. Our technology systems primarily consist of integrated central processing computers, a series of server-based computer networks and  communications systems that allow our various operations to share systems solutions and communicate to the corporate office in a timely, secure and consistent manner. We maintain backup facilities and systems through a contract with a leading provider of computer disaster recovery services. Each operating unit bears the information services expenses specific to its operations as well as a portion of the corporate services expenses. Increases to vendor license and service fees are capped per annum.

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We believe the implementation of our various technology systems has increased our efficiency in the processing of our business, resulting in lower operating costs. Additionally, our systems enable us to provide a high level of service to our agents and policyholders by processing our business in a timely and efficient manner, communicating and sharing data with our agents and providing a variety of methods for the payment of premiums. We believe these systems have also improved the accumulation and analysis of information for our management.

Our business is highly dependent upon the successful and uninterrupted functioning of our information technology systems. Publicly reported cybersecurity intrusions have increased recently and the insurance sector as a whole is more exposed than in the past. Cybersecurity threats extend from individual attempts to gain unauthorized access to our information technology systems through coordinated, elaborate and targeted activity. We retain highly trained staff committed to the development and maintenance of our information technology systems. We maintain and regularly review recovery plans which are intended to enable us to restore critical systems with minimal disruption. We have established an information security committee to oversee and steer risk management plans to manage these exposures on an ongoing basis. We also employ comprehensive employee engagement and training programs to guard against the potential for malicious attempts to extort sensitive information from our systems using social engineering techniques (also known as “phishing”) and have increased our cyber liability insurance to seek to minimize our post-event financial impacts.

We recognize the potential for new risks arising alongside the benefits we derive from technological and digital development. We employ technological security measures to prevent, detect and mitigate such threats, including independent and in-house vulnerability assessments, access controls, data encryption, continuous monitoring of our information technology networks and systems and maintenance of backup and protective systems. Nonetheless, the infrastructure may be vulnerable to security incidents which could result in the disruption of business operations and the corruption, unavailability, misappropriation or destruction of critical data and confidential information (both our own and of third parties). The compromise of personal and confidential information could lead to legal liability or regulatory action under evolving cybersecurity, data protection and privacy laws and regulations enacted in the various jurisdictions in which we operate. In this respect on March 1, 2017, new cybersecurity rules were implemented by the New York Department of Financial Services (the “NYS Cybersecurity Regulation”). These NYS Cybersecurity Regulations impose additional regulatory requirements that seek to protect confidentiality, integrity and availability of information systems.  We also anticipate additional NAIC regulations as a result of the Insurance Data Security Model Law which will require insurers to meet state requirements beyond those imposed by New York. The implementation of these various regulations impose additional compliance obligations which have necessitated ongoing review of our policies and procedures.

Ratings

Many insurance buyers, agents and brokers use the ratings assigned by A.M. Best and other rating agencies to assist them in assessing the financial strength and overall quality of the companies from which they are considering purchasing insurance. A.M. Best has pooled its ratings of our AHIC, HIC, HSIC and HNIC subsidiaries and assigned a financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating of “a-” to each of these individual insurance company subsidiaries and to the pool formed by the four insurance company subsidiaries. A.M. Best has also assigned a financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating of “a-” to HCM. A.M. Best does not assign a financial strength rating or an issuer credit rating to TBIC. An “A–” rating is the fourth highest of 15 rating categories used by A.M. Best. In evaluating an insurer’s financial and operating performance, A.M. Best reviews the company’s profitability, indebtedness and liquidity, as well as its book of business, the adequacy and soundness of its reinsurance, the quality and estimated fair value of its assets, the adequacy of its loss reserves, the adequacy of its surplus, its capital structure, the experience and competence of its management and its market presence. A.M. Best’s ratings reflect its opinion of an insurer’s financial strength, operating performance and ability to meet its obligations to policyholders and are not an evaluation directed at investors or recommendations to buy, sell or hold an insurer’s stock.

Competition

The property/casualty insurance market, our primary source of revenue, is highly competitive and, except for regulatory considerations, has very few barriers to entry. According to A.M. Best, there were 2,994 property/casualty insurance companies and 2,060 property/casualty insurance groups operating in North America as of July 2, 2018. The primary

18


 

 

competition for our Contract Binding operating unit includes such carriers as American Millennium Insurance Company, Canal Insurance Company, Clear Blue Insurance Company, Commercial Alliance Insurance Company, National Casualty Company, National Liability & Fire Insurance Company, Northland Insurance Company, Progressive County Mutual, State National Insurance Company, Prime Insurance Company, Underwriters at Lloyds of London, and Wilshire Insurance Company.  Our Specialty Commercial operating unit considers its primary competition for our excess, umbrella and general liability insurance products to include such carriers as American International Group, Inc., First Mercury Insurance Company, Axis Insurance Company, Berkshire Hathaway Companies, Endurance American Specialty Insurance Company,XL Specialty Insurance, Navigators, and W.R. Berkley Corporation and, to a lesser extent, a number of national standard lines carriers such as Travelers Companies, Inc. and Liberty Mutual Group. The primary competitors for our general aviation insurance products produced by our Specialty Commercial operating unit are Old Republic Aviation Managers, Starr Aviation, American International Group, Inc., United States Specialty Insurance Company, W. Brown & Company, United States Aircraft Insurance Group, Global Aerospace and Allianz Aviation Managers. The primary competition for the medical professional liability insurance products produced by our Specialty Commercial operating unit includes such carriers as Admiral Insurance Company, Aspen, Beazley, CNA Financial Corporation, Iron Health, Kinsale Insurance Company, Markel, Medical Protective Insurance Company,  ProAssurance Corporation, RSUI Group and TDC Companies. The primary competition for the financial professional liability insurance products produced by our Specialty Commercial operating unit are Admiral Insurance Company, American International Group Companies, Argonaut Insurance Company, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Euclid Executive Liability Managers, Berkley Insurance Company, CNA Financial Corporation, Evanston Insurance Company, Kinsale Insurance Company, RSUI Group, Hiscox USA, and XL Catlin Insurance Company.   The primary competition for our primary/excess commercial property insurance products includes such carriers as Chubb Westchester, Aspen Insurance, Everst National Insurance Company, RSUI Group, Navigators Specialty Insurance Company, Starr Surplus Lines, Ironshore Specialty Insurance Company, Axis Insurance Company, and Markel Insurance Company. Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit competes with a variety of large national standard commercial lines carriers such as Liberty Mutual Group, Travelers Companies, Inc., Cincinnati Financial Corporation and The Hartford Financial Services Group, as well as numerous smaller regional companies. Although our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit competes with large national insurers such as Allstate Corporation, GEICO Corporation and Progressive Insurance Company, as a participant in the non-standard personal automobile marketplace its competition is most directly associated with numerous regional companies and managing general agencies. Our competitors include entities that have, or are affiliated with entities that have, greater financial and other resources than we have.  Generally, we compete on price, customer service, coverages offered, claims handling, financial stability, agent commission and support, customer recognition and geographic coverage. We compete with companies who use independent agents, captive agent networks, direct marketing channels or a combination thereof.

Insurance Regulation

AHIC, HCM and TBIC are domiciled in Texas, HIC and HNIC are domiciled in Arizona and HSIC is domiciled in Oklahoma. Therefore, our insurance operations are regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance, the Arizona Department of Insurance and the Oklahoma Insurance Department, as well as the applicable insurance department of each state in which we issue policies. Our insurance company subsidiaries are required to file quarterly and annual statements of their financial condition prepared in accordance with statutory accounting practices with the insurance departments of their respective states of domicile and the applicable insurance department of each state in which they write business. The financial conditions of our insurance company subsidiaries, including the adequacy of surplus, loss reserves and investments, are subject to review by the insurance department of their respective states of domicile.

Periodic financial and market conduct examinations. The insurance departments of the states of domicile for our insurance company subsidiaries have broad authority to enforce insurance laws and regulations through examinations, administrative orders, civil and criminal enforcement proceedings, and suspension or revocation of an insurer’s certificate of authority or an agent’s license. The state insurance departments that have jurisdiction over our insurance company subsidiaries may conduct on-site visits and examinations of the insurance companies’ affairs, especially as to their financial condition, ability to fulfill their obligations to policyholders, market conduct, claims practices and compliance with other laws and applicable regulations. Typically, these examinations are conducted every three to five years. In addition, if circumstances dictate, regulators are authorized to conduct special or target examinations of insurance companies to address particular concerns or issues. The results of these examinations can give rise to injunctive relief, regulatory orders

19


 

 

requiring remedial or other corrective action on the part of the company that is the subject of the examination, assessment of fines, or other penalties against that company. In extreme cases, including actual or pending insolvency, the insurance department may take over, or appoint a receiver to take over, the management or operations of an insurer or an agent’s business or assets.

