10-K 1 uve-10k_20141231.htm 10-K

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

x

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014

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 001-33251

 

UNIVERSAL INSURANCE HOLDINGS, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

  

Delaware

65-0231984

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

1110 West Commercial Blvd., Suite 100, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309

(Address of principal executive offices)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (954) 958-1200

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

 

Title of each class 

Name of each exchange on which registered 

Common Stock, $.01 Par Value

New York Stock Exchange

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.    x  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    x  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.    x  Yes    ¨  No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    x  Yes    ¨  No

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company.

 

Large accelerated filer

¨

Accelerated filer

x

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

¨

Smaller Reporting Company

¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    ¨  Yes    x  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 sold as of June 30, 2014: $408,384,004.

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of Common Stock of Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. as of February 18, 2015: 35,310,017

 

 

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

UNIVERSAL INSURANCE HOLDINGS, INC.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

Page No.

 

 

PART I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

19

 

 

 

 

 

Item 2.

 

Properties

 

19

 

 

 

 

 

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

20

 

 

 

 

 

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

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

 

21

 

 

 

 

 

Item 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

 

23

 

 

 

 

 

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

24

 

 

 

 

 

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

49

 

 

 

 

 

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

51

 

 

 

 

 

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

88

 

 

 

 

 

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

88

 

 

 

 

 

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

89

 

 

 

 

 

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

89

 

 

 

 

 

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

89

 

 

 

 

 

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

89

 

 

 

 

 

Item 14.

 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

89

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

90

 

 

 

 

 

Signatures

 

95

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit 21:

 

List of Subsidiaries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit 23.1:

 

CONSENT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit 31.1:

 

CERTIFICATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit 31.2:

 

CERTIFICATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit 32:

 

CERTIFICATION

 

 

 

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Information called for in PART III of this Form 10-K is incorporated by reference to the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement to be filed within 120 days of the close of the registrant’s fiscal year in connection with the registrant’s annual meeting of shareholders.

 

 

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Table of Contents

 

NOTE ABOUT FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This report contains, in addition to historical information, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The forward-looking statements anticipate results based on our estimates, assumptions and plans that are subject to uncertainty. Forward-looking statements may appear throughout this report, including without limitation, the following sections: “Business,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and “Risk Factors.” These forward-looking statements may be identified by their use of words like “plans,” “seeks,” “expects,” “will,” “should,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “believes,” “likely,” “targets” and other words with similar meanings. These statements may address, among other things, our strategy for growth, catastrophe exposure management, product development, investment results, regulatory approvals, market position, expenses, financial results, litigation and reserves. We believe that these statements are based on reasonable estimates, assumptions and plans. However, if the estimates, assumptions or plans underlying the forward-looking statements prove inaccurate or if other risks or uncertainties arise, actual results could differ materially from those communicated in these forward-looking statements. A detailed discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from such forward-looking statements is included in the section titled “Risk Factors” (Part I, Item 1A of this report). We undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

 

PART I

 

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS

The Company

Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. (“UIH”) is a Delaware corporation originally incorporated as Universal Heights, Inc. in 1990. The name was changed to Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. in 2001. UIH and its wholly-owned subsidiaries (“we” or the “Company”) have evolved into a vertically integrated insurance holding company. Our insurance products are offered to our customers through Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company (“UPCIC”) and American Platinum Property and Casualty Insurance Company (“APPCIC”), collectively referred to as the “Insurance Entities.” Substantially all aspects of insurance underwriting, distribution and claims processing are performed by our subsidiaries. Our principal executive offices are located at 1110 West Commercial Boulevard, Suite 100, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309, and our telephone number is (954) 958-1200.

In 1997, we organized, UPCIC, as part of our strategy to take advantage of what management believed to be profitable business and growth opportunities in Florida’s residential property and casualty insurance marketplace. UPCIC was formed to participate in the transfer of homeowners’ insurance policies from the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (“JUA”). UPCIC began operating as a Florida licensed property and casualty insurance company and acquired homeowners’ insurance policies issued by the JUA in 1997.  Since then, UPCIC has produced its insurance policies through its network of independent insurance agents.  

In 2006, we acquired all of the outstanding common stock of Atlas Florida Financial Corporation, which owned all of the outstanding common stock of Sterling Premium Finance Company, Inc. (“Sterling”), from certain of our executive officers for $50,000, which approximated Sterling’s book value. Sterling was renamed Atlas Premium Finance Company and commenced offering premium finance services in November 2007.

We formed Blue Atlantic Reinsurance Corporation (“BARC”) in 2007 as a wholly owned subsidiary of UIH to be a reinsurance intermediary broker. BARC became licensed by the Florida Department of Financial Services as a reinsurance intermediary broker on January 4, 2008.

In 2008, we formed a second Florida property and casualty insurance subsidiary, Infinity Property and Casualty Insurance Company (“Infinity”), which was subsequently renamed American Platinum Property and Casualty Insurance Company.  

Insurance Business

The Florida Insurance Code currently requires that residential property insurers holding a certificate of authority before July 1, 2011, such as our Insurance Entities, maintain capitalization, referred to as “minimum capitalization,” equivalent to the greater of ten percent of the insurer’s total liabilities or $5 million. The dollar amount for the minimum capitalization is scheduled to increase to $10 million on July 1, 2016 and then to $15 million on July 1, 2021. Both Insurance Entities’ statutory capital and surplus exceeded the minimum capitalization requirements as of December 31, 2014. The Insurance Entities are also required to adhere to prescribed premium-to-capital surplus ratios which were also met as of December 31, 2014.

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Our primary product is homeowners’ insurance offered through the Insurance Entities. Our criteria for accepting insurance risk includes, but are not limited to, common industry underwriting standards such as, defined coverage limitations on buildings and contents and risk condition. Also, to manage exposure and risk, we utilize standard industry catastrophe modeling techniques for hurricane and windstorm exposure.

We may consider underwriting other types of policies in the future, subject to approval by the appropriate regulatory authorities. See “Government Regulation and Initiatives,” “Competition” and “Product Pricing” for a discussion of the material regulatory and market factors that may affect the Insurance Entities’ ability to obtain additional policies.

The nature of our business tends to be seasonal reflecting consumer behaviors in connection with the residential real estate market and the hurricane season which occurs during the period from June 1 through November 30 each year.  The amount of written premium tends to increase just prior to the second quarter of our fiscal year and to decrease approaching the fourth quarter.  

UPCIC is licensed to transact insurance business in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. APPCIC is licensed to transact insurance business only in Florida.  Also see “Item 7 – Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for discussion on our growth strategy and geographical diversification.  

The Insurance Entities’ average annual premium for policies in force as of December 31, 2014 was approximately $1,428.

The geographical distribution of the Insurance Entities’ policies in force and total insured values were as follows as of December 31, 2014 (dollars in thousands):

 

 

 

As of December 31, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Insured

 

 

 

 

 

State

 

Count

 

 

%

 

 

Value

 

 

%

 

Florida

 

 

506,913

 

 

 

91.1

%

 

$

115,248,811

 

 

 

87.9

%

Other states

 

 

49,435

 

 

 

8.9

%

 

 

15,874,916

 

 

 

12.1

%

Grand Total

 

 

556,348

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

$

131,123,727

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

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Table of Contents

 

The geographical distribution of the Insurance Entities’ policies in force and total insured values for Florida by county were as follows as of December 31, 2014 (dollars in thousands):

 

 

 

As of December 31, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Insured

 

 

 

 

 

County

 

Count

 

 

%

 

 

Value

 

 

%

 

South Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broward

 

 

60,383

 

 

 

11.9

%

 

$

16,135,160

 

 

 

14.0

%

Palm Beach

 

 

59,275

 

 

 

11.7

%

 

 

14,575,531

 

 

 

12.6

%

Miami-Dade

 

 

40,670

 

 

 

8.0

%

 

 

8,826,625

 

 

 

7.7

%

South Florida exposure

 

 

160,328

 

 

 

31.6

%

 

 

39,537,316

 

 

 

34.3

%

Other significant* Florida counties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinellas

 

 

35,930

 

 

 

7.1

%

 

 

5,904,253

 

 

 

5.1

%

Lee

 

 

29,048

 

 

 

5.7

%

 

 

4,853,818

 

 

 

4.2

%

Collier

 

 

22,132

 

 

 

4.4

%

 

 

3,843,641

 

 

 

3.3

%

Hillsborough

 

 

21,101

 

 

 

4.2

%

 

 

5,249,383

 

 

 

4.6

%

Polk

 

 

19,774

 

 

 

3.9

%

 

 

5,930,048

 

 

 

5.2

%

Escambia

 

 

19,600

 

 

 

3.9

%

 

 

5,416,770

 

 

 

4.7

%

Brevard

 

 

18,958

 

 

 

3.7

%

 

 

3,759,536

 

 

 

3.3

%

Orange

 

 

16,741

 

 

 

3.3

%

 

 

3,789,422

 

 

 

3.3

%

Sarasota

 

 

15,273

 

 

 

3.0

%

 

 

2,429,822

 

 

 

2.1

%

Pasco

 

 

11,385

 

 

 

2.2

%

 

 

3,722,460

 

 

 

3.2

%

Total other significant* counties

 

 

209,942

 

 

 

41.4

%

 

 

44,899,153

 

 

 

39.0

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Insured

 

 

 

 

 

Summary for all of Florida

 

Count

 

 

%

 

 

Value

 

 

%

 

South Florida exposure

 

 

160,328

 

 

 

31.6

%

 

 

39,537,316

 

 

 

34.3

%

Total other significant* counties

 

 

209,942

 

 

 

41.4

%

 

 

44,899,153

 

 

 

39.0

%

Other Florida counties

 

 

136,643

 

 

 

27.0

%

 

 

30,812,342

 

 

 

26.7

%

Total Florida

 

 

506,913

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

$

115,248,811

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

*

Significant counties defined as policy count or insured value greater than 2.50% of total policy count or total insured value for policies in force as of December 31, 2014.

The total policies in force as of December 31, 2014 including and excluding wind coverage is as follows (dollars in thousands):

 

 

 

As of December 31, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Insured

 

 

 

 

 

Type of coverage

 

Count

 

 

%

 

 

Value

 

 

%

 

Policies with wind coverage

 

 

543,419

 

 

 

97.7

%

 

$

128,604,814

 

 

 

98.1

%

Policies without wind coverage

 

 

12,929

 

 

 

2.3

%

 

 

2,518,913

 

 

 

1.9

%

Grand Total

 

 

556,348

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

$

131,123,727

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

INSURANCE Operations

The Insurance Entities generate revenues primarily from the collection of premiums. Universal Risk Advisors, Inc. (“URA”), our managing general agent, generates revenue through policy fee income and other administrative fees from the marketing of the Insurance Entities’ insurance products through our distribution network of independent agents. URA performs underwriting, rating, policy issuance, reinsurance negotiations, and certain administration functions for the Insurance Entities. We have also formed Universal Adjusting Corporation, which adjusts claims for the Insurance Entities, and Universal Inspection Corporation, which performs property inspections for homeowners’ insurance policies underwritten by the Insurance Entities.

Atlas Premium Finance Company offers premium finance services to policyholders of the Insurance Entities. BARC serves as a reinsurance intermediary on behalf of URA for the Insurance Entities. Universal Logistics Corporation assists with operational duties associated with our day-to-day business.

APPCIC is authorized to write homeowners multi-peril coverage on homes valued in excess of $1.0 million, which are limits and coverages currently not targeted through its affiliate, UPCIC. APPCIC began writing insurance policies in Florida in November 2011.

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We also generate income by investing available funds in excess of those retained for claims-paying obligations and insurance operations. See the “Investments” section below.

Coastal Homeowners Insurance Specialists, Inc., (“Coastal”) a wholly owned subsidiary of UIH, was incorporated in Florida in July 2001.  This entity represents our agency operations and generates income from commissions and other charges for servicing policies when agents leave the Insurance Entities’ agent network.  Coastal also serves as an alternative to independent agents and provides quotes on the Insurance Entities’ websites.

Management of Exposure to Catastrophic Losses

The Insurance Entities are exposed to potentially numerous insured losses arising out of single or multiple occurrences, such as natural catastrophes. The Insurance Entities’ exposure to catastrophic losses arises principally out of hurricanes and windstorms. Through the use of standard industry modeling techniques that are susceptible to change, the Insurance Entities manage their exposure to such losses on an ongoing basis from an underwriting perspective. The catastrophe models we utilize analyze credible scientific evidence, regarding the potential impact of global climate change which the Company considers to determine the potential impact of laws and regulations intended to combat climate change and the effect of such change, laws and regulations on our ability to manage exposure under the Insurance Entities’ policies.

The Insurance Entities protect themselves against the risk of catastrophic loss by obtaining annual reinsurance coverage as of the beginning of hurricane season on June 1 of each year.

The Insurance Entities rely on reinsurers to limit the amount of risk retained under their policies and to increase their ability to write additional risks. Our intention is to limit the Insurance Entities’ exposure and therefore protect their capital, even in the event of catastrophic occurrences, through reinsurance agreements.  The Insurance Entities also must participate in the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (“FHCF”).  Residential insurers transacting business in Florida must purchase certain reimbursement protection from the FHCF. Most property and casualty insurers operating in Florida, including the Insurance Entities, are subject to assessment if the FHCF lacks sufficient claims-paying resources to meet its reimbursement obligations to insurers.  The Insurance Entities obtain a significant portion of their reinsurance coverage from the FHCF.

