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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, 2020
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 RapidsIowa
52401
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (319399-5700
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading SymbolName of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.001 par valueUFCSThe 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 has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

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, 2020 was approximately $0.7 billion. For purposes of this calculation, all directors and executive officers of the registrant are considered affiliates. As of February 24, 2021, 25,087,310 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 19, 2021.


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FORM 10-K TABLE OF CONTENTS
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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)," "remain(s) optimistic," "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, including the ongoing impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;
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, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act") and other federal stimulus relief legislation, 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
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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.
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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 49 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 eight 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; (7) United Real Estate Holdings LLC and (8) McIntyre Cedar UK Limited. 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. McIntyre Cedar UK Limited owns 100 percent of McIntyre Cedar Corporate Member LLP.
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, 2020, 2019 and 2018" 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.
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."
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.
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REVENUE GENERATING ACTIVITIES
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.
Products and 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 $15.4 million in 2021, based on profitable business produced by the agencies in 2020. In 2020 for 2019 business, agencies received $19.6 million in profit-sharing payments and in 2019 for 2018 business, agencies received $21.4 million in payments.
Our competitive advantages include our commitment to:
Strong agency relationships —
A stable workforce 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.
Disciplined underwriting — we empower our underwriters with the knowledge and tools needed to make good decisions for the Company.
Superior loss control services — our loss control representatives make multiple visits to businesses and job sites each year to ensure safety.
Effective and efficient use of technology — we use technology to provide enhanced service to our agents and policyholders, not to replace our personal relationships, but to reinforce them.
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REINSURANCE
Incorporated by reference from Note 4 "Reinsurance" contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
RESERVES
Property and Casualty Insurance Business
Property insurance indemnifies an insured with an interest in physical property for loss of, or damage to, such property or the loss of its income-producing abilities. Casualty insurance primarily covers liability for damage to property of, or injury to, a person or entity other than the insured. In most cases, casualty insurance also obligates the insurance company to provide a defense for the insured in litigation, arising out of events covered by the policy.
Liabilities for loss and loss settlement expenses reflect management's best estimates at a given point in time of what we expect to pay for claims that have been reported and those that have been incurred but not reported ("IBNR"), based on known facts, circumstances, and historical trends.
The determination of reserves (particularly those relating to liability lines of insurance that have relatively longer lag in claim reporting) requires significant work to reasonably project expected future claim reporting and payment patterns. If, during the course of our regular monitoring of reserves, we determine that coverages previously written are incurring higher than expected losses, we will take action that may include, among other things, increasing the related reserves. Any adjustments we make to reserves are reflected in operating results in the year in which we make those adjustments. We engage an independent actuary, Regnier Consulting Group, Inc. ("Regnier"), to render an opinion as to the reasonableness of our statutory reserves annually. The actuarial opinion is filed in those states where we are licensed.
On a quarterly basis, United Fire's internal actuary performs a detailed actuarial review of IBNR reserves. This review includes a comparison of results from the most recent analysis of reserves completed by both our internal and external actuaries. Senior management meets with our internal actuary to review, on a quarterly basis, the adequacy of carried reserves based on results from this actuarial analysis. There are two fundamental types or sources of IBNR reserves. We record IBNR reserves for "normal" types of claims and also specific IBNR reserves related to unique circumstances or events. A major hurricane is an example of an event that might necessitate establishing specific IBNR reserves because an analysis of existing historical data would not provide an appropriate estimate.
We do not discount loss reserves based on the time value of money. 
For a more detailed discussion of our loss reserves, refer to the "Critical Accounting Policies" section in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and Note 5 "Reserves for Losses and Loss Settlement Expenses" contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
INVESTMENTS
Incorporated by reference from Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," under the headings "Investments," "Market Risk" and "Critical Accounting Policies"; and Note 1 "Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" under the headings "Investments," Note 2 "Summary of Investments," and Note 3 "Fair Value of Financial Instruments," contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
COMPLIANCE WITH GOVERNMENT REGULATION
The insurance industry is subject to comprehensive and detailed regulation and supervision. Each jurisdiction in which we operate has established supervisory agencies with broad administrative powers. While we are not aware of any currently proposed or recently enacted state or federal regulation that would have a material impact on our operations, we cannot predict the effect that future regulatory changes might have on us.
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State Regulation
We are subject to extensive regulation, primarily at the state level. The method, extent and substance of such regulation varies by state, but generally has its source in National Association of Insurance Commissioners ("NAIC") model laws and regulations that establish standards and requirements for conducting the business of insurance and that delegate regulatory authority to a state regulatory agency. Moreover, the NAIC Accreditation Program requires state regulatory agencies to meet baseline standards of solvency regulation, particularly with respect to regulation of multi-state insurers. In general, such regulation is intended for the protection of those who purchase or use our insurance products, and not our shareholders. These rules have a substantial effect on our business and relate to a wide variety of matters including: insurance company licensing and examination; the licensing of insurance agents and adjusters; price setting or premium rates; trade practices; approval of policy forms; claims practices; restrictions on transactions between our subsidiaries and their affiliates, including the payment of dividends; investments; underwriting standards; advertising and marketing practices; capital adequacy; and the collection, remittance and reporting of certain taxes, licenses and fees.
The state laws and regulations that have the most significant effect on our insurance operations and financial reporting are discussed below.
Insurance Holding Company Regulation
We are regulated as an insurance holding company system in the states of domicile of our property and casualty insurance companies: Iowa (United Fire & Casualty Company, UFG Specialty Insurance Company and Addison Insurance Company), California (Financial Pacific Insurance Company), Louisiana (Lafayette Insurance Company), New Jersey (Mercer Insurance Company of New Jersey, Inc.), Pennsylvania (Mercer Insurance Company and Franklin Insurance Company) and Texas (United Fire & Indemnity Company and United Fire Lloyds). These regulations require that we annually furnish financial and other information about the operations of the individual companies within our holding company system. Generally, the insurance laws of these states provide that notice to the state insurance commissioner is required before finalizing any transaction affecting the ownership or control of an insurer and before finalizing certain material transactions between an insurer and any person or entity within its holding company system. In addition, some of those transactions cannot be finalized without the commissioner's prior approval.
Most states have now adopted the version of the Model Insurance Holding Company System Regulation Act and Regulation as amended by the NAIC in December 2010 (the "Amended Model Act") to introduce the concept of "enterprise risk" within an insurance company holding system. Enterprise risk is defined as any activity, circumstance, event or series of events involving one or more affiliates of an insurer that, if not remedied promptly, is likely to have a material adverse effect upon the financial condition or the liquidity of the insurer or its insurance holding company system as a whole. The Amended Model Act imposes more extensive informational requirements on us, including requiring us to prepare an annual enterprise risk report that identifies the material risks within our insurance company holding system that could pose enterprise risk to our licensed insurers.
Restrictions on Shareholder Dividends
As an insurance holding company with no independent operations or source of revenue, our capacity to pay dividends to our shareholders is based on the ability of our insurance company subsidiaries to pay dividends to us. The ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends to us is regulated by the laws of their state of domicile. Under these laws, insurance companies must provide advance informational notice to the domicile state insurance regulatory authority prior to payment of any dividend or distribution to its shareholders. Prior approval from the state insurance regulatory authority must be obtained before payment of an "extraordinary dividend" as defined under the state's insurance code. The amount of ordinary dividends that may be paid to us is subject to certain limitations, the amounts of which change each year. In all cases, we may pay dividends only from our earned surplus. Refer to Part II, Item 5, "Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Shareholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities" under the heading "Dividends" and Note 6 "Statutory Reporting, Capital Requirements and Dividends and Retained Earnings Restrictions," contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" for additional information about the dividends we paid during 2020.

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Price Regulation
Nearly all states have insurance laws requiring us to file rate schedules, policy or coverage forms, and other information with the state's regulatory authority. In certain states, rate schedules, policy forms, or both, must be approved prior to use. While insurance laws vary from state to state, their objectives are generally the same: an insurance rate cannot be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory. The speed with which we can change our rates in response to competition or in response to increasing costs depends, in part, on the willingness of state regulators to allow adequate rates for the business we write.
Investment Regulation
We are subject to various state regulations requiring investment portfolio diversification and limiting the concentration of investments we may maintain in certain asset categories. Failure to comply with these regulations leads to the treatment of nonconforming investments as non-admitted assets for purposes of measuring statutory surplus. Further, in some instances, state regulations require us to sell certain nonconforming investments.