Guaranty funds. All insurance companies are subject to assessments for state-administered funds that cover the claims and expenses of insolvent or impaired insurers. The size of the assessment is determined each year by the total claims on the fund that year. Each insurer is assessed a pro rata share based on its direct premiums written in that state. Payments to the fund may generally be recovered by the insurer through deductions from its premium taxes over a specified period of years.

Transactions between insurance companies and their affiliates.  Hallmark is also regulated as an insurance holding company by the Texas Department of Insurance, the Arizona Department of Insurance and the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Financial transactions between Hallmark or any of its affiliates and our insurance company subsidiaries are subject to regulation. Transactions between our insurance company subsidiaries and their affiliates generally must be disclosed to state regulators, and prior regulatory approval generally is required before any material or extraordinary transaction may be consummated or any management agreement, services agreement, expense sharing arrangement or other contract providing for the rendering of services on a regular, systematic basis is implemented. State regulators may refuse to approve or may delay approval of such a transaction, which may impact our ability to innovate or operate efficiently.

Dividends. Dividends and distributions to Hallmark by our insurance company subsidiaries are restricted by the insurance regulations of the respective state in which each insurance company subsidiary is domiciled. As property/casualty insurance companies domiciled in the state of Texas, AHIC and TBIC may only pay dividends from unassigned surplus funds. In addition, AHIC and TBIC must obtain the approval of the Texas Department of Insurance before the payment of extraordinary dividends, which are defined as dividends or distributions of cash or other property the fair market value of which combined with the fair market value of each other dividend or distribution made in the preceding 12 months exceeds the greater of: (1) statutory net income as of the prior December 31 or (2) 10% of statutory policyholders’ surplus as of the prior December 31. HIC and HNIC, both domiciled in Arizona, may pay dividends out of that part of their available surplus funds that is derived from realized net profits on their business. Without prior written approval from the Arizona Department of Insurance, HIC and HNIC may not pay extraordinary dividends, which are defined as dividends or distributions of cash or other property the fair market value of which combined with the fair market value of each other dividend or distribution made in the preceding 12 months exceeds the lesser of: (1) 10% of statutory policyholders’ surplus as of the prior December 31 or (2) net  income as of the prior December 31. HSIC, domiciled in Oklahoma, may only pay dividends out of that part of its available surplus funds that is derived from realized net profits on its business. Without prior written approval from the Oklahoma Insurance Department, HSIC may not pay extraordinary dividends, which are defined as dividends or distributions of cash or other property the fair market value of which combined with the fair market value of each other dividend or distribution made in the preceding 12 months exceeds the greater of: (1) 10% of statutory policyholders’ surplus as of the prior December 31 or (2) statutory net income as of the prior December 31, not including realized capital gains. As a county mutual, dividends from HCM are payable to policyholders.

Risk-based capital requirements. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners requires property/casualty insurers to file a risk-based capital calculation according to a specified formula. The purpose of the formula is twofold: (1) to assess the adequacy of an insurer’s statutory capital and surplus based upon a variety of factors such as potential risks related to investment portfolio, ceded reinsurance and product mix; and (2) to assist state regulators under the RBC for Insurers Model Act by providing thresholds at which a state commissioner is authorized and expected to take regulatory action. As of December 31, 2018, the adjusted capital under the risk-based capital calculation of each of our insurance company subsidiaries substantially exceeded the minimum requirements.

Required licensing. Our non-insurance company subsidiaries are subject to and in compliance with the licensing requirements of the department of insurance in each state in which they produce business. These licenses govern, among other things, the types of insurance coverages, agency and claims services and products that we may offer consumers in these states. Such licenses typically are issued only after we file an appropriate application and satisfy prescribed criteria.

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Generally, each state requires one officer to maintain an agent license. Claims adjusters employed by us are also subject to the licensing requirements of each state in which they conduct business. Each employed claim adjuster either holds or has applied for the required licenses. Our premium finance subsidiaries are subject to licensing, financial reporting and certain financial requirements imposed by the Texas Department of Insurance, as well as regulations promulgated by the Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner.

Regulation of insurance rates and approval of policy forms. The insurance laws of most states in which our subsidiaries operate require insurance companies to file insurance rate schedules and insurance policy forms for review and approval. State insurance regulators have broad discretion in judging whether our rates are adequate, not excessive and not unfairly discriminatory and whether our policy forms comply with law. The speed at which we can change our rates depends, in part, on the method by which the applicable state’s rating laws are administered. Generally, state insurance regulators have the authority to disapprove our rates or request changes in our rates.

Restrictions on cancellation, non-renewal or withdrawal. Many states have laws and regulations that limit an insurance company’s ability to exit a market. For example, certain states limit an automobile insurance company’s ability to cancel or not renew policies. Some states prohibit an insurance company from withdrawing from one or more lines of business in the state, except pursuant to a plan approved by the state insurance department. In some states, this applies to significant reductions in the amount of insurance written, not just to a complete withdrawal. State insurance departments may disapprove a plan that may lead to market disruption.

Investment restrictions. We are subject to state laws and regulations that require diversification of our investment portfolios and that limit the amount of investments in certain categories. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations would cause non-conforming investments to be treated as non-admitted assets for purposes of measuring statutory surplus and, in some instances, would require divestiture.

Trade practices. The manner in which we conduct the business of insurance is regulated by state statutes in an effort to prohibit practices that constitute unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices. Prohibited practices include disseminating false information or advertising; defamation; boycotting, coercion and intimidation; false statements or entries; unfair discrimination; rebating; improper tie-ins with lenders and the extension of credit; failure to maintain proper records; failure to maintain proper complaint handling procedures; and making false statements in connection with insurance applications for the purpose of obtaining a fee, commission or other benefit.

Unfair claims practices. Generally, insurance companies, adjusting companies and individual claims adjusters are prohibited by state statutes from engaging in unfair claims practices on a flagrant basis or with such frequency to indicate a general business practice. Examples of unfair claims practices include:

·

misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions relating to coverages at issue;

·

failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies;

·

failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation and settlement of claims arising under insurance policies;

·

failing to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after proof of loss statements have been completed;

·

attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable person would have believed such person was entitled;

·

attempting to settle claims on the basis of an application that was altered without notice to, or knowledge and consent of, the insured;

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·

compelling insureds to institute suits to recover amounts due under policies by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in suits brought by them;

·

refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation;

·

making claim payments to an insured without indicating the coverage under which each payment is being made;

·

delaying the investigation or payment of claims by requiring an insured, claimant or the physician of either to submit a preliminary claim report and then requiring the subsequent submission of formal proof of loss forms, both of which submissions contain substantially the same information;

·

failing, in the case of claim denials or offers of compromise or settlement, to promptly provide a reasonable and accurate explanation of the basis for such actions; and

·

not attempting in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear.

Employees

As of December 31, 2018, we employed 439 people on a full-time basis. None of our employees are represented by labor unions. We consider our employee relations to be good.

Available Information

The Company’s executive offices are located at 777 Main Street, Suite 1000 Fort Worth, Texas 76102. The Company’s mailing address is 777 Main Street, Suite 1000 Fort Worth, Texas 76102. Its telephone number is (817) 348‑1600. The Company’s website address is www.hallmarkgrp.com. The Company files annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information and documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), which are made available to read and copy at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by contacting the SEC at 1‑800‑SEC‑0330. Reports filed with the SEC are also made available at www.sec.gov. The Company makes available free of charge on its website its annual report on Form 10‑K, quarterly reports on Form 10‑Q, current reports on Form 8‑K and amendments to those reports filed with or furnished to the SEC pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as soon as reasonably practical after it electronically files them with or furnishes them to the SEC.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Our success depends on our ability to price accurately the risks we underwrite.

