0001104659-12-017075.txt : 20120309 0001104659-12-017075.hdr.sgml : 20120309 20120309154629 ACCESSION NUMBER: 0001104659-12-017075 CONFORMED SUBMISSION TYPE: 10-K PUBLIC DOCUMENT COUNT: 13 CONFORMED PERIOD OF REPORT: 20111231 FILED AS OF DATE: 20120309 DATE AS OF CHANGE: 20120309 FILER: COMPANY DATA: COMPANY CONFORMED NAME: Hilltop Holdings Inc. CENTRAL INDEX KEY: 0001265131 STANDARD INDUSTRIAL CLASSIFICATION: FIRE, MARINE & CASUALTY INSURANCE [6331] IRS NUMBER: 841477939 STATE OF INCORPORATION: MD FISCAL YEAR END: 1231 FILING VALUES: FORM TYPE: 10-K SEC ACT: 1934 Act SEC FILE NUMBER: 001-31987 FILM NUMBER: 12680560 BUSINESS ADDRESS: STREET 1: 200 CRESCENT COURT STREET 2: SUITE 1330 CITY: DALLAS STATE: TX ZIP: 75201 BUSINESS PHONE: 214.855.2177 MAIL ADDRESS: STREET 1: 200 CRESCENT COURT STREET 2: SUITE 1330 CITY: DALLAS STATE: TX ZIP: 75201 FORMER COMPANY: FORMER CONFORMED NAME: AFFORDABLE RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITIES INC DATE OF NAME CHANGE: 20030929 10-K 1 a11-32048_110k.htm ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 AND 15(D)

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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

 

x

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

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011

 

OR

 

o

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

 

Commission File Number 1-31987

 

Hilltop Holdings Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

MARYLAND

 

84-1477939

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

200 Crescent Court, Suite 1330

 

 

Dallas, Texas

 

75201

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(zip code)

 

(214) 855-2177

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

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

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share

 

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes o  No x

 

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 o  No x

 

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 x  No o

 

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

 

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

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer o

 

Accelerated filer x

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer o

 

Smaller reporting company o

(Do not check if smaller reporting company)

 

 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).  Yes o  No x

 

The aggregate market value of the common stock of the registrant held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the price at which the common stock was last sold on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, 2011, was approximately $350 million.  For purposes of this computation, all officers, directors and 10% stockholders were deemed to be affiliates.  This determination should not be construed as an admission that such officers, directors and 10% stockholders are affiliates.  The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding at March 9, 2012 was 56,502,246.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

The Registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement pertaining to the 2012 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, filed or to be filed not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year pursuant to Regulation 14A, is incorporated herein by reference into Part III.

 

 

 



Table of Contents

 

Table of Contents

 

Item

 

Description

 

Page

 

 

PART I

 

 

1.

 

Business

 

2

1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

23

1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

40

2.

 

Properties

 

40

3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

40

4.

 

Mine Safety

 

40

 

 

PART II

 

 

5.

 

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

 

41

6.

 

Selected Financial Data

 

43

7.

 

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

 

44

7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

64

8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

64

9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

64

9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

64

9B.

 

Other Information

 

65

 

 

PART III

 

 

10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

65

11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

65

12.

 

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

 

65

13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence

 

66

14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

66

 

 

PART IV

 

 

15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

67

 

MARKET AND INDUSTRY DATA AND FORECASTS

 

Market and industry data and other statistical information and forecasts used throughout this Annual Report on Form 10-K are based on independent industry publications, government publications and reports by market research firms or other published independent sources.  We have not sought or obtained the approval or endorsement of the use of this third-party information.  Some data also is based on our good faith estimates, which are derived from our review of internal surveys, as well as independent sources.  Forecasts are particularly likely to be inaccurate, especially over long periods of time.

 



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Unless the context otherwise indicates, all references in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the “Company,” “Hilltop,” “HTH,” “we,” “us,” “our” or “ours” or similar words are to Hilltop Holdings Inc.(formerly known as Affordable Residential Communities Inc.) and its direct and indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries.

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents incorporated by reference into this report include “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, or Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or Exchange Act, as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K that address results or developments that we expect or anticipate will or may occur in the future, where statements are preceded by, followed by or include the words “believes,” “expects,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “intends,” “plans,” “projects,” “estimates” or “anticipates” or the negative of these words and phrases or similar words or phrases, including such things as our business strategy, our financial condition, our litigation, our efforts to make strategic acquisitions, our liquidity and sources of funding, our capital expenditures, our products, market trends, operations and business, are forward-looking statements.

 

These forward-looking statements are based on our beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future performance taking into account all information currently available to us.  These beliefs, assumptions and expectations are subject to risks and uncertainties and can change as a result of many possible events or factors, not all of which are known to us.  If an event occurs or further changes, our business, business plan, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements.  Certain factors that could cause actual results to differ include, among others:

 

·                  changes in the acquisition market;

·                  our ability to find and complete strategic acquisitions with suitable merger or acquisition candidates or find other suitable ways in which to invest our capital;

·                  the adverse impact of external factors, such as changes in interest rates, inflation and consumer confidence;

·                  the condition of capital markets;

·                  actual outcome of the resolution of any conflict;

·                  our ability to use net operating loss carryforwards to reduce future tax payments;

·                  the impact of the tax code and rules on our financial statements;

·                  failure of NLASCO, Inc.’s insurance subsidiaries to maintain their respective A.M. Best ratings;

·                  failure to maintain NLASCO, Inc.’s current agents;

·                  lack of demand for insurance products;

·                  cost or availability of adequate reinsurance;

·                  changes in key management;

·                  severe catastrophic events in our geographic area;

·                  failure of NLASCO, Inc.’s reinsurers to pay obligations under reinsurance contracts;

·                  failure of NLASCO, Inc. to maintain sufficient reserves for losses on insurance policies;

·                  failure to successfully implement NLASCO, Inc.’s new information technology system; and

·                  failure of NLASCO, Inc. to maintain appropriate insurance licenses.

 

For a further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in our forward-looking statements, please refer to “Risk Factors” in this report.  Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made in this report are qualified by these cautionary statements, and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by us will be realized, or even substantially realized, and that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, us and our business or operations.  Forward-looking statements made in this report speak as of the date of this report or as of the date specifically referenced in any such statement set forth in this report.  Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements in this report.

 

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PART I

 

ITEM 1.  BUSINESS

 

General Information

 

We are a holding company that is endeavoring to make opportunistic acquisitions or effect a business combination.  In connection with that strategy, we are identifying and evaluating potential targets across all industries on an ongoing basis.  At December 31, 2011, we had approximately $533 million aggregate available cash and cash equivalents that may be used for this purpose.  No assurances, however, can be given that we will be able to identify suitable targets, consummate acquisitions or effect a combination or, if consummated, successfully integrate or operate the acquired business.

 

On July, 29, 2011, we extended SWS Group, Inc, or SWS, a $50 million term loan, which bears interest at 8% per annum, is prepayable by SWS subject to certain conditions after three years, and has a maturity of five years.  SWS issued us a warrant to purchase 8,695,652 shares of SWS common stock, $0.10 par value per share, exercisable at a price of $5.75 per share subject to anti-dillution adjustments. If the warrant was fully exercised, we would own 17.4% of SWS.  Additionally, we have purchased 1,475,387 shares of SWS common stock on the open market.

 

We also provide fire and homeowners insurance to low value dwellings and manufactured homes primarily in Texas and other areas of the south, southeastern and southwestern United States through our wholly-owned property and casualty insurance holding company, NLASCO, Inc., or NLASCO.  We acquired NLASCO in January 2007.  NLASCO operates through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, National Lloyds Insurance Company, (NLIC), and American Summit Insurance Company, (ASIC).

 

NLASCO targets underserved markets that require underwriting expertise that many larger carriers have been unwilling to develop given the relatively small volume of premiums produced by local agents.  Within these markets, NLASCO attempts to capitalize on its superior local knowledge to identify profitable underwriting opportunities.  NLASCO believes that it distinguishes itself from competitors by delivering products that are not provided by many larger carriers, providing a high level of customer service and responding quickly to the needs of its agents and policyholders.  NLASCO applies a high level of selectivity in the risks it underwrites and uses a risk-adjusted return approach to capital allocation, which NLASCO believes allows it to generate underwriting profits.

 

NLIC and ASIC carry a financial strength rating of “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best.  An “A” rating is the third highest of 16 rating categories used by A.M. Best.  Many insurance buyers, agents and brokers use the ratings assigned by A.M. Best and other rating agencies to assist them in assessing the financial strength and overall quality of the companies from which they purchase insurance.  This rating is intended to provide an independent opinion of an insurer’s ability to meet its obligations to policyholders and is not an evaluation directed at investors. This rating assignment is subject to the ability to meet A.M. Best’s expectations as to performance and capitalization on an ongoing basis, including with respect to management of liabilities for losses and loss adjustment expenses, and is subject to revocation or revision at any time at the sole discretion of A.M. Best.

 

Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE, under the symbol “HTH.”

 

Our principal office is located at 200 Crescent Court, Suite 1330, Dallas, Texas 75201, and our telephone number at that location is (214) 855-2177.  Our internet address is www.hilltop-holdings.com.

 

We currently are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and, therefore, file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC.  These filings, and amendments to these filings, may be accessed, free of charge, on the investor relations page of our website as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC.  Additionally, any materials that we file with, or furnish to, the SEC may be read and copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549.  Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for more information regarding the operations of the SEC Public Reference Room.  The SEC also maintains a website, www.sec.gov, which contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers, such as ourselves, that file electronically with the SEC.  Our codes of conduct and ethics, including amendments to, and waivers of, those codes, our corporate governance guidelines, director independence criteria and board committee charters can be accessed, free of charge, on our website, as well.  We will provide, at no cost, a copy of these documents upon request by telephone or in writing at the above phone number or address, attention: Investor Relations. The references to our website address do not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained on our website into, and should not be considered a part of, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

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In 2011, our Chief Executive Officer certified to the NYSE, pursuant to Section 303A.12 of the NYSE’s listing standards, and that he is unaware of any violation by us of the NYSE’s corporate governance listing standards.

 

Company Background

 

We were formed in 1998 under the name “Affordable Residential Communities Inc.” as a Maryland corporation that elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust, or REIT.  Until July 2007, we primarily engaged in the acquisition, renovation, repositioning and operation of all-age manufactured home communities, the retail sale and financing of manufactured homes, the rental of manufactured homes and other related businesses, including acting as agent in the sale of homeowners’ insurance and related products, to residents and prospective residents of those communities.  Our primary operations previously were conducted through an operating partnership, in which we owned a general partnership interest.

 

On February 18, 2004, we completed our initial public offering, or IPO.  Through the year ended December 31, 2005, we operated as a fully integrated, self-administered and self-managed equity REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes.  In 2006, we revoked our election as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

 

In January 2007, we acquired NLASCO.  NLASCO was incorporated in Delaware in 2000, but its origins trace back to 1948 through one of its subsidiaries, NLIC.

 

On July 31, 2007, we sold substantially all of the operating assets used in our manufactured home communities business and our retail sales and financing business to American Residential Communities LLC.  We intend to make opportunistic acquisitions with certain of the remaining proceeds from this transaction and, if necessary or appropriate, from additional equity or debt financing sources.  In conjunction with this transaction, we transferred to the buyer the rights to the “Affordable Residential Communities” name, changed our name to Hilltop Holdings Inc., and moved our headquarters to Dallas, Texas.

 

Following the completion of the sale of our manufactured home communities businesses, our current operations have consisted solely of those of NLASCO and its subsidiaries.  Therefore, the remainder of our discussion focuses on the property and casualty insurance operations of NLASCO and its subsidiaries.

 

Insurance Operations

 

NLASCO specializes in providing fire and limited homeowners insurance for low value dwellings and manufactured homes primarily in Texas and other areas of the south, southeastern and southwestern United States. NLASCO has expanded its product line to include enhanced homeowners products offering higher coverage limits.  NLASCO targets underserved markets that require underwriting expertise that many larger carriers have been unwilling to develop given the relatively small volume of premiums produced by local agents. Within these markets, NLASCO attempts to capitalize on its superior local knowledge to identify profitable underwriting opportunities. NLASCO believes that it distinguishes itself from competitors by delivering products that are not provided by many larger carriers, providing a high level of customer service and responding quickly to the needs of its agents and policyholders. NLASCO applies a high level of selectivity in the risks it underwrites, which we believe will generate underwriting profits.

 

Many insurance buyers, agents and brokers use the ratings assigned by A.M. Best and other rating agencies to assist them in assessing the financial strength and overall quality of the companies from which they purchase insurance. Both NLIC and ASIC carry a financial strength rating of “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best.

 

The Insurance Industry

 

The property and casualty insurance industry provides protection from pre-specified loss events, such as damage to property or liability claims by third parties. Property and casualty insurance can be broadly classified into two lines; personal lines, in which insurance is provided to individuals, and commercial lines, in which insurance is provided to business enterprises. In the U.S., personal and commercial insurance products are written in admitted and non-admitted markets, also known as the excess and surplus lines market. NLASCO provides insurance products in the personal line and the commercial line markets.

 

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In the admitted market, insurers are authorized by state insurance departments to do business, insurance rates and forms are generally highly regulated and coverage tends to be standardized. Within the admitted market, NLASCO focuses on underserved segments that do not fit into the standard underwriting criteria of national insurance companies due to several factors, such as type of business, location and the amount of premium per policy. This portion of the market tends to have limited competition. Therefore, NLASCO believes it has greater flexibility in pricing and product design relative to most admitted market risks.

 

The non-admitted market focuses on harder-to-place risks that admitted insurers typically do not write. In this market, risks are underwritten with more flexible policy forms and rates, resulting in more restrictive and expensive coverage. NLASCO writes in this market for its dwelling fire, homeowner, and mobile home business in Louisiana.

 

The property and casualty insurance industry, historically, has been subject to cyclical fluctuations in pricing and availability of insurance coverage. “Soft” markets are often characterized by excess underwriting capital and involve intense price competition, erosion of underwriting discipline and poor operating performance. These market conditions usually lead to a period of diminished underwriting capacity after insurance companies exit unprofitable lines and exhibit greater underwriting discipline and increase premium rates. This latter market condition is called a “hard” market. The insurance market may not always be hard or soft; rather, it could be hard for one line of business and soft for another. The market at the start of 2012 is likely to be characterized as soft for property risks in NLASCO’s operating area; however, in coastal areas, due to the hurricane activity in recent years, those markets are considered hard.

 

Product Lines

 

Personal and Commercial Lines

 

The NLASCO companies specialize in writing fire and homeowners insurance coverage for low value dwellings and manufactured homes. The vast majority of NLASCO’s property coverage is written on policies that provide actual cash value payments, as opposed to replacement cost. Under actual cash value policies, the insured is entitled to receive only the cost of replacing or repairing damaged or destroyed property with comparable new property, less depreciation. Additionally, most of NLASCO’s property policies exclude coverage for water and mold damage.

 

In 2010, NLASCO expanded its homeowners insurance products to include replacement cost coverage, which also includes limited water coverage.  These new products are being marketed and sold in various states; however, the primary market is Texas. The development and implementation of these new products has contributed to the premium growth at NLASCO in 2011.

 

NLASCO’s business is conducted with two product lines, its personal lines and its commercial lines. The personal lines include homeowners, dwelling fire, manufactured home, flood and vacant policies.  The commercial lines include commercial, builders risk, builders risk renovation, sports liability and inland marine policies.