Exiting Geographic Markets; Canceling and Non-renewing Policies
Most states regulate our ability to exit a market. For example, states limit, to varying degrees, our ability to cancel and non-renew insurance policies. Some states prohibit us from withdrawing one or more types of insurance business from the state, except upon prior regulatory approval. Regulations that limit policy cancellation and non-renewal may restrict our ability to exit unprofitable markets.
Insurance Guaranty Associations
Each state has insurance guaranty association laws. Membership in a state's insurance guaranty association is generally mandatory for insurers wishing to do business in that state. Under these laws, associations may assess their members for certain obligations that insolvent insurance companies have incurred with regard to their policyholders and claimants.
Typically, states assess each solvent association member with an amount related to that member's proportionate share of business written by all association members within the state. Most state guaranty associations allow solvent insurers to recoup the assessments they are charged through future rate increases, surcharges or premium tax credits. However, there is no assurance that we will ultimately recover these assessments. We cannot predict the amount and timing of any future assessments or refunds under these laws.
Shared Market and Joint Underwriting Plans
State insurance regulations often require insurers to participate in assigned risk plans, reinsurance facilities and joint underwriting associations. These are mechanisms that generally provide applicants with various types of basic insurance coverage that may not otherwise be available to them through voluntary markets. Such mechanisms are most commonly instituted for automobile and workers' compensation insurance, but many states also mandate participation in Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plans or Windstorm Plans, which provide basic property coverage. Participation is based upon the amount of a company's voluntary market share in a particular state for the classes of insurance involved. Policies written through these mechanisms may require different underwriting standards and may pose greater risk than those written through our voluntary application process.
Statutory Accounting Rules
For public reporting, insurance companies prepare financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). However, state laws require us to calculate and report certain data according to statutory accounting rules as defined in the NAIC Accounting Practices and Procedures Manual. While not a substitute for any GAAP measure of performance, statutory data frequently is used by industry analysts and other recognized reporting sources to facilitate comparisons of the performance of insurance companies.

Insurance Reserves
State insurance laws require that insurance companies analyze the adequacy of their reserves annually. Our appointed actuaries must submit an opinion that our statutory reserves are adequate to meet policy claims-paying obligations and related expenses.
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Financial Solvency Ratios
The NAIC annually calculates 13 financial ratios to assist state insurance regulators in monitoring the financial condition of insurance companies. A "usual range" of results for each of these ratios is used by insurance regulators as a benchmark. Departure from the usual range on four or more of the ratios could lead to inquiries from individual state insurance departments as to certain aspects of a company's business. In addition to the financial ratios, states also require us to calculate a minimum capital requirement for each of our insurance companies based on individual company insurance risk factors. These "risk-based capital" results are used by state insurance regulators to identify companies that require regulatory attention or the initiation of regulatory action. At December 31, 2020, all of our insurance companies had capital in excess of the required levels.
Federal Regulation
Although the federal government and its regulatory agencies generally do not directly regulate the business of insurance, federal initiatives and legislation often have an impact on our business. These initiatives and legislation include tort reform proposals, proposals addressing natural catastrophe exposures, terrorism risk mechanisms, federal financial services reforms, various tax proposals affecting insurance companies, and possible regulatory limitations, impositions and restrictions arising from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd-Frank"), and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Various legislative and regulatory efforts to reform the tort liability system have impacted and will continue to impact our industry. Although there has been some tort reform with positive impact to the insurance industry, new causes of action and theories of damages continue to be proposed in state court actions or by federal or state legislatures that continue to expand liability for insurers and their policyholders. For example, some state legislatures have from time-to-time considered legislation addressing direct actions against insurers related to bad faith claims. As a result of this unpredictability in the law, insurance underwriting is expected to continue to be difficult in commercial lines, professional liability and other specialty coverages.
Dodd-Frank expanded the federal presence in insurance oversight and may increase regulatory requirements that are applicable to us. Dodd-Frank's requirements include streamlining the state-based regulation of reinsurance and non-admitted insurance (property or casualty insurance placed with insurers that are eligible to accept insurance, but are not licensed to write insurance in a particular state). Dodd-Frank also established the Federal Insurance Office within the U.S. Department of the Treasury that is authorized to, among other things, gather data and information to monitor aspects of the insurance industry, identify issues in the regulation of insurers about insurance matters, and preempt state insurance measures under certain circumstances.
Dodd-Frank also contains a number of provisions related to corporate governance and disclosure matters. In response to Dodd-Frank, the SEC has adopted or proposed rules regarding director independence, director and officer hedging activities, executive compensation clawback policies, compensation advisor independence, pay versus performance disclosures, internal pay equity disclosures, and shareholder proxy access. We continue to monitor developments under Dodd-Frank and their impact on us, insurers of similar size and the insurance industry as a whole.
FINANCIAL STRENGTH AND ISSUER CREDIT RATING
Our financial strength, as measured by statutory accounting principles, is regularly reviewed by an independent rating agency that assigns a rating based upon criteria such as results of operations, capital resources and minimum policyholders' surplus requirements. An insurer's financial strength rating is one of the primary factors evaluated by those in the market to purchase insurance. A poor rating indicates that there is an increased likelihood that the insurer could become insolvent and therefore not able to fulfill its obligations under the insurance policies it issues. This rating can also affect an insurer's level of premium writings, the lines of business it can write and, for insurers like us that are also public registrants, the market value of its securities.
Our property and casualty insurers are rated by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ("A.M. Best") on a group basis. Our pooled property and casualty insurers have all received an "A" (Excellent) financial strength rating from A.M. Best. According to A.M. Best, companies rated "A" have "an excellent ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders." A.M. Best revised the outlooks to negative from stable in December 2020.
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A.M. Best also assigns issuer credit ratings based on a company's ability to repay its debts. All of our property and casualty insurers have received an issuer credit rating of "a" from A.M. Best. Beginning in 2012, our holding company parent was also rated by A.M. Best, receiving an issuer credit rating of "bbb."

HUMAN CAPITAL RESOURCES
Organization core values
Working together as one, we are always striving to deliver on our promises of employee success, policyholder protection, agent opportunity, shareholder value and community support. That is our mission. Its unified ideology guides every aspect of the way we conduct business at UFG.
Strategy for success
Our current strategic plan, “One UFG: Boldly Forward,” when combined with our mission, guides the day-to-day decision making of our employees, designed to create a sense of purpose and possibility at the Company within every employee. Ten performance-improving initiatives anchor the plan, each directly connected to how employees work together to help the organization grow and evolve in an ever-changing industry.
Diversity and inclusion
At UFG, we strive to promote a culture where all employees feel welcome to create their own personal and professional goals. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ("DE&I") are intrinsic to UFG’s values. In 2020, leadership and advisory teams were chosen to design and implement initiatives to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment—whether working from home or in the office.
202020192018
Employee data
Workforce dataHeadcount1,1651,1851,183
Average tenure in years10.09.69.1
Percent of women in workforce55.1%56.7%57.4%
Percent of minorities in workforce12.4%11.6%10.8%
Voluntary turnover rate8.4%8.6%12.2%
Human rightsEqual employment opportunity policyYYY
Equitable pay statementNNN
Human rights statementNNN
EthicsAnti-bribery & anti-corruption policyNNN
Code of business conduct & ethicsYYY
Whistleblowing & non-retaliation policyYYY

Fulfilling careers; health, safety and wellness; compensation and benefits; talent development
At UFG, health, wellness and education are core cultural values. Employee success is part of our mission. That is why we support continuing education for employees. Our investment in employee health and well-being is built on our foundation of helping people enhance their lives. UFG is dedicated to proactively promoting work-life balance for all employees that respects a variety of values and lifestyles. Employees are encouraged to meet with their managers to develop a flexible work schedule that suits their needs outside of work.
Our commitment to advancing the mental and physical health of our people includes:
U Fit Wellness Center - located on-site at corporate headquarters. We are proud to have built our own state-of-the-art fitness center in 2017. We are also proud to have a full-time fitness and wellness coordinator on staff. The coordinator provides one-on-one coaching, customized wellness plans and group fitness and wellness classes for all skill levels.
