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Table of Contents


UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

 FORM 10-K
Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
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 001-34257
UNITED FIRE GROUP, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Iowa
 
45-2302834
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S Employer Identification No.)
118 Second Avenue SE
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
52401
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)

Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (319) 399-5700
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Trading Symbol
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.001 par value
UFCS
The NASDAQ Global Select Market
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer", "smaller reporting company", and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act
Large accelerated filer
Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
 
 
 
 
 
 
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes No
The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2019 was approximately $1.0 billion. For purposes of this calculation, all directors and executive officers of the registrant are considered affiliates. As of February 26, 2020, 25,051,170 shares of common stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Part III of this Form 10-K incorporates by reference certain information from the registrant's definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, for its annual shareholder meeting to be held on May 20, 2020.


Table of Contents

FORM 10-K TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
Page
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Table of Contents

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
This report may contain forward-looking statements about our operations, anticipated performance and other similar matters. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a safe harbor under the Securities Act of 1933 (the "Securities Act") and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), for forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are not historical facts and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expected and/or projected. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about United Fire Group, Inc. ("UFG," the "Registrant," the "Company," "we," "us," or "our"), the industry in which we operate, and beliefs and assumptions made by management. Words such as "expect(s)," "anticipate(s)," "intend(s)," "plan(s)," "believe(s)," "continue(s)," "seek(s)," "estimate(s)," "goal(s)," "target(s)," "forecast(s)," "project(s)," "predict(s)," "should," "could," "may," "will," "might," "hope," "can" and other words and terms of similar meaning or expression in connection with a discussion of future operations, financial performance or financial condition, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. See Part I, Item 1A "Risk Factors" of this report for more information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties that may affect the actual financial condition and results of the Company include but are not limited to the following:
The frequency and severity of claims, including those related to catastrophe losses and the impact those claims have on our loss reserve adequacy; the occurrence of catastrophic events, including international events, significant severe weather conditions, climate change, acts of terrorism, acts of war and pandemics;
The adequacy of our reserves for property and casualty insurance losses and loss settlement expenses;
Geographic concentration risk in our property and casualty insurance business;
The potential disruption of our operations and reputation due to unauthorized data access, cyber attacks or cyber-terrorism and other security breaches;
Developments in general economic conditions, domestic and global financial markets, interest rates and other-than-temporary impairment losses that could affect the performance of our investment portfolio;
Litigation or regulatory actions that could require us to pay significant damages, fines or penalties or change the way we do business;
Our ability to effectively underwrite and adequately price insured risks;
Changes in industry trends, an increase in competition and significant industry developments;
Lowering of one or more of the financial strength ratings of our operating subsidiaries or our issuer credit ratings and the adverse impact such action may have on our premium writings, policy retention, profitability and liquidity;
Governmental actions, policies and regulations, including, but not limited to, domestic health care reform, financial services regulatory reform, corporate governance, new laws or regulations or court decisions interpreting existing laws and regulations or policy provisions; changes in laws, regulations and stock exchange requirements relating to corporate governance and the cost of compliance;
Our relationship with and the financial strength of our reinsurers; and
Competitive, legal, regulatory or tax changes that affect the distribution cost or demand for our products through our independent agent/agency distribution network.
These are representative of the risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from what is expressed in forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this report or as of the date they are made. Except as required under the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), we do not have any intention or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.