Our reinsurance program consists of excess of loss, quota share and catastrophe reinsurance for multiple hurricanes. Our catastrophe reinsurance program is subject to the terms and limitations of the reinsurance contracts and currently covers certain levels of the Insurance Entities’ projected exposure through three catastrophe events.

Management evaluates the financial condition of its reinsurers and monitors concentrations of credit risk arising from similar geographic regions, activities or economic characteristics of the reinsurers to minimize its exposure to significant losses from reinsurer insolvencies. However, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors — Reinsurance subjects us to the credit risk of our reinsurers and may not be adequate to protect us against losses arising from ceded risks, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.” While ceding premiums to reinsurers reduces the Insurance Entities’ risk of exposure in the event of catastrophic losses, it also reduces their potential for greater profits in the event that such catastrophic events do not occur. We believe that the extent of our Insurance Entities’ reinsurance is typical of companies similar in size and geographic exposure in the homeowners’ insurance industry.

UPCIC has in recent years purchased reinsurance coverage up to and above the 100-year “Probable Maximum Loss” (“PML”). PML is a general concept applied in the insurance industry for defining high loss scenarios that should be considered when underwriting insurance risk. Catastrophe models such as AIR CLASIC/2 and RMS Risk Link, produce loss estimates that are quantified in terms of dollars and probabilities. The Insurance Entities’ PML amounts are modeled using both the AIR CLASIC/2 and RMS Risk Link versions in effect at the date of the calculation. Probability of exceedance or the probability that the actual loss level will exceed a particular threshold is a standard catastrophe model output. For example, the 100-year PML represents a 1.00% Annual Probability of Exceedance. It is estimated that the 100-year PML is likely to be equaled or exceeded in one year out of 100 on average, or 1 percent of the time. It is the 99th percentile of the annual loss distribution. However, as the Insurance Entities write policies throughout the year, the 100-year PML will change. It is possible that the reinsurance in place may not always surpass the 100-year PML at every point in time in one specific model. In addition, modeling results are merely estimates and are subject to various assumptions. Please see “Item 1A. Risk Factors — As a property and casualty insurer, we may face significant losses from catastrophes and severe weather events.”

Although we use what we believe to be widely recognized and, commercially available models to estimate hurricane loss exposure, discrepancies between the assumptions and scenarios utilized in the models and the characteristics of future hurricane events could result in losses that are not covered by the Insurance Entities’ reinsurance program. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors — As a property and casualty insurer, we may face significant losses from catastrophes and severe weather events.”

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Table of Contents

 

 

Liability for Unpaid Losses and LAE

The liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses (“LAE”) periodically established by the Insurance Entities, also known as reserves, are estimates of amounts needed to pay reported and unreported claims and related loss adjustment expenses. The estimates necessarily will be based on certain assumptions related to the ultimate cost to settle such claims. There is an inherent degree of uncertainty involved in the establishment of a reserve for unpaid losses and LAE and there may be substantial differences between actual losses and the Insurance Entities’ reserve estimates.  We rely on industry data, as well as the expertise and experience of independent actuaries in an effort to establish accurate estimates and an adequate liability. Furthermore, factors such as storms and weather conditions, climate changes and patterns, inflation, claim settlement patterns, legislative activity and litigation trends may have an impact on the Insurance Entities’ future loss experience.

The Insurance Entities are directly liable for loss and LAE payments under the terms of the insurance policies that they write. In many cases, several years may elapse between the occurrence of an insured loss and the Insurance Entities’ payment of that loss. As required by insurance regulations and accounting rules, the Insurance Entities reflect their liability for the ultimate payment of all incurred losses and LAE by establishing a liability for those unpaid losses and LAE for both reported and unreported claims, which represent estimates of future amounts needed to pay claims and related expenses.

When a claim involving a probable loss is reported, the Insurance Entities establish a liability for the estimated amount of their ultimate loss and LAE payments. The estimate of the amount of the ultimate loss is based upon such factors as the type of loss, jurisdiction of the occurrence, knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the claim, severity of injury or damage, potential for ultimate exposure, estimate of liability on the part of the insured, past experience with similar claims and the applicable policy provisions. All newly reported claims received are set up with an initial average liability. That claim is then evaluated and the liability is adjusted upward or downward according to the facts and damages of that particular claim. In addition, management provides for a liability on an aggregate basis to provide for losses incurred but not reported (“IBNR”). We utilize independent actuaries to help establish liabilities for unpaid losses and LAE. We do not discount the liability for unpaid losses and LAE for financial statement purposes.

The estimates of the liability for unpaid losses and LAE are subject to the effect of trends in claims severity and frequency and are continually reviewed. As part of this process, we review historical data and consider various factors, including known and anticipated legal developments, changes in social attitudes, inflation and economic conditions. As experience develops and other data become available, these estimates are revised, as required, resulting in increases or decreases to the existing liability for unpaid losses and LAE. Adjustments are reflected in results of operations in the period in which they are made and the liabilities may deviate substantially from prior estimates.

Liability claims historically tend to have longer time lapses between the occurrence of the event, the reporting of the claim to the Insurance Entities and the final settlement than do property claims. Liability claims often involve third parties filing suit and the ensuing litigation. By comparison, property damage claims tend to be reported in a relatively shorter period of time with the vast majority of these claims resulting in an adjustment without litigation.

Based upon consultations with our independent actuarial consultants and their statement of opinion on losses and LAE, we believe that the liability for unpaid losses and LAE is currently adequate to cover all claims and related expenses which may arise from incidents reported and IBNR. However, if our liability for unpaid losses and LAE proves to be inadequate, we will be required to increase the liability with a corresponding reduction in net income in the period in which the deficiency is identified. Future losses in excess of established liabilities for unpaid losses and LAE could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

Investments

We also generate income by investing funds in excess of those retained for claims-paying obligations and insurance operations. We conduct these investment activities through each of the Insurance Entities and UIH. We have retained investment advisers to advise us and manage the investment portfolio. Our investment committee reports overall investment results to our Board of Directors, at least on a quarterly basis. Our investment advisers may assist in such reports to the Board of Directors.

 

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The investment activities of the Insurance Entities are subject to regulation and supervision by the OIR. See “Government Regulation and Initiatives” below. The Insurance Entities may only make investments that are consistent with regulatory guidelines, and our investment policies for the Insurance Entities accordingly limit the amount of investments in, among other things, non-investment grade fixed maturity securities (including high-yield bonds) and the amount of total investments in preferred stock and common stock. While we seek to appropriately limit the size and scope of investments in the UIH portfolio, UIH is not similarly restricted by Florida law. Therefore, the investments made by UIH may significantly differ from those made by the Insurance Entities. We do not purchase securities on margin. As of December 31, 2014, approximately 99% of our portfolio was held by our Insurance Entities and 1% was held by UIH.

 

See “Item 8 — Note 3 (Investments)” for more information about our investments.

Government Regulation and Initiatives

UPCIC is organized, licensed and domiciled in the State of Florida as a property and casualty insurer, and is licensed to transact insurance business in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.  APPCIC is organized, licensed and domiciled in the State of Florida and is licensed to transact insurance business only in Florida.  Although UPCIC is regulated by state insurance regulators and applicable state insurance laws in each state where it is licensed, the principal insurance regulatory authority of each of UPCIC and APPCIC is the OIR.  The OIR also regulates Atlas Premium Finance Company.  A separate agency, the Florida Department of Financial Services, is responsible for the licensure and regulation of the Company’s managing general agency and insurance agency subsidiaries.  These subsidiaries also are subject to state licensing laws and regulations in other states in which they transact business on behalf of UPCIC.  Likewise, the independent agents that transact business on behalf of the Insurance Entities are subject to state licensing laws and regulations in the states in which they operate.    

State insurance authorities have broad regulatory, supervisory and administrative authority with respect to various aspects of the insurance business. Such authority includes but is not limited to: the granting and revocation of licenses to transact business; the enforcement of standards applicable to advertising, marketing, rating and underwriting practices; the enforcement of standards of solvency; the nature of, and limitations on, investments; limitations on the payment of dividends and distributions; the review and approval of policy forms and rates; the periodic examination of the affairs of insurance companies; the review and approval of certain affiliate transactions; enforcement of unfair trade and claims practices; and the form and content of required financial statements. Also, applicable state insurance laws, rather than federal bankruptcy laws, apply to the liquidation or rehabilitation of insurance companies. Such regulation and supervision are primarily for the benefit and protection of policyholders and not for the benefit of investors.

While the federal government currently does not directly regulate the insurance business, federal legislation and administrative policies in a number of areas can significantly affect the insurance business.  In addition, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) established a federal office to monitor the insurance industry and certain lines of business.  See “—Federal Oversight”.  It is not possible to predict the future impact of changing state or federal regulation on the operations of the Company.  See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Insurance Industry —We are subject to extensive regulation and potential further restrictive regulation may increase our operating costs and limit our growth”.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”)

The NAIC is an organization whose mandate is to benefit state insurance regulatory authorities and consumers by promulgating model insurance laws and regulations for adoption by the states. The NAIC also provides standardized insurance industry accounting and reporting guidance through its Accounting Practices and Procedures Manual (the “Manual”). However, model insurance laws and regulations are only effective when adopted by the states, and statutory accounting and reporting principles continue to be established by individual state laws, regulations and permitted practices. Changes to the Manual or modifications by the various state insurance departments may impact the statutory capital and surplus of the Insurance Entities.  The Company cannot predict what additional compliance costs these pending model laws or regulations may impose if adopted by Florida in the future.

Insurance Holding Company Laws  

UIH, as the indirect parent company of the Insurance Entities, and Universal Insurance Holding Company of Florida (“UIHCF”), as the direct parent company of the Insurance Entities, are subject to the insurance holding company laws of the State of Florida.  These laws generally require an authorized insurer that is a member of a holding company system to register with the OIR and to furnish annually financial and other information about the operations of companies within the holding company system.  Generally, material transactions between UPCIC or APPCIC and another company in the holding company system, including sales, loans, reinsurance agreements and service agreements, must be fair and reasonable and require prior notice and non-disapproval by the OIR.

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The Florida Insurance Code prohibits any person from acquiring control of UIH, UIHCF or the Insurance Entities unless that person has filed a notification with specified information with the OIR and has obtained the OIR’s prior approval.  Under the Florida Insurance Code, acquiring 10% or more of the voting securities of an insurance company or its parent company is presumptively considered an acquisition of control of the insurance company, although such presumption may be rebutted.  Some U.S. state insurance laws require prior notification to state insurance regulators of an acquisition of control of a non-domiciliary insurance company doing business in that state.  These laws may discourage potential acquisition proposals and may delay, deter or prevent an acquisition of control of UIH (in particular through an unsolicited transaction), even if the shareholders of UIH might consider such transaction to be desirable.    

In 2014, the Florida legislature adopted certain provisions of the NAIC’s Insurance Holding Company System Regulatory Model Act and Regulation (the “Amended Holding Company Model Act”).  The new laws introduce the concept of “enterprise risk” within an insurance holding company system.  These laws impose more extensive informational requirements on parents and other affiliates of licensed insurers with the purpose of protecting the licensed companies from enterprise risk, including requiring an annual enterprise risk report by the ultimate controlling person identifying the material risks within the insurance holding company system that could pose enterprise risk to the licensed companies.  UIH’s first enterprise risk report will be due by April 1, 2015.  We cannot predict with any degree of certainty the additional capital requirements, compliance costs or other burdens these changes may impose on us and our Insurance Entities.  

Financial Reporting

The Insurance Entities prepare and file quarterly and annual financial statements in a format established by the NAIC and adopted by administrative rules in Florida as the Insurance Entities’ domiciliary state.  The Insurance Entities’ financial statements are prepared in accordance with statutory accounting principles, which differ from U.S. GAAP.

Examinations

As part of their regulatory oversight process, state insurance departments conduct periodic financial examinations of the books, records, accounts and operations of insurance companies that are domiciled in their states.  Under Florida law, these examinations generally occur every five years, although the OIR may conduct limited or full scope reviews more frequently.   The financial examination reports are available to the public at the conclusion of the examination process.  In addition, state insurance regulatory authorities may make inquiries, hold investigations and administer market conduct examinations with respect to insurers’ compliance with applicable insurance laws and regulations.  These inquiries or examinations may address, among other things, the form and content of disclosures to consumers, advertising, sales practices, claims practices and complaint handling.  The reports arising from insurance authorities’ examination processes typically are available to the public at the conclusion of the examinations.

Capital Requirements

State insurance authorities monitor insurance companies’ solvency and capital requirements using various statutory requirements and industry ratios.  Among these tools, regulatory authorities use a risk-based capital (“RBC”) model to monitor and regulate the solvency of licensed property and casualty insurance companies.   Insurers having less surplus than required by applicable statutes and ratios are subject to varying degrees of regulatory action depending on the level of capital inadequacy.  As of December 31, 2014, the Insurance Entities’ capital and surplus exceeded applicable statutory and RBC requirements.  The calculation of RBC requires certain judgments to be made and depends on the Insurance Entities’ financial positions as of a specific date, typically at the end of a calendar year.  Accordingly, the Insurance Entities’ current RBC may be greater or less than the RBC calculated as of any other date of determination.  