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Empowering employees to make healthy decisions:
Fitness classes - We offer a variety of group classes including barre, yoga, resistance training, cycling (spin), high-intensity interval training (HIIT), tabata, dance, kickboxing and boot camps. To mesh our passion for community with wellness, we’ve also held multiple physical activity fundraisers.
A wellness reward system - 84% of our employees are enrolled in our third-party wellness management program designed to cultivate good lifestyle habits. This program also provides monetary incentives based on physical activity and premium credits on health insurance when employees reach certain thresholds.
Wellness to-go - Our employees have engaged with our third-party virtual fitness program for more than 30,000 minutes in the past year. It provides on-demand classes, workout plans and fitness assessments anywhere, anytime. It’s also a great way for employees to take a workout class any time that works best for them.

Sustainability
As UFG continues to grow, we must recognize our impact on the environment. In addition to ensuring our facilities are operating responsibly, we believe our partnerships and coverages play a role in conservation and offsetting our footprint. As a whole, we look at what we can do to engage in both sustainable and responsible business practices.
UFG is honored to have been appointed the insurance provider for members of the state Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association ("LICA") insurance program. This organization, which is known for its mission of professional conservation of soil and water, as well as best practices in the construction and protection of cities, farms, ranches and rural areas where we live and work, has worked with UFG to develop a program that is customized to this targeted group of insureds. Our program, in partnership with Prins Insurance, is specifically designed for LICA contractors and includes professional risk control services, safety group dividends based on the performance of the group, specialty pricing, and the broadened coverages needed when working to conserve our soil and water.
At the core of our business is the insurance coverage we provide. We offer a variety of basic and more advanced policies tailored for the needs of our insureds. Product innovation, especially as it relates to social responsibility, continues to play a big part in our goal to offer simple solutions for complex times.
UFG offers liability coverage for a covered job site pollution event. This coverage is also available through our business owners property endorsement with varying levels of protection.
UFG’s pollutant redefined endorsement broadens our commercial general liability policy, providing coverage for carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty workmanship.
In addition to establishing a UFG Green Team dedicated to sustainability practices, the facilities team is active in reducing our environmental footprint. Here are a few ways they’re generating less impact:
Use of low VOC paint, LED light fixtures and sustainable cleaning products.
Partner with flooring vendors that manufacture products with low environmental impact.
Utilize architectural wall systems instead of drywall.
Use of electrostatic disinfection cleaning — a cutting-edge cleaning technique — to our corporate office. This technique greatly reduces the spread of viruses in high-traffic areas.
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INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
The following table sets forth information concerning the following executive officers:
NameAgePosition
Randy A. Ramlo59President and Chief Executive Officer
Michael T. Wilkins57Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Dawn M. Jaffray54Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Robert F. Cataldo50Vice President and Chief Investment and Strategy Officer
Neal R. Scharmer64Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

A brief description of the business experience of these officers follows:
Randy A. Ramlo became our President and Chief Executive Officer in May 2007. He previously served as our Chief Operating Officer from May 2006 until May 2007, as Executive Vice President from May 2004 until May 2007, and as Vice President, Fidelity and Surety, from November 2001 until May 2004. He also worked as an underwriting manager in our Great Lakes region. Mr. Ramlo began his employment with us as an underwriter in 1984.
Michael T. Wilkins became our Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in May 2014. He served as our Executive Vice President, Corporate Administration, from May 2007 to May 2014. He was our Senior Vice President, Corporate Administration, from May 2004 until May 2007, our Vice President, Corporate Administration, from August 2002 until May 2004 and the resident Vice President in our Lincoln regional office from 1998 until 2002. Prior to 1998, Mr. Wilkins held various other positions within the Company since joining us in 1985.
Dawn M. Jaffray became our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in May 2015. In May 2019, Ms. Jaffray was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Jaffray previously served as Chief Financial Officer of Soleil Advisory Group, a consulting firm specializing in operational consulting, mergers and acquisitions, investment and strategy from 2009 to 2015. Prior to her service with Soleil Advisory Group, Ms. Jaffray held numerous positions in insurance operations and mergers/acquisition activities, primarily in the role of principal financial officer. Ms. Jaffray's business experience has been focused in particular on insurance, finance and capital management.
Robert F. Cataldo became our Vice President and Chief Investment and Strategy Officer of UFG in 2020, serving the company since 2011. Mr. Cataldo joined UFG as a Senior Portfolio Manager in 2011. In 2015, he was promoted to Assistant Vice President & Senior Portfolio Manager. In 2018, Robert was named Vice President and Strategy Officer for UFG.
Neal R. Scharmer was appointed our Vice President and General Counsel in May 2001 and Corporate Secretary in May 2006. He joined us in 1995.
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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
We provide readers with the following discussion of risks and uncertainties relevant to our business. These are factors that we believe could cause our actual results to differ materially from our historic or anticipated results. We could also be adversely affected by other factors, in addition to those listed here. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements is set forth in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
Risks Relating to Our Business
Our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity may continue to be negatively impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global emergency with respect to the COVID-19 outbreak. Several countries, including the United States, as well as several states within the United States, have initiated travel restrictions and other limitations that have impacted individuals and businesses worldwide. We are closely monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic to continually assess its impact on our business. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and have the potential to further materially impact our business, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, capital position, the value of the investments we hold in our investment portfolio, premiums and demand for our products, and our ability to collect premiums on a timely basis or the requirement to return premiums to policyholders. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our business will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time, including the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent of further resurgences, the availability, adoption and effectiveness of a vaccine, the length of time it takes for normal economic and operating conditions to resume, additional governmental actions that may be taken and/or extensions of time for restrictions that have been imposed to date, and numerous other uncertainties. Additionally, if established written contract policy exclusions of business interruption coverage for losses attributable to this COVID-19 pandemic are voided or changed through legislation, regulations or interpretations by the courts, such changes have the potential to materially increase claims, losses and legal expenses which will impact our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity. To the extent we experience adverse effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this report.
The occurrence, frequency and severity of catastrophe losses are unpredictable and may adversely affect our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.
Our property and casualty insurance operations expose us to claims arising from catastrophic events affecting multiple policyholders. Such catastrophic events consist of various natural disasters, including, but not limited to, hurricanes, tornadoes, windstorms, hailstorms, fires and wildfires, earthquakes, severe winter weather, tropical storms, volcanic eruptions and man-made disasters such as terrorist acts (including biological, chemical or radiological events), explosions, infrastructure failures and results from political instability. We have exposure to tropical storms and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, Eastern and Southeastern coasts of the United States. We have exposure to tornadoes, windstorms and hail storms throughout the United States. We have exposure to earthquakes along the West Coast and the New Madrid Fault area. Our automobile and inland marine business also exposes us to losses arising from floods and other perils.
Property damage resulting from catastrophes is the greatest risk of loss we face in the ordinary course of our business. We have exposure to catastrophe losses under both our commercial insurance policies and our personal insurance policies. The losses from catastrophic events are a function of both the extent of our exposure, the frequency and severity of the events themselves and the level of reinsurance assumed and ceded. For example, the losses experienced from a tornado will vary on whether the location of the tornado was in a highly populated or unpopulated area, the concentration of insureds in that area and the severity of the tornado. Increases in the value and geographic concentration of insured property and the effects of inflation could increase the severity of claims from a catastrophic event.
Long-term weather trends may be changing and new types of catastrophe losses may be developing due to climate change, which is 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. Such changes in climate conditions could cause our underlying modeling data to be less accurate, limiting our ability to evaluate and manage our risk. Climate change adds to the unpredictability, frequency and severity of natural disasters and creates additional uncertainty as to future trends and exposures. We cannot predict the impact that changing climate conditions may have on our results of operations, nor can we predict how any legal, regulatory or social responses to concerns about climate change may impact our business.
In addition, as with catastrophe losses generally, it can take a long time for us to determine our ultimate losses associated with a particular catastrophic event. The inability to access portions of the impacted area, the complexity of the losses, legal and regulatory uncertainty and the nature of the information available for certain catastrophic events may affect our ability to
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estimate the claims and claim adjustment expense reserves. Such complex factors include, but are not limited to: determining the cause of the damage, evaluating general liability exposures, estimating additional living expenses, the impact of demand surge, infrastructure disruption, fraud, business interruption costs and reinsurance collectability.