1

Table of Contents

PART I.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
GENERAL DESCRIPTION
United Fire Group, Inc. ("UFG", "United Fire", the "Registrant", the "Company", "we", "us", or "our") and its consolidated subsidiaries and affiliates are engaged in the business of writing property and casualty insurance through a network of independent agencies. Our insurance company subsidiaries are currently licensed as a property and casualty insurer in 46 states, plus the District of Columbia. United Fire & Casualty Company was incorporated in Iowa in January 1946. Our principal executive office is located at 118 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401; telephone: 319-399-5700.
United Fire Group, Inc. owns 100 percent of one subsidiary, United Fire & Casualty Company. United Fire & Casualty Company owns 100 percent of seven subsidiaries: (1) Addison Insurance Company; (2) Lafayette Insurance Company; (3) United Fire & Indemnity Company; (4) Mercer Insurance Company; (5) Financial Pacific Insurance Company; (6) UFG Specialty Insurance Company; and (7) United Real Estate Holdings Company, LLC. Mercer Insurance Company owns 100 percent of two subsidiaries: (1) Franklin Insurance Company; and (2) Mercer Insurance Company of New Jersey, Inc. United Fire Lloyds is an affiliate of United Fire & Indemnity Company.
Reportable Segments and Discontinued Operations
We have historically reported our operations in two business segments: property and casualty insurance and life insurance. On September 18, 2017, the Company signed a definitive agreement to sell its subsidiary, United Life Insurance Company ("United Life"), to Kuvare US Holdings, Inc. ("Kuvare") and on March 30, 2018, the sale closed. As a result, our life insurance business, previously a separate segment, was considered held for sale and reported as discontinued operations in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income and Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows. Subsequent to the announcement of this sale, our continuing operations were reported as one business segment. For more information, refer to Note 17 "Discontinued Operations" contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data." Additionally, for a detailed discussion of our operating results by continuing operations and discontinued operations, refer to the "Results of Operations for the Years Ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017" section in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
Our property and casualty insurance business is comprised of commercial lines insurance, including surety bonds, personal lines insurance and assumed reinsurance. All of our property and casualty insurance subsidiaries and our affiliate belong to an intercompany reinsurance pooling arrangement. Pooling arrangements permit the participating companies to rely on the capacity of the entire pool's capital and surplus, rather than being limited to policy exposures of a size commensurate with each participant's own surplus level. Under such arrangements, the members share substantially all of the insurance business that is written and allocate the combined premiums, losses and expenses based on percentages defined in the arrangement.
Employees
As of December 31, 2019, we employed 1,173 full-time employees and 12 part-time employees. We are not a party to any collective bargaining agreement.
Available Information
We provide free and timely access to all our reports filed with the SEC in the Investor Relations section of our website at www.ufginsurance.com. Under the "Investors" tab, select "Financial Documents" and then, select "SEC Filings" to view the list of our SEC filings, which includes annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements, beneficial ownership reports on Forms 3, 4 and 5 and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a), 15(d) or 16(a) of the Exchange Act. Such reports are made available as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed with or furnished to the SEC. They are also available on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov.
Our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct is also available at www.ufginsurance.com in the Investor Relations section. To view it, under the "Investors" tab, select "Overview," then "Governance Documents" and then "Code of Ethics and Business Conduct."


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Free paper copies of any materials that we file with or furnish to the SEC can also be obtained by writing to Investor Relations, United Fire Group, Inc., 118 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401.

MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION
We market our products through our home office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and five regional offices: (1) Westminster, Colorado, a suburb of Denver; (2) Webster, Texas, a suburb of Houston; (3) Pennington, New Jersey; (4) Phoenix, Arizona; and (5) Rocklin, California. We are represented through approximately 1,000 independent property and casualty agencies.
Property and Casualty Insurance Business
We staff our regional offices with underwriting, claims and marketing representatives and administrative technicians, all of whom provide support and assistance to the independent agencies. Also, home office staff technicians and specialists provide support to our subsidiaries, regional offices and independent agencies. We use management reports to monitor subsidiary and regional offices for overall results and conformity to our business policies.
Competition
The property and casualty insurance industry is highly competitive. We compete with numerous property and casualty insurance companies in the regional and national market, many of which are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial and other resources. Except for regulatory considerations, there are limited barriers to entry into the insurance industry. Our competitors may be domestic or foreign, as well as licensed or unlicensed. The exact number of competitors within the industry is not known. Insurers compete on the basis of reliability, financial strength and stability, ratings, underwriting consistency, service, business ethics, price, performance, capacity, policy terms and coverage conditions.
In addition, because our products are marketed exclusively through independent insurance agencies, most of which represent more than one company, we face competition within each agency and competition to retain qualified independent agents. Our competitors include companies that market their products through agents, as well as companies that sell insurance directly to their customers.
Because we rely solely on independent agencies, we offer a competitive commissions program and a rewarding profit-sharing plan as incentives for agents to place high-quality property and casualty insurance business with us. Property and casualty insurance agencies will receive profit-sharing payments of $19.6 million in 2020, based on profitable business produced by the agencies in 2019. In 2019 for 2018 business, agencies received $21.4 million in profit-sharing payments and in 2018 for 2017 business, agencies received $15.1 million in payments.
Our competitive advantages include our commitment to:
Strong agency relationships —
A stable workforce, with an average duration of employment of approximately 9.6 years, allows our agents to work with the same, highly-experienced personnel each day.
Our organization is relatively flat, allowing our agents to be close to the highest levels of management and ensuring that our agents will receive answers quickly to their questions.
Exceptional service — our agents and policyholders always have the option to speak with a real person.
Fair and prompt claims handling — we view claims as an opportunity to prove to our customers that they have chosen the right insurance company.