Our results of operations and financial condition depend on our ability to underwrite and set premium rates accurately for a wide variety of risks. Adequate rates are necessary to generate premiums sufficient to pay losses, loss settlement expenses and underwriting expenses and to earn a profit. To price our products accurately, we must collect and properly analyze a substantial amount of data; develop, test and apply appropriate pricing techniques; closely monitor and timely recognize changes in trends; and project both severity and frequency of losses with reasonable accuracy. Our ability to undertake these efforts successfully, and as a result price our products accurately, is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, some of which are outside our control, including:

·

the availability of sufficient reliable data and our ability to properly analyze available data;

·

the uncertainties that inherently characterize estimates and assumptions;

·

our selection and application of appropriate pricing techniques; and

22


 

 

·

changes in applicable legal liability standards and in the civil litigation system generally.

Consequently, we could underprice risks, which would adversely affect our profit margins, or we could overprice risks, which could reduce our sales volume and competitiveness. In either case, our profitability could be materially and adversely affected.

Our results may fluctuate as a result of cyclical changes in the property/casualty insurance industry.

Our revenue is primarily attributable to property/casualty insurance, which as an industry is cyclical in nature and has historically been characterized by soft markets followed by hard markets. A soft market is a period of relatively high levels of price competition, less restrictive underwriting standards and generally low premium rates. A hard market is a period of capital shortages resulting in lack of insurance availability, relatively low levels of competition, more selective underwriting of risks and relatively high premium rates. If we find it necessary to reduce premiums or limit premium increases due to competitive pressures on pricing in a softening market, we may experience a reduction in our premiums written and in our profit margins and revenues, which could adversely affect our financial results.

Estimating reserves is inherently uncertain. If our loss reserves are not adequate, it will have an unfavorable impact on our results.

We maintain loss reserves to cover our estimated ultimate liability for unpaid losses and LAE for reported and unreported claims incurred as of the end of each accounting period. Reserves represent management’s estimates of what the ultimate settlement and administration of claims will cost and are not reviewed by an independent actuary. These estimates, which generally involve actuarial projections, are based on management’s assessment of facts and circumstances then known, as well as estimates of future trends in claim severity and frequency, judicial theories of liability, and other factors. These variables are affected by both internal and external events, such as changes in claims handling procedures, inflation, judicial trends and legislative changes. Many of these factors are not quantifiable. Additionally, there may be a significant lag between the occurrence of an event and the time it is reported to us. The inherent uncertainties of estimating reserves are greater for certain types of liabilities, particularly those in which the various considerations affecting the type of claim are subject to change and in which long periods of time may elapse before a definitive determination of liability is made. Reserve estimates are continually refined in a regular and ongoing process as experience develops and further claims are reported and settled. Adjustments to reserves are reflected in the results of the periods in which such estimates are changed. For example, a 1% change in December 31, 2018 unpaid losses and LAE would have produced a $5.3 million change to pretax earnings. Our gross loss and LAE reserves totaled $527.2 million at December 31, 2018. Our loss and LAE reserves, net of reinsurance recoverable on unpaid loss and LAE, were $305.5 million at that date. Because setting reserves is inherently uncertain, there can be no assurance that the current reserves will prove adequate.

Our failure to maintain favorable financial strength ratings could negatively impact our ability to compete successfully.

Third-party rating agencies assess and rate the claims-paying ability of insurers based upon criteria established by the agencies. AHIC, HIC, HSIC and HNIC have entered into a pooling arrangement, pursuant to which AHIC retains 34% of the net premiums written by any of them, HIC retains 32% of the net premiums written by any of them, HSIC retains 24% of the net premiums written by any of them and HNIC retains 10% of the net premiums written by any of them. A.M. Best has pooled its ratings of these four insurance company subsidiaries and assigned a financial strength rating of “A–” (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating of “a-” to each of these individual insurance company subsidiaries and to the pool formed by these four insurance company subsidiaries. Also, A.M. Best has assigned HCM a financial strength rating of “A–” (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating of “a-”. A.M. Best does not assign a financial strength rating or an issuer credit rating to TBIC.

 

These financial strength ratings are used by policyholders, insurers, reinsurers and insurance and reinsurance intermediaries as an important means of assessing the financial strength and quality of insurers. These ratings are not evaluations directed to potential purchasers of our common stock and are not recommendations to buy, sell or hold our common stock. Our ratings are subject to change at any time and could be revised downward or revoked at the sole

23


 

 

discretion of the rating agencies. We believe that the ratings assigned by A.M. Best are an important factor in marketing our products. Our ability to retain our existing business and to attract new business in our insurance operations depends largely on these ratings. Our failure to maintain our ratings, or any other adverse development with respect to our ratings, could cause our current and future independent agents and insureds to choose to transact their business with more highly rated competitors. If A.M. Best downgrades our ratings or publicly indicates that our ratings are under review, it is likely that we would not be able to compete as effectively with our competitors, and our ability to sell insurance policies could decline. If that happened, our sales and earnings would decrease. For example, many of our agencies and insureds have guidelines that require us to have an A.M. Best financial strength rating of “A-” (Excellent) or higher. A reduction of our A.M. Best rating below “A-” would prevent us from issuing policies to insureds or potential insureds with such ratings requirements.

Lenders and reinsurers also use our A.M. Best ratings as a factor in deciding whether to transact business with us. The failure of our insurance company subsidiaries to maintain their current ratings could dissuade a lender or reinsurance company from conducting business with us or might increase our interest or reinsurance costs. In addition, a ratings downgrade by A.M. Best below “A-” would require us to post collateral in support of our obligations under certain of our reinsurance agreements pursuant to which we assume business.

The loss of key executives could disrupt our business.

Our success will depend in part upon the continued service of certain key executives. Our success will also depend on our ability to attract and retain additional executives and personnel. The loss of key personnel, or our inability to recruit and retain additional qualified personnel, could cause disruption in our business and could prevent us from fully implementing our business strategies, which could materially and adversely affect our business, growth and profitability.

Our industry is very competitive, which may unfavorably impact our results of operations.

The property/casualty insurance market, our primary source of revenue, is highly competitive and, except for regulatory considerations, has very few barriers to entry. According to A.M. Best, there were 2,994 property/casualty insurance companies and 2,060 property/casualty insurance groups operating in North America as of July 2, 2018. Our competitors include entities that have, or are affiliated with entities that have, greater financial and other resources than we have. In addition, competitors may attempt to increase market share by lowering rates. In that case, we could experience reductions in our underwriting margins, or sales of our insurance policies could decline as customers purchase lower-priced products from our competitors. Losing business to competitors offering similar products at lower prices, or having other competitive advantages, could adversely affect our results of operations.

Our results may be unfavorably impacted if we are unable to obtain adequate reinsurance.

As part of our overall risk and capacity management strategy, we purchase reinsurance for significant amounts of risk, especially catastrophe risks that we and our insurance company subsidiaries underwrite. Our catastrophe and non-catastrophe reinsurance facilities are generally subject to annual renewal. We may be unable to maintain our current reinsurance facilities or to obtain other reinsurance facilities in adequate amounts and at favorable rates. The amount, availability and cost of reinsurance are subject to prevailing market conditions beyond our control, and may affect our ability to write additional premiums as well as our profitability. If we are unable to obtain adequate reinsurance protection for the risks we have underwritten, we will either be exposed to greater losses from these risks or be required to reduce the level of business that we underwrite, which will reduce our revenue.

If the companies that provide our reinsurance do not pay our claims in a timely manner, we could incur severe losses.

We purchase reinsurance by transferring, or ceding, part of the risk we have assumed to a reinsurance company in exchange for part of the premium we receive in connection with the risk. Although reinsurance makes the reinsurer liable to us to the extent the risk is transferred or ceded to the reinsurer, it does not relieve us of our liability to our policyholders. Accordingly, we bear credit risk with respect to our reinsurers. We cannot assure that our reinsurers will pay all of our

24


 

 

reinsurance claims, or that they will pay our claims on a timely basis. At December 31, 2018, we had a total of $385.0 million due us from reinsurers, including $252.0 million of recoverables from losses and $133.0 million in ceded unearned premiums. The largest amount due us from a single reinsurer as of December 31, 2018 was $71.8 million reinsurance and premium recoverable from Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation. If any of our reinsurers are unable or unwilling to pay amounts they owe us in a timely fashion, we could suffer a significant loss or a shortage of liquidity, which would have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Catastrophic losses are unpredictable and may adversely affect our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.