The timing of a catastrophic occurrence at the end or near the end of a reporting period may also affect the information available to us when estimating claims and claim adjustment expense reserves for the reporting period. As our claims experience for a particular catastrophe develops, we may be required to adjust our reserves to reflect our revised estimates of the total cost of claims. However, because the occurrence and severity of catastrophes are inherently unpredictable and may vary significantly from year to year and region to region, historical results of operations may not be indicative of future results of operations.
Catastrophes may reduce our net income, cause substantial volatility in our financial results for any fiscal quarter or year or otherwise adversely affect our financial condition, liquidity or results of operations. Catastrophes may also negatively affect our ability to write new business.
Following catastrophes there are also sometimes legislative, administrative and judicial decisions that seek to expand insurance coverage for claims beyond the original intent of the policies or seek to prevent the application of deductibles. Our ability to manage catastrophic exposure may be limited by public policy considerations, the political environment, changes in the general economic climate and/or social responsibilities.
Our reserves for property and casualty insurance losses and loss settlement expenses are based on estimates and may be inadequate, adversely impacting our financial results.
We maintain insurance reserves to cover our estimated ultimate unpaid liability for claim and claim adjustment expenses, including the estimated cost of the claims adjustment process, for reported and unreported claims and for future policy benefits. Our reserves may prove to be inadequate, which may result in future charges to earnings and/or a downgrade of our financial strength rating or the financial strength ratings of our insurance company subsidiaries.
Insurance reserves represent our best estimate at a given point in time. They are not an exact calculation of liability but instead are complex estimates, which are a product of actuarial expertise and projection techniques from a number of assumptions and expectations about future events, many of which are highly uncertain.
The process of estimating claims and claims adjustment expense reserves involves a high degree of judgment. These estimates are based on historical data and the impact of various factors such as: (1) actuarial and statistical projections of the cost of settlement and administration of claims reflecting facts and circumstances then known; (2) historical claims information and loss emergence patterns; (3) assessments of currently available data; (4) estimates of future trends in claims severity and frequency; (5) judicial theories of liability; (6) economic factors such as inflation; (7) estimates and assumptions regarding social, judicial and legislative trends, and actions such as class action lawsuits and judicial interpretation of coverages or policy exclusions; and (8) the level of insurance fraud.
Many of these factors are not quantifiable. The inherent uncertainties of estimating reserves are greater for certain types of liabilities, particularly those in which the various considerations affecting the type of claim are subject to change and in which long periods of time may elapse before a definitive determination of liability is made. Reserve estimates are continually refined in a regular and ongoing process as experience develops and further claims are reported and settled.
Along with other insurers, we use internal and external models in assessing our exposure to catastrophe losses that assume various conditions and probability scenarios; however, these models do not necessarily accurately predict future losses or accurately measure losses currently incurred. Models for catastrophes use historical information about various catastrophes and details about our in-force business. While we use this information in our pricing and risk managements, there are limitations with respect to their usefulness in predicting losses in any reporting period. Such limitations lead to questionable predictive capability and post-event measurements that have not been well understood or proved to be sufficiently reliable. In addition, the models are not necessarily reflective of our state-specific policy language, demand surge for labor and materials or loss settlement expenses, all of which are subject to wide variation.
Actual loss and loss settlement expenses paid might exceed our reserves. If our loss reserves are insufficient, or if we believe our loss reserves are insufficient to cover our actual loss and loss settlement expenses, we will have to increase our loss reserves and incur charges to our earnings, which could indicate that premium levels were insufficient. As such, deviations from one or more of these assumptions could result in a material adverse impact on our Consolidated Financial Statements and our financial strength rating or the financial strength ratings of our insurance company subsidiaries could be downgraded.
For a detailed discussion of our reserving process and the factors we consider in estimating reserves, refer to the "Critical Accounting Policies" section in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
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Our geographic concentration ties our performance to the business, economic and regulatory conditions of certain states.
The following states provided 50.4 percent of the direct statutory premiums written for the property and casualty insurance businesses in 2020: Texas (18.1 percent), California (11.9 percent), Iowa (8.6 percent), Missouri (6.8 percent) and New Jersey (5.0 percent).
Our revenues and profitability are subject to the prevailing regulatory, legal, economic, political, demographic, competitive, weather and other conditions in the principal states in which we do business. With respect to regulatory conditions, the NAIC and state legislators continually reexamine existing laws and regulations, specifically focusing on modifications to holding company regulations, interpretations of existing laws and the development of new laws and regulations. In a time of financial uncertainty or a prolonged economic downturn, regulators may choose to adopt more restrictive insurance laws and regulations. Changes in regulatory or any other of these conditions could make it less attractive for us to do business in such states and would have a more pronounced effect on us compared to companies that are more geographically diversified. In addition, our exposure to severe losses from localized natural perils, such as hurricanes or hailstorms, is increased in those areas where we have written a significant amount of property insurance policies.
Unauthorized data access, cyber attacks and other security breaches could have an adverse impact on our business and reputation.
We rely on computer systems to conduct our business for our customer service, marketing and sales activities, customer relationship management and producing financial statements. Our business and operations rely on secure and efficient processing, storage and transmission of customer and Company data, including personally identifiable information. Our ability to effectively operate our business depends upon our ability, and the ability of certain third party vendors and business partners, to access our computer systems to perform necessary business functions, such as providing quotes and product pricing, billing and processing premiums, administering claims, and reporting our financial results.
We retain confidential information on our computer systems, including customer information and proprietary business information belonging to us and our policyholders. Our business and operations depend upon our ability to safeguard this personally identifiable information. Our systems may be vulnerable to unauthorized access and hackers, computer viruses, and other scenarios in which our data may be compromised.
Cyber attacks involving these systems, or those of our third party vendors, could be carried out remotely and from multiple sources and could interrupt, damage, or otherwise adversely affect the operations of these critical systems. Cyber attacks could result in the modification or theft of data, the distribution of false information, or the denial of service to users. Threats to data security can emerge from a variety of sources and change rapidly, resulting in the ongoing need to expend resources to secure our data in accordance with customer expectations and statutory and regulatory requirements.
Any compromise of the security of our data could expose us to liability and harm our reputation, which could affect our business and results of operations. We continually enhance our operating procedures and internal controls to effectively support our business and comply with our regulatory and financial reporting requirements, but there can be no assurances that we will be able to implement security measures adequate to prevent every security breach.
Although, to date, we do not believe we have experienced any material cyber attacks, the occurrence, scope and effect of any cyber attack may remain undetected for a period of time. We maintain cyber liability insurance coverage that provides both third-party liability and first-party insurance coverages; however, our insurance may be insufficient to cover all losses and expenses related to a cyber attack.
Federal and state policymakers have, and will likely continue to propose increased regulation of the protection of personally identifiable information and appropriate protocols after a related cybersecurity breach. The New York Department of Financial Services recently adopted a cyber protection and reporting regulation for financial services companies with which we are complying. The NAIC has created the Data Security Model Law ("DSML") based upon the New York regulation. Compliance with these regulations and efforts to address continually developing cybersecurity risks may result in a material adverse effect on our results of operations, liquidity, financial condition, and financial strength.
Conditions in the global capital markets and the economy generally may weaken materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Our results of operations, financial position and liquidity are materially affected by conditions in the global capital markets and the economy generally, both in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. As a result of such conditions, our policyholders may choose to defer paying insurance premiums or stop paying insurance premiums altogether. In addition, we may experience an elevated incidence of claims and lapses or surrenders of policies causing a change in our exposure.
Factors such as consumer spending, business investment, government spending, the volatility and strength of the capital markets, investor and consumer confidence and inflation levels all affect the business and economic environment and,
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ultimately, the amount and profitability of our business. In an economic downturn characterized by higher unemployment, lower family income, lower corporate earnings, lower business investment, negative investor sentiment and lower consumer spending, the demand for our insurance products could be adversely affected.
The effects of emerging claim and coverage issues and class action litigation on our business are uncertain.
We are subject to certain effects of emerging or potential claims and coverage issues that arise as industry practices and legal, judicial, social, economic and other environmental conditions change, including unexpected and unintended issues related to claims and coverage. These issues may adversely affect our business by either extending coverage beyond our underwriting intent or by increasing the number and/or size of claims, resulting in further increases in our reserves. The effects of these and other unforeseen emerging claim and coverage issues are extremely hard to predict. Examples of these issues include: (1) judicial expansion of policy coverage and the impact of new theories of liability; (2) an increase of plaintiffs targeting property and casualty insurers, including us, in purported class action litigation regarding claims handling and other practices; (3) medical developments that link health issues to particular causes, resulting in liability or workers' compensation (for example, cumulative trauma); (4) claims relating to unanticipated consequences of current or new technologies; (5) an increase in the variety, number and size of claims relating to liability losses, which often present complex coverage and damage valuation questions; (6) claims relating to potentially changing climate conditions, including higher frequency and severity of weather-related events; and (7) adverse changes in loss cost trends, including inflationary pressure in medical cost and auto and home repair costs.