 

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Set forth below is certain financial data broken down by line of business (in millions):

 

 

 

For The Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2011

 

2010

 

2009

 

Gross Premiums Written

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal lines

 

$

151.7

 

$

136.5

 

$

129.5

 

Commerical lines

 

8.7

 

7.9

 

6.7

 

Total

 

$

160.4

 

$

144.4

 

$

136.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net Operating income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal lines

 

$

0.1

 

$

4.9

 

$

5.9

 

Commerical lines

 

 

2.3

 

0.8

 

Total

 

$

0.1

 

$

7.2

 

$

6.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Assets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal lines

 

$

290.2

 

$

297.5

 

$

256.3

 

Commerical lines

 

26.7

 

27.4

 

23.6

 

Total

 

$

316.9

 

$

324.9

 

$

279.9

 

 

Geographic Markets

 

The following table sets forth NLASCO’s total gross written premiums by state for the periods shown (in millions):

 

 

 

For The Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2011

 

2010

 

2009

 

Gross Written Premiums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas - Flood

 

$

6.1

 

$

5.9

 

$

5.9

 

Texas - North

 

24.9

 

26.2

 

20.7

 

Texas - South

 

30.6

 

29.6

 

34.4

 

Texas - Central

 

16.0

 

9.6

 

9.4

 

Texas - West

 

14.0

 

15.5

 

13.0

 

Texas - Panhandle

 

7.3

 

7.1

 

6.8

 

Texas - East

 

18.0

 

14.1

 

13.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas - Total

 

116.9

 

108.0

 

103.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arizona

 

12.4

 

11.3

 

11.3

 

Tennessee

 

9.5

 

8.6

 

7.8

 

Oklahoma

 

10.8

 

6.8

 

5.1

 

Georgia

 

4.4

 

3.3

 

1.6

 

Louisiana

 

3.0

 

3.0

 

3.0

 

Missouri

 

1.2

 

1.2

 

1.4

 

Nevada

 

1.0

 

1.0

 

1.1

 

All other states

 

1.2

 

1.2

 

1.2

 

TOTAL

 

$

160.4

 

$

144.4

 

$

136.2

 

 

NLASCO underwrites insurance coverage primarily in Texas.  It also underwrites in other states in the south and southwest regions.

 

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Distribution

 

NLASCO distributes its insurance products through a broad network of independent agents in 23 states and a select number of managing general agents, referred to as MGAs.  NLASCO has a preference for doing business with agents that desire a long-term relationship that will result in mutual profitability and value for both parties.  NLASCO believes that “relationship” agents are more oriented to the long-term and desire a meaningful relationship with their customers and the insurers they represent.  NLASCO’s top ten agents accounted for only 10.8%, 9.9% and 9.9% of direct premiums written in 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively, and as of December 31, 2011, the average tenure of the top 25 agencies was over 13 years.

 

Underwriting and Pricing

 

NLASCO applies its regional expertise, underwriting discipline and a risk-adjusted, return-on-equity based approach to capital allocation to primarily offer short-tail insurance products in its target markets.  NLASCO’s underwriting process involves securing an adequate level of underwriting information from its independent agents, identifying and evaluating risk exposures and then pricing the risks it chooses to accept.

 

NLASCO employs a disciplined underwriting approach that incorporates the continuously refined stratification of its target markets to permit it to tailor its policies to individual risks and adopt pricing structures that will be supported in the applicable market.  NLASCO utilizes underwriting principles and processes that reflect the knowledge and experience it has acquired during its 40-plus year history of underwriting risks.  NLASCO believes that this comprehensive process capitalizes on its knowledge and expertise and results in better underwriting decisions.

 

Pricing levels are established by NLASCO’s senior management with the assistance of a consulting actuary.  Pricing balances NLASCO’s return requirements along with the legal/regulatory environment in each particular geographic region.  Management reviews pricing on an ongoing basis to monitor any emerging issues.  NLASCO’s statistical database allows this analysis to be performed on a specific coverage or geographic territory.  In 2011, ASIC increased premium rates in Arizona and NLIC increased rates in Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee.

 

Catastrophe Exposure

 

NLASCO maintains a comprehensive risk management strategy, which includes actively monitoring its catastrophe prone territories by zip code to ensure a diversified book of risks.  NLASCO utilizes software and risk support from its reinsurance brokers to analyze its portfolio and catastrophe exposure.  Biannually, NLASCO has its entire portfolio analyzed by its reinsurance broker who utilizes hurricane models to predict risk.  Based on this information and management’s active role in risk management, NLASCO makes decisions on what geographic areas to write risks.  Over the years, NLASCO has adjusted its business based on its perceived risk of catastrophe losses.  For example, in 2005, ASIC withdrew from the Mississippi market to mitigate its catastrophe exposure in that area, and in 2006, it stopped writing new policies that cover wind damage along the seacoast of Louisiana. In 2009, NLASCO decided not to renew wind policies for properties within the Texas seacoast.  All policies in coastal areas excluded wind by the end of February 2011.

 

In recent years, NLASCO’s catastrophe exposure primarily resulted from property policies in Cameron, Harris, Jefferson and Nueces Counties in Texas, which include the densely populated Houston metropolitan area and the cities extending from the northern tip to the southern point on the Texas Gulf Coast.  All of this territory is exposed to potential wind storm activity from the Gulf of Mexico.  By not renewing wind policies on the Texas seacoast, which is exposed to the majority of potential wind storm activity, NLASCO’s primary catastrophe exposure will be limited to property policies in Harris County.  NLASCO also is exposed to hail and other catastrophic events in the Texas panhandle and plains states.

 

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Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005 and Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007

 

On November 26, 2002, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 was enacted into Federal law and established the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, or the Program.  The Program is a Federal program that provides for a system of shared public and private compensation for insured losses resulting from acts of terrorism or war.  The Program was scheduled to terminate on December 31, 2005.  On December 22, 2005, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005 was enacted into Federal law, reauthorizing the Program through December 31, 2007, while reducing the Federal role under the Program.  On December 26, 2007, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, or the Reauthorization Act, was enacted into Federal law, reauthorizing the Program through December 31, 2014 and implementing several changes to the Program.

 

In order for a loss to be covered under the Program, as presently constituted, aggregate industry losses of $100 million must be satisfied.  Further, the losses must be the result of an event that is certified as an act of terrorism by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of State and Attorney General.  The original Program excluded from participation certain of the following types of insurance:  Federal crop insurance, private mortgage insurance, financial guaranty insurance, medical malpractice insurance, health or life insurance, flood insurance and reinsurance.  The 2005 Act exempted from coverage certain additional types of insurance, including commercial automobile, professional liability (other than directors and officers), surety, burglary and theft and farm-owners multi-peril.  In the case of a war declared by Congress, only workers’ compensation losses are covered by the Program.  The Program generally requires that all commercial property and casualty insurers licensed in the United States participate in the Program.  Under the Program, a participating insurer is entitled to be reimbursed by the Federal government for a percentage of subject losses, after an insurer deductible, subject to an annual cap.  The Federal reimbursement percentage was fixed by the Reauthorization Act at 85%.  The deductible is calculated by applying the deductible percentage to the insurer’s direct earned premiums for covered lines.  The deductible under the Program is fixed at 20%.  NLASCO’s deductible under the Program was $1.6 million for 2011 and is estimated to be $1.6 million in 2012.  The annual cap limits the amount of aggregate subject losses for all participating insurers to $100 billion.  Once subject losses have reached $100 billion aggregate amount during a Program year, there is no additional reimbursement from the U.S. Treasury and an insurer that has met its deductible for the program year is not liable for any losses that exceed the $100 billion cap.  When insured losses under the Program exceed the $100 billion cap, the insured losses are subject to pro-rata sharing based upon regulations promulgated by the U.S. Treasury.  Additionally, under the Reauthorization Act, the timing of mandatory recoupment of the Federal reimbursement through policyholder surcharges was accelerated.

 

On December 14, 2009, two final rules with respect to the Program were published in the Federal Register.  The first rule describes how the Treasury will calculate the amounts to be recouped from insurers and establishes procedures for insurers to use in collecting Federal Terrorism Policy Surcharges and remitting them to the Treasury.  The second rule describes how the Treasury intends to determine the pro rata share of insurance losses under the Program when losses otherwise would exceed the annual monetary cap.  NLASCO had no terrorism-related losses in 2011.

 

Reinsurance

 

NLASCO purchases reinsurance to reduce its exposure to liability on individual risks and claims and to protect against catastrophe losses.  NLASCO’s management believes that less volatile, yet reasonable returns are in the long-term interest of NLASCO and, as a result, maintains a conservative reinsurance program.  NLASCO generated direct premiums written totaling $154.3 million, net of flood policies, in 2011 and paid approximately $11.8 million in catastrophe reinsurance premiums prior to any reinstatement premiums.

 

Reinsurance involves an insurance company transferring, or ceding, a portion of its risk to another insurer, the reinsurer.  The reinsurer assumes the exposure in return for a portion of the premium.  The ceding of risk to a reinsurer does not legally discharge the primary insurer from its liability for the full amount of the policies on which it obtains reinsurance.  Accordingly, the primary insurer remains liable for the entire loss if the reinsurer fails to meet its obligations under the reinsurance agreement, and as a result, the primary insurer is exposed to the risk of non-payment by its reinsurers.

 

We believe that NLASCO’s financial stability is substantially protected from catastrophic events through several excess of loss reinsurance contracts that combine to provide a mix of coverage against various types and combinations of catastrophe losses.  As noted in the section titled “Risk Factors,” NLASCO is exposed to catastrophic losses that could exceed the limits of reinsurance and negatively impact its financial position and results of operations.  The Company purchases catastrophe excess of loss reinsurance to a limit that exceeds the Hurricane 200-year return time as modeled by RMS Risk Link v. 11.0 and exceeds the Hurricane 500-year return time as modeled by AIR Classic v 13.0.

 

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Table of Contents

 

In formulating its reinsurance programs, NLASCO believes that it is selective in its choice of reinsurers and considers numerous factors, the most important of which are the financial stability of the reinsurer, its history of responding to claims and its overall reputation.  In an effort to minimize exposure to the insolvency of reinsurers, NLASCO evaluates the acceptability, and continuously monitors the financial condition, of each reinsurer.  NLASCO enters into reinsurance agreements only with reinsurers that have an A.M. Best financial strength rating of “A- (Excellent)” (fourth highest of 16 categories) or better, or at least an “A” rating by Standard & Poors.  If a reinsurer rating subsequently drops below “A- (Excellent),” NLASCO can cancel or replace the reinsurer.  As of December 31, 2011, 100% of NLASCO’s paid loss recoverables were from reinsurers rated “A- (Excellent)” or better by A.M. Best.  To further minimize exposure to reinsurer insolvency, NLASCO spreads reinsurance treaties among many reinsurers.  NLASCO reviews retention levels each year to maintain a balance between the growth in surplus and the cost of reinsurance.  NLASCO had no losses from unrecoverable reinsurance in 2011.

 

NLASCO’s ten largest net receivable balances from reinsurers as of, and for the year ended, December 31, 2011 were as follows (in millions):

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2011

 

 

 

A.M. Best

 

 

 

Balances

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial

 

 

 

Due from

 

Prepaid

 

Net

 

 

 

Strength

 

Ceded

 

Reinsurance

 

Reinsurance

 

Receivable

 

 

 

Rating

 

Premiums

 

Companies

 

Premiums

 

Balance(1)

 

Federal Emergency Management Agency

 

N/A

 

$

6.1

 

$

1.1

 

$

5.1

 

$

6.2

 

Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd

 

A

 

 

3.3

 

 

3.3

 

Ariel Reinsurance Company Limited

 

A-

 

0.6

 

1.1

 

 

1.1

 

Platinum Underwriters Reinsurance, Inc.

 

A

 

0.4

 

2.4

 

 

2.4

 

Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.

 

A+

 

1.1

 

1.6

 

 

1.6

 

MS Frontier Reinsurance Limited

 

A

 

0.1

 

1.6

 

 

1.6

 

Arch Reinsurance Company

 

A

 

1.4

 

1.3

 

 

1.3

 

Validus Reinsurance Ltd

 

A

 

 

1.2

 

 

1.2

 

Paladin Catastrophe Management LLC

 

A+

 

 

1.1

 

 

1.1

 

Amlin AG

 

A

 

0.7

 

1.1

 

 

1.1

 

 


(1) The net receivable balance includes balances due from reinsurance companies, contingent commissions, prepaid reinsurance premiums and ceded contingent commissions, less balances due to reinsurance companies.

 

As of December 31, 2011, NLASCO had five layers of catastrophic excess of loss reinsurance coverage up to $170 million of losses per event in excess of $1 million retention by ASIC and $8 million retention by NLIC.  The reinsurance from $8 million to $50 million loss is comprised of two layers of protection: $17 million in excess of $8 million loss; $25 million in excess of $25 million loss.  The third layer provides coverage for $50 million in excess of $50 million loss; the fourth layer provides coverage of $50 million in excess of $100 million loss and the fifth layer provides coverage of $20 million in excess of $150 million loss.  The fifth layer is not fully subscribed, with participants accounting for 79% of the total layer.  Accordingly, NLASCO retains 21% of the losses in the fifth layer.  NLIC and ASIC retain no participation in any of the other layers, beyond the first $8 million and $1.0 million, respectively.

 

As of January 1, 2012, the Company renewed its reinsurance contract for its first and second layers of reinsurance.  Per the contract renewal, NLASCO changed its underlying coverage at ASIC to $6.5 million in excess of $1.5 million retention.  The reinsurance in excess of $8 million is comprised of five layers of protection: $17 million in excess of $8 million retention; $25 million in excess of $25 million loss; $50 million in excess of  $50 million loss; $50 million in excess of $100 million loss and $20 million in excess of $150 million loss.  The fifth layer is not fully subscribed, with participants accounting for 79% of the total layer.  NLIC and ASIC retain no participation in any of the layers, other than the first $8 million and $1.5 million retention, respectively.  The projected premiums on these treaties for NLIC and ASIC are $10.1 and $2.8 million, respectively, in 2012.

 

As of December 31, 2011, total retention for any one catastrophe that affects both NLIC and ASIC is limited to $8 million in the aggregate.

 

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Table of Contents

 

In addition to the catastrophe reinsurance noted above, both NLIC and ASIC participate in an excess of loss program with General Reinsurance Corporation.  The General Reinsurance Corporation program is limited to each risk with respect to property and liability in the amount of $800,000 for each of NLIC and ASIC.  Each of NLIC and ASIC retain $200,000 in this program.  On January 1, 2012, the program will limit each risk for property and liability in the amount of $775,000 for each NLIC and ASIC, with the retention increasing to $225,000.

 

Liabilities for Unpaid Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses

 

NLASCO’s liabilities for losses and loss adjustment expenses include liabilities for reported losses, liabilities for incurred but not reported, or IBNR, losses and liabilities for loss adjustment expenses, or LAE, less a reduction for reinsurance recoverables related to those liabilities.  The amount of liabilities for reported claims is based primarily on a claim-by-claim evaluation of coverage, liability, injury severity or scope of property damage, and any other information considered relevant to estimating exposure presented by the claim.  The amounts of liabilities for IBNR losses and LAE are estimated on the basis of historical trends, adjusted for changes in loss costs, underwriting standards, policy provisions, product mix and other factors.  Estimating the liability for unpaid losses and LAE is inherently judgmental and is influenced by factors that are subject to significant variation.  Liabilities for LAE are intended to cover the ultimate cost of settling claims, including investigation and defense of lawsuits resulting from such claims.  Based upon the contractual terms of the reinsurance agreements, reinsurance recoverables offset, in part, NLASCO’s gross liabilities.

 

Significant periods of time can elapse between the occurrence of an insured loss, the reporting of the loss to the insurer and the insurer’s payment of that loss.  NLASCO’s liabilities for unpaid losses represent the best estimate at a given point in time of what it expects to pay claimants, based on facts, circumstances and historical trends then known.  During the loss settlement period, additional facts regarding individual claims may become known and, consequently, it often becomes necessary to refine and adjust the estimates of liability.