Property/casualty insurance companies are subject to claims arising out of catastrophes that may have a significant effect on their results of operations, liquidity and financial condition. Catastrophes can be caused by various events, including hurricanes, windstorms, earthquakes, hail storms, explosions, severe winter weather and fires, and may include man-made events, such as terrorist attacks. The incidence, frequency, and severity of catastrophes are inherently unpredictable. The extent of losses from a catastrophe is a function of both the total amount of insured exposure in the area affected by the event and the severity of the event.

Claims from catastrophic events could reduce our net income, cause substantial volatility in our financial results for any fiscal quarter or year or otherwise adversely affect our financial condition, liquidity or results of operations. Catastrophes may also negatively affect our ability to write new business. Increases in the value and geographic concentration of insured property and the effects of inflation could increase the severity of claims from catastrophic events in the future.

Catastrophe models may not accurately predict future losses.

Along with other insurers in the industry, we use models developed by third-party vendors in assessing our exposure to catastrophe losses that assume various conditions and probability scenarios. However, these models do not necessarily accurately predict future losses or accurately measure losses currently incurred. Catastrophe models, which have been evolving since the early 1990s, use historical information about various catastrophes and detailed information about our in-force business. While we use this information in connection with our pricing and risk management activities, there are limitations with respect to their usefulness in predicting losses in any reporting period. Examples of these limitations are significant variations in estimates between models and modelers and material increases and decreases in model results due to changes and refinements of the underlying data elements and assumptions. Such limitations lead to questionable predictive capability and post-event measurements that have not been well understood or proven to be sufficiently reliable. In addition, the models are not necessarily reflective of company or state-specific policy language, demand surge for labor and materials or loss settlement expenses, all of which are subject to wide variation by catastrophe. Because the occurrence and severity of catastrophes are inherently unpredictable and may vary significantly from year to year, historical results of operations may not be indicative of future results of operations.

We are subject to comprehensive regulation, and our results may be unfavorably impacted by these regulations.

We are subject to comprehensive governmental regulation and supervision. Most insurance regulations are designed to protect the interests of policyholders rather than of the stockholders and other investors of the insurance companies. These regulations, generally administered by the department of insurance in each state in which we do business, relate to, among other things:

·

approval of policy forms and rates;

·

standards of solvency, including risk-based capital measurements, which are a measure developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and used by the state insurance regulators to identify insurance companies that potentially are inadequately capitalized;

·

licensing of insurers and their agents;

25


 

 

·

restrictions on the nature, quality and concentration of investments;

·

restrictions on the ability of insurance company subsidiaries to pay dividends;

·

restrictions on transactions between insurance company subsidiaries and their affiliates;

·

requiring certain methods of accounting;

·

periodic examinations of operations and finances;

·

the use of non-public consumer information and related privacy issues;

·

the use of credit history in underwriting and rating;

·

limitations on the ability to charge policy fees;

·

the acquisition or disposition of an insurance company or of any company controlling an insurance company;

·

involuntary assignments of high-risk policies, participation in reinsurance facilities and underwriting associations, assessments and other governmental charges;

·

restrictions on the cancellation or non-renewal of policies and, in certain jurisdictions, withdrawal from writing certain lines of business;

·

prescribing the form and content of records of financial condition to be filed;

·

requiring reserves for unearned premium, losses and other purposes; and

·

with respect to premium finance business, the federal Truth-in-Lending Act and similar state statutes. In states where specific statutes have not been enacted, premium finance is generally subject to state usury laws that are applicable to consumer loans.

State insurance departments also conduct periodic examinations of the affairs of insurance companies and require filing of annual and other reports relating to the financial condition of insurance companies, holding company issues and other matters. Our business depends on compliance with applicable laws and regulations and our ability to maintain valid licenses and approvals for our operations. Regulatory authorities may deny or revoke licenses for various reasons, including violations of regulations. Changes in the level of regulation of the insurance industry or changes in laws or regulations themselves or interpretations by regulatory authorities could have a material adverse affect on our operations. In addition, we could face individual, group and class-action lawsuits by our policyholders and others for alleged violations of certain state laws and regulations. Each of these regulatory risks could have an adverse effect on our profitability.

State statutes limit the aggregate amount of dividends that our subsidiaries may pay Hallmark, thereby limiting its funds to pay expenses and dividends.

Hallmark is a holding company and a legal entity separate and distinct from its subsidiaries. As a holding company without significant operations of its own, Hallmark’s principal sources of funds are dividends and other sources of funds from its subsidiaries. State insurance laws limit the ability of Hallmark’s insurance company subsidiaries to pay dividends and require our insurance company subsidiaries to maintain specified minimum levels of statutory capital and surplus. The aggregate maximum amount of dividends permitted by law to be paid by an insurance company does not necessarily define an insurance company’s actual ability to pay dividends. The actual ability to pay dividends may be further constrained by business and regulatory considerations, such as the impact of dividends on surplus, by our competitive position and by the amount of premiums that we can write. Without regulatory approval, the aggregate maximum amount of dividends that

26


 

 

could be paid to Hallmark in 2019 by our insurance company subsidiaries is $22.9 million. State insurance regulators have broad discretion to limit the payment of dividends by insurance companies and Hallmark’s right to participate in any distribution of assets of any one of our insurance company subsidiaries is subject to prior claims of policyholders and creditors except to the extent that its rights, if any, as a creditor are recognized. Consequently, Hallmark’s ability to pay debts, expenses and cash dividends to our stockholders may be limited.

Our insurance company subsidiaries are subject to minimum capital and surplus requirements. Failure to meet these requirements could subject us to regulatory action.

Our insurance company subsidiaries are subject to minimum capital and surplus requirements imposed under the laws of their respective states of domicile and each state in which they issue policies. Any failure by one of our insurance company subsidiaries to meet minimum capital and surplus requirements imposed by applicable state law will subject it to corrective action, which may include requiring adoption of a comprehensive financial plan, revocation of its license to sell insurance products or placing the subsidiary under state regulatory control. Any new minimum capital and surplus requirements adopted in the future may require us to increase the capital and surplus of our insurance company subsidiaries, which we may not be able to do.

We are subject to assessments and other surcharges from state guaranty funds, mandatory reinsurance arrangements and state insurance facilities, which may reduce our profitability.

Virtually all states require insurers licensed to do business therein to bear a portion of the unfunded obligations of impaired or insolvent insurance companies. These obligations are funded by assessments, which are levied by guaranty associations within the state, up to prescribed limits, on all member insurers in the state on the basis of the proportionate share of the premiums written by member insurers in the lines of business in which the impaired, insolvent or failed insurer was engaged. Accordingly, the assessments levied on us by the states in which we are licensed to write insurance may increase as we increase our premiums written. In addition, as a condition to the ability to conduct business in certain states, insurance companies are required to participate in mandatory reinsurance funds. The effect of these assessments and mandatory reinsurance arrangements, or changes in them, could reduce our profitability in any given period or limit our ability to grow our business.

We monitor developments with respect to various state facilities, such as the Texas FAIR Plan and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. The impact of any catastrophe experience on these facilities could result in the facilities recognizing a financial deficit or a financial deficit greater than the level currently estimated. They may, in turn, have the ability to assess participating insurers when financial deficits occur, adversely affecting our results of operations. While these facilities are generally designed so that the ultimate cost is borne by policyholders, the exposure to assessments and the availability of recoupments or premium rate increases from these facilities may not offset each other in our financial statements. Moreover, even if they do offset each other, they may not offset each other in financial statements for the same fiscal period due to the ultimate timing of the assessments and recoupments or premium rate increases, as well as the possibility of policies not being renewed in subsequent years.

Adverse securities market conditions can have a significant and negative impact on our investment portfolio.

Our results of operations depend in part on the performance of our invested assets. As of December 31, 2018, 87% of our investment portfolio was invested in fixed-income securities. Certain risks are inherent in connection with fixed-income securities, including loss upon default and price volatility in reaction to changes in interest rates and general market factors. In general, the fair value of a portfolio of fixed-income securities increases or decreases inversely with changes in the market interest rates, while net investment income realized from future investments in fixed-income securities increases or decreases along with interest rates. In addition, 29% of our fixed-income securities have call or prepayment options. This subjects us to reinvestment risk should interest rates fall and issuers call their securities. Furthermore, actual net investment income and/or cash flows from investments that carry prepayment risk, such as mortgage-backed and other asset-backed securities, may differ from those anticipated at the time of investment as a result of interest rate fluctuations. An investment has prepayment risk when there is a risk that cash flows from the repayment of principal might occur earlier than anticipated because of declining interest rates or later than anticipated because of rising interest rates. The fair value

27


 

 

of our fixed-income securities as of December 31, 2018 was $545.9 million. If market interest rates were to increase 1%, the fair value of our fixed-income securities would decrease by approximately $7.6 million as of December 31, 2018. The calculated change in fair value was determined using duration modeling assuming no prepayments.