Restrictions on Dividends and Distributions  

State insurance laws govern the payment of dividends by insurance companies.  Under the Florida Insurance Code, the Insurance Entities generally may pay dividends from statutory unassigned surplus subject to limitations based on the Insurance Entities’ levels of statutory net income and statutory capital and surplus.  The maximum dividends that may be paid by the Insurance Entities without prior regulatory approval is limited to the greater of statutory net income from operations for the preceding calendar year or 10.0% of statutory unassigned surplus as of the preceding year end.  These dividends are referred to as “ordinary dividends.”  However, if the dividend, together with other dividends paid within the preceding twelve months, exceeds this statutory limit or is paid from sources other than earned surplus, the entire dividend generally is considered an “extraordinary dividend” and is subject to prior regulatory approval. Dividends paid by the Company’s subsidiaries other than the Insurance Entities are not subject to the statutory restrictions set forth in the Florida Insurance Code.  Dividends paid to the Company’s shareholders in 2014 were paid from the earnings of the Company and its non-insurance subsidiaries and not from the capital and surplus of the Insurance Entities.

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Federal Oversight

Although the insurance business in the United States is primarily regulated by the states, federal initiatives can affect the Company’s business in a variety of ways. From time to time, federal measures are proposed which may significantly affect the insurance business. These areas include financial services regulation, securities regulation, privacy regulation and taxation. In addition, various forms of direct and indirect federal regulation of insurance have been proposed from time to time, including proposals for the establishment of an optional federal charter for insurance companies.

Privacy Regulation  

Federal and state laws and regulations require financial institutions to protect the security and confidentiality of non-public personal information and to notify customers and other individuals about their policies and practices relating to their collection and disclosure of customer information and their practices relating to protecting the security and confidentiality of that information. Federal and state lawmakers and regulatory bodies may be expected to consider additional or more detailed regulation regarding these subjects and the privacy and security of non-public personal information.

Statutory Insurance Organizations

Many states in which the Insurance Entities operate have statutorily-mandated insurance organizations or other insurance mechanisms in which the Insurance Entities are required to participate or to potentially pay assessments.  Each state has insurance guaranty association laws providing for the payment of policyholders’ claims when insurance companies doing business in that state become impaired or insolvent.  These guaranty associations typically are funded by assessments on insurance companies transacting business in the respective states.  When the Insurance Entities are subject to assessments they generally must remit the assessed amounts to the guaranty associations.  The Insurance Entities may subsequently seek to recover the assessed amounts through recoupments from policyholders or, in some cases, credits against future premium tax obligations.  The Insurance Entities might not be able to fully recoup the amounts of those assessments.  While the Company cannot predict the amount or timing of future guaranty association assessments, the Company believes that any such assessments will not have a material effect on the Company’s financial position or results of operations

Several states, including Florida, have insurance mechanisms that provide insurance to consumers who are not otherwise able to obtain coverage in the private insurance market.  The largest such insurance mechanism is Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”).  The degree to which these state-authorized insurance mechanisms compete with private insurers such as the Insurance Entities varies over time depending on market and public policy considerations beyond the Company’s control.  If these insurance mechanisms do not have sufficient resources to meet their claims obligations, the Insurance Entities might be required to pay assessments that are then recouped from policyholders or to add surcharges to their premiums for collection from policyholders and remittance.  As indicated above under Government Regulation and Initiatives, most property and casualty insurers operating in Florida, including the Insurance Entities, are subject to assessment if the FHCF lacks sufficient claims-paying resources to meet its reimbursement obligations to insurers.  FHCF assessments are added to policyholders’ premiums and are collected and remitted by the Insurance Entities.  

 

Product Pricing

The rates charged by the Insurance Entities generally are subject to regulatory review and approval before they may be implemented. The Insurance Entities periodically submit their rate revisions to regulators as required by law or deemed by us to be necessary or appropriate for the Insurance Entities’ business. We prepare these filings for the Insurance Entities based on objective data relating to their respective business and on judgment exercised by management and retained professionals.

The premiums charged by the Insurance Entities to policyholders are affected by legislative enactments and administrative rules, including state-mandated programs requiring residential property insurance companies like ours to provide premium discounts when policyholders verify that insured properties have certain construction features or other windstorm loss reduction features. The level of required premium discounts may exceed the expected reduction in losses associated with the construction features for which the discounts are provided. Although the Insurance Entities may submit rate filings to address any premium deficiencies, those rate filings are subject to regulatory oversight and may not be approved.

On February 7, 2013, we announced that UPCIC received approval from the OIR for premium rate increases for its homeowners and dwelling fire programs within Florida. The premium rate increases were expected to average approximately 14.1% statewide for its homeowners program and 14.5% for its dwelling fire program. The effective dates for the homeowners program rate increase were January 18, 2013, for new business and March 9, 2013, for renewal business. The effective dates for the dwelling fire program rate increase were January 14, 2013, for new business and March 3, 2013, for renewal business. In late 2013, UPCIC secured approval for an overall rate decrease for homeowners in the amount of 2.4%, effective in early 2014. In addition, an increase in UPCIC’s average dwelling fire rates of 8.1% also became effective in early 2014.

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On January 13, 2015 the North Carolina Rating Bureau announced the implementation of the North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance’s Order calling for an overall statewide homeowners’ insurance rate change of 0.0%, resulting in a decrease of 0.3% for the owners forms, an increase of 11.2% for the tenants forms and an increase of 8.1% for the condominiums forms.   These changes are applicable to all new and renewal policies effective on or after June 1, 2015.  Based on the distribution of UPCIC’s North Carolina portfolio of homeowners’ risks as of December 31, 2014, we estimate that the impact of these approved rate changes results in an overall rate increase of 0.6% in UPCIC’s in force North Carolina premium.

Competition

The insurance industry is highly competitive and many companies currently write homeowners’ property and casualty insurance. Additionally, we must compete with companies that have greater capital resources and longer operating histories and newly formed and less capitalized companies that might have more aggressive underwriting or pricing strategies. Increased competition from other private insurance companies as well as Citizens could adversely affect our ability to conduct profitable business. In addition, our Financial Stability Rating® is an important factor in establishing our competitive position and may affect our sales. Although our pricing is inevitably influenced to some degree by that of our competitors, we believe that it is generally not in our best interest to compete solely on price, choosing instead to compete on the basis of underwriting criteria, our distribution network and high quality service to our agents and insureds.

Employees

As of February 12, 2015, we had 335 full-time employees. None of our employees are represented by a labor union.

Available Information

Our internet address is http://www.universalinsuranceholdings.com. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to such reports are available, free of charge, through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after their filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding our filings at http://www.sec.gov.

 


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ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

We are subject to a variety of risks, the most significant of which are described below. Our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected by any of these risks or additional risks.

Risks Relating to the Property-Casualty Business

As a property and casualty insurer, we may face significant losses from catastrophes and severe weather events

Because of the exposure of our property and casualty business to catastrophic events, our operating results and financial condition may vary significantly from one period to the next. Catastrophes can be caused by various natural and man-made disasters, including wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical storms, sinkholes and certain types of terrorism. Because of our concentration in Florida, we are particularly exposed to hurricanes and windstorms affecting Florida.  We may incur catastrophe losses in excess of: those experienced in prior years; those estimated by a catastrophe model we use; the average expected level used in pricing; and our current reinsurance coverage limits.

In addition, we are subject to claims arising from weather events such as rain, hail and high winds. The incidence and severity of weather conditions are largely unpredictable. There is generally an increase in the frequency and severity of property claims when severe weather conditions occur. The nature and level of catastrophes in any period cannot be predicted and could be material to our operations. In addition, impacts of catastrophes and our catastrophe management strategy may adversely affect premium growth.

Although we use widely recognized and commercially available models to estimate hurricane loss exposure, other models exist that might produce higher or lower loss estimates. The loss estimates developed by the models are dependent upon assumptions or scenarios incorporated by a third-party developer and by us (or our representatives). However if these assumptions or scenarios do not reflect the characteristics of future catastrophic events that affect areas covered by our policies or the resulting economic conditions, then we could have exposure for losses not covered by our reinsurance program.

Despite our catastrophe management programs, we retain significant exposure to catastrophic events. Our liquidity could be constrained by a catastrophe, or multiple catastrophes, which result in extraordinary losses and have a negative impact on our business.

Unanticipated increases in the severity or frequency of claims may adversely affect our profitability and financial condition

Changes in the severity or frequency of claims may affect our profitability. Changes in homeowners’ claim severity are driven by inflation in the construction industry, in building materials and in home furnishings and by other economic and environmental factors, including increased demand for services and supplies in areas affected by catastrophes. However, changes in the level of the severity of claims are not limited to the effects of inflation and demand surge in these various sectors of the economy. Increases in claim severity can arise from unexpected events that are inherently difficult to predict. Although we pursue various loss management initiatives in order to mitigate future increases in claim severity, there can be no assurances that these initiatives will successfully identify or reduce the effect of future increases in claim severity.

We may experience declines in claim frequency from time to time. The short-term level of claim frequency we experience may vary from period to period and may not be sustainable over the longer term. A significant long-term increase in claim frequency could have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.

Actual claims incurred may exceed current reserves established for claims and may adversely affect our operating results and financial condition

Recorded claim reserves in the property-casualty business are based on our best estimates of losses, both reported and IBNR, after considering known facts and interpretations of circumstances. Internal factors are considered including our experience with similar cases, actual claims paid, historical trends involving claim payment patterns, pending levels of unpaid claims and contractual terms. External factors are also considered which include but are not limited to changes in the law, court decisions, changes to regulatory requirements and economic conditions. Because reserves are estimates of the unpaid portion of losses that have occurred, including IBNR losses, the establishment of appropriate reserves, including reserves for catastrophes, is an inherently uncertain and complex process. The ultimate cost of losses may vary materially from recorded reserves and such variance may adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.

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Predicting claim expense relating to environmental liabilities is inherently uncertain and may have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition

The process of estimating environmental liabilities is complicated by complex legal issues concerning, among other things, the interpretation of various insurance policy provisions and whether those losses are, or were ever intended to be covered; and whether losses could be recoverable through reinsurance. Litigation is often a complex, lengthy process that involves substantial uncertainty for insurers. Actuarial techniques and databases used in estimating environmental net loss reserves may prove to be inadequate indicators of the extent of probable loss. Ultimate net losses from environmental liabilities could materially exceed established loss reserves and expected recoveries and have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.

The failure of the risk mitigation strategies we utilize could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations

We utilize a number of strategies to mitigate our risk exposure, such as:

·

engaging in rigorous underwriting;

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carefully evaluating terms and conditions of our policies; and

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ceding risk to reinsurers.

However, there are inherent limitations in all of these strategies and no assurance can be given that an event or series of events will not result in loss levels in excess of our probable maximum loss models, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. It is also possible that losses could manifest themselves in ways that we do not anticipate and that our risk mitigation strategies are not designed to address. Such a manifestation of losses could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

These risks may be heightened during difficult economic conditions such as those recently experienced in Florida and elsewhere.

Reinsurance may be unavailable at current levels and prices, which may limit our ability to write new business or to adequately mitigate our exposure to loss

Our reinsurance program is designed, utilizing our risk management methodology, to help mitigate our exposure to catastrophes. Market conditions beyond our control determine the availability and cost of the reinsurance we purchase. No assurances can be made that reinsurance will remain continuously available to us to the same extent and on the same terms and rates as are currently available. For example, our ability to afford reinsurance to reduce our catastrophe risk may be dependent upon our ability to adjust premium rates for our cost, and there are no assurances that the terms and rates for our current reinsurance program will continue to be available next year. If we are unable to maintain our current level of reinsurance or purchase new reinsurance protection in amounts that we consider sufficient and at prices that we consider acceptable, we would have to either accept an increase in our exposure risk, reduce our insurance writings, or develop or seek other alternatives.

Regulation limiting rate changes and requiring us to participate in loss sharing or assessments may decrease our profitability

From time to time, political dispositions affect the insurance market, including efforts to effectively maintain rates that allow us to reach targeted levels of profitability. Despite efforts to remove politics from insurance regulation, facts and history demonstrate that public policymakers, when faced with untoward events and adverse public sentiment, can act in ways that impede a satisfactory correlation between rates and risk. Such acts may affect our ability to obtain approval for rate changes that may be required to attain rate adequacy along with targeted levels of profitability and returns on equity. Our ability to afford reinsurance required to reduce our catastrophe risk may be dependent upon the ability to adjust rates for our cost.

Additionally, we are required to participate in guaranty funds for insolvent insurance companies and other statutory insurance entities. The guaranty funds and other statutory entities periodically levy assessments against all insurance companies doing business in the state and the amounts and timing of those assessments are unpredictable. Our operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected by any of these factors.

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The potential benefits of implementing our profitability model may not be fully realized

We believe that our profitability model has allowed us to be more competitive and operate more profitably than other similarly situated insurers. However, because many of our competitors have adopted underwriting criteria and sophisticated models similar to those we use and because other competitors may follow suit, our competitive advantage could decline or be lost. Competitive pressures could also force us to modify our profitability model. Furthermore, we cannot be assured that the profitability model will accurately reflect the level of losses that we will ultimately incur from the business generated.

Our financial condition and operating results and the financial condition and operating results of our Insurance Entities may be adversely affected by the cyclical nature of the property and casualty business

The property and casualty market is cyclical and has experienced periods characterized by relatively high levels of price competition, less restrictive underwriting standards and relatively low premium rates, followed by periods of relatively lower levels of competition, more selective underwriting standards and relatively high premium rates. A downturn in the profitability cycle of the property and casualty business could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Renewed weakness in the Florida real estate market could adversely affect our loss results

As of December 31, 2014, approximately 91% of our policies in force and 88% of total insured values were derived from customers located in Florida. In recent years, Florida experienced a significant economic downturn and among the highest real estate value diminution in the country. While the real estate market in Florida appears to be on the rebound, renewed weakness in that market could result in fewer home sales, which may adversely affect the number of policies we are able to sell and/or the rates we are able to charge to customers. Additionally, higher incidents of foreclosed or vacant homes may result in increased claims activity under residential insurance policies, which could negatively affect our operating results.