We are subject to certain risks related to our investment portfolio that could negatively affect our profitability.
Investment income is an important component of our net income and overall profitability. We invest premiums received from policyholders and other available cash to generate investment income and capital appreciation, while also maintaining sufficient liquidity to pay covered claims, operating expenses and dividends. As discussed in detail below, general economic conditions, changes in financial markets, global events and many other factors beyond our control can adversely affect the value of our investments and the realization of investment income.
We primarily manage our investment portfolio internally under required statutory guidelines and investment guidelines approved by our Board of Directors and the boards of directors of our subsidiaries. Although these guidelines stress diversification and capital preservation, our investments are subject to a variety of risks discussed as follows.
Credit Risk - The value of our investment in marketable securities is subject to impairment as a result of deterioration in the creditworthiness of the issuer. Such impairments could reduce our net investment income and result in realized investment losses. The vast majority of our investments (99.2% at December 31, 2020) are made in investment-grade securities. Although we try to manage this risk by diversifying our portfolio and emphasizing credit quality, our investments are subject to losses as a result of a general downturn in the economy.
Interest Rate Risk - A significant portion of our investment portfolio (85.0 percent at December 31, 2020) consists of fixed income securities, primarily corporate and municipal bonds (63.2 percent at December 31, 2020). These securities are sensitive to changes in interest rates. An increase in interest rates typically reduces the fair value of fixed income securities, while a decline in interest rates reduces the investment income earned from future investments in fixed income securities. In recent periods, interest rates have been at or near historic lows. It is possible that this trend may continue for a prolonged period of time. We generally hold our fixed income securities to maturity, so our interest rate exposure does not usually result in realized losses. However, rising interest rates could result in a significant reduction of the book value of our fixed maturity investments. Low interest rates, and low investable yields, could adversely impact our net earnings as reinvested funds produce lower investment income. Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors beyond our control including general economic conditions, changes in governmental regulations and monetary policy, and national and international political conditions.
Liquidity Risk - We seek to match the maturities of our investment portfolio with the estimated payment date of our loss and loss adjustment expense reserves to ensure strong liquidity and avoid having to liquidate securities to fund claims. Risk such as inadequate loss and loss adjustment reserves or unfavorable trends in litigation could potentially result in the need to sell investments to fund these liabilities. This could result in significant realized losses depending on the conditions of the general market, interest rates and credit profile of individual securities. Further, our investment portfolio is subject to increased valuation uncertainties when investment markets are illiquid. The valuation of investments is more subjective when markets are illiquid, thereby increasing the risk that the estimated fair value (i.e., the carrying amount) of the portion of the investment portfolio that is carried at fair value as reflected in our financial statements is not reflective of prices at which actual transactions could occur.
Market Risk - Our investments are subject to risks inherent in the global financial system and capital markets. The value and risks of our investments may be adversely affected if the functioning of those markets is disrupted or otherwise affected by local, national or international events, such as: changes in regulation or tax policy; changes in legislation relating to bankruptcy
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or other proceedings; infrastructure failures; wars or terrorist attacks; the overall health of global economies; a significant change in inflation expectations; a significant devaluation of government or private sector credit and/or currency values; and other factors or events not specifically attributable to changes in interest rates, credit losses, and liquidity needs.
Credit Spread Risk - Our exposure to credit spreads primarily relates to market price variability and reinvestment risk associated with changes in credit spreads. Valuations may include assumptions or estimates that may have significant period-to-period changes from market volatility, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. Our fixed maturity investment portfolio is invested substantially in state, municipal and political subdivision bonds. Our fixed maturity investment portfolio could be subject to default or impairment, in particular:
States and local governments have been operating under deficits or projected deficits which may have an impact on the valuation of our municipal bond portfolio.
There is a risk of widespread defaults which may increase if some issuers chose to voluntarily default instead of implementing fiscal measures such as increasing tax rates or reducing spending. Such risk may also increase if there are changes in legislation permitting states, municipalities and political subdivisions to file for bankruptcy protection where they were not permitted to before. Judicial interpretations in such bankruptcy proceedings may also adversely affect the collectability of principal and interest, and/or valuation of our bonds. Changes in tax laws impacting marginal tax rates, exemptions, deductions, credits and/or the preferred tax treatment of municipal obligations could also adversely affect the market value of municipal obligations. Since a large portion of our investment portfolio (41.2 percent at December 31, 2020) is invested in tax-exempt municipal obligations, any such changes in tax law could adversely affect the value of our investment portfolio.
We exercise prudence and significant judgment in analyzing and validating fair values, which are primarily provided by third parties, for securities in our investment portfolio, including those that are not regularly traded in active markets. We also exercise prudence and significant judgment in determining whether the impairment of particular investments is temporary or other-than-temporary. Due to the inherent uncertainties involved in these judgments, we may incur unrealized losses and subsequently conclude that other-than-temporary write downs of our investments are required.
Our success depends primarily on our ability to underwrite risks effectively and adequately price the risks we underwrite.
The results of our operations and our financial condition depend on our ability to underwrite and set premium rates accurately for a wide variety of determinable and indeterminable risks based on available information. Adequate rates are necessary to generate premiums sufficient to pay losses, loss settlement expenses and underwriting expenses and to earn a profit. To price our products accurately, we must collect and properly analyze a substantial amount of data; develop, test and apply appropriate pricing techniques; closely monitor and timely recognize changes in trends; and project both severity and frequency of losses with reasonable accuracy. We could underprice risks which would adversely affect our profit margins. Conversely, we could overprice risks which could reduce our sales volume and competitiveness. Our ability to undertake these efforts successfully, and to price our products accurately, is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to: (1) the availability of sufficient reliable data and our ability to properly analyze available data; (2) market and competitive conditions; (3) changes in medical care expenses and restoration costs; (4) our selection and application of appropriate pricing techniques; and (5) changes in the regulatory market, applicable legal liability standards and in the civil litigation system generally.
The cyclical nature of the property and casualty insurance industry may affect our financial performance.
The property and casualty insurance industry is cyclical in nature and has historically been characterized by soft markets (periods of relatively high levels of price competition, less restrictive underwriting standards and generally low premium rates) followed by hard markets (periods of capital shortages resulting in a lack of insurance availability, relatively low levels of price competition, more selective underwriting of risks and relatively high premium rates). During soft markets, we may lose business to competitors offering competitive insurance at lower prices. We may reduce our premiums or limit premium increases leading to a reduction in our profit margins and revenues. We expect these cycles to continue.
The demand for property and casualty insurance can also vary significantly, rising as the overall level of economic activity increases and falling as that activity decreases. Fluctuations in demand and competition could produce underwriting results that would have a negative impact on the results of our operations and financial condition.
A downgrade or a potential downgrade in our financial strength or issuer credit ratings could result in a loss of business and could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Ratings are an important factor in establishing the competitive position of insurance companies. Third-party rating agencies assess and rate the claims-paying ability, capital strength and creditworthiness of insurers and reinsurers based on criteria established by the agencies. A.M. Best rates our property and casualty insurance companies on a group basis. Since 2012, A.M.
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Best has also given an issuer credit rating to our parent holding company. The table below shows the current ratings assigned to our companies by A.M. Best.
Financial Strength RatingIssuer Credit RatingRating Held Since
Pooled Property and Casualty CompaniesAa1994
United Fire Group, Inc.N/Abbb2012

Financial strength and issuer credit ratings are used by policyholders, insurers, reinsurers and insurance and reinsurance intermediaries as an important means of assessing the financial strength, creditworthiness and quality of insurers and reinsurers. These ratings are not evaluations directed to potential purchasers of our common stock and are not recommendations to buy, sell or hold our common stock. These ratings are subject to change at any time and could be revised downward or revoked at the sole discretion of the rating agency. Downgrades in our financial strength ratings could adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets or could lead to increased borrowing costs in the future. Perceptions of the Company by investors, producers, other businesses and consumers could also be significantly impaired.