In addition to the general risks described above, although 76% of our portfolio is investment-grade, our fixed-income securities are nonetheless subject to credit risk. If any of the issuers of our fixed-income securities suffer financial setbacks, the ratings on the fixed-income securities could fall (with a concurrent fall in market value) and, in a worst case scenario, the issuer could default on its obligations. As of December 31, 2018, Hallmark had $50 thousand in its investment portfolio exposed to sub-prime mortgages and $13.6 million total exposure in mortgage-backed securities.

Future changes in the fair value of our available-for-sale fixed income securities will be reflected in other comprehensive income. Similar treatment is not available for liabilities. Therefore, interest rate fluctuations could adversely affect our stockholders’ equity, total comprehensive income and/or cash flows.

We rely on independent agents and specialty brokers to market our products and their failure to do so would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

We market and distribute our insurance products exclusively through independent insurance agents and specialty insurance brokers. As a result, our business depends in large part on the marketing efforts of these agents and brokers and on our ability to offer insurance products and services that meet the requirements of the agents, the brokers and their customers. However, these agents and brokers are not obligated to sell or promote our products and many sell or promote competitors’ insurance products in addition to our products. Some of our competitors have higher financial strength ratings, offer a larger variety of products, set lower prices for insurance coverage and/or offer higher commissions than we do. Therefore, we may not be able to continue to attract and retain independent agents and brokers to sell our insurance products. The failure or inability of independent agents and brokers to market our insurance products successfully could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may experience difficulty in integrating acquisitions into our operations.

The successful integration of any newly acquired business into our operations will require, among other things, the retention and assimilation of their key management, sales and other personnel; the coordination of their lines of insurance products and services; the adaptation of their technology, information systems and other processes; and the retention and transition of their customers. Unexpected difficulties in integrating any acquisition could result in increased expenses and the diversion of management time and resources. If we do not successfully integrate any acquired business into our operations, we may not realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisition, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations. Further, any potential acquisition may require significant capital outlay and, if we issue equity or convertible debt securities to pay for an acquisition, the issuance may be dilutive to our existing stockholders.

Our internal controls are not fail-safe.

We continually enhance our operating procedures and internal controls to effectively support our business and comply with our regulatory and financial reporting requirements. As a result of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no system of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control objectives have been or will be met, and that every instance of error or fraud has been or will be detected. A control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty and that breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by individual acts or by collusion of two or more persons. The design of any system of controls is based in part upon assumptions about the likelihood of future events, and there can be no assurance that any design will succeed in achieving its stated goals under all potential future conditions. Internal controls may also become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or the degree of compliance with policies or procedures may deteriorate. Further, the design of a control system must reflect resource constraints, and the benefits of controls must be considered relative to their costs. As a result of the inherent limitations in a cost-effective control

28


 

 

system, misstatement due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected. Accordingly, our internal controls and procedures are designed to provide reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the control objectives are met.

Our geographic concentration ties our performance to the business, economic and regulatory conditions of certain states.

The following states accounted for approximately 54% of our gross written premiums for 2018: Texas (33%), California (9%), Arizona (5%), Florida (4%) and Oklahoma  (3%). Our revenues and profitability are subject to the prevailing regulatory, legal, economic, political, demographic, competitive, weather and other conditions in the principal states in which we do business. Changes in any of these conditions could make it less attractive for us to do business in such states and would have a more pronounced effect on us compared to companies that are more geographically diversified. In addition, our exposure to severe losses from localized natural perils, such as windstorms or hailstorms, is increased in those areas where we have written significant numbers of property/casualty insurance policies.

The exclusions and limitations in our policies may not be enforceable.

Many of the policies we issue include exclusions or other conditions that define and limit coverage, which exclusions and conditions are designed to manage our exposure to certain types of risks and expanding theories of legal liability. In addition, many of our policies limit the period during which a policyholder may bring a claim under the policy, which period in many cases is shorter than the statutory period under which these claims can be brought by our policyholders. While these exclusions and limitations help us assess and control our loss exposure, it is possible that a court or regulatory authority could nullify or void an exclusion or limitation, or legislation could be enacted modifying or barring the use of these exclusions and limitations. This could result in higher than anticipated losses and LAE by extending coverage beyond our underwriting intent or increasing the number or size of claims, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results. In some instances, these changes may not become apparent until sometime after we have issued the insurance policies that are affected by the changes. As a result, the full extent of liability under our insurance contracts may not be known for many years after a policy is issued.

We rely on our information technology and telecommunications systems and the failure or disruption of these systems could disrupt our operations and adversely affect our results of operations.

Our business is highly dependent upon the successful and uninterrupted functioning of our information technology and telecommunications systems. We rely on these systems to perform accounting, policy administration, actuarial and other modeling functions necessary for underwriting business, as well as to process and make claims and other payments. Our systems could fail of their own accord or might be disrupted by factors such as natural disasters, power disruptions or surges, cybersecurity intrusions or terrorist attacks. Failure or disruption of these systems for any reason could interrupt our business and adversely affect our results of operations.

Cybersecurity risks in particular are evolving and include malicious software, unauthorized access to data and other electronic security breaches. We have not experienced successful cybersecurity attacks in the past and believe that we have adopted appropriate measures to mitigate potential risks to our information technology systems. However, the timing, nature and scope of cybersecurity attacks are difficult to predict and prevent. Therefore, we could be subject to operational delays, compromised confidential or proprietary information, destruction or corruption of data, manipulation or improper use of our systems and networks, financial losses from remedial actions and/or damage to our reputation from cybersecurity attacks. A cybersecurity attack on our information technology systems could disrupt our business and adversely affect our results of operations and financial position.

Global climate change may have an adverse effect on our financial statements.

Although uncertainty remains as to the nature and effect of greenhouse gas emissions, we could suffer losses if global climate change results in an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters. As with traditional natural disasters, claims arising from these incidents could increase our exposure to losses and have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, and/or financial condition.

29


 

 

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

Not applicable

 

Item 2. Properties.

Our corporate headquarters and Standard Commercial P&C operating unit are currently located at 777 Main Street, Suite 1000, Fort Worth, Texas. The suite is located in a high-rise office building and contains 27,808 square feet of space. The rent is currently $53,299 per month pursuant to a lease which terminates June 30, 2019 pursuant to our exercise of an early termination option.

Our Contract Binding operating unit is presently located at 7550 IH‑10 West, San Antonio, Texas. These leased premises consist of a 16,599 square foot office suite and 800 square feet of storage space. The rent is currently $34,798 per month pursuant to a lease that expires November 30, 2020.

Our Specialty Commercial operating unit is currently located at 13727 Noel Road, Dallas, Texas. These leased premises consist of 15,072 square feet of office space. The rent is currently $29,830 per month pursuant to a lease that expires November 30, 2022. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit also maintains branch offices in the following locations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location

    

Monthly Rent

    

Lease Expiration

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago, Illinois

 

$

12,471

 

June 30, 2020

Atlanta, Georgia

 

$

12,305

 

November 30, 2026

Jersey City, New Jersey

 

$

5,136

 

December 31, 2020

Glendale, California

 

$

2,627

 

July 31, 2020

 

Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit is located at 6500 Pinecrest, Suite 100, Plano, Texas. The suite is located in a one story office building and contains 23,941 square feet of space. The rent is currently $30,525 per month pursuant to a lease that expires December 31, 2020.

 

We have entered into a lease for new office space in a high-rise office building commonly known as Two Lincoln Centre located at 5420 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, Texas.  We intend to relocate our corporate headquarters, our Standard Commercial P&C and our Specialty Commercial operating units.  The leased premises consist of 47,172 square feet of office space (“Suite 1100”) and approximately 3,000 square feet of storage space (“Suite 380”).  The initial term of the lease commences June 1, 2019 and expires May 31, 2032, and we have the right to renew the lease for up to ten years at market rental rates prevailing at the time of renewal.  The initial base rent for Suite 1100 of $121,861 per month is waived for the first 12 months of the lease and the initial base rent for Suite 380 of $4,250 per month is waived for the first 48 months of the lease.  We estimate that additional rent based on a share of certain expenses of the building will initially be approximately $5,000 per month.