Changing climate conditions may adversely affect our financial condition, profitability or cash flows

Property and casualty insurers are subject to claims arising from catastrophes. Catastrophic losses have had a significant impact on our historical results. Catastrophes can be caused by various events, including hurricanes, tsunamis, windstorms, earthquakes, hailstorms, explosions, flooding, 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.

Longer-term weather trends may be changing and new types of catastrophe losses may be developing due to climate change, a phenomenon that has been associated with extreme weather events linked to rising temperatures, including effects on global weather patterns, greenhouse gases, sea, land and air temperature, sea levels, rain and snow. The science regarding climate change is still emerging and developing. However, to the extent the frequency or severity of weather events is exacerbated due to climate change, we may experience increases in catastrophe losses in both coastal and non-coastal areas.

Because we conduct the majority of our business in Florida, our financial results substantially depend on the regulatory, economic and weather conditions present in that state

Though we are licensed to transact insurance business in Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, we still write a substantial majority of our premium in Florida; therefore, prevailing regulatory, legal, economic, political, demographic, competitive, weather and other conditions in Florida affect our revenues and profitability. Changes in conditions could make doing business in Florida less attractive for us and would have a more pronounced effect on us than it would on other insurance companies that are more geographically diversified.

We are subject to increased exposure to certain catastrophic events such as hurricanes, as well as an increased risk of resulting losses. The occurrence of one or more catastrophic events or other conditions affecting losses in Florida may cause a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

We have been entering and in the future may enter new markets, but there can be no assurance that our diversification strategy will be effective

Although we intend to continue focusing on Florida as a key market for our insurance products, we have in the past, and may in the future, seek to take advantage of prudent opportunities to expand our core business into other states where we believe the independent agent distribution channel is strong. As a result of a number of factors, including the difficulties of finding appropriate expansion opportunities and the challenges of operating in an unfamiliar market, we may not be successful in this diversification. Additionally, in order to carry out any such strategy, we would need to obtain the appropriate licenses from the insurance regulatory authority of any such state if we are not currently licensed to transact business in any state.

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Because we rely on insurance agents, the loss of these agent relationships or our ability to attract new agents could have an adverse impact on our business

We currently market our policies to a broad range of prospective policyholders through approximately 7,000 independent insurance agents. Many of these agents are independent insurance agents that own their customer relationships, and our agency contracts with them limit our ability to directly solicit business from our existing policyholders. Independent agents most commonly represent other insurance companies, and we do not control their activities. Certain of those insurance companies pay higher commissions than we do, provide services to the agents that we do not provide, or are otherwise more attractive to the agents than we are.  We cannot assure you that we will retain our current relationships, or be able to establish new relationships, with insurance agents.  The loss of these marketing relationships could adversely impact our ability to attract new agents, retain our agency network, or write new or renewal insurance policies.

Changes to Florida’s wind mitigation discount law could materially affect our income

Florida law currently mandates that insurance companies offer a reduction in insurance premiums for policyholders whose properties have certain features that increase such properties’ ability to withstand windstorm damage, based on an inspection of such properties.  Changes to the current wind loss mitigation program in Florida could require that we provide greater premium discounts or reconfigure existing discount programs, which could affect our income.  

Risks Relating to Investments

We are subject to market risk which may adversely impact investment income

Our primary market risk exposures are changes in equity prices and interest rates. A decline in market interest rates could have an adverse effect on our investment income as we invest cash in new interest bearing investments that may yield less than our portfolio’s average rate of return. A decline in market interest rates could also lead us to purchase longer-term or riskier assets in order to obtain adequate investment yields resulting in a duration gap when compared to the duration of liabilities. An increase in market interest rates could also have an adverse effect on the value of our investment portfolio by decreasing the fair values of the fixed maturity securities that comprise a large portion of our investment portfolio. A decline in the quality of our investment portfolio as a result of adverse economic conditions or otherwise could cause additional realized losses on securities.

Our overall financial performance is dependent in part on the returns on our investment portfolio, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations or cause such results to be volatile

The performance of our investment portfolio is independent of the revenue and income generated from our insurance operations, and there is no direct correlation between the financial results of these two activities. Thus, to the extent that our investment portfolio does not perform well due to the factors discussed above or otherwise, our results of operations may be materially adversely affected even if our insurance operations perform favorably. Further, because the returns on our investment portfolio may be volatile, our overall results of operations may likewise be volatile from period to period even if we do not experience significant financial variances in our insurance operations.

Risks Relating to the Insurance Industry

We are subject to extensive regulation and potential further restrictive regulation may increase our operating costs and limit our growth

The laws and regulations affecting the insurance industry are complex and subject to change. Moreover, they are administered and enforced by a number of different governmental authorities, including state insurance regulators, state securities administrators, the SEC, the U.S. Department of Justice, and state attorneys general, each of which exercises a degree of interpretive latitude. Consequently, we are subject to the risk that compliance with any particular regulator’s or enforcement authority’s interpretation of a legal issue may not result in compliance with another’s interpretation of the same issue, particularly when compliance is judged in hindsight. In addition, there is risk that any particular regulator’s or enforcement authority’s interpretation of a legal issue may change over time to our detriment, or that changes in the overall legal environment may, even absent any particular regulator’s or enforcement authority’s interpretation of a legal issue changing, cause us to change our views regarding the actions we need to take from a legal risk management perspective, thus necessitating changes to our practices that may, in some cases, limit our ability to grow and achieve or improve the profitability of our business. Furthermore, in some cases, these laws and regulations are designed to protect or benefit the interests of a specific constituency rather than a range of constituencies. For example, state insurance laws and regulations are generally intended to protect or benefit purchasers or users of insurance products, not holders of securities issued by us. In many respects, these laws and regulations limit our ability to grow and improve the profitability of our business.

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The Insurance Entities are highly regulated by state insurance authorities in Florida, the state in which each is domiciled, and UPCIC is also regulated by state insurance authorities in the other states in which it conducts business.  Such regulations, among other things, require that certain transactions between the Insurance Entities and their affiliates must be fair and reasonable and require prior notice and non-disapproval by the applicable state insurance authority.  State regulations also limit the amount of dividends and other payments that can be made by the Insurance Entities without prior regulatory approval and impose restrictions on the amount and type of investments the Insurance Entities may have. These regulations also affect many other aspects of the Insurance Entities’ businesses. Compliance with applicable laws and regulations is time consuming and personnel-intensive, and changes in these laws and regulations may materially increase UIH’s direct and indirect compliance efforts and other expenses of doing business.  If the Insurance Entities fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, the regulatory agencies can revoke or suspend their licenses, withhold or withdraw required approvals, require corrective action and impose operating limitations, impose penalties or pursue other remedies available under applicable laws and regulations.  

State legislatures and insurance regulators regularly re-examine existing laws and regulations applicable to insurance companies and their products.  Changes in these laws and regulations, or in interpretations thereof, can be made for the benefit of the consumer, or for other reasons, at the expense of insurers, and thus could have an adverse effect on UIH’s financial condition and results of operations.

Recently there has been increased scrutiny of the insurance regulatory framework in the United States and some state legislatures have considered or enacted laws that alter, and in many cases increase, state authority to regulate insurance holding companies and insurance companies.  The Insurance Entities’ domiciliary state has adopted legislation introducing the concept of “enterprise risk” within an insurance holding company system.  These new laws impose more extensive informational requirements on parents and other affiliates of licensed insurers with the purpose of protecting the licensed companies from enterprise risk.  The new laws require the ultimate controlling person of an insurance holding company system to file an annual enterprise risk report identifying the material risks within the insurance holding company system that could pose enterprise risk to the licensed companies.  While UIH believes the Company is well prepared to comply with the new laws, UIH cannot guarantee the impact of any interpretations of the new law or the potential impact of other proposed or future legislation or rule-making in the U.S. or elsewhere would not have an adverse effect on UIH’s results of operations or financial condition.  

Although the federal government does not directly regulate the insurance business, federal legislation and administrative policies in several areas, including employee benefits regulation, age, sex and disability-based discrimination, financial services regulation, securities regulation and federal taxation, can significantly affect the insurance business. The Dodd-Frank Act created the Federal Insurance Office within the U.S. Department of the Treasury headed by a Director appointed by the Treasury Secretary.  The Federal Insurance Office is designed principally to exercise a monitoring and information gathering role, rather than a regulatory role.  Nonetheless, these activities could ultimately lead to changes in the regulation of insurers and reinsurers in the United States, including insurance group holding companies. The Dodd-Frank Act requires extensive rule-making and other future regulatory action, which in some cases will take a period of years to implement.

In recent years, the state insurance regulatory framework has come under public scrutiny and members of Congress have discussed proposals to provide for federal chartering of insurance companies.  We can make no assurances regarding the potential impact of state or federal measures that may change the nature or scope of insurance regulation.  

UIH is a holding company and, consequently, its cash flow is dependent on dividends, interest and other permissible payments from its subsidiaries

UIH is a holding company that conducts no insurance operations of its own.  All operations are conducted by the Insurance Entities and by other operating subsidiaries that primarily support the business of the Insurance Entities.  As a holding company, UIH’s sources of cash flow consist primarily of dividends, interest and other permissible payments from its subsidiaries.  The ability of the Insurance Entities to make such payments is limited by applicable law, as set forth in Item 1, “Business—Insurance Operations—Government Regulation and Initiatives—Restrictions on Dividends and Distributions” in this Form 10-K.  The ability of our other subsidiaries to pay dividends may be adversely affected by reductions in the premiums or number of policies written by the Insurance Entities, by changes in the terms of the parties’ contracts, or by changes in the regulation of insurance holding company systems.  UIH depends on such payments for general corporate purposes, for its capital management activities and payment of any dividends to its common shareholders.  For more details on our cash flows, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources” in this Form 10-K.

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UIH could be adversely affected if the Insurance Entities’ controls designed to ensure compliance with guidelines, policies and legal and regulatory standards are not effective

The Insurance Entities’ business is highly dependent on the ability to engage on a daily basis in a large number of insurance underwriting, claims processing and investment activities, many of which are highly complex. These activities often are subject to internal guidelines and policies, as well as legal and regulatory standards. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable guarantee that the control system’s objectives will be met. The Insurance Entities’ failure to comply with these guidelines, policies or standards could lead to financial loss, unanticipated risk exposure, regulatory sanctions or penalties, civil or administrative litigation, or damage to UIH’s reputation.

Litigation or regulatory actions could have a material adverse impact on UIH

The Insurance Entities and their affiliates from time to time are subject to civil or administrative actions and litigation.  Civil litigation frequently results when the Insurance Entities do not pay insurance claims in the amounts or at the times demanded by policyholders or their representatives.  The Insurance Entities also may be subject to litigation or administrative actions arising from the conduct of their business and the regulatory authority of state insurance departments.  Further, the Company and its subsidiaries are subject to other types of litigation inherent in operating their businesses, employing personnel, contracting with vendors and otherwise carrying out their affairs.  Current and future litigation or regulatory matters may negatively affect UIH by resulting in the payment of substantial awards or settlements, increasing legal and compliance costs, requiring UIH to change certain aspects of its business operations, diverting management attention from other business issues, harming UIH’s reputation with customers or making it more difficult to retain current customers and to recruit and retain employees or agents. See “Item 8 — Note 5 (Insurance Operations) and Note 15 (Commitments and Contingencies)”.  

The amount of statutory capital that each of the Insurance Entities has and the amount of statutory capital it must hold can vary and is sensitive to a number of factors outside of UIH’s control, including market conditions and the regulatory environment and rules

Insurance regulators adopt accounting standards and statutory capital and reserve requirements for the Insurance Entities.  In addition, the rating agencies responsible for reviewing the Insurance Entities have their own metrics for evaluating the Insurance Entities’ financial strength.  In any particular year, the Insurance Entities’ statutory surplus amounts and financial ratios may change depending on a variety of factors.  Further, the requirements and ratios adopted by regulatory authorities or rating agencies may change over time.  The Insurance Entities’ failure to maintain compliance with current or future requirements could adversely affect our business.

Our future results are dependent in part on our ability to successfully operate in an insurance industry that is highly competitive

The insurance industry is highly competitive. Many of our competitors have well-established national reputations and market similar products. In addition, we compete with companies that have greater capital resources and longer operating histories as well as with newly formed and less capitalized companies that might have more aggressive underwriting or pricing strategies.  Because of the competitive nature of the insurance industry, including competition for producers such as independent agents, there can be no assurance that we will continue to develop and maintain productive relationships with independent agents, effectively compete with our industry rivals, or that competitive pressures will not have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or financial condition. Our ability to successfully operate may also be impaired if we are not effective in filling critical leadership positions, in developing the talent and skills of our human resources, in assimilating new executive talent into our organization, or in deploying human resource talent consistent with our business goals.

Difficult conditions in the economy generally could adversely affect our business and operating results

In recent years, the United States economy has experienced widespread job losses, higher unemployment, lower consumer spending, declines in home prices and substantial increases in delinquencies on consumer debt, including defaults on home mortgages. Moreover, past disruptions in the financial markets, particularly the reduced availability of credit and tightened lending requirements, affected the ability of borrowers to refinance loans at more affordable rates.  A general economic slowdown also could adversely affect us in the form of consumer behavior and pressure on our investment portfolio.  We cannot predict the likelihood of a future recession, but as with most businesses, we believe a longer or more severe recession than the one recently experienced could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.  