We believe that the ratings assigned by A.M. Best are an important factor in marketing our products. Our ability to retain our existing business and to attract new business in our insurance operations depends on our ratings by this agency. Our failure to maintain our ratings, or any other adverse development with respect to our ratings, could cause our current and future independent agents and policyholders to choose to transact their business with more highly rated competitors. If A.M. Best downgrades our ratings or publicly indicates that our ratings are under review, it is likely that we will not be able to compete as effectively with our competitors and our ability to sell insurance policies could decline, leading to a decrease in our premium revenue and earnings. For example, many of our agencies and policyholders have guidelines that require us to have an A.M. Best financial strength rating of "A-" or higher. A reduction of our A.M. Best ratings below "A-" would prevent us from issuing policies to a portion of our current policyholders or other potential policyholders with ratings requirements.
A reduction in our issuer credit rating could limit our ability to access capital markets or significantly increase the cost to us of raising capital. The failure of our insurance company subsidiaries to maintain their current ratings could dissuade a lender or reinsurance company from conducting business with us. A ratings downgrade could also cause some of our existing liabilities to be subject to acceleration, additional collateral support, changes in terms, or creation of additional financial obligations. It might also increase our interest or reinsurance costs.
We are exposed to credit risk in certain areas of our operations.
In addition to exposure to credit risk related to our investment portfolio, we are exposed to credit risk in several other areas of our business operations, including from: (1) our reinsurers, who are obligated to us under our reinsurance agreements. See the risk factor titled "Market conditions may affect our access to and the cost of reinsurance and our reinsurers may not pay losses in a timely manner, or at all," for a discussion of the credit risk associated with our reinsurance program; (2) some of our independent agents, who collect premiums from policyholders on our behalf and are required to remit the collected premiums to us; (3) some of our policyholders, which may be significant; and (4) our surety insurance operations, where we guarantee to a third party that our bonded principal will satisfy certain performance obligations (for example, as in a construction contract) or certain financial obligations. If our policyholder defaults, we may suffer losses and be unable to be reimbursed by our policyholder.
To a large degree, the credit risk we face is a function of the economy; accordingly, we face a greater risk during periods of economic downturn. While we attempt to manage these risks through underwriting and investment guidelines, collateral requirements and other oversight mechanisms, our efforts may not be successful. For example, collateral obtained may subsequently have little or no value. As a result, our exposure to credit risk could materially and adversely affect our results of operation and financial condition.
We are subject to comprehensive laws and regulations, changes to which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Insurance is a highly regulated industry. We are subject to extensive supervision and regulation by the states in which we operate. As a public company, we are also subject to increased regulation at the federal level. Our ability to comply with these laws and regulations and obtain necessary and timely regulatory action is, and will continue to be, critical to our success and ability to earn profits. Examples of regulations that pose particular risks to our ability to earn profits are discussed as follows.
Required licensing. Our insurance company subsidiaries operate under licenses issued by various state insurance departments. If a regulatory authority were to revoke an existing license or deny or delay granting a new license, our ability to continue to sell insurance or to enter or offer new insurance products in that market would be substantially impaired.
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Regulation of insurance rates, fees and approval of policy forms. The insurance laws of most states in which we operate require insurance companies to file insurance premium rate schedules and policy forms for review and approval. When our loss ratio compares favorably to that of the industry, state regulatory authorities may resist or delay our efforts to raise premium rates, even if the property and casualty industry generally is not experiencing regulatory resistance to premium rate increases. If premium rate increases we deem necessary are not approved, we may not be able to respond to market developments and increased costs in that state. State regulatory authorities may even impose premium rate rollbacks or require us to pay premium refunds to policyholders, affecting our profitability. If insurance policy forms we seek to use are not approved by state insurance departments, our ability to offer new products and grow our business in that state could be substantially impaired.
Restrictions on cancellation, nonrenewal or withdrawal. Many states have laws and regulations restricting an insurance company's ability to cease or significantly reduce its sales of certain types of insurance in that state, except pursuant to a plan that is approved by the state insurance departments. These laws and regulations could limit our ability to exit or reduce our business in unprofitable markets or discontinue unprofitable products. Additionally, our ability to adjust terms or increase pricing requires approval of regulatory authorities in certain states.
Risk-based capital and capital adequacy requirements. Our insurance company subsidiaries and affiliate are subject to risk-based capital requirements that require us to report our results of risk-based capital calculations to state insurance departments and the NAIC. These standards apply specified risk factors to various asset, premium and reserve components of statutory capital and surplus reported in our statutory basis of accounting financial statements. Any failure to meet applicable risk-based capital requirements or minimum statutory capital requirements could subject us or our subsidiaries and affiliate to further examination or corrective action by state regulators, including limitations on our writing of additional business, state supervision or liquidation.
Transactions between insurance companies and their affiliates. Transactions between us, our insurance company subsidiaries and our affiliates generally must be disclosed to, and in some cases approved by, state insurance departments. State insurance departments may refuse to approve or delay their approval of a transaction, which may impact our ability to innovate or operate efficiently.
Required participation in guaranty funds and assigned risk pools. Certain states have enacted laws that require a property and casualty insurer conducting business in that state to participate in assigned risk plans, reinsurance facilities, and joint underwriting associations where participating insurers are required to provide coverage for assigned risks. The number of risks assigned to us by these plans is based on our share of total premiums written in the voluntary insurance market for that state. Pricing is controlled by the plan, often restricting our ability to charge the premium rate we might otherwise charge. Wherever possible, we utilize a designated servicing carrier to fulfill our obligations under these plans. Designated servicing carriers charge us fees to issue policies, adjust and settle claims and handle administrative reporting on our behalf. In these markets, we may be compelled to underwrite significant amounts of business at lower than desired premium rates, possibly leading to an unacceptable return on equity. While these facilities are generally designed so that the ultimate cost is borne by policyholders, the exposure to assessments and our ability to recoup these assessments through adequate premium rate increases may not offset each other in our financial statements. Moreover, even if they do offset each other, they may not offset each other in our financial statements for the same fiscal period, due to the ultimate timing of the assessments and recoupments or premium rate increases. Additionally, certain states require insurers to participate in guaranty funds to bear a portion of the unfunded obligations of impaired or insolvent insurance companies. These state funds periodically assess losses against all insurance companies doing business in the state. Our operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected by any of these factors.
Restrictions on the amount, type, nature, quality and concentration of investments. The various states in which we are domiciled have certain restrictions on the amount, type, nature, quality and concentration of our investments. Generally speaking, these regulations require us to be conservative in the nature and quality of our investments and restrict our ability to invest in riskier, but often higher yield investments. These restrictions may make it more difficult for us to obtain our desired investment results.
We benefit from certain tax items, including but not limited to, tax-exempt bond interest, dividends-received deductions, tax credits (such as foreign tax credits) and insurance reserve deductions. From time to time, the U.S. Congress, as well as foreign, state and local governments, considers legislation that could reduce or eliminate the benefits associated with these tax items. Recent federal tax reform may negatively impact our ability to take deductions that we made in the past.
Terrorism Risk Insurance. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 ("TRIPRA") was signed into law. TRIPRA, which extended the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program until December 31, 2020, gradually increased the coverage trigger for shared terrorism losses between the federal government and the insurance industry to $200 billion per year, and gradually increased the industry-wide retention to $37.5 billion per year. For further information about TRIPRA and its effect on our operations, refer to the information in the "Results of Operations for the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019
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and 2018" section in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
Accounting standards. We prepare our consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP, which is periodically revised and/or expanded by recognized authoritative bodies, including the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB"). These principles are subject to interpretation by the SEC and various other bodies formed to interpret and create appropriate accounting principles and guidance. Changes in GAAP and financial reporting requirements, or the interpretation of GAAP or those requirements, may have an impact on the content and presentation of our financial results and could have adverse consequences on our financial results, including lower reported results of operations and shareholders' equity and increased volatility and decreased comparability of our reported results with our historic results and with the results of other insurers. In addition, the required adoption of new accounting standards may result in significant incremental costs associated with initial implementation of and ongoing compliance with those standards. Additional information regarding recently proposed and adopted accounting standards and their potential impact on us is set forth in Note 1 “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
Corporate Governance and Public Disclosure Regulation. Changing laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure, including Dodd-Frank, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related SEC regulations, as well as the listing standards of the Nasdaq stock market, have created and are continuing to create uncertainty for public companies. The Federal Insurance Office, established within the U.S. Department of the Treasury by Dodd Frank in 2010, has limited regulatory authority and is empowered to gather data and information regarding the insurance industry and insurers, monitor aspects of the insurance industry, identify issues with regulation of insurers that could contribute to a systemic crisis in the insurance industry or the overall financial system, coordinate federal policy on international insurance matters and preempt state insurance measures under certain circumstances. While certain details and much of the impact of Dodd-Frank are still unknown, Dodd-Frank and other federal regulation adopted in the future may impose burdens on us, including impacting the ways we conduct our business, increasing compliance costs and duplicating state regulation. Additional regulation under these laws in the area of compensation disclosure, particularly regarding internal pay equity, officer and director hedging activities and compensation clawback policies is still expected.