 

The table below presents one-year development information on changes in the liability for losses and LAE and a reconciliation of liabilities on a direct premiums written and net premiums written basis for the twelve months ended December 31, 2011 and 2010 (in thousands):

 

 

 

2011

 

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance at January 1,

 

$

58,882

 

$

33,780

 

Less reinsurance recoverables

 

(43,773

)

(21,102

)

Net balance at January 1,

 

15,109

 

12,678

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incurred related to:

 

 

 

 

 

Current Year

 

97,742

 

69,044

 

Prior Period

 

(1,008

)

1,899

 

Total incurred

 

96,734

 

70,943

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments related to:

 

 

 

 

 

Current Year

 

(83,266

)

(59,560

)

Prior Year

 

(8,825

)

(8,952

)

Total payments

 

(92,091

)

(68,512

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net balance at December 31,

 

19,752

 

15,109

 

Plus reinsurance recoverables

 

25,083

 

43,773

 

Balance at December 31,

 

$

44,835

 

$

58,882

 

 

The decrease in reserves for the twelve months ended December 31, 2011, as compared to the same period in 2010, of $14.0 million is due to a decrease in reinsurance recoverables of $18.7 million.  Reinsurance recoverables decreased due to settling reserves and paying claims related to Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Dolly and the 2010 Arizona Storm.  Incurred related to current year increased $28.7 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2011, as compared to the same period in 2010, due to increases in frequency and severity of fire losses and wind and hail losses, as well as the effects of five storms that occurred in Texas in April and May 2011.  Incurred amounts related to prior years indicate that we had favorable IBNR development as of December 31, 2010, resulting in a benefit in the twelve months ended December 31, 2011.  This redundancy is due to favorable development on our homeowners and fire products for the 2008 and 2009 accident years, offset by unfavorable development for the 2010 accident year.

 

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Table of Contents

 

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2011 and 2010, the reserve for losses and loss adjustment expenses includes amounts related to losses incurred prior to the purchase of NLASCO.  All losses and payments related to events that occurred prior to the purchase of NLASCO were the responsibility of the sellers.  In March 2011, we made a final settlement with the sellers and going forward all losses are the responsibility of the Company.

 

Loss Development

 

NLASCO estimates the aggregate amount of losses and LAE ultimately required to settle all claims for a given period.  The following tables present the development of estimated liability for losses and LAE, net of reinsurance, for the years 2001 through 2010 of NLIC and ASIC.  These tables present accident or policy year development data.  The first line of the table shows, for the years indicated, net liability, including IBNR, as originally estimated.  For example, as of December 31, 2002, NLIC estimated that $18.1 million would be a sufficient net liability to settle all unsettled claims retained by it that had occurred prior to December 31, 2002, whether reported or unreported.  The next section of the table sets forth the re-estimates in later years of incurred losses, including payments, for the years indicated.  For example, as indicated in that section of the table, the original net liability of $18.1 million was re-estimated to be $17.3 million at December 31, 2006 (four years later).  The decrease in the original estimate is caused by a combination of factors, including: (1) claims being settled for amounts different than originally estimated; (2) the net liability being increased or decreased for claims remaining open as more information becomes known about those individual claims; and (3) more or fewer claims being reported after December 31, 2002 than had occurred prior to that date.  The bottom section of the table shows, by year, the cumulative amounts of net losses and LAE paid as of the end of each succeeding year.  For example, with respect to the liability for net losses and LAE of $18.1 million as of December 31, 2002, by the end of 2006 (four years later), $17.2 million had actually been paid in settlement of the claims.

 

The “net cumulative redundancy (deficiency)” represents, as of December 31, 2011, the difference between the latest re-estimated net liability and the net liability as originally estimated for losses and LAE retained by us.  A redundancy means the original estimate was higher than the current estimate; and a deficiency means that the original estimate was lower than the current estimate.  For example, as of December 31, 2011 and based upon updated information, NLIC re-estimated that the net liability that was established as of December 31, 2002 was $0.8 million redundant.

 

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Table of Contents

 

The following tables are presented net of reinsurance recoverable.

 

National Lloyds Insurance Company
Analysis of Loss Reserve Development
(Dollars in Thousands)

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2002

 

2003

 

2004

 

2005

 

2006

 

2007

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original Reserve*

 

18,141

 

35,061

 

33,951

 

41,282

 

47,684

 

44,613

 

65,592

 

60,392

 

55,482

 

81,589

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 year later

 

17,852

 

32,887

 

28,106

 

36,332

 

43,640

 

44,064

 

64,864

 

62,337

 

54,987

 

 

 

2 years later

 

17,281

 

32,559

 

27,593

 

40,391

 

43,465

 

44,134

 

65,070

 

62,014

 

 

 

 

 

3 years later

 

17,357

 

31,614

 

25,747

 

41,231

 

43,394

 

43,950

 

64,702

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 years later

 

17,340

 

31,030

 

25,712

 

39,735

 

43,387

 

43,788

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 years later

 

17,312

 

31,088

 

25,579

 

39,699

 

43,366

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 years later

 

17,332

 

31,072

 

25,582

 

39,675

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 years later

 

17,321

 

31,066

 

25,568

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 years later

 

17,307

 

31,056

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 years later

 

17,306

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cumulative redundancy (deficiency)

 

835

 

4,005

 

8,383

 

1,607

 

4,318

 

825

 

890

 

(1,622

)

495

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cumulative amount of net liability paid as of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 year later

 

16,836

 

30,867

 

24,747

 

32,871

 

42,301

 

42,478

 

63,761

 

59,977

 

53,387

 

 

 

2 years later

 

17,160

 

30,818

 

25,149

 

34,625

 

42,668

 

43,245

 

64,203

 

60,517

 

 

 

 

 

3 years later

 

17,209

 

30,875

 

25,388

 

36,157

 

43,140

 

43,495

 

64,391

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 years later

 

17,231

 

30,989

 

25,462

 

39,533

 

43,361

 

43,563

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 years later

 

17,287

 

31,026

 

25,521

 

39,646

 

43,365

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 years later

 

17,300

 

31,030

 

25,538

 

39,674

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 years later

 

17,301

 

31,029

 

25,564

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 years later

 

17,302

 

31,051

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 years later

 

17,302

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


* Including amounts paid in respective year.

 

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Table of Contents

 

American Summit Insurance Company
Analysis of Loss Reserve Development
(Dollars in Thousands)

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 

 

 

 

2002

 

2003

 

2004

 

2005

 

2006

 

2007

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original Reserve*

 

11,873

 

6,235

 

8,297

 

11,041

 

13,003

 

9,351

 

12,769

 

9,773

 

12,486

 

14,829

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 year later

 

11,983

 

5,322

 

7,388

 

9,932

 

13,014

 

9,154

 

12,009

 

9,423

 

13,153

 

 

 

2 years later

 

11,963

 

5,512

 

6,999

 

9,918

 

12,998

 

9,335

 

11,943

 

9,088

 

 

 

 

 

3 years later

 

11,554

 

5,563

 

6,859

 

9,918

 

13,435

 

9,235

 

11,880

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 years later

 

11,749

 

5,401

 

6,772

 

9,797

 

13,216

 

9,200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 years later

 

11,775

 

5,396

 

6,714

 

9,820

 

13,195

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 years later

 

11,799

 

5,394

 

6,787

 

9,815

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 years later

 

11,804

 

5,396

 

6,743

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 years later

 

11,833

 

5,417

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 years later

 

11,821

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cumulative redundancy (deficiency)

 

52

 

818

 

1,554

 

1,226

 

(192

)

151

 

889

 

685

 

(667

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cumulative amount of net liability paid as of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 year later

 

10,909

 

4,987

 

6,566

 

9,341

 

12,429

 

8,732

 

11,560

 

8,800

 

12,390

 

 

 

2 years later

 

11,284

 

5,612

 

6,610

 

9,578

 

12,639

 

9,095

 

11,637

 

8,803

 

 

 

 

 

3 years later

 

11,647

 

5,756

 

6,682

 

9,679

 

13,326

 

9,193

 

11,726

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 years later

 

11,727

 

5,393

 

6,699

 

9,740

 

13,161

 

9,196

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 years later

 

11,747

 

5,393

 

6,714

 

9,813

 

13,188

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 years later

 

11,759

 

5,394

 

6,720

 

9,813

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 years later

 

11,764

 

5,394

 

6,723

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 years later

 

11,821

 

5,417

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 years later

 

11,821

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


* Including amounts paid in respective year.

 

Please refer to Note 8 in the notes to consolidated financial statements for a reconciliation of the reserves presented in the tables above to the reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses set forth in the balance sheet at December 31, 2011 and 2010.

 

Current loss reserve development has been favorable with the exception of accident years 2009 and 2010.  In the accident years 2007 and 2008, the developed reserves as of December 31, 2011 were $1.0 million and $1.8 million, respectively, less than the initial carried reserve for each year.  During accident year 2009, however, loss development was unfavorable by $0.9 million due to unfavorable development at NLIC of $1.6 million.  The unfavorable development at NLIC in accident year 2009 is due to adverse development on our homeowners and fire products of $1.0 million and $0.5 million, respectively.  During accident year 2010, the loss development was unfavorable by $0.2 million due to unfavorable development at ASIC of $0.7 million.  The unfavorable development at ASIC in accident year 2010 is due to adverse development on homeowners products of $0.4 million.  For the accident years 2002 through 2006, the reserves were $22.6 million favorable.  Starting in 2002, IBNR loss reserves were strengthened, contributing to the favorable development in accident years 2002, 2003 and 2004.  This strengthening of reserves was due to increases in direct premium written and increased net premium written from reductions in quota share reinsurance, a form of pro rata insurance.

 

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Table of Contents

 

The following table is a reconciliation of the gross liability to net liability for losses and loss adjustment expenses (dollars in thousands).

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, *

 

 

 

2002

 

2003

 

2004

 

2005

 

2006

 

2007**

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

Gross unpaid losses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated balance sheet

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

$

18,091

 

$

34,023

 

$

33,780

 

$

58,882

 

$

44,835

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reinsurance recoverable

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

(2,692

)

(14,613

)

(21,102

)

(43,773

)

(25,083

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net unpaid losses

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

n/a

 

$

15,399

 

$

19,410

 

$

12,678

 

$

15,109

 

$

19,752

 

 


*  Information is not presented for periods prior to January 31, 2007, as that is the date Hilltop Holdings Inc. acquired the insurance operations.

** Only includes eleven months, as the insurance operations were acquired on January 31, 2007.

 

Ratings

 

Many insurance buyers, agents and brokers use the ratings assigned by A.M. Best and other rating agencies to assist them in assessing the financial strength and overall quality of the companies from which they purchase insurance.  The ratings for NLIC and ASIC of “A” (Excellent) were affirmed by A.M. Best in April 2011.  An “A” rating is the third highest of 16 rating categories used by A.M. Best.  In evaluating a company’s financial and operating performance, A.M. Best reviews a company’s profitability, leverage and liquidity, as well as its book of business, the adequacy and soundness of its reinsurance, the quality and estimated market value of its assets, the adequacy of its liabilities for losses and LAE, the adequacy of its surplus, its capital structure, the experience and competence of its management and its market presence.  This rating is intended to provide an independent opinion of an insurer’s ability to meet its obligations to policyholders and is not an evaluation directed at investors.  This rating assignment is subject to the ability to meet A.M. Best’s expectations as to performance and capitalization on an ongoing basis, including with respect to management of liabilities for losses and LAE, and is subject to revocation or revision at any time at the sole discretion of A.M. Best.  NLASCO cannot ensure that NLIC and ASIC will maintain their present ratings.

 

Investments

 

HTH’s primary investment objectives, as a holding company, are to preserve capital and possess available cash resources to utilize in making opportunistic acquisitions.  Accordingly, HTH, parent only, has $533.4 million in short-term cash equivalents, $10.1 million in equity securities and $60.4 million in other investments as of December 31, 2011.  HTH’s management regularly monitors investment performance.

 

Our insurance operating subsidiary, NLASCO, has primary investment objectives to preserve capital and manage for a total rate of return.  The investment strategy of NLASCO’s insurance subsidiaries is to purchase securities in sectors that represent what is expected to possess the most attractive relative value.  Bonds, cash and short-term investments constituted $197.2 million, or 95.7%, of NLASCO’s investments at December 31, 2011, of which $7.3 million represents an investment in HTH Senior Exchangeable Notes, and is, therefore, eliminated in consolidation.  NLASCO insurance subsidiaries have custodial agreements with A.G. Edwards and Wells Fargo Bank and an investment management agreement with DTF Holdings, LLC.

 

NLASCO’s investment guidelines reflect the desire and intent to assure the prudent investment of capital and surplus, keeping in mind the long-term nature of some insurance reserves, while recognizing the uncertainty of expected cash flows, the shorter term characteristics of and the desire to supplement insurance underwriting gains and offset losses with portfolio income and realized gains in order to maintain adequate capital and surplus.  All investments are made in compliance with all state and Federal laws and regulations applicable to such investments and the company involved.  State insurance laws and regulations limit the amount of investments in asset classes below certain “quality” levels.  NLASCO currently maintains a quality structure exceeding the minimum requirements imposed on the portfolio by state insurance laws and regulations, which is known as the Investment of Insurer’s Model Act, or National Association of Insurance Commissioners Act.  Currently, NLASCO has no investments in subprime mortgages.

 

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Liquidity and preservation of policyholder surplus can be limiting factors in achieving a favorable return on invested assets, as sufficient funds need to be maintained to meet ongoing near term financial obligations.  Funds not immediately needed to offset withdrawals may be invested in short-term securities on a continuous basis.  A maturity structure must be maintained to invest cash flows from operations and reinvest investment income, as well as to provide a source of liquidity and flexibility to meet changing market, tax and other operating considerations.

 

Notwithstanding the above, the underlying objective of NLASCO’s investment policy is to obtain a favorable total return on invested assets to augment the growth of surplus from operations.  Total return comes both from income and capital growth, so a portion of the funds are invested in assets other than fixed income securities, including common stocks and growth oriented preferred stocks.  In managing these investment choices, market volatility, the absolute level of NLASCO’s capital and surplus relative both to existing liabilities and the level of premium revenue, as well as to total assets, are the limiting factors that influence the portion of assets invested in assets other than fixed income investments.

 

Performance is measured by comparing the total return, for each period, of each major sector of NLASCO’s investment portfolio to an appropriate market index, as well as comparing the total return of NLASCO’s investment portfolio to an average of the market indices, weighted by the portfolio’s average exposure to each other particular sector during the period.  The assets are managed with volatility of return similar to or less than the indices.

 

HTH’s investment committee meets regularly to review the portfolio performance and investment markets in general.  NLASCO’s management generally meets monthly to review the performance of investments and monitor market conditions for investments that would warrant any revision to investment guidelines.

 

The following table sets forth information concerning the composition of the investment portfolio at December 31, 2011 (in thousands):

 

 

 

December 31, 2011

 

 

 

Cost/Amortized

 

Fair

 

Carrying

 

Percent of

 

 

 

Cost

 

Value

 

Value

 

Carrying Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Available-for-sale securities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed maturities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government securities

 

$

27,729

 

$

29,165

 

$

29,165

 

13.0

%

Residential mortgage-backed securities

 

11,708

 

12,652

 

12,652

 

5.6

%

Commercial mortgage-backed securities

 

2,277

 

2,303

 

2,303

 

1.0

%

Corporate debt securities

 

93,452

 

100,681

 

100,681

 

44.9

%

 

 

135,166

 

144,801

 

144,801

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity securities

 

16,813

 

19,022

 

19,022

 

8.5

%

 

 

151,979

 

163,823

 

163,823

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other investments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note receivable

 

38,641

 

38,588

 

38,588

 

17.2

%

Warrants

 

12,068

 

21,789

 

21,789

 

9.7

%

 

 

$

202,688

 

$

224,200

 

$

224,200

 

100.0

%

 

At December 31, 2011, NLASCO’s fixed maturity portfolio had a fair value of approximately $144.8 million.  All of the fixed maturity investments are rated as investment grade.  As a result, the market value of these investments may fluctuate in response to changes in interest rates.  In addition, we may experience investment losses to the extent our liquidity needs require disposition of fixed maturity securities in unfavorable interest rate environments.

