Amerisafe, Inc. (AMSF - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2019 earnings of $1.70 per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 123.7%. Also, the bottom line improved 58.9% year over year.
The upside can be attributed to a decline in expenses incurred related to loss and loss adjustment, underwriting and other operating costs, and policyholder dividends.
Quarter in Detail
Amerisafe’s operating revenues decreased 4.5% from the prior-year quarter to $90.4 million and met the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The downside was due to a decline in net premiums earned and lower net investment income.
Gross premiums written were down 6.1% year over year to $70.7 million primarily due to a consistent reduction in approved loss costs in the company’s states of operation. Underwriting profit of $33.3 million increased 96.3% year over year.
Net investment income declined 0.3% year over year to nearly $8 million due to a marginally smaller investment portfolio.
Total expenses were nearly $49 million, down 31.8% from the year-ago quarter due to lower loss and loss adjustments expenses incurred, underwriting and other operating costs, and expenses related to policyholder dividends.
Net combined ratio of 59.6% improved 2140 basis points year over year.
Concurrent with the earnings release, Amerisafe’s board of directors hiked its quarterly dividend by 8% to 27 cents per share, up from the prior dividend payout of 25 cents per share.
The dividend will be paid out on Mar 27, 2020, to shareholders of record as of Mar 13, 2020.
Financial Update (Dec 31, 2019)
Amerisafe exited the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $43.8 million, up 8.6% from the prior year-end level.
Shareholders’ equity was $430.2 million, up 5% year over year.
Operating return on average adjusted equity was 30%, up 1100 points year over year.
For 2019, total revenues were $370.4 million, down 2% from 2018-end level. Earnings of $4.60 per share improved 19.2% from the 2018-end level.
Zacks Rank & Peer Releases
Amerisafe currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Among other players from the insurance industry, having reported fourth-quarter earnings so far, the bottom lines of Arch Capital Group Ltd. (ACGL - Free Report) , Brighthouse Financial, Inc. (BHF - Free Report) and RLI Corp. (RLI - Free Report) beat estimates.
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