Information Privacy Regulation. We are required to safeguard the personal information of our customers and applicants and are subject to an increasing number of laws and regulations regarding privacy and data security, as well as in our contractual commitments with service providers. We could be subject to governmental enforcement actions and fines, penalties, litigation, or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups if personal information is not appropriately controlled. Strategic service providers may refuse to continue to do business with us if we do not meet particular standards.
Compliance with these laws and regulations requires us to incur administrative costs that decrease our profits. These laws and regulations may also prevent or limit our ability to underwrite and price risks accurately, obtain timely premium rate increases necessary to cover increased costs, discontinue unprofitable relationships or exit unprofitable markets and otherwise continue to operate our business profitably. In addition, our failure to comply with these laws and regulations could result in actions by state or federal regulators, including the imposition of fines and penalties or, in an extreme case, revocation of our ability to do business in one or more states. Finally, we could face individual, group and class action lawsuits by our policyholders and others for alleged violations of certain state laws and regulations. Each of these regulatory risks could have a negative effect on our profitability.
Market conditions may affect our access to and the cost of reinsurance and our reinsurers may not pay losses in a timely manner, or at all.
As part of our overall risk and capacity management strategy, we purchase reinsurance for significant amounts of the risk that we and our insurance company subsidiaries and affiliates underwrite, by transferring (or ceding) part of the risk we have assumed to a reinsurance company in exchange for part of the premium we receive in connection with the risk. These reinsurance arrangements diversify our business and reduce our exposure to large losses or from hazards of an unusual nature. As of December 31, 2020, we ceded premiums written of $88.3 million to our reinsurers.
Although reinsurance makes the reinsurer liable to us to the extent the risk is transferred, it does not eliminate our liability to our policyholders because we remain liable as the direct insurer on all of the reinsured risks. As a result we are subject to credit risk relating to our ability to recover amounts due from our reinsurers.
Our ability to collect reinsurance recoverables may be subject to uncertainty. Our losses must meet the qualifying conditions of the reinsurance agreement. Our reinsurance agreements are subject to specified limits and we would not have reinsurance coverage to the extent that it exceeds those limits. We are also subject to the risk that reinsurers may dispute their obligations to pay our claims. Reinsurers must have the financial capacity and willingness to make payments under the terms of a reinsurance agreement or program. Reinsurers may dispute amounts we believe are due to us. Particularly, following a major catastrophic
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event, our inability to collect a material recovery from a reinsurer on a timely basis, or at all, could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity, operating results and financial condition.
Market conditions determine the availability and cost of the reinsurance protection we purchase, which affects the level of our business profitability, as well as the level and types of risk we retain. Although we purposely work with several reinsurance intermediaries and reinsurers, we may be unable to maintain our current reinsurance facilities or obtain other reinsurance facilities in adequate amounts and at favorable premium rates. Moreover, there may be a situation in which we have more than two catastrophic events within one policy year. Because our current catastrophe reinsurance program only allows for one automatic reinstatement at an additional reinstatement premium, we would be required to obtain a new catastrophe reinsurance policy to maintain our current level of catastrophe reinsurance coverage. Such coverage may be difficult to obtain, particularly if it is necessary to do so during hurricane season following the second catastrophe. If we are unable to renew our expiring facilities or to obtain new reinsurance facilities, either our net exposure to risk will increase or, if we are unwilling to bear an increase in net risk exposures, we will have to reduce the amount of risk we underwrite.
We face significant competitive pressures in our business that could cause demand for our products to fall or hinder our ability to introduce new products or services and keep pace with advances in technology, reducing our revenue and profitability.
The insurance industry is highly competitive and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. In our property and casualty insurance business we compete, and will continue to compete, with many major U.S. and non-U.S. insurers and smaller regional companies, as well as mutual companies, specialty insurance companies, underwriting agencies, and diversified financial services companies, including banks, mutual funds, broker-dealers and asset-managers. Except for regulatory considerations, there are few barriers to entry in the insurance market. These developments may increase competition, by increasing the number, size and financial strength of competitors who may be able to offer, due to economies of scale, more competitive pricing than we can.
Our competitors may attempt to increase their market share by lowering rates. In that case, we could experience reductions in our underwriting margins or sales of insurance policies. Losing business to competitors offering similar products at lower prices or who have a competitive advantage may adversely affect the results of our operations. Additionally, economic conditions may reduce the total volume of business available to us and our competitors.
We price our insurance products based on estimated profit margins, and we may not be able to react in a timely manner to reprice our insurance products to respond to changes in the market. Some of our competitors may be larger and have far greater financial, technology and marketing resources than we do. If new or existing competitors decide to target our policyholder base by offering similar or enhanced product offerings or technologies at lower prices than we are able to offer, our premium revenue and our profitability could decline.
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. In personal insurance, the use of comparative rating technologies has impacted our business and may continue to impact the entire industry. This has resulted in an increase in the total level of quote activity but a lower percentage of quotes have resulted in new business from customers. There is also the potential for similar technology to be used to compare rates for small business.
The successful implementation of our business model depends on our ability to adapt to evolving technologies and industry standards and introduce new products and services. There is no guarantee we will be able to introduce new or improved products, or that our products will achieve market acceptance. We may also not be successful in using new technologies effectively or adapting our proprietary technology to evolving customer requirements, causing our products or services to become obsolete.
Technology may be increasingly playing a role in our ability to be competitive. Innovations such as telematics and other usage-based methods of determining premiums may impact product design and pricing and may be an increasingly important factor in our ability to be competitive. Our competitive position may also be impacted by our ability to institute technology that collects and analyzes a wide variety of data points to make underwriting or other decisions.
Our business depends on the uninterrupted operations of our facilities, systems and business functions.
Our business depends on our employees' or vendors' ability to perform necessary business functions, such as processing new and renewal policies, providing customer service, making claims payments, facilitating collections and cancellations and performing actuarial functions necessary for pricing and product development. We increasingly rely on technology and systems to accomplish these business functions in an efficient and uninterrupted fashion. Our inability to access our facilities or a failure of technology, telecommunications or other systems could significantly impair our ability to perform such functions on a timely
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basis or affect the accuracy of transactions. If sustained or repeated, such a business interruption or system failure could result in a deterioration of our ability to write and process new and renewal business, serve our agents and policyholders or perform other necessary business functions as discussed above.
If a natural disaster or a terrorist act occurs, our company and employees could be directly adversely affected, depending on the nature of the event. We have an emergency preparedness plan that consists of the information and procedures required to enable rapid recovery from an occurrence, such as natural disaster or business disruption, which could potentially disable us for an extended period of time. This plan was successfully tested during 2016 by the Midwest flooding that affected our corporate headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 that affected our Gulf Coast regional office in Galveston, Texas. It was also tested, to a lesser extent, by Super Storm Sandy in 2012 that affected our East Coast regional office in Pennington, New Jersey.
Adverse capital and credit market conditions may significantly affect our ability to meet liquidity needs, as well as our access to and the cost of capital.
Although capital market conditions have improved, our results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and statutory capital position could be materially adversely affected by continued volatility, uncertainty and disruptions in the capital and credit markets.
We maintain a level of cash and securities which, combined with expected cash inflows from investments and operations, is believed adequate to meet anticipated short-term and long-term benefit and expense payment obligations. The availability of financing will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit, the volume of trading activities, the overall availability of credit to the financial services industry, our credit ratings and credit capacity as well as customers' or 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.
Disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the capital and credit markets may limit our access to capital required to operate our business. Such market conditions may limit our ability to replace, in a timely manner, maturing liabilities; satisfy statutory capital requirements; and access the capital necessary to grow our business. As such, we may be forced to delay raising capital, issue shorter term securities than we prefer, utilize available internal resources or bear an unattractive cost of capital, which could decrease our profitability and significantly reduce our financial flexibility and liquidity.
We may experience difficulty in integrating future acquisitions to our operations.
The successful integration of any newly acquired businesses into our operations will require, among other things: (1) the timely receipt of any required regulatory approvals; (2) the retention and assimilation of their key management, sales and other personnel; (3) the coordination of their lines of insurance products and services; (4) the adaptation of their technology, information systems and other processes; and (5) the retention and transition of their customers.
Unexpected difficulties in integrating any acquisition could result in increased expenses and the diversion of management time and resources. If we do not successfully integrate any acquired business into our operations, we may not realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisition, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations. Further, any potential acquisitions may require significant capital outlays and, if we issue equity or convertible debt securities to pay for an acquisition, the issuance may be dilutive to our existing shareholders.
The exclusions and limitations in our policies may not be enforceable.
Many of the policies we issue include exclusions and other conditions that define and limit coverage, which exclusions and conditions are designed to manage our exposure to certain types of risks and expanding theories of legal liability. In addition, many of our policies limit the period during which a policyholder may bring a claim under the policy, which period in many cases is shorter than the statutory period under which these claims can be brought by our policyholders. While these exclusions and limitations help us assess and control our loss exposure, it is possible that a court or regulatory authority could nullify or void an exclusion or limitation, or legislation could be enacted which modifies or bars the use of these exclusions and limitations. This could result in higher than anticipated losses by extending coverage beyond the intent of our underwriting. In some instances, these changes may not become apparent until sometime after we have issued the insurance policies that are affected by these changes. As a result, the full extent of liability under our insurance contracts may not be known for many years after a policy is issued.
The determination of the amount of impairments taken on our investments requires estimates and assumptions which are subject to differing interpretations and could materially impact our results of operations or financial position.
The determination of the amount of impairments varies by investment type and is based upon our periodic evaluation and assessment of known and inherent risks associated with the respective asset class. Such evaluations and assessments are revised
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as conditions change and new information becomes available. There can be no assurance that our management has accurately assessed the level of impairments taken in our financial statements. Furthermore, additional impairments may need to be taken in the future. Historical trends may not be indicative of future impairments.
Additionally, our management considers a wide range of factors about the instrument issuer and uses its best judgment in evaluating the cause of the decline in the estimated fair value of the instrument and in assessing the prospects for recovery. Inherent in management's evaluation of the security are assumptions and estimates about the operations of the issuer and its future earnings potential.
Risks Relating to Our Common Stock
Certain provisions of our organizational documents, as well as applicable insurance laws, could impede an attempt to replace or remove our management or members of our Board of Directors, prevent the sale of the Company or prevent or frustrate any attempt by shareholders to change the direction of the Company, each of which could diminish the value of our common stock.
Our articles of incorporation and bylaws, as well as applicable laws governing corporations and insurance companies, contain provisions that could impede an attempt to replace or remove our management or prevent the sale of the Company that, in either case, shareholders might consider being in their best interests.
Our Board of Directors is divided into three classes. At any annual meeting of our shareholders, our shareholders have the right to appoint approximately one-third of the directors on our Board of Directors. Consequently, it will take at least two annual shareholder meetings to effect a change in control of our Board of Directors.
Our articles of incorporation limit the rights of shareholders to call special shareholder meetings.
Our articles of incorporation set the minimum number of directors constituting the entire Board of Directors at nine and the maximum at 15, and they require approval of holders of 60.0 percent of all outstanding shares to amend these provisions. Within the range, the Board of Directors may increase by one each year the number of directors serving on the Board of Directors.
Our articles of incorporation require the affirmative vote of 60.0 percent of all outstanding shares to approve any plan of merger, consolidation, or sale or exchange of all, or substantially all, of our assets.
Our Board of Directors may fill vacancies on the Board of Directors.
Our Board of Directors has the authority, without further approval of our shareholders, to issue shares of preferred stock having such rights, preferences and privileges as the Board of Directors may determine.
Section 490.1110 of the Iowa Business Corporation Act imposes restrictions on mergers and other business combinations between us and any holder of 10.0 percent or more of our common stock.
Section 490.624A of the Iowa Business Corporation Act authorizes the terms and conditions of stock rights or options issued by us to include restrictions or conditions that preclude or limit the exercise, transfer, or receipt of such rights or options by a person, or group of persons, owning or offering to acquire a specified number or percentage of the outstanding common shares or other securities of the corporation.
Further, the insurance laws of Iowa and the states in which our insurance company subsidiaries are domiciled prohibit any person from acquiring direct or indirect control of us or our insurance company subsidiaries, generally defined as owning or having the power to vote 10.0 percent or more of our outstanding voting stock, without the prior written approval of state regulators.
These provisions of our articles of incorporation and bylaws, and these state laws governing corporations and insurance companies, may discourage potential acquisition proposals. These provisions and state laws may also delay, deter or prevent a change of control of the Company, in particular through unsolicited transactions that some or all of our shareholders might consider to be desirable. As a result, efforts by our shareholders to change the direction or the Company's management may be unsuccessful, and the existence of such provisions may adversely affect market prices for our common stock if they are viewed as discouraging takeover attempts.
The ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends may affect our liquidity and ability to meet our obligations.
As a holding company, we have no significant independent operations of our own. Our principal sources of funds are dividends and other payments received from our subsidiaries. We rely on those dividends for our liquidity and to meet our obligations to pay dividends to shareholders and make share repurchases. Dividends from those subsidiaries depend on their statutory surplus, earnings and regulatory restrictions.
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State insurance laws limit the ability of insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends and require our insurance subsidiaries to maintain specified minimum levels of statutory capital and surplus. The actual ability to pay dividends may further be constrained by business and regulatory considerations, such as the impact of dividends on surplus, by our competitive position and by the amount of premiums that we can write. Ordinary dividend payments, or dividends that do not require prior approval by the insurance subsidiaries' domiciliary state insurance regulator are generally limited to amounts determined by a formula which varies by jurisdiction. Extraordinary dividends, on the other hand, require prior regulatory approval by the insurance subsidiaries' domiciliary state insurance regulator before they can be made.
In addition, competitive pressures generally require insurance companies to maintain insurance financial strength ratings. These restrictions and other regulatory requirements affect the ability of our insurance subsidiaries to make dividend payments to us. At times we may not be able to pay dividends on our common stock, or we may be required to seek prior approval from the applicable regulatory authority before we can pay any such dividends. In addition, the payment of dividends by us is within the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on numerous factors, including our financial condition, our capital requirements and other factors that our Board of Directors considers relevant.
General Risk Factors
Our internal controls are not fail-safe.
As a result of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no system of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control objectives have been or will be met, and that every instance of error or fraud has been or will be detected. A control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system will be met. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty and that breakdowns can occur because of a simple error or mistake.
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ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our headquarters are located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where we own approximately 269,000 square feet of office and building space. In addition, we own and lease office and building space, including underwriting and claims offices, throughout the U.S. We believe our existing facilities, both owned and leased, are in good condition and suitable for the conduct of our business.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
In the normal course of its business, the Company is a party to a variety of legal proceedings. While the final outcome of these legal proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty, management believes all of the proceedings pending as of December 31, 2020 to be ordinary and routine and does not expect these legal proceedings to have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial position or results of operations.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.

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PART II.

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED SHAREHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Common Shareholders
United Fire Group, Inc.'s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbol "UFCS." On February 24, 2021, there were 710 holders of record of United Fire Group, Inc. common stock. The number of record holders does not reflect shareholders who beneficially own common stock in nominee or street name, but does include participants in our employee stock purchase plan.
Dividends
Our practice has been to pay quarterly cash dividends, which we have paid every quarter since March 1968.
As a holding company with no independent operations of its own, United Fire Group, Inc. relies on dividends received from its insurance company subsidiaries in order to pay dividends to its common shareholders. Dividends payable by our insurance subsidiaries are governed by the laws in the states in which they are domiciled. In all cases, these state laws permit the payment of dividends only from earned surplus arising from business operations. For example, under Iowa law, the maximum dividend or distributio