 

The equity securities of $19.0 million consist of $10.1 million in common stocks held by HTH and $8.9 million in common and preferred stocks held by NLASCO.  Other investments represent the value of the note receivable and warrants held at HTH.

 

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The amortized cost (original cost for equity securities and other investments), gross unrealized holding gains and losses, and fair value of available-for-sale securities by major security type and class of security at December 31, 2011 for the investment portfolio were as follows (in thousands).

 

 

 

December 31, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Gross

 

Gross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unrealized

 

Unrealized

 

 

 

 

 

Cost/Amortized

 

Holding

 

Holding

 

Fair

 

 

 

Cost

 

Gains

 

Losses

 

Value

 

Available-for-sale securities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed maturities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government securities

 

$

27,729

 

$

1,439

 

$

(3

)

$

29,165

 

Residential mortgage-backed securities

 

11,708

 

944

 

 

12,652

 

Commercial mortgage-backed securities

 

2,277

 

36

 

(10

)

2,303

 

Corporate debt securities

 

93,452

 

7,406

 

(177

)

100,681

 

 

 

135,166

 

9,825

 

(190

)

144,801

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity securities

 

16,813

 

2,462

 

(253

)

19,022

 

 

 

151,979

 

12,287

 

(443

)

163,823

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other investments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note receivable

 

38,641

 

 

(53

)

38,588

 

Warrants

 

12,068

 

9,721

 

 

21,789

 

 

 

$

202,688

 

$

22,008

 

$

(496

)

$

224,200

 

 

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2011, the Company did not record any other-than-temporary impairments.  While all of the investments are monitored for potential other-than-temporary impairment, our analysis and experience indicate that these investments generally do not present a great risk of other-than-temporary-impairment, as fair value should recover over time.  Factors considered in our analysis include the reasons for the unrealized loss position, the severity and duration of the unrealized loss position, credit worthiness, and forecasted performance of the investee.  While some of the securities held in the investment portfolio have decreased in value since the date of acquisition, the severity of loss and the duration of the loss position are not believed to be significant enough to warrant other-than-temporary impairment of the securities.  The Company does not intend, nor is it likely that the Company will be required, to sell these securities before the recovery of the cost basis; and, therefore, we do not believe any other-than-temporary impairment exist as of December 31, 2011.

 

During 2010 and 2009, the Company took other-than-temporary impairments and recognized a loss in earnings of $70,000 and $0.8 million, respectively.

 

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The following table presents the maturity profile of the fixed maturity investments as of December 31, 2011.  Actual maturities may differ from contractual maturities because certain borrowers may have the right to call or prepay obligations with or without penalties.  The schedule of fixed maturities available-for-sale at December 31, 2011 by contractual maturity is as follows (in thousands).

 

 

 

December 31, 2011

 

 

 

Amortized

 

Fair

 

 

 

Cost

 

Value

 

Available-for-sale fixed maturities:

 

 

 

 

 

Due within one year

 

$

12,608

 

$

12,942

 

Due after one year through five years

 

69,594

 

73,300

 

Due six years through ten years

 

38,065

 

42,766

 

Due after ten years

 

914

 

838

 

Mortgage-backed securities

 

13,985

 

14,955

 

 

 

$

135,166

 

$

144,801

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Investments:

 

 

 

 

 

Due after one year through five years

 

$

50,709

 

$

60,377

 

 

 

$

50,709

 

$

60,377

 

 

We are subject to various market risk exposures, including interest rate risk and equity price risk.  Our primary risk exposure is to changes in interest rates.  We manage market risk through our investment committee and through the use of an outside professional investment management firm.  We are vulnerable to interest rate changes, like other insurance companies, because we invest primarily in fixed maturity securities, which are interest-sensitive assets.  Mortgage-backed securities, which make up approximately 10.3% of our available-for-sale fixed maturities, are particularly susceptible to interest rate changes.

 

The value of our equity investments is dependent upon general conditions in the securities markets and the business and financial performance of the individual companies in the portfolio.  Values are typically based on future economic prospects that are perceived by investors in the equity market.

 

Competition

 

NLASCO competes with a large number of other companies in its selected lines of business, including major U.S. and non-U.S. insurers, regional companies, mutual companies, specialty insurance companies, underwriting agencies and diversified financial services companies.  The personal lines market in Texas is dominated by a few large carriers and their subsidiaries and affiliates, including State Farm, Zurich Insurance Group, Allstate and USAA.  According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the top ten insurers writing homeowners insurance accounted for approximately 81.6% of the market for the trailing twelve months at September 30, 2011.  NLASCO competes for business on the basis of a number of factors, including price, coverages offered, customer service, relationships with agents (including ease of doing business, service provided and commission rates paid), size and financial strength ratings.  In its personal lines business, NLASCO’s competitors include Republic Companies Group, Inc., Columbia Lloyds, Foremost, American Modern Home Group and American Reliable.  In its commercial lines business, NLASCO’s competitors include Travelers, Safeco and Republic.  NLASCO seeks to distinguish itself from its competitors by targeting underserved market segments that provide NLASCO with the best opportunity to obtain favorable policy terms, conditions and pricing.

 

Regulation of Insurance Activities

 

NLASCO’s insurance subsidiaries, NLIC and ASIC, are subject to regulation and supervision in each state where they are licensed to do business.  This regulation and supervision is vested in state agencies having broad administrative power over the various aspects of the business of NLIC and ASIC.

 

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Table of Contents

 

State insurance holding company regulation

 

NLASCO controls two operating insurance companies, NLIC and ASIC, and is subject to the insurance holding company laws of Texas, the state in which those insurance companies are domiciled.  These laws generally require NLASCO to register with the Texas Department of Insurance and periodically to furnish financial and other information about the operations of companies within its holding company structure.  Generally under these laws, all transactions between an insurer and an affiliated company in its holding company structure, including sales, loans, reinsurance agreements and service agreements, must be fair and reasonable and, if satisfying a specified threshold amount or of a specified category, require prior notice and approval or non-objection by the Texas Department of Insurance.

 

Changes of control

 

Before a person can acquire control of an insurance company domiciled in Texas, prior written approval must be obtained from the Texas Department of Insurance.  Prior to granting approval of an application to acquire control of an insurer, the Texas Department of Insurance will consider the following factors, among others:

 

·                  the financial strength of the applicant;

 

·                  the integrity and management experience of the applicant’s board of directors and executive officers;

 

·                  the acquirer’s plans for the management of the domestic insurer;

 

·                  the acquirer’s plans to declare dividends, sell assets or incur debt;

 

·                  the acquirer’s plans for the future operations of the domestic insurer;

 

·                  the impact of the acquisition on continued licensure of the domestic insurer;

 

·                  the impact on the interests of Texas policyholders; and

 

·                  any anti-competitive results that may arise from the consummation of the acquisition of control.

 

Pursuant to the Texas insurance holding company statutes, “control” means the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct, or cause the direction of, the management and policies of the company, whether through the ownership of voting securities, by contract (except a commercial contract for goods or non-management services) or otherwise.  Control is presumed to exist if any person directly or indirectly owns, controls or holds with the power to vote 10% or more of the voting securities of the company; however, the state’s insurance department, after notice and a hearing, may determine that a person or entity that directly or indirectly owns, controls or holds with the power to vote less than 10% of the voting securities of the company nonetheless “controls” the company.  Because a person acquiring 10% or more of HTH’s common stock would indirectly control the same percentage of the stock of ASIC and two affiliated corporations controlling NLIC, the change of control laws of the State of Texas would apply to such a transaction.

 

These laws may discourage potential acquisition proposals and may delay, deter or prevent change of control transactions, including those that some or all of the Company’s stockholders might consider to be desirable.

 

National Association of Insurance Commissioners

 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC, is a group consisting of state insurance commissioners that discuss issues and formulates policy with respect to regulation, reporting and accounting for insurance companies.  Although the NAIC has no legislative authority and insurance companies are at all times subject to the laws of their respective domiciliary states and, to a lesser extent, other states in which they conduct business, the NAIC is influential in determining the form in which such laws are enacted.  Certain Model Insurance Laws, Regulations and Guidelines, or Model Laws, have been promulgated by the NAIC as a minimum standard by which state regulatory systems and regulations are measured.  Adoption of state laws that provide for substantially similar regulations to those described in the Model Laws is a requirement for accreditation by the NAIC.

 

The NAIC provides authoritative guidance to insurance regulators on current statutory accounting issues by promulgating and updating a codified set of statutory accounting practices in its Accounting Practices and Procedures Manual.  The Texas Department of Insurance has generally adopted these codified statutory accounting practices.

 

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Table of Contents

 

Texas also has adopted laws substantially similar to the NAIC’s risk based capital, or RBC laws, which require insurers to maintain minimum levels of capital based on their investments and operations.  Domestic property and casualty insurers are required to report their RBC based on a formula that attempts to measure statutory capital and surplus needs based on the risks in the insurer’s mix of products and investment portfolio.  The formula is designed to allow the Texas Department of Insurance to identify potential inadequately capitalized companies.  Under the formula, a company determines its RBC by taking into account certain risks related to its assets (including risks related to its investment portfolio and ceded reinsurance) and its liabilities (including underwriting risks related to the nature and experience of its insurance business).  Among other requirements, an insurance company must maintain capital and surplus of at least 200% of the RBC computed by the NAIC’s RBC model (known as the “Authorized Control Level” of RBC).  At December 31, 2011, NLIC and ASIC capital and surplus levels exceeded the minimum RBC requirements that would trigger regulatory attention.  In their 2011 statutory financial statements, both NLIC and ASIC complied with the NAIC’s RBC reporting requirements.

 

The NAIC’s Insurance Regulatory Information System, or IRIS, was developed to assist state insurance departments in executing their statutory mandates to oversee the financial condition of insurance companies.  IRIS identifies twelve industry ratios and specifies a range of “usual values” for each ratio.  Departure from the usual values on four or more of these ratios can lead to inquiries from state insurance commissioners as to certain aspects of an insurer’s business.  For 2011, all ratios for both NLIC and ASIC were within the usual values.

 

The NAIC adopted an amendment to its “Model Audit Rule” in response to the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or SOX.  The amendment is effective for financial statements for accounting periods after January 1, 2010.  This amendment addresses auditor independence, corporate governance and, most notably, the application of certain provisions of Section 404 of SOX regarding internal control reporting.  The rules relating to internal controls apply to insurers with gross direct and assumed written premiums of $500 million or more, measured at the legal entity level (rather than at the insurance holding company level), and to insurers that the domiciliary commissioner selects from among those identified as in hazardous condition, but exempts SOX compliant entities.  Neither NLIC nor ASIC currently has direct and assumed written premiums of at least $500 million, but it is conceivable that this may change in the future;  however, NLASCO must be SOX compliant because it is wholly-owned by HTH, a public company subject to SOX.

 

Legislative changes

 

From time to time, various regulatory and legislative changes have been, or are, proposed that would adversely affect the insurance industry.  Among the proposals that have been, or are being, considered are the possible introduction of Federal regulation in addition to, or in lieu of, the current system of state regulation of insurers and proposals in various state legislatures (some of which proposals have been enacted) to conform portions of their insurance laws and regulations to various Model Laws adopted by the NAIC.  NLASCO is unable to predict whether any of these laws and regulations will be adopted, the form in which any such laws and regulations would be adopted, or the effect, if any, these developments would have on its financial condition or results of operations.

 

In 2002, in response to the tightening supply in certain insurance and reinsurance markets resulting from, among other things, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, or TRIA, was enacted.  TRIA was modified and extended by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005 and extended again by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007.  These Acts created a Federal Program designed to ensure the availability of commercial insurance coverage for terrorist acts in the United States.  This Program helped the commercial property and casualty insurance industry cover claims related to terrorism-related losses and requires such companies to offer coverage for certain acts of terrorism.  As a result, NLASCO is prohibited from adding certain terrorism exclusions to the policies written by its insurance company subsidiaries.  The 2005 Act extended the Program through 2007, but eliminated commercial auto, farm-owners and certain other commercial coverages from its scope.  The Reauthorization Act further extended the Program through December 31, 2014 and fixed the reimbursement percentage at 85% and the deductible at 20%.  Although NLASCO is protected by federally funded terrorism reinsurance as provided for in the TRIA, there is a substantial deductible that must be met, the payment of which could have an adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.  NLASCO’s deductible for 2011 was $1.6 million.  Potential future changes to the TRIA could also adversely affect NLASCO by causing its reinsurers to increase prices or withdraw from certain markets where terrorism coverage is required.

 

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Table of Contents

 

In 2003, legislation was passed in Texas that significantly changed the regulation of homeowners insurance, and, to a lesser extent, automobile insurance.  Prior to 2003, certain types of insurers, including insurance companies that participate in Lloyd’s, reciprocals, county mutuals and farm mutuals that wrote these lines of insurance were generally exempt from rate regulation.  The 2003 legislation eliminated, or severely reduced, these exemptions, and imposed a new rate regulation regime for all insurers writing these lines of insurance.  This legislation also included limitations on the use of credit scoring and territorial distinctions in underwriting and rating risks.  Further, the Texas Commissioner of Insurance has been given broader authority under the law to order refunds to policyholders when rates charged have been deemed excessive or unfairly discriminatory.

 

State insurance regulations

 

State insurance authorities have broad powers to regulate U.S. insurance companies.  The primary purposes of these powers are to promote insurer solvency and to protect individual policyholders.  The extent of regulation varies, but generally has its source in statutes that delegate regulatory, supervisory and administrative power to state insurance departments.  These powers relate to, among other things, licensing to transact business, accreditation of reinsurers, admittance of assets to statutory surplus, regulating unfair trade and claims practices, establishing actuarial requirements and solvency standards, regulating investments and dividends, and regulating policy forms, related materials and premium rates.  State insurance laws and regulations require insurance companies to file financial statements prepared in accordance with accounting principles prescribed by insurance departments in states in which they conduct insurance business, and their operations are subject to examination by those departments.

 

As part of the broad authority that state insurance commissioners hold, they may impose periodic rules or regulations related to local issues or events.  An example is the State of Louisiana’s prohibition on the cancellation of policies for nonpayment of premium in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Due to the extent of damage and displacement of people, inability of mail to reach policyholders and inaccessibility of entire neighborhoods, the State of Louisiana prohibited insurance companies from canceling policies for a period of time following that named storm.

 

Periodic financial and market conduct examinations

 

The insurance departments in every state in which NLASCO’s insurance companies do business may conduct on-site visits and examinations of its insurance companies at any time to review the insurance companies’ financial condition, market conduct and relationships and transactions with affiliates.  In addition, the Texas Department of Insurance will conduct comprehensive examinations of insurance companies domiciled in Texas every three to five years.  Examinations are generally carried out in cooperation with the insurance departments of other licensing states under guidelines promulgated by the NAIC.

 

The Texas Department of Insurance completed their last examinations of NLIC and ASIC through December 31, 2006 in examination reports dated June 13, 2008 and June 1, 2008, respectively.  These contained no information of any significant compliance issues. In 2010, ASIC and NLIC were notified by the Texas Department of Insurance that a statutory examination had been scheduled to be performed during the calendar years 2011/2012.  The examinations are as of December 31, 2010, and cover the period since the last examination, which was as of December 31, 2006.  We have received drafts of the examination reports and there is no indication of any significant changes to our financial statements as a result of the examinations by the domiciliary state.