 

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

We are engaged in various legal proceedings that are routine in nature and incidental to our business. None of these proceedings, either individually or in the aggregate, are believed, in our opinion, likely to have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position or our results of operations.

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

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PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Market for Common Stock

Our common stock is currently traded on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “HALL.” The following table shows the high and low sales prices of our common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market for each quarter since January 1, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Period

    

High Sale

    

Low Sale

Year Ended December 31, 2018:

 

 

  

 

 

  

First quarter

 

$

10.70

 

$

8.62

Second quarter

 

 

10.54

 

 

8.85

Third quarter

 

 

11.31

 

 

9.49

Fourth quarter

 

 

11.58

 

 

9.82

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2017:

 

 

  

 

 

  

First quarter

 

$

11.98

 

$

10.14

Second quarter

 

 

11.62

 

 

9.94

Third quarter

 

 

11.83

 

 

9.91

Fourth quarter

 

 

11.76

 

 

9.95

 

Holders

As of March 1, 2019,  there were 1,649 shareholders of record of our common stock.

Dividends

Hallmark has never paid dividends on its common stock. Our board of directors intends to continue this policy for the foreseeable future in order to retain earnings for development of our business.

Hallmark is a holding company and a legal entity separate and distinct from its subsidiaries. As a holding company, Hallmark is dependent on dividend payments and management fees from its subsidiaries to pay dividends and make other payments. State insurance laws limit the ability of our insurance company subsidiaries to pay dividends to Hallmark. As property/casualty insurance companies domiciled in the state of Texas, AHIC and TBIC are limited in the payment of dividends to Hallmark in any 12‑month period, without the prior written consent of the Texas Department of Insurance, to the greater of statutory net income for the prior calendar year or 10% of statutory policyholders’ surplus as of the prior year end. HIC and HNIC, both domiciled in Arizona, are limited in the payment of dividends to the lesser of 10% of prior year policyholders surplus or prior year’s net income, without prior written approval from the Arizona Department of Insurance. HSIC, domiciled in Oklahoma, is limited in the payment of dividends to the greater of 10% of prior year policyholders’ surplus or prior year’s statutory net income, not including realized capital gains, without prior written approval from the Oklahoma Insurance Department. As a county mutual, dividends from HCM are payable to policyholders.

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Equity Compensation Plan Information

The following table sets forth information regarding shares of our common stock authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans as of December 31, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of securities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

remaining available for future

 

 

Number of securities to be

 

Weighted-average

 

issuance under equity

 

 

issued upon exercise of

 

exercise price of

 

compensation plans

 

 

outstanding options, warrants

 

outstanding options,

 

[excluding securities reflected

Plan Category

    

and rights

    

warrants and rights

    

in column (a)](1)

 

 

(a)

 

(b)

 

(c)

Equity compensation plans approved by security holders

 

244,157

 

$

6.63

 

1,491,655

Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 —

Total

 

244,157

 

$

6.63

 

1,491,655


(1)

Securities remaining available for future issuance are net of a maximum of 508,345 shares of common stock issuable pursuant to outstanding restricted stock units, subject to applicable vesting requirements and performance criteria. See Note 13 to the audited consolidated financial statements included in this report.

Issuer Repurchases

Our stock buyback program initially announced on April 18, 2008, authorized the repurchase of up to 1,000,000 shares of our common stock in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions (the “Stock Repurchase Plan”). On January 24, 2011, we announced an increased authorization to repurchase up to an additional 3,000,000 shares.  The Stock Repurchase Plan does not have an expiration date.

The following table furnishes information for purchases made pursuant to the Stock Repurchase Plan during the quarter ended December 31, 2018:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cumulative Number

 

Maximum Number of

 

 

 

 

Average

 

of Shares Purchased

 

Shares that May Yet

 

 

Total Number of

 

Price Paid

 

as Part of Publicly

 

Be Purchased Under

Period

 

Shares Purchased

 

Per Share

 

Announced Plan

 

the Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1st- October 31st

 

 -

 

$

 -

 

3,229,135

 

770,865

November 1st - November 30th

 

 -

 

$

 -

 

3,229,135

 

770,865

December 1st - December 31st

 

31,976

 

$

10.71

 

3,261,111

 

738,889

 

 

Item 6.  Selected Financial Data

 

Not required for smaller reporting company.

 

 

 

 

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

The following discussion should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto. This discussion contains forward-looking statements. Please see “Risks Associated with Forward-Looking Statements in this Form 10‑K” for a discussion of some of the uncertainties, risks and assumptions associated with these statements.

Overview

Hallmark is an insurance holding company which, through its subsidiaries, engages in the sale of property/casualty insurance products to businesses and individuals. Our business involves marketing, distributing, underwriting and servicing our insurance products, as well as providing other insurance related services. We pursue our business activities primarily through subsidiaries whose operations are organized into operating units and are supported by our insurance carrier subsidiaries.

Our insurance activities are organized by operating units into the following reportable segments:

·

Specialty Commercial Segment. Our Specialty Commercial Segment includes the excess and surplus lines commercial property/casualty insurance products and services handled by our Contract Binding operating unit and the general aviation, satellite launch, commercial umbrella and primary/excess liability, medical and financial professional liability and primary/excess commercial property insurance products and services handled by our Specialty Commercial operating unit. Certain specialty programs are also managed by our Specialty Commercial operating unit. Our Contract Binding operating unit is comprised of our HSU, PAAC and TGASRI subsidiaries. Our Specialty Commercial operating unit is comprised of our Aerospace Insurance Managers, ASRI, ACMG, HXS and HDS subsidiaries.

·

Standard Commercial Segment. The Standard Commercial Segment includes the standard lines commercial property/casualty and occupational accident insurance products and services handled by our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit and the workers compensation insurance products handled by our Workers Compensation operating unit. Effective June 1, 2016, we ceased marketing new or renewal occupational accident policies. Effective July 1, 2015, the Workers Compensation operating unit ceased retaining any risk on new or renewal policies. Our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit is comprised of our American Hallmark Insurance Services and ECM subsidiaries. Our Workers Compensation operating unit is comprised of our TBIC Holdings, TBIC and TBICRM subsidiaries.

·

Personal Segment. Our Personal Segment includes the non-standard personal automobile and renters insurance products and services handled by our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit. Our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit is comprised of our AHGA and HCS subsidiaries.

The retained premium produced by these reportable segments is supported by our American Hallmark Insurance Company of Texas, Hallmark Specialty Insurance Company, Hallmark Insurance Company, Hallmark National Insurance Company and Texas Builders Insurance Company insurance subsidiaries. In addition, control and management of Hallmark County Mutual is maintained through our wholly owned subsidiary, CYR Insurance Management Company (“CYR”). CYR has as its primary asset a management agreement with HCM which provides for CYR to have management and control of HCM. HCM is used to front certain lines of business in our Specialty Commercial and Personal Segments in Texas. HCM does not retain any business.

AHIC, HIC, HSIC and HNIC have entered into a pooling arrangement pursuant to which AHIC retains 34% of the net premiums written by any of them, HIC retains 32% of the net premiums written by any of them, HSIC retains 24% of the net premiums written by any of them and HNIC retains 10% of the net premiums written by any of them. Neither HCM nor TBIC is a party to the intercompany pooling arrangement.

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Critical Accounting Estimates and Judgments

The significant accounting policies requiring our estimates and judgments are discussed below. Such estimates and judgments are based on historical experience, changes in laws and regulations, observation of industry trends and information received from third parties. While the estimates and judgments associated with the application of these accounting policies may be affected by different assumptions or conditions, we believe the estimates and judgments associated with the reported consolidated financial statement amounts are appropriate in the circumstances. For additional discussion of our accounting policies, see Note 1 to the audited consolidated financial statements included in this report.

Impairment of investments. We complete a detailed analysis each quarter to assess whether any decline in the fair value of any investment below cost is deemed other-than-temporary. All securities with an unrealized loss are reviewed. We recognize an impairment loss when an investment’s value declines below cost, adjusted for accretion, amortization and previous other-than-temporary impairments and it is determined that the decline is other-than-temporary.