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A downgrade in our Financial Stability Rating® may have an adverse effect on our competitive position, the marketability of our product offerings, and our liquidity, operating results and financial condition

Financial Stability Ratings® are important factors in establishing the competitive position of insurance companies and generally have an effect on an insurance company’s business. On an ongoing basis, rating agencies review the financial performance and condition of insurers and could downgrade or change the outlook on an insurer’s ratings due to, for example, a change in an insurer’s statutory capital; a change in a rating agency’s determination of the amount of risk-adjusted capital required to maintain a particular rating; a change in the perceived adequacy of an insurer’s reinsurance program; an increase in the perceived risk of an insurer’s investment portfolio; a reduced confidence in management or a host of other considerations that may or may not be within an insurer’s control. Demotech, Inc., has assigned a Financial Stability Rating® of A for the Insurance Entities. Because these ratings are subject to continuous review, the retention of these ratings cannot be assured. A downgrade in or withdrawal of these ratings, or a decision by Demotech to require the Insurance Entities’ parent company to make a capital infusion into the Insurance Entities to maintain their ratings, may adversely affect our liquidity, operating results and financial condition.  Financial Stability Ratings® are primarily directed towards policyholders of the Insurance Entities, and are not evaluations directed toward the protection of investors in the Insurance Entities’ ultimate parent, including holders of the Company’s common stock, and are not recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities.  

Our insurance subsidiaries are subject to examination and actions by state insurance departments

The Insurance Entities are subject to extensive regulation in the states in which they do business. State insurance regulatory agencies conduct periodic examinations of the Insurance Entities on a wide variety of matters, including policy forms, premium rates, licensing, trade and claims practices, investment standards and practices, statutory capital and surplus requirements, reserve and loss ratio requirements and transactions among affiliates. Further, the Insurance Entities are required to file annual and other reports with state insurance regulatory agencies relating to financial condition, holding company issues and other matters. If an insurance company fails to obtain required licenses or approvals, or if the Insurance Entities fail to comply with other regulatory requirements, the regulatory agencies can suspend or revoke their licenses, withdraw or withhold required approvals, require corrective action and impose operating limitations, penalties or other remedies available under applicable laws and regulations.

Reinsurance subjects us to the credit risk of our reinsurers and may not be adequate to protect us against losses arising from ceded risks, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition

Reinsurance does not legally discharge us from our primary liability for the full amount of the risk we insure, although it does make the reinsurer liable to us in the event of a claim. As such, we are subject to credit risk with respect to our reinsurers. The collectability of reinsurance recoverables is subject to uncertainty arising from a number of factors, including changes in market conditions, whether insured losses meet the qualifying conditions under our reinsurance contracts for covered events such as windstorms, vandalism, brush fires, earthquakes and riots or are excluded explicitly for events such as a chemical terrorism event impacting our policyholders and whether reinsurers, or their affiliates, have the financial capacity and willingness to make payments under the terms of a reinsurance treaty or contract. Our inability to collect a material recovery from a reinsurer could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition. In addition, we may not buy enough reinsurance to cover a single substantial storm or multiple storms going forward or be able to timely or cost-effectively obtain reinsurance.  The Insurance Entities are responsible for losses related to catastrophic events with incurred losses in excess of coverage provided by our reinsurance program and for losses that otherwise are not covered by the reinsurance program.  

Adverse capital and credit market conditions may significantly affect our ability to meet liquidity needs or our ability to obtain credit on acceptable terms

The capital and credit markets have been experiencing extreme volatility and disruption. In some cases, the markets have exerted downward pressure on the availability of liquidity and credit capacity. In the event that we need access to additional capital to pay our operating expenses, make payments on our indebtedness, pay for capital expenditures or fund acquisitions, our ability to obtain such capital may be limited and the cost of any such capital may be significant. Our access to additional financing will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit, the overall availability of credit to our industry, and credit capacity, as well as lenders’ perception of our long- or short-term financial prospects. Similarly, our access to funds may be impaired if regulatory authorities or rating agencies take negative actions against us. If a combination of these factors were to occur, our internal sources of liquidity may prove to be insufficient, and in such case, we may not be able to successfully obtain financing on favorable terms.

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Loss of key executives could affect our operations

Our future operations will depend in large part on the efforts of our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sean P. Downes, and on the efforts of our Chief Operating Officer, Jon W. Springer, both of whom have served in executive roles at the Company or its affiliates for many years. The loss of the services provided by Mr. Downes or Mr. Springer, could have a material adverse effect on the Company and on our financial condition and results of operations.

Breaches of our information systems or denial of service on our website could have an adverse impact on our business and reputation

Our business depends significantly on the effective operation of our information systems, as we retain confidential and proprietary information on them.   We have committed and will continue to commit significant resources to develop, maintain and enhance our existing information systems, transition existing systems to upgraded systems and develop new information systems in order to keep pace with continuing changes in information processing technology, evolving industry and regulatory standards and changing customer preferences.  

Our information systems have been, and likely will continue to be, subject to computer viruses, other malicious codes or other computer-related penetrations. To date, we are not aware of a material breach of cybersecurity. We commit significant resources to administrative and technical controls to prevent cyber incidents and protect our information technology, but our preventative actions to reduce the risk of cyber threats may be insufficient to prevent physical and electronic break-ins and other cyber-attacks or security breaches.  Such an event could compromise our confidential information as well as that of our customers and third parties with whom we interact, impede or interrupt business operations and may result in other negative consequences, including remediation costs, loss of revenue, additional regulatory scrutiny and litigation and reputational damage.    In addition, any data security breach of our agents or third-party vendors, or any prolonged denial of service on our website, could harm our business and reputation.

Our failure to maintain effective and efficient information systems and protect the security of such systems could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Relating to Debt Obligations

Our revolving line of credit and term loan have restrictive terms and our failure to comply with any of these terms could have an adverse effect on our business and prospects.

We have entered into a revolving line of credit and term loan, each of which contains a number of affirmative and negative covenants so long as any amounts are outstanding thereunder. The negative covenants in these instruments limit our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to, among other things:

·

incur additional indebtedness;

·

merge, consolidate or dispose of our assets or the capital stock or assets of any subsidiary;

·

pay dividends, make distributions or redeem capital stock;

·

enter into certain transactions with our affiliates;

·

make material changes or modifications to our organizational structure; and

·

grant liens on our assets or the assets of our subsidiaries.

Our revolving line of credit also includes certain affirmative covenants, including financial covenants requiring us to maintain minimum unencumbered liquid assets of $5 million, minimum shareholders’ equity of $120 million and a maximum leverage percentage of 30%, in each case, as such terms are defined and calculated under the revolving line of credit. A breach of any of these covenants would result in a default under our revolving line of credit, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.

ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

 

 

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

The Company’s operations are conducted primarily from its campus headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida containing approximately 67,000 square feet.  The facilities in our campus are suitable and adequate for the Company’s operations.  

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There are no mortgages or lease arrangements for the buildings in our campus and are all adequately covered by insurance.

 

ITEM 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are routinely involved in legal proceedings, claims, and governmental inquiries, inspections or investigations (“Legal Matters”) arising in the ordinary course of our business. While we cannot predict with certainty the results of Legal Matters in which we are currently involved or may in the future be involved, we do not expect that the ultimate costs to resolve any of the Legal Matters that are currently pending will have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.

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

Our common stock, par value $0.01 per share (“Common Stock”), is quoted and traded on the New York Stock Exchange LLC (“NYSE”) under the symbol UVE. Our common shares were quoted and traded on the NYSE MKT LLC (“NYSE MKT”) from April 30, 2007 through December 2, 2013.

The following table sets forth prices of the Common Stock, as reported by the NYSE and NYSE MKT:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dividends

 

For the year ended December 31, 2014

 

High

 

 

Low

 

 

Declared

 

First Quarter

 

$

14.96

 

 

$

10.14

 

 

$

0.10

 

Second Quarter

 

$

15.20

 

 

$

11.54

 

 

$

0.10

 

Third Quarter

 

$

14.45

 

 

$

12.06

 

 

$

0.10

 

Fourth Quarter

 

$

21.06

 

 

$

12.42

 

 

$

0.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dividends

 

For the year ended December 31, 2013

 

High

 

 

Low

 

 

Declared

 

First Quarter

 

$

4.85

 

 

$

4.32

 

 

$

0.08

 

Second Quarter

 

$

7.92

 

 

$

4.88

 

 

$

0.08

 

Third Quarter

 

$

8.55

 

 

$

7.05

 

 

$

0.10

 

Fourth Quarter

 

$

14.63

 

 

$

6.58

 

 

$

0.23

 

 

As of February 13, 2015, there were approximately 37 registered shareholders of record of our Common Stock.

As of December 31, 2014, there was one shareholder of our Series A Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock (“Preferred Stock”) and one shareholder of our Series M Preferred Stock.

During the year ended December 31, 2014, a shareholder converted 9,975 shares of Series A Preferred Stock into 24,938 shares of Common Stock. There were no conversions of Series A Preferred Stock in 2013. We declared and paid aggregate dividends to holders of record of the Company’s Series A Preferred Stock of $13 thousand and $20 thousand for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively.

During the year ended December 31, 2014, a shareholder converted 8,000 shares of Series M Preferred Stock into 40,000 shares of Common Stock. During the year ended December 31, 2013, several shareholders converted 77,740 shares of Series M Preferred Stock into 388,700 shares of Common Stock. We declared and paid aggregate dividends to holders of record of the Company’s Series M Preferred Stock of $0.4 thousand and $9 thousand for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively.

Applicable provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law may affect our ability to declare and pay dividends on our Common Stock. In particular, pursuant to the Delaware General Corporation Law, a company may pay dividends out of its surplus, as defined, or out of its net profits, for the fiscal year in which the dividend is declared and/or the preceding year. Surplus is defined in the Delaware General Corporation Law to be the excess of net assets of the company over capital. Capital is defined to be the aggregate par value of shares issued. Our ability to pay dividends, if and when declared by our Board of Directors, may also be restricted by regulatory limits on the amount of dividends, which the Insurance Entities are permitted to pay UIH. Section 628.371 of the Florida Statutes sets forth limitations, based on net income and statutory capital, on the amount of dividends that the Insurance Entities may pay to UIH without approval from the OIR. In addition, under the Company’s revolving loan agreement and related revolving note (“DB Loan”) with Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (“Deutsche Bank”), and the Company’s unsecured term loan agreement and related term note (“Term Loan”) with RenaissanceRe Ventures Ltd. (“RenRe Ventures”), so long as any amounts or obligations are outstanding thereunder, UIH will be restricted from paying dividends to its shareholders if an event of default (or an event, the giving of notice of which or with the lapse of time or both, would become an event of default) is continuing at the time of and immediately after paying such dividend.

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Stock Performance Graph

The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return of UIH’s Common Stock from December 31, 2009 through December 31, 2014 with the cumulative total return of the SNL Insurance P&C, the NYSE MKT Composite Index and the NYSE Composite Index.

 

 

 

 

Period Ending

 

Index

 

12/31/09

 

 

12/31/10

 

 

12/31/11

 

 

12/31/12

 

 

12/31/13

 

 

12/31/14

 

Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc.

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

88.59

 

 

 

70.27

 

 

 

96.38

 

 

 

338.42

 

 

 

495.65

 

SNL Insurance P&C

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

119.24

 

 

 

120.55

 

 

 

142.31

 

 

 

188.53

 

 

 

216.52

 

NYSE MKT Composite Index

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

125.60

 

 

 

133.49

 

 

 

142.32

 

 

 

151.80

 

 

 

157.50

 

NYSE Composite Index

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

113.60

 

 

 

109.43

 

 

 

127.11

 

 

 

160.65

 

 

 

171.67

 

 

SNL Insurance P&C includes all publicly traded insurance underwriters in the property and casualty sector in the United States and was prepared by SNL Financial, Charlottesville, Virginia. The graph assumes the investment of $100 in UIH’s Common Stock and in each of the two indices on December 31, 2009 with all dividends being reinvested on the ex-dividend date. The closing price of UIH’s Common Stock on December 31, 2014 (the last trading day of the year) was $20.45 per share. The stock price performance on the graph is not necessarily indicative of future price performance.

The stock prices used to calculate total shareholder return for UIH are based upon the prices of our common shares quoted and traded on NYSE and NYSE MKT.

We believe that the increase in stock price and increase in the total return performance relative to other indices since the first quarter of 2013 is attributable to the increase of our profitability, our focus on long-term capital growth and strategic initiatives intended to increase shareholder value such as share repurchases and increasing cash dividends per share.  Other contributing factors may include moving to the NYSE, obtaining analyst coverage and engaging a leading global investment adviser to manage our investment portfolio.

 

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Future Dividend Policy

Future cash dividend payments are subject to business conditions, our financial position, and requirements for working capital and other corporate purposes.  

 

 

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” appearing elsewhere in the Annual Report on Form 10-K.