 

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Table of Contents

 

State dividend limitations

 

The Texas Department of Insurance must approve any dividend declared or paid by an insurance company domiciled in the state if the dividend, together with all dividends declared or distributed by that insurance company during the preceding twelve months, exceeds the greater of (1) 10% of its policyholders’ surplus as of December 31 of the preceding year or (2) 100% of its net income for the preceding calendar year.  The greater number is known as the insurer’s extraordinary dividend limit.  As of December 31, 2011, the extraordinary dividend limit for NLIC and ASIC is $9.4 million and $2.5 million, respectively.  In addition, NLASCO’s insurance companies may only pay dividends out of their earned surplus.

 

Statutory accounting principles

 

Statutory accounting principles, or SAP, are a comprehensive basis of accounting developed to assist insurance regulators in monitoring and regulating the solvency of insurance companies.  SAP rules are different from generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America, or GAAP, and are intended to reflect a more conservative view of the insurer.  SAP is primarily concerned with measuring an insurer’s surplus to policyholders.  Accordingly, SAP focuses on valuing assets and liabilities of insurers at financial reporting dates in accordance with insurance laws and regulatory provisions applicable in each insurer’s domiciliary state.

 

While GAAP is concerned with a company’s solvency, it also stresses other financial measurements, such as income and cash flows.  Accordingly, GAAP gives more consideration to appropriate matching of revenues and expenses and accounting for management’s stewardship of assets than does SAP.  As a direct result, different assets and liabilities and different amounts of assets and liabilities will be reflected in financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP as opposed to SAP.  SAP, as established by the NAIC and adopted by Texas regulators, determines the statutory surplus and statutory net income of the NLASCO insurance companies and, thus, determines the amount they have available to pay dividends.

 

Guaranty associations

 

In Texas, and in all of the jurisdictions in which NLIC and ASIC are, or in the future may be, licensed to transact business, there is a requirement that property and casualty insurers doing business within the jurisdiction must participate in guaranty associations, which are organized to pay limited covered benefits owed pursuant to insurance policies issued by impaired, insolvent or failed insurers.  These associations levy assessments, up to prescribed limits, on all member insurers in a particular state on the basis of the proportionate share of the premiums written by member insurers in the lines of business in which the impaired, insolvent or failed insurer was engaged.  States generally permit member insurers to recover assessments paid through full or partial premium tax offsets.

 

NLASCO did not incur any levies in 2011, 2010 or 2009.  Property and casualty insurance company insolvencies or failures may, however, result in additional guaranty fund assessments at some future date.  At this time NLASCO is unable to determine the impact, if any, that these assessments may have on its financial condition or results of operations.  NLASCO has established liabilities for guaranty fund assessments with respect to insurers that are currently subject to insolvency proceedings.

 

National Flood Insurance Program

 

NLASCO voluntarily participates as a Write Your Own carrier in the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP.  The NFIP is administered and regulated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  NLASCO operates as a fiscal agent of the Federal government in the selling and administering of the Standard Flood Insurance Policy.  This involves writing the policy, the collection of premiums and the paying of covered claims.  All pricing is set by FEMA and all collections are made by the Company.

 

The Company cedes 100% of the policies written by the Company on the Standard Flood Insurance Policy to FEMA; however, if FEMA were unable to perform, the Company would have a legal obligation to the policyholders. The terms of the reinsurance agreement are standard terms, which require the Company to maintain its rating criteria, determine policyholder eligibility, issue policies on the Company’s paper, endorse and cancel policies, collect from insureds and process claims.  NLASCO receives ceding commissions from NFIP for underwriting administration, claims management, commission and adjuster fees.

 

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Table of Contents

 

Participation in involuntary risk plans

 

NLASCO’s insurance companies are required to participate in residual market or involuntary risk plans in various states where they are licensed that provide insurance to individuals or entities that otherwise would be unable to purchase coverage from private insurers.  If these plans experience losses in excess of their capitalization, they may assess participating insurers for proportionate shares of their financial deficit.  These plans include the Georgia Underwriting Association, Texas FAIR Plan Association, Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency, or TWIA, the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the Mississippi Residential Property Insurance Underwriting Association and the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association.  For example in 2005, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the above plans levied collective assessments totaling $10.4 million on NLASCO’s insurance subsidiaries.  Additional assessments, including emergency assessments, may follow.  In some of these instances, NLASCO’s insurance companies should be able to recover these assessments through policyholder surcharges, higher rates or reinsurance.  The ultimate impact hurricanes have on the Texas and Louisiana facilities is currently uncertain and future assessments can occur whenever the involuntary facilities experience financial deficits.

 

Other

 

Insurance activities are subject to state insurance laws and regulations as determined by the particular insurance commissioner for each state in accordance with the McCarran-Ferguson Act, as well as subject to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the privacy regulations promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission.

 

Changes in any of the laws governing our conduct could have an adverse impact on our ability to conduct our business or could materially affect our financial position, operating income, expense or cash flow.

 

SWS Group, Inc.

 

SWS Group, Inc., or SWS, is a Dallas-based company offering a broad range of investment and financial services through its subsidiaries. SWS’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWS. SWS subsidiaries include Southwest Securities, Inc., a national clearing firm, registered investment adviser and registered broker-dealer; SWS Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser and a registered broker-dealer serving independent securities brokers and their clients; and Southwest Securities, FSB, one of the largest banks headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

 

On March 20, 2011, Hilltop entered into a Funding Agreement with SWS, Oak Hill Capital Partners III, L.P. and Oak Hill Capital Management Partners III, L.P. (together, “Oak Hill” and, collectively with Hilltop, the “Investors”).  As contemplated by the Funding Agreement, on July 29, 2011, the Investors entered into a Credit Agreement with SWS that provides for a five-year unsecured term loan of $100 million in the aggregate. The loan proceeds were deposited in an account at SWS for further credit to Southwest Securities, FSB, unless otherwise agreed by the Investors. Interest is payable at 8% per year, and SWS is permitted to prepay all or a portion of the loans under certain circumstances after three years.

 

In connection with the Funding Agreement and the loans made by the Investors under the Credit Agreement, on July 29, 2011, SWS issued a warrant to Hilltop to purchase up to 8,695,652 shares of common stock of SWS (“Warrant”).  The Warrant represents approximately a 17% equity interest in SWS (assuming each Investor exercises its respective Warrant in full).  The Warrant is exercisable for five years, but will expire to the extent that SWS makes prepayments on the loans and the Investors do not promptly exercise a corresponding portion of the Warrants. To the extent that the exercise of a Warrant by a holder would cause the holder to be deemed to control SWS under applicable regulations, SWS will issue the holder newly issued non-voting Series A Preferred Stock (the “Series A Preferred Stock”). Subject to applicable regulations, in limited circumstances, shares of Series A Preferred Stock will be convertible into shares of SWS common stock.

 

On July 29, 2011, the Investors also entered into an Investor Rights Agreement with SWS that provides the Investors with certain rights with respect to the common stock that may be issued upon the exercise of the Warrants or upon the conversion of the Series A Preferred Stock if a holder exercises its Warrants for shares of Series A Preferred Stock instead of common stock, including certain preemptive rights and registration rights. Pursuant to the Investor Rights Agreement, each Investor was granted the right to designate one representative to the SWS’s Board of Directors for so long as that Investor continues to beneficially own 9.9% of SWS’s outstanding common stock. SWS’s Board of Directors elected Mr. Gerald J. Ford and Mr. J. Taylor Crandall as directors of the Company, effective July 29, 2011. In addition, under the Investor Rights Agreement each Investor was granted the right to appoint an observer to attend all meetings of the Board of Directors of SWS for so long as that Investor continues to beneficially own 4.9% of SWS’s outstanding common stock. Hilltop has designated Mr. Jeremy Ford as its observer, effective July 29, 2011.

 

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Additionally, from September 2011 through November 2011, Hilltop purchased additional shares of SWS common stock in open market and block transactions.  Accordingly, as of March 1, 2012, Hilltop beneficially owns 10,171,039 shares of SWS common stock, or 24.6% of the outstanding common stock of SWS.

 

Employees

 

As of December 31, 2011, we had 135 full-time equivalent employees.  Of these 135 employees, five work for HTH, and the remaining 130 work for NLASCO.  The NLASCO employees perform underwriting, claims, marketing, and administrative functions for the insurance business.  We consider our employee relations to be good.

 

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ITEM 1A.                    RISK FACTORS

 

The following risk factors identify important factors, including material risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected in forward-looking statements or in our historical results.  Each of the following risk factors, among others, could adversely affect our ability to meet the current expectations of our management.

 

Risks Related to Our Substantial Cash Position and Related Strategies for its Use

 

We intend to use a substantial portion of our available cash to make acquisitions or effect a business combination.

 

We are endeavoring to make opportunistic acquisitions or effect a business combination with a substantial portion of our available cash.  No assurances, however, can be given that we will be able to identify suitable targets, consummate acquisitions or effect a combination or, if consummated, successfully integrate personnel and operations.  Even if we identify suitable targets, we may not be able to make acquisitions or effect a combination on commercially acceptable terms, if at all.  The success of any acquisition or combination will depend upon, among other things, the ability of management and our employees to integrate personnel, operations, products and technologies effectively, to retain and motivate key personnel and to retain customers and clients of targets.  In addition, any acquisition or combination we undertake may involve certain other risks, including consumption of available cash resources, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities and the diversion of management’s attention from other business concerns.  We also may need to make further investments to support the acquired or combined company and may have difficulty identifying and acquiring the appropriate resources.  There can be no assurance that any acquisition or combination we undertake will perform as expected.  We may enter, on our own and through acquisitions or a combination, into new lines of business or initiate new service offerings, whether related or unrelated to our insurance business.  Our success in any such endeavor will depend upon, among other things, the ability of management to identify suitable opportunities, successfully implement sound business strategies and avoid the legal and business risks of any new line of business or service offering and/or an acquisition related thereto.  There can be no assurance that we will be able to do any of the foregoing.  In addition, any such undertakings may result in additional costs without an immediate increase in revenues and may divert management’s attention from the operation and growth of our current lines of business.

 

Since we have not definitively selected a particular target business to acquire or combine with, you will be unable to ascertain the merits or risks of the industry or business in which we may ultimately primarily operate.

 

We may consummate an acquisition of, or effect a business combination with, a company in any industry and are not limited to any particular type of business.  Accordingly, there is no basis for you to evaluate the possible merits or risks of the particular industry in which we may ultimately conduct our primary ongoing operations or the target business that we may ultimately acquire.  To the extent that we complete an acquisition of, or effect a business combination with, a financially unstable company or an entity in its development stage, we may be affected by numerous risks inherent in the business operations of those entities.  If we complete an acquisition of, or effect a business combination with, an entity in an industry characterized by a high level of risk, we may be affected by the unascertainable risks of that industry.  Although our management will endeavor to evaluate the risks inherent in a particular industry or target business, we cannot assure you that we will properly ascertain or assess all of the significant risk factors.  Even if we properly assess those risks, some of them may be outside of our control or ability to affect.

 

We may change our primary lines of business without stockholder approval, which may result in riskier lines of business than our current lines of business.

 

Depending on the structure of an acquisition or business combination, it may result in us conducting our primary operations in lines of business that are different from, and possibly more risky than, our current business without stockholder approval.

 

Resources could be expended in researching acquisitions that are not consummated, which could materially adversely affect subsequent attempts to locate and acquire or merge with another business.

 

It is anticipated that the investigation of each specific target business and the negotiation, drafting and execution of relevant agreements, disclosure documents and other instruments will require substantial management time and attention and substantial costs for accountants, attorneys and others.  If a decision is made not to complete a specific acquisition or business combination, the costs incurred up to that point for the proposed transaction likely would not be recoverable.  Furthermore, even if an agreement is reached relating to a specific target business, we may fail to consummate our acquisition or combination for any number of reasons, including those beyond our control, such as if the target’s stockholders do not approve the transaction.  Any such event will result in a loss to us of the related costs incurred, which could materially adversely affect subsequent attempts to locate and acquire or merge with another business.

 

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Existing circumstances may result in several of our directors having interests that may conflict with our interests.

 

A director who has a conflict of interest with respect to an issue presented to our board will have no inherent legal obligation to abstain from voting upon that issue.  We do not have provisions in our bylaws or charter that require an interested director to abstain from voting upon an issue, and we do not expect to add provisions in our charter and bylaws to this effect.  Although each director has a duty to act in good faith and in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in our best interests, there is a risk that, should interested directors vote upon an issue in which they or one of their affiliates has an interest, their vote may reflect a bias that could be contrary to our best interests.  In addition, even if an interested director abstains from voting, the director’s participation in the meeting and discussion of an issue in which they have, or companies with which they are associated have, an interest could influence the votes of other directors regarding the issue.

 

Difficult market conditions have adversely affected the yield on our available cash.

 

Our primary objective is to preserve and maintain the liquidity of our available cash, while at the same time maximizing yields without significantly increasing risk.  The capital and credit markets have been experiencing volatility and disruption for a prolonged period. This volatility and disruption reached unprecedented levels, resulting in dramatic declines in interest rates and other yields relative to risk.  This downward pressure has negatively affected the yields we receive on our available cash.  If current levels of market disruption and volatility continue or worsen, there can be no assurance that we will receive any significant yield on our available cash.  Further, given current market conditions, no assurance can be given that we will be able to preserve our available cash.

 

Competition from other motivated purchasers may hinder our ability to consummate an acquisition in the near term.

 

We expect to encounter intense competition from entities having a business objective similar to ours, including venture capital funds, special purpose acquisition companies, private equity funds, leveraged buyout funds, opportunity funds and other operating businesses competing for acquisitions.  Many of these entities are well established and have extensive experience in identifying and effecting acquisitions or business combinations directly or through affiliates.  Many of these competitors possess greater technical, human and other resources than we do and our financial resources may be relatively limited when contrasted with those of many of these competitors.  While we believe that there are numerous potential target businesses that we could acquire with our available cash, our ability to compete in acquiring certain sizable target businesses may be limited by our available financial resources.  This inherent competitive limitation gives others an advantage in pursuing the acquisition of certain target businesses.  For these reasons, we cannot assure you that we will be able to effectuate an acquisition or business combination in the near term.

 

Following the consummation of an acquisition or business combination, we may be required to take write-downs or write-offs or restructuring, impairment or other charges that could have a significant negative effect on our financial condition, results of operations and our stock price.

 

Even if we conduct extensive due diligence on a target business that we acquire or with which we merge, we cannot assure you that this diligence will surface all material issues that may be present inside a particular target business, that it would be possible to uncover all material issues through a customary amount of due diligence, or that factors outside of the target business and outside of our control will not later arise.  As a result of these factors, we may be forced to later write-down or write-off assets, restructure our operations or incur impairment or other charges that could result in us reporting losses.  Even if our due diligence successfully identifies certain risks, unexpected risks may arise and previously known risks may materialize in a manner inconsistent with our preliminary risk analysis.  Even though these charges may be non-cash items and not have an immediate impact on our liquidity, the fact that we report charges of this nature could contribute to negative market perceptions about us or our securities.

 

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We may issue shares of preferred stock or additional shares of common stock to complete an acquisition or effect a combination or under an employee incentive plan after consummation of an acquisition or combination, which would dilute the interests of our stockholders and likely present other risks.

 

The issuance of shares of preferred stock or additional shares of common stock:

 

·                  may significantly dilute the equity interest of our stockholders;

·                  may subordinate the rights of holders of common stock if preferred stock is issued with rights senior to those afforded our common stock;

·                  could cause a change in control if a substantial number of shares of common stock are issued, which may affect, among other things, our ability to use our net operating loss carry forwards; and

·                  may adversely affect prevailing market prices for our common stock.

 

We may be unable to obtain additional financing to complete an acquisition or business combination or to fund the operations and growth of a target business, which could compel us to restructure or abandon a particular acquisition or business combination.

