RLI Corp. Approves Special Dividend, Estimates Q4 Cat Loss

The board of directors of RLI Corp . RLI recently gave nod to a special cash dividend of $1.00 per share. The company has been paying special dividend since 2011 and the latest approval marks the ninth straight special dividend. The insurer paid a special dividend of $1.75 last year.

RLI Corp. anticipates dishing out about $45 million for the special dividend. This is well-supported by its strong capital position. The property and casualty insurer maintains a solid balance sheet with sufficient liquidity and strong cash flow. Over the last five years, the P&C insurer's total cumulative dividends amounted to more than $616 million.

Concurrently, the board of directors announced a regular quarterly cash dividend of 22 cents per share. Both these dividends will be paid on Dec 27 to shareholders of record as of Nov 30, 2018. The company has been paying dividend for the last 170 quarters and hiking dividend for the past 43 years. The company's regular quarterly dividend witnessed a six-year CAGR of 6.6%. Its dividend yield of 1.2% betters the industry average of 0.4%.

The company estimates cat loss between $22 million and $27 million, net of reinsurance stemming from Hurricane Michael. The company expects to year-to-date cat losses in the range of $40 to $45 million. Though RLI Corp. has incurred higher-than-average catastrophe losses this year so far, sturdy results at Property segment led underwriting income to more than double. Nonetheless, exposure to catastrophe activities remains a concern as occurrences and magnitude of natural disasters are unpredictable.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth quarter is currently pegged at 50 cents per share, indicating nearly 2% year-over-year decrease. We expect estimates to move down as analysts incorporate the expected cat loss in their figures.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) property and casualty insurer have gained 20.1% year to date, outperforming the industry's rise of 6%. The company's initiative to share more profits with shareholders while recovering from the catastrophe loss reflects its inherent strength.

Recently, the board of directors of W.R. Berkley Corp. WRB approved a special dividend of 50 cents per share.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks from the same space are Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK.B and Mercury General Corp. MCY , both sporting Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Berkshire Hathaway engages in insurance, freight rail transportation, and utility businesses. The company delivered positive earnings surprise of 11.60% in the last quarter.

Mercury General engages in writing personal automobile insurance in the United States. The company delivered positive earnings surprise of 85.00% in the last quarter.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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