The following tables provide selected financial information as of and for the periods presented (in thousands, except per share data):

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

 

2010

 

Income statement data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direct premiums written

 

$

789,577

 

 

$

783,894

 

 

$

780,128

 

 

$

721,462

 

 

$

666,309

 

Ceded premiums written

 

 

(399,730

)

 

 

(522,116

)

 

 

(517,604

)

 

 

(512,979

)

 

 

(466,694

)

Net premiums written

 

 

389,847

 

 

 

261,778

 

 

 

262,524

 

 

 

208,483

 

 

 

199,615

 

Change in net unearned premium

 

 

(62,970

)

 

 

5,877

 

 

 

(31,404

)

 

 

(9,498

)

 

 

(29,172

)

Premiums earned, net

 

$

326,877

 

 

$

267,655

 

 

$

231,120

 

 

$

198,985

 

 

$

170,443

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total revenue

 

$

369,276

 

 

$

301,159

 

 

$

269,939

 

 

$

225,861

 

 

$

239,923

 

Total expenses

 

 

241,672

 

 

 

200,603

 

 

 

217,380

 

 

 

192,143

 

 

 

177,645

 

Income before income taxes

 

 

127,604

 

 

 

100,556

 

 

 

52,559

 

 

 

33,718

 

 

 

62,278

 

Income taxes, net

 

 

54,616

 

 

 

41,579

 

 

 

22,247

 

 

 

13,609

 

 

 

25,294

 

Net income and comprehensive income

 

$

71,529

 

 

$

58,601

 

 

$

30,312

 

 

$

20,109

 

 

$

36,984

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings per share data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per common share

 

$

2.17

 

 

$

1.64

 

 

$

0.76

 

 

$

0.51

 

 

$

0.95

 

Diluted earnings per common share

 

 

2.08

 

 

 

1.56

 

 

 

0.75

 

 

 

0.50

 

 

 

0.91

 

Dividends declared per common share

 

$

0.55

 

 

$

0.49

 

 

$

0.46

 

 

$

0.32

 

 

$

0.32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

 

2010

 

Balance sheet data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets (1)

 

$

911,774

 

 

$

920,090

 

 

$

925,735

 

 

$

894,026

 

 

$

803,837

 

Total liabilities (1)

 

 

692,858

 

 

 

744,481

 

 

 

762,221

 

 

 

744,021

 

 

 

664,047

 

Unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses

 

 

134,353

 

 

 

159,222

 

 

 

193,241

 

 

 

187,215

 

 

 

158,929

 

Unearned premiums

 

 

395,748

 

 

 

383,488

 

 

 

388,071

 

 

 

359,842

 

 

 

328,334

 

Long-term debt

 

 

30,610

 

 

 

37,240

 

 

 

20,221

 

 

 

21,691

 

 

 

23,162

 

Total stockholders' equity (12/31/2014 Pro-Forma Balance $218.9) (2)

 

$

199,916

 

 

$

175,609

 

 

$

163,514

 

 

$

150,005

 

 

$

139,790

 

 

(1)

Total assets and total liabilities for the year 2010 has been adjusted for a reclassification of reinsurance receivable. This adjustment had no impact on earnings or stockholders' equity. The adjustment was $37.6 million for 2010.

(2)

See “Item 8 – Note 8 (Stockholders’ Equity)” for an explanation of events subsequent to December 31, 2014 giving rise to pro-forma stockholders’ equity of $218.9 million as of December 31, 2014.

 


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Table of Contents

 

ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”) is intended to help the reader understand the results of operations and financial condition of UIH. MD&A is provided as a supplement to, and should be read in conjunction with, our financial statements and accompanying notes in Part II, Item 8 below.

Overview

UIH, with its wholly-owned subsidiaries, is a vertically integrated insurance holding company performing all aspects of insurance underwriting, distribution and claims. Through our wholly-owned subsidiaries, including UPCIC and APPCIC, collectively referred to as the “Insurance Entities”, we are principally engaged in the property and casualty insurance business offered primarily through a network of independent agents. Our primary product is homeowners insurance, which we currently offer in ten states.

We generate revenues primarily from the collection of premiums. Other significant sources of revenue include commissions collected from reinsurers through our wholly-owned reinsurance intermediary subsidiary, policy fees collected from policyholders through our wholly-owned managing general agency subsidiary and financing fees charged to policy holders who defer premium payments. We also generate income by investing funds that are in excess of those retained for claims-paying obligations and insurance operations. The nature of our business tends to be seasonal reflecting consumer behaviors in connection with the residential real estate market and the hurricane season which occurs during the period from June 1 through November 30 each year. The amount of written premium tends to increase just prior to the second quarter of our fiscal year and to decrease approaching the fourth quarter.

Throughout 2014, we continued to execute our goals of growing our business, investing in ourselves, increasing profitability and returning value to shareholders. We have done this by expanding into different states, lowering our quota share cession rate, strategically managing rates, not renewing certain policies and replacing them with policies that we believe provide more adequate premium, working with our investment advisors to maximize total rate of return while maintaining liquidity and minimizing risk, continuing to purchase shares of our own stock and paying higher quarterly dividends. These actions, coupled with operational improvements made to streamline claims and underwriting have resulted in an increase in earnings, earnings per share and an improvement in our overall financial condition. See “Results of Operations” below for a discussion of our results for 2014 compared to 2013.

While policy count is one measure of the overall growth of our business, we believe that our strategy of balancing competitive pricing with disciplined underwriting standards, streamlining claims management and expanding the size of our business through superior products and services, will maximize our long term growth. Our focus on long term capital strength and growth leads us to be selective in the risks we are willing to accept, which may limit the number of policies written. In contrast, from time to time, some of our competitors lower their premiums to a level that is below what we believe to be adequate in order to generate and maintain capital and surplus for the protection of our Insurance Entities and our policyholders.

Our overall growth strategy includes taking prudent measures to increase our policy count and improve the quality of our business. These initiatives include reducing rates and expanding into selected markets while maintaining rate adequacy. For example, we reduced overall rates for homeowners' insurance in Florida by 2.4% effective in January 2014 for new business and March 2014 for renewals.  

As a result of our growth strategy and initiatives, we have seen increases in policy count and insured value in Florida and other states since December 31, 2013. Our expansion in states outside of Florida is yielding growth in policy count of 37.2% since December 31, 2013.

The following table provides policy count and total insured value for Florida and other states as of December 31, 2014 and 2013 (dollars in thousands):

 

 

 

As of December 31, 2014

 

 

As of December 31, 2013

 

State

 

Count

 

 

%

 

 

Total Insured Value

 

 

%

 

 

Count

 

 

%

 

 

Total Insured Value

 

 

%

 

Florida

 

 

506,913

 

 

 

91.1

%

 

$

115,248,811

 

 

 

87.9

%

 

 

499,949

 

 

 

93.3

%

 

$

110,785,839

 

 

 

90.7

%

Other states

 

 

49,435

 

 

 

8.9

%

 

 

15,874,916

 

 

 

12.1

%

 

 

36,039

 

 

 

6.7

%

 

 

11,305,295

 

 

 

9.3

%

Grand total

 

 

556,348

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

$

131,123,727

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

535,988

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

$

122,091,134

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

Our efforts to ensure rate adequacy has helped to improve underwriting results, leading to our decision to retain a greater share of our profitable business by reducing our quota share cession rate.

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2014 Highlights

·

We reduced our quota share cession rate from 45% to 30% in June

·

Net earned premiums grew by $59.2 million or 22.1%

·

Total revenues increased by $68.1 million or 22.6%

·

Net income and diluted earnings per common share grew by $14.0 million and $0.52, respectively compared to 2013

·

We repurchased a total of 1,166,208 shares of our common stock in the open market under a share repurchase program

·

We paid dividends per common share of $0.55 including a $0.15 special dividend in December

·

In April, the Insurance Commissioner of Delaware issued a Certificate of Authority to UPCIC, thereby approving UPCIC as a licensed insurance entity in the state of Delaware

·

In April, UPCIC submitted applications to the regulatory entities in Pennsylvania, consistent with the Company’s strategy to increase geographical diversification

·

In June, UPCIC began writing homeowners insurance policies in Delaware

·

In October, the Indiana Department of Insurance issued a Certificate of Authority to UPCIC approving UPCIC as a licensed insurance entity in the state of Indiana

·

In November, Demotech, Inc., affirmed the Financial Stability Rating® of “A” for the Insurance Entities

·

In December, we sold 1 million shares of common stock in a privately negotiated transaction at $19.00 per share which were issued from treasury

Trends

The market price per share of our common stock has increased significantly over the past few years.  As disclosed in “Item 8 — Note 9 (Share-Based Compensation)”, stock price affects assumptions utilized in the pricing model for the fair value of stock option awards.  In addition, the fair value of the restricted share grants are determined based on the market price of our common stock at the date of grant.  As a result, the increase in our common stock price has contributed to the increase of share-based compensation.  The increase in our stock price is also a factor in the Company’s effective income tax rate due to an increase in non-deductible expenses including certain share-based compensation.  

2014-2015 Reinsurance Program

Effective June 1, 2014, we entered into multiple reinsurance agreements comprising our 2014-2015 reinsurance program.

See “Item 8 — Note 4 (Reinsurance).”

REINSURANCE GENERALLY

We use reinsurance to reduce our exposure to catastrophic and non-catastrophic losses through a combination of quota share, catastrophe and other forms of reinsurance. Below is a description of our 2014-2015 reinsurance program. We believe that the overall terms of the 2014-2015 reinsurance program are more favorable than the 2013-2014 reinsurance program. We realized cost reductions in part due to market conditions and our preparation and efforts to manage risk exposure. We also are retaining a greater percentage of gross written premiums with wind risk than we did under our 2013-2014 reinsurance program by reducing our quota share cession rate by 15 percentage points. We expect to increase our overall profitability by retaining more premium; however the reduction in the quota share cession rate affects several line items in our Consolidated Statements of Income. By lowering our cession rate, we increase the amount of premium we retain as well as the related risk. This results in an increase in both earned premium and losses and LAE. The lower cession rate also reduces the amount of ceding commissions we receive that offset costs associated with writing premium. This reduction in ceding commission increases general and administrative expenses.

The overall reduction in reinsurance costs lowers the amount of brokerage commissions received by our wholly-owned reinsurance broker subsidiary.  Other favorable changes in the 2014-2015 reinsurance program include a reduction in the amount of risk retained per catastrophe occurrence to $21 million from $27.5 million under the 2013-2014 reinsurance program.

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While we believe the changes to the current reinsurance program are beneficial, there can be no assurance that our actual results of operations or financial condition will be positively affected. The Insurance Entities remain responsible for insured losses notwithstanding the failure of any reinsurer to make payments otherwise due to the Insurance Entities. A major catastrophic event, multiple catastrophes, or the insolvency of one of the larger participants in the reinsurance program could have a material adverse effect on the Insurance Entities’ solvency and our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.

UPCIC REINSURANCE PROGRAM

UPCIC’s reinsurance program, which generally runs from June 1 through May 31 of the following year, consists of quota share, various forms of catastrophe coverage and individual property and liability per risk/per policy coverage. Under the 2014-2015 reinsurance program, UPCIC retains a pre-tax liability of $21 million for the first, second and third catastrophic events under its Florida program with coverage up to $1.794 billion. UPCIC retains a pre-tax liability of $21 million for the first and second catastrophic events under its programs in Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina and South Carolina with coverage up to $125 million and a pre-tax liability of $7 million under its program in Hawaii with coverage up to $30 million. UPCIC reduced its quota share percentage to 30% under its 2014-2015 program compared to 45% under its 2013-2014 program thus retaining more risk and premium per policy. UPCIC has mandatory catastrophe coverage through the FHCF plus voluntary quota share, catastrophe and per risk coverage with private reinsurers. The estimated total net cost after the proportional quota share deductions of UPCIC’s catastrophe, FHCF and per risk related coverage, including reinstatement premium protection coverage is $173.8 million. The largest private participants in UPCIC’s program include Odyssey Re, Everest Re, Renaissance Re, Nephila Capital, ACE Tempest Re and Lloyd’s of London syndicates.

APPCIC REINSURANCE PROGRAM

APPCIC’s reinsurance program, which generally runs from June 1 through May 31 of the following year, consists of various forms of catastrophe coverage and individual property and liability per risk/per policy coverage.  Under the 2014-2015 reinsurance program, APPCIC retains a pre-tax liability of $2.5 million for the first and second catastrophic events with coverage up to $39.3 million. APPCIC has mandatory catastrophe coverage through the FHCF and voluntary catastrophe and per risk coverage with private reinsurers. The estimated total cost of APPCIC’s catastrophe, FHCF and per risk related coverage, including reinstatement premium protection is $5.0 million. The largest private participants in APPCIC’s reinsurance program include ACE Tempest Re, Hiscox, Odyssey Re, Hannover Ruck, and Lloyd’s of London syndicates.

UIH PROGRAM

Separately from the Insurance Entities’ reinsurance programs, UIH protects its own assets against diminution in value due to catastrophe events by purchasing coverage that would provide $80 million in the form of insurance proceeds plus an amount equal to the forgiveness of related debt through a catastrophe risk-linked transaction contract, effective June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2016. This contract provides for recovery by UIH in the event of exhaustion of UPCIC’s catastrophe coverage. The total cost to UIH of this risk-linked transaction contract is $9.0 million per year for each of the three years.

Wind Mitigation Discounts

The insurance premiums charged by the Insurance Entities are subject to various statutory and regulatory requirements. Among these, the Insurance Entities must offer wind mitigation discounts in accordance with a program mandated by the Florida Legislature and implemented by the OIR. The current levels of wind mitigation discounts mandated by the Florida Legislature have had a significant negative effect on the Insurance Entities’ premium. The percentage reduction of in-force premium from wind mitigation credits in Florida for UPCIC policies as of December 31, 2014 was 36.7% compared to 33.8% as of December 31, 2013. The percentage reduction of in-force premium from wind mitigation credits in Florida for APPCIC policies as of December 31, 2014 was 63.7% compared to 63.3% as of December 31, 2013.

critical accounting policies AND ESTIMATES

Use of Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting periods. Our primary areas of estimate are described below.