Debt Investments: We assess whether we intend to sell, or it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell, a fixed maturity investment before recovery of its amortized cost basis less any current period credit losses. For fixed maturity investments that are considered other-than-temporarily impaired and that we do not intend to sell and will not be required to sell, we separate the amount of the impairment into the amount that is credit related (credit loss component) and the amount due to all other factors. The credit loss component is recognized in earnings and is the difference between the investment’s amortized cost basis and the present value of its expected future cash flows. The remaining difference between the investment’s fair value and the present value of future expected cash flows is recognized in other comprehensive income.

Equity Investments: On January 1, 2018, we adopted ASU 2016-01, “Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities”.  ASU 2016-01 requires equity investments that are not consolidated or accounted for under the equity method of accounting to be measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in net income each reporting period.  As a result of the new standard, equity securities with readily determinable fair values are no longer required to be evaluated for other-than-temporary-impairment.

Prior to the adoption of ASU 2016-01, some of the factors considered in evaluating whether a decline in fair value for an equity investment is other-than-temporary include: (1) our ability and intent to retain the investment for a period of time sufficient to allow for an anticipated recovery in value; (2) the recoverability of cost; (3) the length of time and extent to which the fair value has been less than cost; and (4) the financial condition and near-term and long-term prospects for the issuer, including the relevant industry conditions and trends, and implications of rating agency actions and offering prices. When it was determined that an equity investment was other-than-temporarily impaired, the security was written down to fair value, and the amount of the impairment was included in earnings as a realized investment loss. The fair value then became the new cost basis of the investment, and any subsequent recoveries in fair value were recognized at disposition. We recognized a realized loss when impairment was deemed to be other-than-temporary even if a decision to sell an equity investment had not been made. If we decided to sell a temporarily impaired available-for-sale equity investment and we did not expect the fair value of the equity investment to fully recover prior to the expected time of sale, the investment was deemed to be other-than-temporarily impaired in the period in which the decision to sell was made.

Fair values of financial instruments. Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 820 defines fair value, establishes a consistent framework for measuring fair value and expands disclosure requirements about fair value measurements. ASC 820, among other things, requires us to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs when measuring fair value. In addition, ASC 820 precludes the use of block discounts when measuring the fair value of instruments traded in an active market, which were previously applied to large holdings of publicly traded equity securities.

We determine the fair value of our financial instruments based on the fair value hierarchy established in ASC 820. In accordance with ASC 820, we utilize the following fair value hierarchy:

·

Level 1: quoted prices in active markets for identical assets;

34


 

 

·

Level 2: inputs to the valuation methodology include quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets, inputs of identical assets for less active markets, and inputs that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly, for substantially the full term of the instrument; and

·

Level 3: inputs to the valuation methodology that are unobservable for the asset or liability.

This hierarchy requires the use of observable market data when available.

Under ASC 820, we determine fair value based on the price that would be received for an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants on the measurement date. It is our policy to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs when developing fair value measurements, in accordance with the fair value hierarchy described above. Fair value measurements for assets and liabilities where there exists limited or no observable market data are calculated based upon our pricing policy, the economic and competitive environment, the characteristics of the asset or liability and other factors as appropriate. These estimated fair values may not be realized upon actual sale or immediate settlement of the asset or liability.

Where quoted prices are available on active exchanges for identical instruments, investment securities are classified within Level 1 of the valuation hierarchy. Level 1 investment securities include common stock, preferred stock and the equity warrant classified as Other Investments.

Level 2 investment securities include corporate bonds, collateralized corporate bank loans, municipal bonds, U.S. Treasury securities, other obligations of the U.S. Government and mortgage-backed securities for which quoted prices are not available on active exchanges for identical instruments. We use a third party pricing service to determine fair values for each Level 2 investment security in all asset classes. Since quoted prices in active markets for identical assets are not available, these prices are determined using observable market information such as quotes from less active markets and/or quoted prices of securities with similar characteristics, among other things. We have reviewed the processes used by the pricing service and have determined that they result in fair values consistent with the requirements of ASC 820 for Level 2 investment securities. We have not adjusted any prices received from third-party pricing sources.

In cases where there is limited activity or less transparency around inputs to the valuation, investment securities are classified within Level 3 of the valuation hierarchy. Level 3 investments are valued based on the best available data in order to approximate fair value. This data may be internally developed and consider risk premiums that a market participant would require. Investment securities classified within Level 3 include other less liquid investment securities.

Deferred policy acquisition costs. Policy acquisition costs (mainly commission, underwriting and marketing expenses) that vary with and are primarily related to the successful acquisition of new and renewal insurance contracts are deferred and charged to operations over periods in which the related premiums are earned. Ceding commissions from reinsurers, which include expense allowances, are deferred and recognized over the period premiums are earned for the underlying policies reinsured.

The method followed in computing deferred policy acquisition costs limits the amount of such deferred costs to their estimated realizable value. A premium deficiency exists if the sum of expected claim costs and claim adjustment expenses, unamortized acquisition costs, and maintenance costs exceeds related unearned premiums and expected investment income on those unearned premiums, as computed on a product line basis. We routinely evaluate the realizability of deferred policy acquisition costs. At December 31, 2018 and 2017, there was no premium deficiency related to deferred policy acquisition costs.

Goodwill. Goodwill is tested for impairment at the reporting unit level (operating unit or one level below an operating unit) on an annual basis (October 1) and between annual tests if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying value.  For purposes of evaluating goodwill for impairment, we have determined that our reporting units are the same as our operating units except for the Specialty Commercial operating unit for which reporting units are at the component level (“one level below”). Our consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2018 includes goodwill of acquired businesses of $44.7 million that is assigned to our

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operating units as follows: Standard Commercial P&C operating unit - $2.1 million; Contract Binding operating unit - $19.9 million; Specialty Commercial operating unit -  $17.4 million (comprised of $7.7 million for the primary/excess and umbrella component and $9.7 million for the general aviation and satellite component); and Specialty Personal Lines operating unit - $5.3 million. This amount has been recorded as a result of prior business acquisitions accounted for under the acquisition method of accounting. Under ASC 350, “Intangibles - Goodwill and Other,” goodwill is tested for impairment annually. We completed our last annual test for impairment on the first day of the fourth quarter of 2018 and determined that there was no impairment.

A significant amount of judgment is required in performing goodwill impairment tests. Such tests include estimating the fair value of our reporting units. As required by ASC 350, we compare the estimated fair value of each reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. Under ASC 350, fair value refers to the amount for which the entire reporting unit may be bought or sold.

The determination of fair value was based on an income approach utilizing discounted cash flows. The valuation methodology utilized is subject to key judgments and assumptions. Estimates of fair value are inherently uncertain and represent management’s reasonable expectation regarding future developments. These estimates and the judgments and assumptions upon which the estimates are based will, in all likelihood, differ in some respects from actual future results. Declines in estimated fair value could result in goodwill impairments in future periods which could materially adversely affect our results of operations or financial position.

The income approach to determining fair value computed the projections of the cash flows that the reporting unit is expected to generate converted into a present value equivalent through discounting. Significant assumptions in the income approach model include income projections, discount rates and terminal growth values. The income projections reflect an improved premium rate environment across most of our lines of business that continued throughout 2018. The income projections also include loss and LAE assumptions which reflect recent historical claim trends and the movement towards a more favorable pricing environment. The income projections also include assumptions for expense growth and investment yields which are based on business plans for each of our operating units. The discount rate was based on a risk free rate plus a beta adjusted equity risk premium and specific company risk premium. The assumptions were based on historical experience (including factors such as prior year loss reserve development), expectations of future performance (including premium growth rates, premium rate increases and loss costs), expected market conditions and other factors requiring judgment and estimates. While we believe the assumptions used in these models were reasonable, the inherent uncertainty in predicting future performance and market conditions may change over time and influence the outcome of future testing.

The fair values of each of our operating units were in excess of their respective carrying values, including goodwill, as a result of our annual test for impairment during the fourth quarter 2018. However, a 13% decline in the fair value of our Standard Commercial P&C operating unit, a 5% decline in the fair value of our Contract Binding operating unit, a 20% decline in the fair value of our Specialty Personal Lines operating unit, a 61% decline in the fair value of our excess and umbrella component or a 29% decline in the fair value of our general aviation and satellite component would have caused the carrying value of the respective reporting unit to be in excess of its fair value, resulting in the need to perform the second step of impairment testing prescribed by ASC 350, which could have resulted in an impairment to our goodwill.