 

Although we believe that our available cash will be sufficient to allow us to consummate an acquisition or effect a business combination, we cannot ascertain the exact capital requirements for any particular transaction because we have not yet definitively selected a target business.  If our available cash is insufficient, either because of the size of the acquisition or business combination or the depletion of available funds in search of a target business, we may be required to seek additional financing.  We cannot assure you that such financing will be available on acceptable terms, if at all.  To the extent that additional financing proves to be unavailable, if and when needed, to consummate an acquisition or effect a business combination, we would be compelled to either restructure the transaction or abandon that particular acquisition or business combination and seek an alternative target business candidate.  Even if we do not need additional financing to consummate an acquisition or effect a business combination, we may require such financing to fund the operations or growth of the target business.  The failure to secure additional financing could have a material adverse effect on the continued development or growth of the target.

 

There may be tax consequences with respect to an acquisition or business combination that adversely affect us.

 

While we expect to undertake any merger or acquisition so as to minimize taxes, both to the acquired business and/or asset and us, such acquisition or business combination might not meet the statutory requirements of a tax-free reorganization, or the parties might not obtain the intended tax-free treatment upon a transfer of shares or assets.  A non-qualifying reorganization could result in the imposition of substantial taxes.

 

Our net operating loss and other carryovers may be limited if we undergo an ownership change.  Generally, an ownership change occurs if certain persons or groups increase their aggregate ownership in us by more than 50 percentage points looking back over the prior three-year period.  If an ownership change occurs, our ability to use our net operating losses, or NOLs, to reduce income taxes is limited to an annual amount, or a Section 382 limitation, equal to the fair market value of our common stock immediately prior to the ownership change multiplied by the long term tax-exempt interest rate, which is published monthly by the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS.  In the event of an ownership change, NOLs that exceed the Section 382 limitation in any year will continue to be allowed as carryforwards for the remainder of the carryforward period and such excess NOLs can be used to offset taxable income for years within the carryforward period subject to the Section 382 limitation in each year.  Whether or not an ownership change occurs, the carryforward period for NOLs is either 15 or 20 years from the year in which the losses giving rise to the NOLs were incurred.  If the carryforward period for any NOL were to expire before that NOL had been fully utilized, the unused portion of that NOL would be lost.

 

Based on our knowledge of stockholder ownership of Hilltop, we do not believe that an ownership change has occurred since our initial public offering, or IPO, that would limit our post-IPO NOLs.  Accordingly, we believe that there is not a Section 382 limitation imposed on our use of post-IPO NOLs to reduce future taxable income.

 

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The determination of whether an ownership change has occurred, or will occur, is complicated, and therefore, no assurance can be provided as to whether an ownership change has occurred or will occur.  We have not obtained, and currently do not plan to obtain, an IRS ruling or opinion of counsel regarding our conclusions as to whether the pre-IPO NOLs or post-IPO NOLs are subject to any such limitations.  In addition, limitations imposed by Section 382 may prevent us from issuing additional shares of common stock to raise capital or to acquire businesses or properties.  To the extent not prohibited by our charter, we may decide in the future that it is necessary or in our best interest to take certain actions that could result in an ownership change.

 

If Hilltop is determined to control SWS Group, Inc., Hilltop will be required to become a regulated holding company.

 

As a general matter, an investor is deemed to control a depository institution or other company if the investor owns or controls 25% or more of any class of voting stock.  Subject to rebuttal, an investor may be presumed to control a depository institution or other company if the investor owns or controls ten percent or more of any class of voting stock.  As of March 1, 2012, Hilltop beneficially owned 24.6% of the outstanding common stock of SWS Group, Inc.  In connection with the transactions entered into with SWS Group, Inc., Hilltop filed a Rebuttal of Control, which the Office of Thrift Supervision accepted based upon the facts represented by Hilltop.  The transaction documents also provide for mechanisms to prevent Hilltop from being deemed to “control” SWS Group, Inc. through voting control.  Notwithstanding, in the event that Hilltop was determined to “control” SWS Group, Inc., Hilltop would have to register as a savings and loan holding company and become subject to the laws and regulations thereof, including, without limitation, supervision, examination, permissible activities, capital requirements and dividend restrictions.

 

In addition, it is a policy of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or Federal Reserve, that a bank holding company should serve as a source of financial and managerial strength to the depository institutions that it controls.  This was not a policy of the Office of Thrift Supervision, the primary regulator of thrifts and savings and loan holding companies, or SLHCs, prior to July 2011, with respect to the obligations of a SLHC to a depository institution that it controls.  Given that the Federal Reserve became the primary federal regulator of SLHCs, the policy for SLHCs on this subject likely will be altered to align more closely with those for bank holding companies.  The regulators may require certain financial and other action by a regulated holding company in support of controlled depository institutions even if such action is not in the best interests of the regulated holding company or its shareholders.

 

If we are deemed to be an investment company, we may be required to institute burdensome compliance requirements and our activities may be restricted, which may make it difficult for us to complete strategic acquisitions or effect combinations.

 

We do not plan to operate as an investment fund or investment company, or to be engaged in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities.  Our primary plan is to acquire, hold, operate and grow for the long-term, one or more operating businesses.

 

If we were deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, or the 1940 Act, we would be required to become registered under the 1940 Act (or liquidate) and our activities would be subject to a number of restrictions, including, among others:

 

·                  corporate governance requirements and requirements regarding mergers and share exchanges;

·                  restrictions on the nature of our investments;

·                  restrictions on our capital structure and use of multiple classes of securities; and

·                  restrictions on our use of leverage and collateral, each of which may make it difficult for us to consummate strategic acquisitions or effect a combination.

 

In addition, we may have imposed upon us burdensome requirements, including:

 

·                  registration as an investment company;

·                  adoption of a specific form of corporate structure; and

·                  reporting, record keeping, voting, proxy and disclosure requirements and other rules and regulations,

·                  compliance with which would reduce the funds that we have available to consummate strategic acquisitions or a combination.

 

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In order not to be regulated as an investment company under the 1940 Act, unless we can qualify for an exclusion, we must ensure that we are engaged primarily in an initial business other than investing, reinvesting or trading of securities and that our activities do not include investing, reinvesting, owning, holding or trading “investment securities.”  Our primary business, in addition to our insurance operations, will be to identify and consummate an acquisition or effect a business combination and, thereafter, to operate the acquired business or businesses for the long term.  We do not believe that our anticipated principal activities will subject us to the 1940 Act.  If we were deemed to be subject to the 1940 Act, compliance with these additional regulatory burdens would require additional expense for which we have not accounted.

 

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls over financial reporting, the accuracy and timing of our financial reporting may be adversely affected.

 

Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide timely and reliable financial reports and effectively prevent fraud.  Any inability to provide reliable financial reports or prevent fraud could harm our business. If we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal controls, our financial statements may not accurately reflect our financial condition.  Inadequate internal controls over financial reporting could impact the reliability and timeliness of our financial reports and could cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on our business and the value of our securities.

 

Risks Related to NLASCO’s Business and NLASCO’s Industry

 

The occurrence of severe catastrophic events may have a material adverse effect on NLASCO, particularly because NLASCO conducts business in a concentrated geographic area.

 

NLASCO expects to have large aggregate exposures to natural and man-made disasters, such as hurricanes, hail, tornados, windstorms, wildfires and acts of terrorism.  NLASCO expects that its loss experience, generally, will include infrequent events of great severity.  Hurricanes Dolly, Gustav and Ike, which occurred in 2008, are examples.  The risks associated with natural and man-made disasters are inherently unpredictable, and it is difficult to predict the timing of these events with statistical certainty or estimate the amount of loss any given occurrence will generate.  Although NLASCO may attempt to exclude certain losses, such as terrorism and other similar risks, from some coverage that NLASCO writes, it may be prohibited from, or may not be successful in, doing so. The extent of losses from a catastrophe is a function of both the total amount of policyholder exposure in the geographic area affected by the event and the severity of the event.  The occurrence of losses from catastrophic events may have a material adverse effect on NLASCO’s ability to write new business and on its financial condition and results of operations.  Increases in the values and geographic concentrations of policyholder property and the effects of inflation have resulted in increased severity of industry losses in recent years, and NLASCO expects that these factors will increase the severity of losses in the future.  Factors that may influence NLASCO’s exposure to losses from these types of events, in addition to the routine adjustment of losses, include, among others:

 

·                  exhaustion of reinsurance coverage;

·                  increases in reinsurance rates;

·                  unanticipated litigation expenses;

·                  unrecoverability of ceded losses;

·                  impact on independent agent operations and future premium income in areas affected by catastrophic events;

·                  unanticipated expansion of policy coverage or reduction of premium due to regulatory, legislative and/or judicial action following a catastrophic event; and

·                  unanticipated demand surge related to other recent catastrophic events.

 

NLASCO’s insurance subsidiaries write insurance primarily in the States of Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Georgia and Louisiana.  In 2011, Texas accounted for 72.0%, Arizona accounted for 8.0%, Oklahoma accounted for 7.0%, Tennessee accounted for 6.1%, Georgia accounted for 2.8%, Louisiana accounted for 1.9% and the other states we do business in accounted for the other 2.2% of our premiums.  As a result, a single catastrophe, destructive weather pattern, wildfire, terrorist attack, regulatory development or other condition or general economic trend affecting these regions or significant portions of these regions could adversely affect NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations more significantly than other insurance companies that conduct business across a broader geographic area.  Although NLASCO purchases catastrophe reinsurance to limit its exposure to these types of catastrophes, in the event of one or more major catastrophes resulting in losses to it in excess of $170.0 million, NLASCO’s losses would exceed the limits of its reinsurance coverage.

 

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NLASCO is exposed to claims related to severe weather and the occurrence of severe weather may result in an increase in claims frequency and exposure amount that could materially adversely affect its financial condition.

 

NLASCO is subject to claims arising out of severe weather, such as hurricanes, tornados, rainstorms, snowstorms, hailstorms, windstorms and ice storms, which may have a significant effect on its financial condition and results of operations.  The majority of its business is written in Texas, Arizona, Tennessee and Oklahoma, and Texas experienced two major hurricanes in 2008.  The incidence and severity of weather conditions are inherently unpredictable.  Some forecasters predict that the world is currently in a cycle of increased frequency of, and more severe, hurricanes and destructive weather patterns.

 

Generally, NLASCO’s insured risks exhibit higher losses in the second and third calendar quarters due to a seasonal concentration of weather-related events in its primary geographic markets.  Although weather-related losses (including hail, high winds, tornadoes and hurricanes) can occur in any calendar quarter, the second calendar quarter, historically, has experienced the highest frequency of losses associated with these events.  For the last five years, the contribution of weather-related catastrophes to the second quarter loss ratio was on average approximately 25 percentage points greater than the average contribution of such catastrophes in the other three quarters.  Hurricanes, however, are more likely to occur in the third calendar quarter of the year.

 

NLASCO experienced redundancy of $7.0 million (including loss adjustment expenses) in gross catastrophic related losses for the year ended December 31, 2011.  During 2011, NLASCO’s net catastrophic loss experience was $0.1 million after reinsurance and decreases in net premiums earned due to reinsurance reinstatement premiums.  NLASCO incurred $33.4 million (including loss adjustment expenses) in gross catastrophic related losses for the year ended December 31, 2010.  During 2010, NLASCO’s net catastrophic loss experience was $3.5 million after reinsurance and decreases in net premiums earned due to reinsurance reinstatement premiums.  A substantial portion of the expense in 2010 relates to claims being paid or reserved on hail and windstorms occurring in Oklahoma and Arizona, respectively.

 

Due to the inherent inability to accurately predict the severity and frequency of catastrophic losses, higher than expected catastrophic losses could materially adversely affect NLASCO’s financial condition.

 

NLASCO utilizes catastrophe modeling to assess its probable maximum insurance losses from hurricane and other wind/hail perils and to structure its catastrophe reinsurance program to minimize its exposure to high severity/high frequency types of losses. Hurricanes Ike, Katrina and Rita highlighted the challenges inherent in predicting the impact of catastrophic events.  The catastrophe models, generally, failed to adequately project the financial impact of Hurricanes Ike, Katrina and Rita.  This experience highlights the limitations inherent in the use of modeling as a means of risk assessment/abatement.  If the exposure amount and frequency of catastrophe losses are higher than predicted under NLASCO’s modeling, NLASCO’s financial condition may be materially adversely affected.

 

NLASCO’s investment performance has suffered, and may further suffer, as a result of adverse capital market developments and other factors, which affect its financial results.

 

NLASCO invests the premiums it receives from policyholders until they are needed to pay policyholder claims or other expenses. At December 31, 2011, NLASCO’s invested assets consisted of $152.1 million in fixed maturity securities and $8.9 million in equity securities.  During the year ended December 31, 2011, NLASCO had $6.3 million of net investment income, representing 4.3% of NLASCO’s total revenues.  Although NLASCO’s investment policies stress diversification of risks, conservation of principal and liquidity, its investments are subject to a variety of investment risks, including those relating to general economic conditions, market volatility, interest rate fluctuations, liquidity risk and credit and default risk.  In particular, the volatility of NLASCO’s claims may force it to liquidate securities, which may cause it to incur capital losses.  If NLASCO’s investment portfolio is not appropriately matched with its insurance liabilities, it may be forced to liquidate investments prior to maturity at a significant loss to cover these liabilities.  Investment losses could significantly decrease its asset base and statutory surplus, thereby adversely affecting its ability to conduct business and potentially its A.M. Best financial strength rating.  Further, developments in the world’s financial and capital markets have adversely impacted the performance of NLASCO’s investments.  Additionally, inflation could increase beyond investment income.

 

The capital and credit markets have been experiencing volatility and disruption for more than three years.  This volatility and disruption has reached unprecedented levels, resulting in dramatic declines in prices.  This downward pressure has negatively affected the performance of NLASCO’s investments, which has resulted in the write down of several of those investments in 2010 and 2009. These write-downs, when determined to be other-than-temporary, reduce NLASCO’s earnings for that period.  If current levels of market disruption and volatility continue or worsen, there can be no assurances that we will not experience additional losses on our investments and reductions in our earnings.

 

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NLASCO’s investment results may be adversely affected by interest rate changes.

 

NLASCO’s operating results are affected, in part, by the performance of its investment portfolio.  NLASCO’s investment portfolio contains instruments, such as bonds, that may be adversely affected by increases in interest rates.  Because bond trading prices decrease as interest rates rise, a significant increase in interest rates could have a material adverse effect on NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations.  On the other hand, decreases in interest rates could have an adverse effect on NLASCO’s investment income and results of operations.  For example, if interest rates decline, investment of new premiums received and funds reinvested will earn less.  Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors, including governmental monetary policies, domestic and international economic and political conditions and other factors beyond NLASCO’s control.

 

With respect to fixed-income investments, the fair market value of these securities fluctuates depending on market and other general economic conditions and the interest rate environment.  Changes in interest rates can expose NLASCO to prepayment risks on these investments.  When interest rates fall, mortgage-backed securities typically are prepaid more quickly and the holder must reinvest the proceeds at lower interest rates.  NLASCO’s mortgage-backed securities currently consist of securities with features that reduce the risk of prepayment, but NLASCO can make no assurances that it will invest in other mortgage-backed securities that contain this protection.  In periods of increasing interest rates, mortgage-backed securities typically are prepaid more slowly, which may require NLASCO to receive interest payments that are below the then prevailing interest rates for longer time periods than expected.

 

If NLASCO cannot price its business accurately, its profitability and the profitability of its insurance companies could be materially adversely affected.

 

NLASCO’s results of operations and financial condition depend on its ability to underwrite and set premium rates accurately for a wide variety of risks.  Adequate rates are necessary to generate premiums sufficient to pay losses, loss adjustment expenses and underwriting expenses and to earn a profit.  To price its products accurately, NLASCO must:

 

·                  collect and properly analyze a substantial amount of data;

·                  develop, test and apply appropriate pricing techniques;

·                  closely monitor and recognize changes in trends in a timely manner; and

·                  project both severity and frequency of losses with reasonable accuracy.