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Recognition of Premium Revenues

Property and liability premiums are recognized as revenue on a pro rata basis over the policy term. The portion of premiums that will be earned in the future are deferred and reported as unearned premiums. Management believes that its revenue recognition policies conform to generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America.

Liability for Unpaid Losses and LAE

A liability is established to provide for the estimated costs of paying losses and LAE under insurance policies the Insurance Entities have issued. Underwriting results are significantly influenced by an estimate of a liability for unpaid losses and LAE. The liability is an estimate of amounts necessary to settle all outstanding claims, including claims that have been incurred, but not yet reported as of the financial statement date.

Characteristics of Reserves

Reserves are established based on estimates of the ultimate cost to settle claims, less losses that have been paid. Claims are typically reported promptly with relatively little reporting lag between the date of occurrence and the date the loss is reported. UPCIC’s claim settlement data suggests that homeowners’ property losses have an average settlement time of less than one year, while homeowners’ liability losses generally take longer.

Reserves are the difference between the estimated ultimate cost of losses and LAE incurred and the amount of paid losses as of the reporting date. Reserves are estimated for both reported and unreported claims, and include estimates of all expenses associated with processing and settling all incurred claims. We update reserve estimates periodically as new information becomes available or as events emerge that may affect the resolution of unsettled claims. Changes in prior year reserve estimates (reserve re-estimates), which may be material, are determined by comparing updated estimates of ultimate losses to prior estimates, and the differences are recorded as losses and LAE in the Consolidated Statements of Income in the period such changes are determined. Estimating the ultimate cost of losses and LAE is an inherently uncertain and complex process involving a high degree of judgment and is subject to the evaluation of numerous variables.

The Actuarial Methods used to Develop Reserve Estimates

Reserves for losses and LAE are determined in four primary segments. These segments are the estimation of reserves for Florida non-catastrophe losses, hurricane losses, sinkhole losses, and non-Florida non-catastrophe losses. Evaluations are performed for loss and LAE separately, and on a net and direct basis for each segment. The analyses for non-catastrophe losses are further separated into data groupings of like exposure. These groups are property damage on homeowner policy forms HO-3 and HO-8 combined, property damage on homeowner policy forms HO-4 and HO-6 combined, property damage on dwelling fire policies, and all liability exposures combined.

Reserve estimates for both losses and LAE are derived using several different actuarial estimation methods that are variations on one primary actuarial technique. That actuarial technique is known as a “chain ladder” estimation process in which historical payment and reserving patterns are applied to actual paid and reported amounts (paid losses or LAE plus individual case reserves established by claim adjusters) for an accident period to create an estimate of how losses are likely to develop over time.  An accident period refers to classifying claims based on the date in which the claims occurred, regardless of the date it was reported to the Insurance Entities. This analysis is used to prepare estimates of required reserves for payments to be made in the future. Transactions are organized into half-year accident periods for purposes of the reserve estimates. The key data elements used to determine our reserve estimates include claim counts, loss and LAE payments, case reserves, and the related development factors applicable to this data.

The first method for estimating unpaid amounts for each segment is the reported development method. This method is based upon the assumption that the relative change in a given accident period’s reported loss estimates from one evaluation point to the next is similar to the relative change in prior periods’ reported loss estimates at similar evaluation points. In utilizing this method, actual 6-month historical loss activity is evaluated. Successive periods can be arranged to form a triangle of data. Report-to-report (“RTR”) development factors are calculated to measure the change in cumulative reported losses from one evaluation point to the next. These historical RTR factors form the basis for selecting the RTR factors used in projecting the current valuation of losses to an ultimate basis. In addition, a tail factor is selected to account for loss development beyond the observed experience. The tail factor is based on trends shown in the data and consideration of industry loss development benchmarks. This method’s implicit assumption is that the relative adequacy of case reserves has been consistent over time, and that there have been no material changes in the rate at which claims have been reported or settled.  In instances where changes in settlement rates are detected, the RTR factors are adjusted accordingly, utilizing appropriate actuarial techniques.  

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The second method is the paid development method. This method is similar to the reported development method; however, case reserves are excluded from the analysis. While this method has the disadvantage of not recognizing the information provided by current case reserves, it has the advantage of avoiding potential distortions in the data due to changes in case reserving methodology. This method’s implicit assumption is that the rate of payment of claims has been relatively consistent over time.

The third method is the paid development method, but performed using only the payment history of closed claims. This method is similar to the paid development method; however, payments that are made during the claims settlement process are not considered. While this method has the disadvantage of not recognizing the information provided by current case reserves or partial payments, it has the advantage of avoiding potential distortions in the data due to changes in settlement practices during the life of an active claim. This method’s implicit assumption is that the rate of claims closures has been relatively consistent over time.  In instances where changes in claim closure rates are detected, the RTR factors are adjusted accordingly, utilizing appropriate actuarial techniques.  

Bornhuetter-Ferguson (“B-F”) methods are also utilized for estimating unpaid loss and LAE amounts, and relate to the reported, paid and closed development methods discussed above. B-F methods are essentially a blend of two other methods. The first method is an expected loss method, whereby the IBNR estimate equals the difference between predetermined estimates of expected losses and actual reported losses. The second method in each case is the development method (each described above), whereby actual losses are multiplied by an expected development factor. The B-F methods combine these two methods by setting ultimate losses equal to actual reported (or paid) losses plus expected unreported (or unpaid) losses. As an experience year matures and expected unreported (or unpaid) losses become smaller, the initial expected loss assumption becomes gradually less important. This has the advantage of stability, but it does not respond to actual results as they emerge.

Two parameters are needed in each application of the B-F method: an initial assumption of expected losses and the expected reporting or payment pattern.  Initial expected losses for each accident period other than the current year is determined using the estimated ultimate loss ratio from the prior analysis. Initial expected losses for the current year’s accident periods are determined based on trends in historical loss ratios, rate changes, and underlying loss trends. The expected reporting pattern is based on the reported, paid, or closed claim loss development method described above. This method is often used for long-tail lines and in situations where the reported loss experience is relatively immature or lacks sufficient credibility for the application of other methods.

An additional method, called the Reported Counts and Averages method, is utilized for the estimate of LAE for each segment, and also for the estimation of loss and LAE reserves for sinkhole losses. In this method, an estimate of unpaid losses or expenses is determined by separately projecting ultimate reported claim counts and ultimate reported claim severities (cost per reported claim) for each accident period. Typically, loss development methods are used to project ultimate claim counts and claim severities based on historical data using the same methodology described in the reported development method above. Estimated ultimate losses are then calculated as the product of the two items. This method is intended to avoid data distortions that may exist with the other methods for the most recent years as a result of changes in case reserve levels, settlement rates and claims handling fees. In addition, it may provide insight into the drivers of loss experience. This method is only utilized for sinkhole losses due to unique settlement patterns that have emerged since the passage of legislation that codified claim settlement practices with respect to sinkhole related claims and subsequent policy form changes implemented by the Company. Claims for sinkholes are expected to be reported and settled at different rates and ultimate values than historically observed, requiring a departure from traditional development methodologies.

In selecting RTR development factors used in each method above, due consideration is given to how the RTR development factors change from one year to the next over the course of several consecutive years of recent history. In addition to paid and reported loss development triangles, various diagnostic triangles, such as triangles showing historical patterns in the ratio of paid to reported losses and closed to reported claim counts are typically prepared.  These diagnostic triangles are utilized in order to monitor the stability of various determinants of loss development, such as consistency in claims settlement and case reserving.

The implicit assumption of these techniques is that the selected RTR factors combine to form loss development patterns that are predictive of future loss development. The effects of inflation are implicitly considered in the reserving process, the implicit assumption being that the selected development factors includes an adequate provision. Occasionally, unusual aberrations in loss patterns are caused by external and internal factors such as changes in claim reporting, settlement patterns, unusually large losses, an unusually large amount of catastrophe losses, process changes, legal or regulatory changes, and other influences. In these instances, analyses of alternate development factor selections are performed to evaluate the effect of these factors.  In some cases, actuarial judgment is relied upon in order to make appropriate development factor assumptions needed to develop a best estimate of ultimate losses. Claims reported in 2013 and 2014, for example, have benefited from several initiatives designed to expedite claim closure rates and reduce settlement costs introduced in our claims department during the last 24 months. These changes influenced development pattern selections applied to 2012, 2013 and 2014 accident year claims in the reserving estimates for each of the methods described above.

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Estimates of unpaid losses for hurricane experience are not developed using company specific development patterns, due to the relatively infrequent nature of storms and the high severity typically associated with them. Both the reported development method and the paid development method were used to estimate ultimate losses. However, the development patterns were based on industry data determined by our consulting actuary. There is an inherent assumption that relying on industry development patterns as opposed to company specific patterns produces more credible results for projecting hurricane losses.

Estimation methods described above all produce an estimate of ultimate losses and LAE. Based on the results of these methods, a single estimate (commonly referred to as an actuarial point/central estimate) of the ultimate loss or LAE is selected accordingly for each accident-year claim grouping. Estimated IBNR reserves are determined by subtracting the reported loss from the selected ultimate loss, or the paid LAE from the ultimate LAE. The estimated loss IBNR reserves are added to case reserves to determine the total estimated unpaid losses. No case reserves are carried for LAE, therefore the estimated LAE IBNR reserves equal the total estimated unpaid LAE. For each segment, the reserving methods are carried out on both a net and direct basis in order to estimate liabilities accordingly. When selecting a single actuarial point/central estimate on a net basis, careful consideration is given for the reinsurance arrangements that were in place during each accident year exposure period and segment being reviewed.

How Reserve Estimates are Established and Updated

Reserve estimates are developed for both open claims and unreported claims. The actuarial methods described above are used to derive claim settlement patterns by determining development factors to be applied to specific data elements. Development factors are calculated for data elements such as claim counts reported and settled, paid losses and paid losses combined with case reserves. Historical development patterns for these data elements are used as the assumptions to calculate reserve estimates.

Often, different estimates are prepared for each detailed component, incorporating alternative analyses of changing claim settlement patterns and other influences on losses, from which a best estimate is selected for each component, occasionally incorporating additional analyses and actuarial judgment as described above. These estimates are not based on a single set of assumptions. Based on a review of these estimates, the best estimate of required reserves is recorded for each accident year and the required reserves are summed to create the reserve balance carried on the Consolidated Balance Sheets.

Reserves are re-estimated periodically by combining historical payment and reserving patterns with current actual results. When actual development of claims reported, paid losses or case reserve changes are different than the historical development pattern used in a prior period reserve estimate, and as actuarial studies validate new trends based on indications of updated development factor calculations, new ultimate loss and LAE predictions are determined. This process incorporates the historic and latest trends, and other underlying changes in the data elements used to calculate reserve estimates. The difference between indicated reserves based on new reserve estimates and the previously recorded estimate of reserves is the amount of reserve re-estimates. The resulting increase or decrease in the reserve re-estimates is recorded and included in “Losses and loss adjustment expenses” in the Consolidated Statements of Income. Total reserve re-estimates in 2014, 2013 and 2012, expressed as a percent of the net losses and LAE liability balance as of the beginning of each year, were (0.8%), (2.6%), and 6.8%, respectively. There are inherent uncertainties associated with this estimation process, especially for a company with limited development history. However, with the passing of each year, the Company’s own historical trends have become more reliable for use in predicting future results.

Factors Affecting Reserve Estimates

Reserve estimates are developed based on the processes and historical development trends as previously described. These estimates are considered in conjunction with known facts and interpretations of circumstances and factors including our experience with similar cases, actual claims paid, differing payment patterns and pending levels of unpaid claims, loss management programs, product mix and contractual terms, changes in law and regulation, judicial decisions, and economic conditions. When these types of changes are experienced, actuarial judgment is applied in the determination and selection of development factors in order to better reflect new trends or expectations. For example, if a change in law is expected to have a significant impact on the development of claim severity, actuarial judgment is applied to determine appropriate development factors that will most accurately reflect the expected impact on that specific estimate. This example appropriately describes the reserving methodology selection for use in estimating sinkhole liabilities after the passing of legislation, as noted above. Another example would be when a change in economic conditions is expected to affect the cost of repairs to property; actuarial judgment is applied to determine appropriate development factors to use in the reserve estimate that will most accurately reflect the expected impacts on severity development.

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As claims are reported, for certain liability claims of sufficient size and complexity, the field adjusting staff establishes case reserve estimates of ultimate cost, based on their assessment of facts and circumstances related to each individual claim. For other claims which occur in large volumes and settle in a relatively short time frame, it is not practical or efficient to set case reserves for each claim, and an initial case reserve of $2,500 is set for these claims. In the normal course of business, we may also supplement our claims processes by utilizing third party adjusters, appraisers, engineers, inspectors, other professionals and information sources to assess and settle catastrophe and non-catastrophe related claims.

Changes in homeowners current year claim severity are generally influenced by inflation in the cost of building materials, the cost of construction and property repair services, the cost of replacing home furnishings and other contents, the types of claims that qualify for coverage, deductibles and other economic and environmental factors. We employ various loss management programs to mitigate the effect of these factors.