The market capitalization of Hallmark’s common stock has been below book value during 2018. We consider our market capitalization in assessing the reasonableness of the fair values estimated for our operating units in connection with our goodwill impairment testing. We believe the limited daily trading volume of Hallmark shares has resulted in a decrease in our market capitalization that is not representative of a long-term decrease in value. The valuation analysis discussed above supports our view that goodwill was not impaired at October 1, 2018. Through December 31, 2018, there were no indicators of impairment.

While we believe the estimates and assumptions used in determining the fair value of our operating units were reasonable, actual results could vary materially. If our actual results are not consistent with our estimates and assumptions used to calculate fair value, we may be required to perform the second step of impairment testing prescribed by ASC 350 in future periods and impairment of goodwill could result. We cannot predict future events that might impact the fair value of our

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operating units and goodwill impairment. Such events include, but are not limited to, increased competition in insurance markets and global economic changes.

Deferred income tax assets and liabilities. We file a consolidated federal income tax return. Deferred federal income taxes reflect the future tax consequences of differences between the tax basis of assets and liabilities and their financial reporting amounts at each year end. Deferred taxes are recognized using the liability method, whereby tax rates are applied to cumulative temporary differences based on when and how they are expected to affect the tax return. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are adjusted for tax rate changes. A valuation allowance is provided against our deferred tax assets to the extent that we do not believe it is more likely than not that future taxable income will be adequate to realize these future tax benefits.

Reserves for unpaid losses and LAE. Reserves for unpaid losses and LAE are established for claims that have already been incurred by the policyholder but which we have not yet paid. Unpaid losses and LAE represent the estimated ultimate net cost of all reported and unreported losses incurred through each balance sheet date. The reserves for unpaid losses and LAE are estimated using individual case-basis valuations and statistical analyses. These reserves are revised periodically and are subject to the effects of trends in loss severity and frequency. (See “Item 1. Business – Analysis of Losses and LAE” and Note 6 to the audited consolidated financial statements included in this report.)

Although considerable variability is inherent in such estimates, we believe that our reserves for unpaid losses and LAE are adequate. Due to the inherent uncertainty in estimating unpaid losses and LAE, the actual ultimate amounts may differ from the recorded amounts. A small percentage change could result in a material effect on reported earnings. For example, a 1% change in December 31, 2018 reserves for unpaid losses and LAE would have produced a $5.3 million change to pretax earnings. The estimates are continually reviewed and adjusted as experience develops or new information becomes known. Such adjustments are included in current operations.

An actuarial range of ultimate unpaid losses and LAE is developed independent of management’s best estimate and is only used to assess the reasonableness of that estimate. There is no exclusive method for determining this range, and judgment enters into the process. The primary actuarial technique utilized is a loss development analysis in which ultimate losses are projected based upon historical development patterns. The primary assumption underlying this loss development analysis is that the historical development patterns will be a reasonable predictor of the future development of losses for accident years which are less mature. An alternate actuarial technique, known as the Bornhuetter-Ferguson method, combines an analysis of loss development patterns with an initial estimate of expected losses or loss ratios. This approach is most useful for recent accident years. In addition to assuming the stability of loss development patterns, this technique is heavily dependent on the accuracy of the initial estimate of expected losses or loss ratios. Consequently, the Bornhuetter-Ferguson method is primarily used to confirm the results derived from the loss development analysis.

The range of unpaid losses and LAE estimated by our actuary as of December 31, 2018 was $426.5 million to $538.8 million. Our best estimate of unpaid losses and LAE as of December 31, 2018 is $527.2 million. Our carried reserve for unpaid losses and LAE as of December 31, 2018 is comprised of $242.3 million in case reserves and $284.9 million in incurred but not reported reserves. In setting this estimate of unpaid losses and LAE, we have assumed, among other things, that current trends in loss frequency and severity will continue and that the actuarial analysis was empirically valid. We have established a best estimate of unpaid losses and LAE which is $44.6 million higher than the midpoint, or 97.8% of the high end, of the actuarial range at December 31, 2018 as compared to $39.9 million above the midpoint, or 96.3% of the high end, of the actuarial range at December 31, 2017. We expect our best estimate to move within the actuarial range from year to year due to changes in our operations and changes within the marketplace. Due to the inherent uncertainty in reserve estimates, there can be no assurance that the actual losses ultimately experienced will fall within the actuarial range. However, because of the breadth of the actuarial range, we believe that it is reasonably likely that actual losses will fall within such range.

Our reserve requirements are also interrelated with product pricing and profitability. We must price our products at a level sufficient to fund our policyholder benefits and still remain profitable. Because claim expenses represent the single largest category of our expenses, inaccuracies in the assumptions used to estimate the amount of such benefits can result in our failing to price our products appropriately and to generate sufficient premiums to fund our operations.

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Results of Operations

Comparison of Years ended December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017

Management overview. During fiscal 2018, our total revenues were $379.3 million, which was $6.2 million less than the $385.5 million in total revenues for fiscal 2017. During the year ended December 31, 2018, we reported net income before tax of $12.8 million as compared to a  net loss before tax of $16.6 million during the same period of 2017.

This decrease in revenue was largely due to investment losses of $10.2 million during the year ended December 31, 2018 as compared to investment losses of $0.2 million during the same period of 2017, as well as lower net investment income and lower other income, partially offset by higher net earned premiums, higher commissions and fees and higher finance charges. The investment losses for the year ended December 31, 2018 included $9.3 million in loss attributable to the adoption effective January 1, 2018 of Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-01, “Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities” (“ASU 2016-01”) which requires equity investments that are not consolidated or accounted for under the equity method of accounting to be measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in net income. We adopted ASU 2016-01 using the modified-retrospective approach pursuant to which we recorded a cumulative effect adjustment to retained earnings of $17.0 million as of January 1, 2018 and decreased accumulated other comprehensive income by the same amount and did not restate prior periods.  

The increase in income before tax for the year ended December 31, 2018 was due primarily to decreased losses and loss adjustment expenses (“LAE”) of $32.3 million and lower operating expenses of $3.4 million as compared to the same periods in 2017, partially offset by the decrease in revenue discussed. The decrease in losses and LAE was primarily the result of unfavorable net prior year loss reserve development of $40.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 as compared to $6.0 million of unfavorable net prior year loss reserve development for the year ended December 31, 2018.    The decrease in operating expenses was primarily due to lower production related expenses due primarily to increased ceding commission in our Specialty Commercial Segment, partially offset by increased salary and related expenses, professional service fees and other operating expenses during the year ended December 31, 2018 as compared to the same period during 2017.

 

We reported net income of $10.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, as compared to a  net loss of $11.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. On a diluted per share basis, net income was $0.57 per share for fiscal 2018 as compared to a  net loss of $0.63 per share for fiscal 2017. Our effective tax rate was 19.2% for the  year ended December 31, 2018 as compared to 30.3% for the same period in 2017. The effective tax rate for 2018 was favorably impacted by the lower statutory rate from the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) on December 22, 2017. The rate for 2017 varied from the statutory tax rate primarily due to a $1.3 million charge from the revaluation of deferred tax balances from a 35% statutory rate to the new 21% statutory tax rate under the TCJA as well as a correction of an immaterial error in prior years’ deferred tax on bond premium amortization, partially offset by the amount of tax exempt income in relation to total pre-tax income. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Segment information

The following is additional business segment information for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017 (in thousands):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

 

 

 

Specialty Commercial

 

Standard Commercial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Segment

 

Segment

 

Personal Segment

 

Corporate

 

Consolidated

 

 

    

2018

    

2017

    

2018

    

2017

    

2018

    

2017

    

2018

    

2017

    

2018

    

2017

 

Gross premiums written

 

$

501,806

 

$

464,714

 

$

86,121

 

$

78,228

 

$

75,088

 

$

61,214

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

663,015

 

$

604,156

 

Ceded premiums written

 

 

(250,075)

 

 

(199,692)

 

 

(16,899)

 

 

(8,940)

 

 

(32,243)

 

 

(29,941)

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

(299,217)

 

 

(238,573)

 

Net premiums written

 

 

251,731

 

 

265,022

 

 

69,222

 

 

69,288

 

 

42,845

 

 

31,273

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

363,798

 

 

365,583

 

Change in unearned premiums

 

 

6,455

 

 

(5,936)

 

 

3,099

 

 

(3,070)

 

 

(10,265)

 

 

4,460

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

(711)

 

 

(4,546)

 

Net premiums earned

 

 

258,186

 

 

259,086

 

 

72,321

 

 

66,218

 

 

32,580

 

 

35,733

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

363,087

 

 

361,037