 

NLASCO’s ability to undertake these efforts successfully, and price its products accurately, is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, some of which are outside its control, including:

 

·                  the availability of sufficient reliable data and NLASCO’s ability to properly analyze available data;

·                  changes in applicable legal liability standards and in the civil litigation system generally;

·                  NLASCO’s selection and application of appropriate pricing techniques;

·                  NLASCO’s ability to obtain regulatory approval, where necessary;

·                  the uncertainties that inherently characterize estimates and assumptions; and

·                  NLASCO’s ability to obtain adequate premium rates to offset higher reinsurance costs.

 

Consequently, NLASCO could under-price risks, which would adversely affect its profit margins, or it could overprice risks, which could reduce its competitiveness and sales volume.  In either case, its profitability and the profitability of its insurance companies could be materially adversely affected.

 

If NLASCO’s actual losses and loss adjustment expenses exceed its loss and expense estimates, its financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

 

NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations depend upon its ability to assess accurately the potential losses associated with the risks that it insures.  NLASCO establishes reserve liabilities to cover the payment of all losses and loss adjustment expenses incurred under the policies that it writes.  These liability estimates include case estimates, which are established for specific claims that have been reported to NLASCO, and liabilities for claims that have been incurred but not reported, or IBNR.  Loss adjustment expenses represent expenses incurred to investigate and settle claims.  To the extent that losses and loss adjustment expenses exceed estimates, NLIC and ASIC will be required to increase their reserve liabilities and reduce their income before income taxes in the period in which the deficiency is identified.  In addition, increasing reserves causes a reduction in policyholders’ surplus and could cause a downgrade in the ratings of NLIC and ASIC.  This, in turn, could diminish its ability to sell insurance policies.

 

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The liability estimation process for NLASCO’s casualty insurance coverage possesses characteristics that make case and IBNR reserving inherently less susceptible to accurate actuarial estimation than is the case with property coverages.  Unlike property losses, casualty losses are claims made by third-parties of which the policyholder may not be aware and, therefore, may be reported a significant time after the occurrence, including sometimes years later.  As casualty claims most often involve claims of bodily injury, assessment of the proper case estimates is a far more subjective process than claims involving property damage.  In addition, in determining the case estimate for a casualty claim, information develops slowly over the life of the claim and can subject the case estimation to substantial modification well after the claim was first reported.  Numerous factors impact the casualty case reserving process, such as venue, the amount of monetary damage, legislative activity, the permanence of the injury and the age of the claimant.

 

The effects of inflation could cause the severity of claims from catastrophes or other events to rise in the future.  Increases in the values and geographic concentrations of policyholder property and the effects of inflation have resulted in increased severity of industry losses in recent years, and NLASCO expects that these factors will increase the severity of losses in the future.  As NLASCO observed in 2008, the severity of some catastrophic weather events, including the scope and extent of damage and the inability to gain access to damaged properties, and the ensuing shortages of labor and materials and resulting demand surge, provide additional challenges to estimating ultimate losses.  NLASCO’s liabilities for losses and loss adjustment expenses include assumptions about future payments for settlement of claims and claims handling expenses, such as medical treatments and litigation costs.  To the extent inflation causes these costs to increase above liabilities established for these costs, NLASCO expects to be required to increase its liabilities, together with a corresponding reduction in its net income in the period in which the deficiency is identified.

 

Estimating an appropriate level of liabilities for losses and loss adjustment expense is an inherently uncertain process.  Accordingly, actual loss and loss adjustment expenses paid will likely deviate, perhaps substantially, from the liability estimates reflected in NLASCO’s consolidated financial statements.  Claims could exceed NLASCO’s estimate for liabilities for losses and loss adjustment expenses, which could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.

 

If NLASCO cannot obtain adequate reinsurance protection for the risks it underwrites, NLASCO may be exposed to greater losses from these risks or may reduce the amount of business it underwrites, which may materially adversely affect its financial condition and results of operations.

 

NLASCO uses reinsurance to protect itself from certain risks and to share certain risks it underwrites.  During 2011 and 2010, NLASCO’s personal lines ceded 12.0% and 16.3%, respectively, of its direct premiums written (primarily through excess of loss, quota share and catastrophe reinsurance treaties) and its commercial lines ceded 4.9% and 7.3%, respectively, of its direct premiums written (primarily through excess of loss and catastrophe reinsurance treaties).  The total cost of reinsurance, inclusive of per risk excess and catastrophe, decreased 26.6% in the year ended December 31, 2011, which is primarily attributable to lower reinstatement premiums in 2011 of $2.4 million.  Reinsurance cost will likely materially increase, in part due to the frequency and severity of hurricanes and the lack of capacity in the reinsurance market.

 

From time to time, market conditions have limited, and in some cases have prevented, insurers from obtaining the types and amounts of reinsurance that they have considered adequate for their business needs.  Accordingly, NLASCO may not be able to obtain desired amounts of reinsurance.  Even if NLASCO is able to obtain adequate reinsurance, it may not be able to obtain it from entities with satisfactory creditworthiness or negotiate terms that it deems appropriate or acceptable.  Although the cost of reinsurance is, in some cases, reflected in NLASCO’s premium rates, NLASCO may have guaranteed certain premium rates to its policyholders.  Under these circumstances, if the cost of reinsurance were to increase with respect to policies for which NLASCO guaranteed the rates, NLASCO would be adversely affected.  In addition, if NLASCO cannot obtain adequate reinsurance protection for the risks it underwrites, it may be exposed to greater losses from these risks or it may be forced to reduce the amount of business that it underwrites for such risks, which will reduce NLASCO’s revenue and may have a material adverse effect on its results of operations and financial condition.

 

NLASCO could face unanticipated losses from war, terrorism and political unrest, and these or other unanticipated losses could have a material adverse effect on NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations.

 

NLASCO has exposure to unexpected losses resulting from future man-made catastrophic events, such as acts of terrorism and political instability.  These risks are inherently unpredictable.  It is difficult to predict the timing of such events with statistical certainty or to estimate the amount of loss that any given occurrence will generate.  In certain instances, NLASCO specifically insures risks resulting from acts of terrorism.  Even in cases where NLASCO attempts to exclude losses from terrorism and certain other similar risks from some coverage it writes, NLASCO may be prohibited from, or may not be successful in, doing so.  Irrespective of the clarity and inclusiveness of policy language, a court or arbitration panel may limit the enforceability of policy language or otherwise issue a ruling adverse to NLASCO.  Accordingly, while NLASCO believes that its reinsurance programs, together with the coverage provided under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, the

 

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Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005 and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, or, collectively, the Terrorism Act, are sufficient to reasonably limit its net losses relating to potential future terrorist attacks, its reserves may not be adequate to cover losses when they materialize.  Under the Terrorism Act, after an act of terrorism is certified by the Secretary of the Treasury, NLASCO may be entitled to be reimbursed by the Federal government for a percentage of subject losses, after an insurer deductible and subject to an annual cap.  The Terrorism Act covers an insurance company’s operations for up to 85% of its losses, subject to certain mandatory deductibles.  The deductible is calculated by applying the deductible percentage to the insurer’s direct earned premiums for covered lines from the calendar year immediately prior to the applicable year.  Although the Terrorism Act provides benefits in the event of certain acts of terrorism for losses in 2005 through 2014, the Terrorism Act may not be extended beyond 2014 or its benefits may be reduced.  It is not possible to completely eliminate NLASCO’s exposure to unforecasted or unpredictable events, and to the extent that losses from such risks occur, NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

 

If NLASCO’s reinsurers do not pay losses in a timely fashion, or at all, NLASCO may incur substantial losses that could materially adversely affect its financial condition and results of operations.

 

At December 31, 2011, NLASCO had $25.9 million in reinsurance recoverables, including ceded paid loss recoverables, ceded losses and loss adjustment expense recoverables and ceded unearned premiums.  NLASCO expects to continue to purchase substantial reinsurance coverage in the foreseeable future.  Since NLASCO remains primarily liable to its policyholders for the payment of their claims, regardless of the reinsurance it has purchased relating to those claims, in the event that one of its reinsurers becomes insolvent or otherwise refuses to reimburse NLASCO for losses paid, or delays in reimbursing NLASCO for losses paid, its liability for these claims could materially and adversely affect its financial condition and results of operations.  As an example, if one of NLASCO’s catastrophe reinsurers experienced financial difficulties following one of the major hurricanes in 2005 and had been unable to meet its obligations to NLASCO, NLASCO could have experienced difficulty in meeting its obligations to its policyholders.

 

NLASCO relies on independent insurance agents to distribute its products, and if the agents do not promote NLASCO’s products successfully, NLASCO’s results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

 

NLASCO’s business depends, in large part, on the efforts of independent insurance agents to market its insurance products and on its ability to offer insurance products and services that meet the requirements of their customers.  While NLASCO strives to offer products that its agents require, NLASCO competes for business with other carriers based on the scope of coverage provided in its products, services, commissions and rates.  NLASCO’s competitors may offer coverage that is more attractive to particular customers than it offers for a specific product, may price their insurance products more aggressively, may offer higher agent commissions and may devote additional resources to improve their services.  Accordingly, NLASCO’s agents may find it easier to promote the programs of NLASCO’s competitors rather than NLASCO’s.  If NLASCO’s agents fail to, or choose not to, market NLASCO’s insurance products successfully, NLASCO’s growth may be limited and its financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.  Additionally, rather than utilizing an independent agent to buy their insurance, consumers may elect to deal with direct-writers or mass marketers that utilize the Internet to advertise and/or underwrite their business.  Industry developments that centralize and commoditize insurance products could be detrimental to NLASCO’s agency distribution model of doing business.

 

Because NLASCO relies on managing general agents to underwrite some of its products and to administer claims, such managing general agents could expose NLASCO to liability or allocate business away from NLASCO, which could cause NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations to be adversely affected.

 

NLASCO has developed programs with managing general agents, or MGAs, whereby the MGA will, within the guidelines established by NLASCO, underwrite insurance policies on NLASCO’s insurance subsidiaries’ behalf with oversight by NLASCO.  A MGA is a person, firm or corporation that has supervisory responsibility for the local agency and field operations of an insurer in the state where it is organized or that is authorized by an insurer to accept or process, on the insurer’s behalf, insurance policies produced and sold by other agents.  While NLASCO exercises care in the selection of its MGA relationships and regularly audits the performance of its MGAs, NLASCO is at risk for their conduct as a result of the authority it has delegated to them.  If one of NLASCO’s MGAs binds NLASCO’s insurance subsidiaries to policies that expose it to unexpected losses or fails to appropriately report claims, NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.  For example, if a terminated MGA fails to continue to appropriately report claims during the runoff period, then liabilities for losses and loss adjustment expenses could be deficient, which would impact NLASCO’s results of operations in future periods.  Furthermore, subject to contractual limitations, MGAs have the ability to change carriers or increase or decrease the allocation to a particular carrier.  A MGA might choose to change carriers or allocations for many reasons, such as pricing, service, conditions in the reinsurance market or a change in ownership of an MGA.

 

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A decline in NLIC’s or ASIC’s financial strength ratings by A.M. Best could cause either of their sales or earnings, or both, to decrease.

 

Ratings have become an increasingly important factor in establishing the competitive position of insurance companies.  A.M. Best maintains a letter scale rating system ranging from “A++ (Superior)” to “F (In Liquidation)” to rate the financial strength of insurance enterprises. NLIC and ASIC have been rated “A (Excellent)” by A.M. Best, which is the third highest of sixteen rating levels.

 

Each of NLIC’s and ASIC’s financial strength rating is subject to periodic review by, and may remain the same, be revised downward or upward or be revoked at the sole discretion of, A.M. Best.  A decline in either NLIC’s or ASIC’s rating or an announced negative outlook on the rating can cause concern about their viability among agents, brokers and policyholders, resulting in a movement of business away from NLASCO and its insurance company subsidiaries to more highly-rated carriers.  In addition, the errors and omissions insurance coverage of many of NLASCO’s independent agents does not provide coverage if the covered agents sell policies from insurers with an A.M. Best financial strength rating of “B+ (Very Good)” or below.  As a result, the loss of NLIC’s or ASIC’s A.M. Best financial strength rating, or a reduction to “B+ (Very Good)” or worse, may adversely impact NLASCO’s ability to retain or expand its policyholder base.  Periodically, A.M. Best changes its rating methodology and practices.  Any change to the methodologies and practices could result in a reduction of NLIC’s or ASIC’s A.M. Best rating.

 

The failure of any of the loss limitation methods NLASCO employs could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.

 

At the present time, NLASCO employs a variety of endorsements to its policies that limit its exposure to known risks, such as exclusions for mold losses and water damage.  NLASCO’s policies also are not designed to provide coverage for claims related to exposure to potentially harmful products or substances, including, among others, lead paint and silica.  NLASCO’s homeowners’ policies, other than policies specifically written for flood coverage, specifically exclude coverage for losses caused by flood, but generally provide coverage for damage caused by wind.  In addition, NLASCO’s policies contain conditions requiring the prompt reporting of claims and its right to decline coverage due to late claim reporting.  NLASCO’s policies also include limitations restricting the period during which a policyholder may bring a breach of contract or other claim against it, which in many cases is shorter than the applicable statutory limitations for such claims.  It is possible that a court or regulatory authority could nullify or void, or legislation could be enacted modifying or barring, the use of endorsements and limitations in a way that would adversely affect NLASCO’s loss experience, which could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.

 

The effects of emerging claim and coverage issues on NLASCO’s business are uncertain.

 

As industry practices and legal, judicial, social and other environmental conditions change, unexpected and unintended issues related to claims and coverage may emerge.  These issues may adversely affect NLASCO’s business by either extending coverage beyond its underwriting intent or by increasing the number or size of claims.  In some instances, these changes may not become apparent until long after NLASCO has issued insurance policies that are affected by the changes.  As a result, the full extent of liability under NLASCO’s insurance policies may not be known until after a contract is issued.  Changes in other legal theories of liability under NLASCO’s insurance policies or the failure of any loss limitation it applies also could adversely impact NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations.

 

Because NLASCO’s main source of premiums written is in Texas, unfavorable changes in the economic or regulatory environment in that state may have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.

 

Texas accounted for approximately 72.0% and 73.2% of NLASCO’s direct premiums written in 2011 and 2010, respectively.  The Texas legislature, frequently reviews insurance regulation, which will likely result in changes to those regulations.  The loss of a significant amount of NLASCO’s premiums written in Texas, whether due to an economic downturn, competitive changes, regulatory or legislative developments or other reasons, could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.

 

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If NLASCO is unsuccessful in competing against other competitors in the insurance industry, its financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

The insurance industry is highly competitive and has, historically, been characterized by periods of significant price competition, alternating with periods of greater pricing discipline during which competitors focus on other factors.  In the current market environment, competition in NLASCO’s industry is based primarily on the following:

 

·                  products offered;

·                  service;

·                  experience;

·                  the strength of agent and policyholder relationships;

·                  reputation;

·                  speed and accuracy of claims payment;

·                  perceived financial strength;

·                  ratings;

·                  scope of business;

·                  commissions paid; and

·                  policy and contract terms and conditions.

 

NLASCO competes with many other insurers, including large national companies who have greater financial, marketing and management resources than NLASCO.  Many of these competitors also have better ratings and market recognition than NLASCO.  NLASCO seeks to distinguish itself from its competitors by providing a broad product line and targeting those market segments that provide the best opportunity to earn an underwriting profit.

 

NLASCO also faces competition from entities that self-insure, primarily in the commercial insurance market.  From time to time, established and potential customers may examine the benefits and risks of self-insurance and other alternatives to traditional insurance.

