Infinity Property and Casualty Corporation (IPCC)

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Infinity Property and Casualty Corporation (IPCC)

Q1 2010 Earnings Call

May 6, 2010 11:00 AM EST

Executives

Jim Gober – Chairman, President and CEO

Roger Smith – CFO

Analysts

Caroline Spears (ph) – Macquarie

Doug Mewhirter – RBC Capital

Alison Jacobowitz – Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Q1 2010 Infinity Property and Casualty Corporation Earnings Conference Call. My name is Derek and I will be your operator for today. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later, we will be conducting a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions). As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today, Ms. Amy Jordan, AVP of Investor Relations. Please proceed, ma’am.

Amy Jordan

Thank you. Good morning and thank you for joining us for Infinity’s first quarter earnings conference call. The live event link on our website does contain a slide presentation for this morning’s call, if you would like to follow along.

We also have an Excel Spreadsheet on our website under the quarterly reports tab that provides more detailed quarterly financial data and page 10 of this report contains the definition and reconciliation of any non-GAAP items that we will discuss this morning.

Certain statements made during this call may be deemed to be forward-looking statements that anticipate results based on our estimates, assumptions and plans that are subject to uncertainty. These statements are made subject to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements in this call not dealing with historical results or current facts are forward-looking and are based on estimates, assumptions, and projections.

Statements that include the words; assume, believes, seeks, expects, may, should, intend, likely, targets, plans, anticipates, estimates or the negative version of those words and similar statements of a future or forward-looking nature identify forward-looking statements. Examples of such forward-looking statements includes statements relating to expectations concerning market conditions, premiums, growth, earnings, investment performance, expected losses, rate changes and loss experience.

Actual results could differ materially from those expected by Infinity, depending on changes in economic conditions and financial markets including interest rate, realized gains or losses on the investment portfolio including other than temporary impairments or credit losses, the adequacy or accuracy of Infinity’s pricing methodologies, actions of competitors, the approval of requested form and rate changes, judicial and regulatory developments affecting the automobile insurance industry, the outcome of pending litigation against Infinity, weather conditions including the severity and frequency of storms, hurricanes, snowfalls, hails and winter conditions, changes in driving patterns and loss cost trends.

Infinity undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any of the forward-looking statements. For a more detailed discussion of some of the foregoing risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, please see Infinity’s filings with the SEC.

And with that, let me turn it over to Jim Gober, our Chairman, President and CEO.

Jim Gober

Well, good morning, and welcome to our call and webcast for the first quarter of 2010. Roger Smith, our CFO is also with us this morning. And as usual we will open the lines for questions after our comments.

Now let’s begin with the highlights on slide three. Our gross written premiums were up 9.9% during the quarter. We experienced premium growth in all of our focus states except California and Nevada with a significant amount of growth coming from Florida.

Our largest state California was relatively flat falling just 1.2% during the quarter. Within the focus states, premiums in our targeted urban zones were up 10.9%. We experienced growth in 12 of our 21 targeted urban zones including our largest urban area Los Angeles, which was up 1.3%. And we continue to build our commercial vehicle product which posted growth for the ninth consecutive quarter.

Net earnings per share for the quarter were $1.15 compared to $0.76 for the same period in 2009. Net earnings for the first quarter of this year include favorable development on prior period reserves of $16.7 million pretax or $0.80 per share.

Also included in net earnings is a one-time adjustment, the GAAP expenses of $1.3 million pretax or $0.06 per share. Excluding the favorable development and this one-time adjustment to expenses, our 2010 accident year combined ratio was running about 99.1%.

As we mentioned last quarter, we expected our combined ratio to tick up this year as a result of our growth plans given higher underwriting expenses and loss ratios associated with new business. And we have seen this in our PPA book in Florida and our commercial vehicle business given our substantial growth in these two products.

In addition, there is some seasonality to the business for the first quarter typically running a higher loss ratio due to weather conditions and fewer daylight driving hours. In fact, both Florida and California had significant amounts of rainfall during the first quarter this year, which we suspect impacted claim frequencies.

Currently, we are slightly above our accident year combined ratio of guidance of 97% to 98%, yet we believe the book will settle into the expected range over the next three quarters.

Continuing on, our operating earnings per diluted share were relatively flat at $1.18 for the quarter as compared to $1.19 in the first quarter of ‘09. Regarding capital management actions, we purchased 251,900 shares for an average price of $41.30 during the quarter. Those purchases represent about 1.9% of the outstanding shares at the beginning of the first quarter.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com