Key assumptions that materially affect the estimate of the reserve for loss and LAE relate to the effects of emerging claim and coverage issues. As industry practices and legal, judicial, social and other environmental conditions change, unexpected and unintended issues related to claim and coverage may emerge. These issues may adversely affect our business by either extending coverage beyond our underwriting intent or by increasing the number or size of claims. Key assumptions that are premised on future emergence that are inconsistent with historical loss reserve development patterns include but are not limited to:

·

adverse changes in loss cost trends, including inflationary pressures in home repair costs;

·

judicial expansion of policy coverage and the impact of new theories of liability; and

·

plaintiffs targeting property and casualty insurers, in purported class action litigation related to claims-handling and other practices.

As loss experience for the current year develops for each type of loss, it is monitored relative to initial assumptions until it is judged to have sufficient statistical credibility. From that point in time and forward, reserves are re-estimated using statistical actuarial processes to reflect the impact loss trends have on development factors incorporated into the actuarial estimation processes.

Causes of Reserve Estimate Uncertainty

Since reserves are estimates of the unpaid portions of claims and claims expenses that have occurred, the establishment of appropriate reserves, including reserves for catastrophes, requires regular reevaluation and refinement of estimates to determine ultimate loss and LAE estimates.

At each reporting date, the highest degree of uncertainty in reserve estimates arises from claims remaining to be settled for the current accident year and the most recent preceding accident year, and claims that have occurred but have not been reported. The estimate for the current accident year contains the greatest degree of uncertainty because it contains the greatest proportion of losses that have not been reported or settled but must be estimated as of the current reporting date. During the first year after the end of an accident year, a large portion of the total losses for that accident year are settled. When accident year losses paid through the end of the first year following the initial accident year are incorporated into updated actuarial estimates, the trends inherent in the settlement of claims emerge more clearly. Consequently, this is the point in time at which the largest re-estimates of losses for an accident year can occur. After the second year, the losses paid for the accident year typically relate to claims that are more difficult to settle, such as those involving litigation.

Reserves for Catastrophe Losses

Loss and LAE reserves also include reserves for catastrophe losses. Catastrophe losses are an inherent risk of the property-casualty insurance industry that have contributed, and will continue to contribute, to potentially material year-to-year fluctuations in results of operations and financial position. A catastrophe is an event that produces significant pre-tax losses before reinsurance and involves multiple first party policyholders, or an event that produces a number of claims in excess of a preset, per-event threshold of average claims in a specific area, occurring within a certain amount of time following the event. Catastrophes are caused by various natural events including high winds, tornadoes, wildfires, tropical storms and hurricanes. The nature and level of catastrophes in any period cannot be predicted.

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The estimation of claims and claims expense reserves for catastrophes also comprises estimates of losses from reported and unreported claims, primarily for damage to property. In general, estimates for catastrophe reserves are based on claim adjuster inspections and the application of historical loss development factors as described previously. However, depending on the nature of the catastrophe, as noted above, the estimation process can be further complicated. For example, for hurricanes, complications could include the inability of insureds to be able to promptly report losses, limitations placed on claims adjusting staff affecting their ability to inspect losses, determining whether losses are covered by our homeowners policy (generally for damage caused by wind or wind driven rain), or specifically excluded coverage caused by flood, estimating additional living expenses, and assessing the impact of demand surge and exposure to mold damage. The effects of numerous other considerations, include the timing of a catastrophe in relation to other events, such as at or near the end of a financial reporting period, which can affect the availability of information needed to estimate reserves for that reporting period. In these situations, practices are adapted to accommodate these circumstances in order to determine a best estimate of losses from a catastrophe.

Key Actuarial Assumptions That Affect the Loss and LAE Estimate.

The aggregation of estimates for reported losses and IBNR forms the reserve liability recorded in the Consolidated Balance Sheets.

To develop a statistical indication of potential reserve variability within reasonably likely possible outcomes, actuarial techniques are applied to the data elements for paid losses and reported losses separately for homeowners losses excluding catastrophe losses and catastrophe losses to estimate the potential variability of our reserves, within a reasonable probability of outcomes.

At any given point in time, the recorded loss reserve represents the Company’s best estimate of the ultimate settlement and administration cost of insured claims incurred and unpaid. Since the process of estimating loss reserves requires significant judgment due to a number of variables, such as fluctuations in inflation, judicial decisions, legislative changes and changes in claims handling procedures, ultimate liability may exceed or be less than these estimates. Reserves for losses and LAE are revised as additional information becomes available, and adjustments, if any, are reflected in earnings in the periods in which they are determined.

In selecting the RTR development factors described above in the section titled The Actuarial Methods Used to Develop Reserve Estimates, due consideration is given to how the RTR development factors change from one year to the next over the course of several consecutive years of recent history. In addition to the loss development triangles cited above, various diagnostic triangles, such as triangles showing historical patterns in the ratio of paid to reported losses and paid to reported claim counts, are typically prepared as a means of determining the stability of various determinants of loss development, such as consistency in claims settlement and case reserving.

On an annual basis, the Company’s appointed independent actuary provides a Statement of Actuarial Opinion (“SAO”) that indicates the carried reserves make a reasonable provision for all of the Insurance Entities’ unpaid loss and LAE obligations under the terms of contracts and agreements with our policyholders. The SAO is reviewed and projected ultimate losses and LAE amounts per the SAO are compared to the Company’s own projection of ultimate losses and LAE to ensure that loss and LAE reserves recorded at each annual balance sheet date are based upon an analysis of all internal and external factors related to known and unknown claims against the Insurance Entities. Recorded reserves are compared to the indicated range provided in the report accompanying the SAO. At December 31, 2014, the recorded amount for net loss and LAE falls within the range determined by the appointed independent actuaries and approximates their best estimate.

Potential Reserve Estimate Variability.

The methods employed by actuaries include a range of estimated unpaid losses reflecting a level of uncertainty. Projections of loss and LAE liabilities are subject to potentially large errors of estimation since the ultimate disposition of claims incurred prior to the financial statement date, whether reported or not, is subject to the outcome of events that have not yet occurred. Examples of these events include jury decisions, court interpretations, legislative changes, public attitudes, and social/economic conditions such as inflation. Any estimate of future costs is subject to the inherent limitation on one’s ability to predict the aggregate course of future events. It should therefore be expected that the actual emergence of losses and LAE will vary, perhaps materially, from any estimate.

In selecting the range of reasonable estimates, the range of indications produced by the various methods is inspected, the relative strengths and weaknesses of each method are considered, and from those inputs a range of estimates can be selected. For reasons cited above, this range of estimated ultimate losses is typically smaller for older, more mature accident periods and greater for more recent, less mature accident periods. The greatest level of uncertainty is associated with the most recent accident years, and particularly years in during which catastrophe events occurred.

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The inherent uncertainty associated with the Insurance Entities’ loss and LAE liability is magnified due to their concentration of property business in catastrophe-exposed coastal states, primarily Florida. The 2004 and 2005 hurricanes created great uncertainty in determining ultimate losses for these natural catastrophes due to issues related to applicability of deductibles, availability and cost of repair services and materials, and other factors. UPCIC experienced unanticipated unfavorable loss development on catastrophe losses from claims related to 2004 and 2005 being reopened and new claims being opened due to public adjusters encouraging policyholders to file new claims, and from homeowners’ association assessments related to condominium policies. Due to the inherent uncertainty, the parameters of the loss estimation methodologies are updated on an annual basis as new information emerges.

Adequacy of Reserve Estimates

We believe our net loss and LAE reserves are appropriately established based on available methodology, facts, technology, laws and regulations. We calculate and record a single best reserve estimate, in conformance with generally accepted actuarial standards, for reported losses and IBNR losses and as a result we believe no other estimate is better than our recorded amount.

We have created a proprietary claims analysis tool (“ISM”) to analyze and calculate reserves to supplement analysis performed by our independent actuaries. ISM is a custom built application that aggregates, analyzes and forecasts reserves based on historical data that spans more than a decade. It identifies historical claims data using same like kind and quality variables that exist in present claims and sets forth appropriate, more accurate reserves on current claims. ISM is utilized by management in reviewing the topography of existing and incoming claims. ISM is analyzed at each quarters’ end and adjustments to reserves are made at an aggregate level when appropriate.

Due to the uncertainties involved, the scenarios described and quantified above are reasonably likely, but the ultimate cost of losses may vary materially from recorded amounts, which are based on our best estimates. The liability for unpaid losses and LAE at December 31, 2014 is $134.4 million.

Deferred Policy Acquisition Costs/Deferred Ceding Commissions

We incur costs in connection with the production of new and renewal insurance policies that are referred to as policy acquisition costs. Commissions and state premium taxes are costs of acquiring insurance policies that vary with, and are directly related to, the successful production of new and renewal business. These costs are deferred and amortized over the period during which the premiums are earned on the underlying policies. We collect ceding commissions from certain reinsurers in connection with our quota share reinsurance contracts. We estimate the amount of ceding commissions to be deferred on a basis consistent with the deferral of acquisition costs incurred with the production of the original policies issued and the terms of the applicable reinsurance contracts. The deferred ceding commissions are offset against the deferred policy acquisition costs with the net result presented as “deferred policy acquisition costs, net” on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. As of December 31, 2014, deferred policy acquisition costs were $54.6 million and deferred ceding commissions were $28.9 million. Deferred policy acquisition costs were reduced by deferred ceding commissions and shown net on the Consolidated Balance Sheet in the amount of $25.7 million.

Provision for Premium Deficiency

Our policy is to evaluate and recognize losses on insurance contracts when estimated future claims and maintenance costs under a group of existing policy contracts will exceed anticipated future premiums and investment income. The determination of the provision for premium deficiency requires estimation of the costs of losses, catastrophic reinsurance and policy maintenance to be incurred and investment income to be earned over the remaining policy period. Management has determined that a provision for premium deficiency was not warranted as of December 31, 2014.

Reinsurance

In the normal course of business, we seek to reduce the risk of loss that may arise from catastrophes or other events that cause unfavorable underwriting results by reinsuring certain levels of risk in various areas of exposure with other insurance enterprises or reinsurers. While ceding premiums to reinsurers reduces our risk of exposure in the event of catastrophic losses, it also reduces our potential for greater profits in the event that such catastrophic events do not occur. We believe that the extent of our reinsurance is typical of a company of our size in the homeowners’ insurance industry. Amounts recoverable from reinsurers are estimated in a manner consistent with the provisions of the reinsurance agreement and consistent with the establishment of our liability. The Insurance Entities’ reinsurance policies do not relieve them from their obligations to policyholders. Failure of reinsurers to honor their obligations could result in losses; consequently, allowances are established for amounts deemed uncollectible. No such allowance was deemed necessary as of December 31, 2014.

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OFF-BALANCE SHEET ARRANGEMENTS

We had no off-balance sheet arrangements during 2014.

RELATED PARTIES

Scott P. Callahan, a director of the Company, provides the Company with consulting services and advice with respect to the Company’s reinsurance and related matters through SPC Global RE Advisors LLC, an entity affiliated with Mr. Callahan. The Company entered into the consulting agreement with SPC Global RE Advisors LLC effective June 6, 2013. During 2014 and 2013, we paid consulting fees of $120 thousand and $68 thousand, respectively, to SPC Global RE Advisors LLC.


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Results of Operations

year ended December 31, 2014 COMPARED TO YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2013

Net income increased by $14.0 million, or 23.8%, to $73.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2014 compared to the year ended December 31, 2013. Diluted earnings per common share increased by $0.52, or 33.3%, to $2.08 for the year ended December 31, 2014 compared to the year ended December 31, 2013, as a result of an increase in net income and cumulative share repurchases since December 31, 2013.

The increase in net income of $14.0 million, or 23.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2014 compared to the year ended December 31, 2013 reflects an increase in net earned premiums, the absence of trading losses generated in the first quarter of 2013, and an increase in realized gains from investments sold from our portfolio of investments available-for-sale. These were partially offset by a decrease in commissions and an increase in operating expenses. The reduction in the cession rate of our quota share reinsurance contracts is a significant factor behind our results. A more detailed discussion of these factors follows the table below.

The following table summarizes changes in each component of our Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income for the year ended December 31, 2014 compared to the year ended December 31, 2013 (in thousands):

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

Change

 

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

$

 

 

%

 

PREMIUMS EARNED AND OTHER REVENUES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direct premiums written

 

$

789,577

 

 

$

783,894

 

 

$

5,683

 

 

 

0.7

%

Ceded premiums written

 

 

(399,730

)

 

 

(522,116

)

 

 

122,386

 

 

 

-23.4

%

Net premiums written

 

 

389,847

 

 

 

261,778

 

 

 

128,069

 

 

 

48.9

%

Change in net unearned premium

 

 

(62,970

)

 

 

5,877

 

 

 

(68,847

)

 

NM

 

Premiums earned, net

 

 

326,877

 

 

 

267,655

 

 

 

59,222

 

 

 

22.1

%

Net investment income (expense)

 

 

2,375

 

 

 

1,928

 

 

 

447

 

 

 

23.2

%

Net realized gains (losses) on investments

 

 

5,627

 

 

 

(14,740

)

 

 

20,367

 

 

NM

 

Net change in unrealized gains (losses) on investments

 

 

 

 

 

7,850

 

 

 

(7,850

)

 

 

-100.0

%

Commission revenue

 

 

14,205

 

 

 

18,615

 

 

 

(4,410

)

 

 

-23.7

%

Policy fees

 

 

13,982

 

 

 

13,661

 

 

 

321

 

 

 

2.3

%

Other revenue

 

 

6,210

 

 

 

6,190

 

 

 

20

 

 

 

0.3

%

Total premiums earned and other revenues

 

 

369,276