 

In addition, a number of new, proposed or potential industry developments also could increase competition in NLASCO’s industry.  These developments include, but are not necessarily limited to, changes in practices and other effects caused by the Internet (including direct marketing campaigns by NLASCO’s competitors in established and new geographic markets), which have led to greater competition in the insurance business and increased expectations for customer service.  These developments could prevent NLASCO from expanding its book of business.

 

NLASCO also faces competition from new entrants into the insurance market.  New entrants do not have historic claims or losses to address and, therefore, may be able to price policies on a basis that is not favorable to NLASCO.  New competition could reduce the demand for NLASCO’s insurance products, which could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.

 

The debt agreements of NLASCO and its controlled affiliates contain financial covenants and impose restrictions on its business.

 

The indenture governing NLASCO’s LIBOR plus 3.40% notes due 2035 contains restrictions on its ability to, among other things, declare and pay dividends and merge or consolidate.  In addition, this indenture contains a change of control provision, which provides that (i) if a person or group becomes the beneficial owner, directly or indirectly, of 50% or more of NLASCO’s equity securities and (ii) if NLASCO’s ratings are downgraded by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934), then each holder of the notes governed by such indenture has the right to require that NLASCO purchase such holder’s notes, in whole or in part, at a price equal to 100% of the then outstanding principal amount.

 

The surplus indentures governing NLIC’s LIBOR plus 4.10% notes due 2033 and ASIC’s LIBOR plus 4.05% notes due 2034 contain restrictions on dividends and mergers and consolidations.  In addition, NLASCO has other credit arrangements with its affiliates and other third-parties.

 

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NLASCO’s ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events beyond its control, including prevailing economic, financial and industry conditions.  The breach of any of these restrictions could result in a default under the loan agreements or indentures governing the notes or under its other debt agreements.  An event of default under its debt agreements would permit some of its lenders to declare all amounts borrowed from them to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest.  If NLASCO were unable to repay debt to its secured lenders, these lenders could proceed against the collateral securing that debt.  In addition, acceleration of its other indebtedness may cause NLASCO to be unable to make interest payments on the notes.

 

Other agreements that NLASCO or its insurance company subsidiaries may enter into in the future may contain covenants imposing significant restrictions on their respective businesses that are similar to, or in addition to, the covenants under their respective existing agreements.  These restrictions may affect NLASCO’s ability to operate its business and may limit its ability to take advantage of potential business opportunities as they arise.

 

The regulatory system under which NLIC and ASIC operate, and potential changes to that system, could have a material adverse effect on their respective business activities.

 

NLIC and ASIC are subject to comprehensive regulation and supervision in those states in which they are domiciled and write insurance policies.  Though NLIC and ASIC currently write most of their policies in Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Georgia and Louisiana, as of December 31, 2011, NLIC is licensed in 24 states and ASIC is licensed in 37 states.  Laws and regulations pertaining to NLIC and ASIC are generally administered by state insurance departments and relate to, among other things:

 

·                  standards of solvency, including risk-based capital measurements;

·                  restrictions on the nature, quality and concentration of investments;

·                  required methods of accounting;

·                  rate and policy form regulation and other market conduct; and

·                  potential assessments for the provision of funds necessary for covered claims under certain policies provided by impaired, insolvent or failed insurance companies.

 

These state insurance departments also conduct periodic examinations of insurance companies and require the filing of annual and other reports relating to financial condition, holding company issues and other matters.  Current or future regulatory requirements may adversely affect or inhibit each of the insurance company’s ability to achieve some or all of its business objectives.

 

NLIC and ASIC may not be able to obtain or maintain necessary licenses, permits, authorizations or accreditations in states where they are currently licensed or in new states they intend to enter, or they may be able to do so only at a significant cost.  In addition, they may not be able to comply fully with, or obtain appropriate exemptions from, the wide variety of laws and regulations applicable to insurance companies and insurance holding companies, which could result in restrictions on their operating flexibility and could subject them to fines and other sanctions that may have a material adverse effect on their business.

 

Significant changes in the political and regulatory climate could result in changes in applicable laws and regulations and could make it more expensive or less profitable to manage our business.  In recent years, the United States insurance regulatory framework has come under increased federal scrutiny, and some state legislators have considered, or enacted, laws that may alter or increase state regulation of insurance and reinsurance companies and holding companies.  Moreover, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC, and state insurance regulators regularly reexamine existing laws and regulations and develop new laws.  Changes in laws and regulations, or their interpretation, could have a material adverse effect on the insurance companies’ financial condition and results of operations.

 

The activities of the insurance companies’ MGAs are subject to licensing requirements and regulation under the laws of the states in which they operate.  The insurance companies’ MGAs’ businesses depend on the validity of, and continued good standing under, the licenses and approvals pursuant to which they operate, as well as compliance with pertinent laws and regulations.

 

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Licensing laws and regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  In all jurisdictions, the applicable licensing laws and regulations are subject to amendment or interpretation by regulatory authorities.  Generally, these authorities are vested with relatively broad discretion to grant, renew and revoke licenses and approvals for various reasons, including the violation of law and conviction of crimes.  Other sanctions may include the suspension of individual employees, limitations on engaging in a particular business for specified periods of time, revocation of licenses, censures, redress to policyholders and fines.  Although NLASCO and its insurance subsidiaries endeavor to follow practices based on good faith interpretations of laws and regulations, or those generally followed by the industry, these practices may prove to be different from those that the regulatory authorities require.

 

If the states in which NLIC and ASIC write insurance increase the assessments that insurance companies are required to pay, NLASCO’s and their financial condition and results of operations will suffer.

 

NLIC and ASIC are subject to a variety of taxes, fines, levies, license fees, tariffs and other assessments that may, from time to time, be material.  These assessments are made by the states in which NLIC and ASIC operate and include participation in residual market or involuntary risk plans in various states that provide insurance coverage to individuals or entities that otherwise are unable to purchase such coverage from private insurers.  Due to this participation, NLIC and ASIC may be exposed to material losses.  They also are subject to assessments in the states in which they write insurance for various purposes, including the provision of funds necessary to fund the operations of various insurance guaranty associations, which pay covered claims under certain policies issued by impaired, insolvent or failed insurance companies.  These assessments are generally set based on an insurer’s percentage of the total premiums written in the relevant state within a particular line of business for the relevant time period.  For the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, NLASCO paid no assessments.  If NLIC’s and ASIC’s total premiums written grow, NLASCO’s share of any assessments may increase, as well.  NLASCO, however, cannot predict with certainty the amount of future assessments, because these assessments depend on factors outside NLASCO’s control, such as the insolvencies of other insurance companies, the market shares of other insurance companies writing in a particular state and the degree to which other companies write in coastal areas.

 

NLASCO is subject to assessments from the Georgia Underwriting Association, Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, or LCPIC, Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association, or MWUA, the Texas FAIR Plan Association and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, or TWIA.

 

LCPIC, MWUA and TWIA have estimated plan losses from the hurricanes that struck Louisiana and Texas in the third quarter of 2005 and 2008, and are thereby able to levy regular and emergency assessments to participating companies and policyholders, respectively.  NLASCO does not expect that these assessments will have a net financial statement impact, as all these assessments are recoverable (subject to treaty limits) under its reinsurance treaties.  Further, NLASCO may be able to recoup a regular assessment through a surcharge to policyholders.  These recoupments will be refunded to reinsurers as the related premiums are written and collected.  NLASCO is required to collect emergency assessments directly from residential property policyholders and remit them to LCPIC as they are collected.

 

NLASCO continues to monitor developments with respect to various state facilities, such as the Georgia Underwriting Association, LCPIC, MWUA, the Texas FAIR Plan Association and the TWIA.  The ultimate impact of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Dolly and Ike on these facilities is currently uncertain, but could result in the facilities recognizing a financial deficit different than the level currently estimated.  They may, in turn, have the ability to assess participating insurers when financial deficits occur.  NLASCO will not, however, incur any net expense or loss from any of these assessments due to reinsurance recoveries.

 

NLASCO may be subject to high retaliatory taxes in several states as a result of its multistate operations, which could have a material adverse impact on its financial condition and results of operations.

 

Nearly all states impose a retaliatory tax on insurers operating in their state that are domiciled in another state.  Retaliatory taxes are based on the principle that if the aggregate taxes, fees and obligations imposed by an insurer’s domiciliary state are greater than the aggregate taxes, fees and obligations imposed by the taxing state, then the difference is payable to the taxing state as a retaliatory tax.  For example, the State of Texas imposes various premium-based taxes that, in the aggregate, total approximately 2.0% of gross written premiums in Texas.  The State of Illinois imposes various premium-based taxes that, in the aggregate, total approximately 0.5% of gross written premiums in Illinois.  The Illinois retaliatory tax provisions would require a Texas-domiciled insurer operating in Illinois to pay the 0.5% aggregate Illinois taxes plus a 1.5% incremental amount, which represents the difference between the Texas effective rate and the Illinois effective rate.  Thus, a Texas-domiciled insurer would pay a 2.0% effective tax in Illinois, while an Illinois-domiciled insurer would only pay a 0.5% effective tax.  Insurance companies with multistate operations, like NLASCO, may find themselves subject to high retaliatory taxes in several states, which could have a material adverse impact on NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations.

 

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NLASCO’s ability to meet ongoing cash requirements and pay dividends may be limited by its holding company structure and regulatory constraints.

 

NLASCO operates as a holding company.  Dividends and other permitted payments from its operating subsidiaries are expected to be its primary source of funds to meet ongoing cash requirements, including any future debt service payments and other expenses, and to pay dividends, if any, to Hilltop.  NLIC and ASIC are subject to significant regulatory restrictions and limitations under debt agreements limiting their ability to declare and pay dividends, which could, in turn, limit NLASCO’s ability to meet its ongoing cash requirements, including any future debt service payments and other expenses, or to pay dividends.

 

Current legal and regulatory activities, investigations, litigation proceedings or other activities relating to the insurance industry could affect NLASCO’s business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The insurance industry has experienced share price volatility as a result of litigation, investigations and regulatory activity by various insurance, governmental and enforcement authorities concerning certain practices within the insurance industry.  NLASCO is unable to predict the potential effects, if any, that these investigations may have upon the insurance markets and industry business practices in general or what, if any, changes may be made to laws and regulations regarding the industry and financial reporting.  Any of the foregoing could materially and adversely affect its business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

NLIC and ASIC are subject to periodic financial and market conduct examinations by state insurance departments.  If these examinations identify significant findings or recommend significant changes to its operations, either insurance company could lose its licenses or its financial condition and results of operations could be affected.

 

The insurance departments in every state in which NLASCO’s insurance companies do business may conduct on-site visits and examinations at any time and generally for any purpose, including the review of NLASCO’s insurance companies’ financial condition, market conduct and relationships and transactions with affiliates.  In addition, the Texas Department of Insurance will conduct comprehensive examinations of NLASCO’s insurance companies every three to five years.  The Texas Department of Insurance completed their last examinations of NLIC and ASIC through December 31, 2006 in examination reports dated June 13, 2008 and June 1, 2008, respectively, which contained no information of any significant compliance issues. In 2010, ASIC and NLIC were notified by the Texas Department of Insurance that a statutory examination had been scheduled to be performed during the calendar years 2011/2012.  The examinations are as of December 31, 2010, and cover the period since the last examination, which was as of December 31, 2006.  We have received drafts of the examination reports and there is no indication of any significant changes to our financial statements as a result of the examinations by the domiciliary state.

 

While there were no material adverse findings or recommended changes to NLASCO’s or its insurance company subsidiaries’ operations identified in the last completed or draft report of financial examinations conducted by the departments of insurance, there can be no assurance that there will not be adverse findings or recommended changes identified by other state insurance departments in future examinations.  In addition, significant adverse findings could lead to a revocation of NLASCO’s or its insurance company subsidiaries’ licenses.  Any adverse findings or recommended changes resulting from such financial examinations, or from any future examinations, could have a material adverse effect on NLASCO’s or its insurance company subsidiaries’ financial condition and results of operations.

 

Departure of key personnel would deprive us of the institutional knowledge, expertise and leadership they provide.

 

Operating an insurance company is complex.  The insurance industry is highly competitive and has historically been characterized by periods of significant price competition, alternating with periods of greater pricing discipline during which competitors focus on other factors.  In addition, insurance companies are subject to comprehensive regulation and supervision in those states in which they write insurance policies and in which they are domiciled.  Significant changes in the political and regulatory climate could result in changes in these laws and regulations and could make it more expensive or less profitable for us to manage an insurance company.  The loss of key personnel may result in us encountering difficulties in operating an insurance company and complying with regulatory requirements applicable to insurance companies.

 

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NLASCO is in the process of implementing a new information technology system that could cause substantial business interruption.

 

We are in the process of designing and implementing a new information technology system and are investing significant financial and personnel resources into this project.  There is no assurance, however, that the design will meet our current and future business needs or that it will operate as designed. We are heavily dependent on computer systems, and any significant failure or delay in the system implementation, if encountered, would cause a substantial interruption to our business and additional expense that could result in an adverse impact on our operating results, cash flows and financial condition.

 

Failures in NLASCO’s current electronic underwriting system could adversely affect its financial condition and results of operations.

 

NLASCO’s Internet-based Policy Agency Claim System, or PACS, was primarily developed in-house.  PACS is fully integrated and is able to process quotes, policy issuance, billings, payments and claims.  The system is designed for ease of use by agents and employees.  PACS has been an integral part of NLASCO’s success.  Almost all applications are submitted online. Problems or errors of which NLASCO is not currently aware may have occurred in connection with the installation, upgrading or maintenance of this system or any of its other systems or may result from a major physical disaster or other calamity that causes damage to NLASCO’s systems generally.  A loss of PACS or any of NLASCO’s other systems for a sustained period of time could have an adverse impact on its financial condition and results of operations.

 

Failure to develop an adequate knowledge transfer or a succession plan for NLASCO’s information technology personnel could adversely affect its financial condition and results of operations.

 

The success of PACS and NLASCO’s new and other systems depend heavily on the incumbent information technology team that developed or implemented the system.  A loss of key members of this team without adequate knowledge transfer or a succession plan could disrupt NLASCO’s operations and adversely affect its results of operations.

 

Security breaches, cyber attacks or fraudulent activity could result in damage to the Company’s operations or lead to reputational damage.

 

A security breach or cyber attack of the Company’s computer systems could interrupt or damage the Company’s operations or harm its reputation.  Despite the implementation of security measures, the Company’s systems may still be vulnerable to data theft, computer viruses, programming errors, attacks by third parties or similar disruptive problems.

 

If the Company were to experience a security breach or cyber attack, it could be required to incur substantial costs and liabilities, including, among other things, the following:

 

·      expenses to rectify the consequences of the security breach or cyber attack;

·      liability for stolen assets or information;

·      costs of repairing damage to the Company’s systems;

·      lost revenue and income resulting from any system downtime caused by such breach or attack;

·      increased costs of cyber security protection;

·                  costs of incentives the Company may be required to offer to its policyholders to retain their business, and

·                  damage to the Company’s reputation causing policyholders, acquisition targets and investors to lose confidence in the Company.

 

In addition, any compromise of security or a cyber attack could deter consumers from entering into transactions that involve transmitting confidential information to the Company’s systems.  Further, if confidential policyholder information or information belonging to persons other than the Company is misappropriated from the Company’s computer systems, the Company could be sued by those who assert the Company did not take adequate precautions to safeguard its systems and confidential data, which could subject the Company to liability and result in significant legal fees and expenses of defending these claims.  As a result, any compromise of security of the Company’s computer systems or cyber attack could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

 

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Claims by third-parties that NLASCO infringes their proprietary technology could adversely affect NLASCO’s financial condition and results of operations.

 

If NLASCO discovers that any of its products, or technology that it licenses from third-parties, violates third-party proprietary rights, NLASCO may not be able to reengineer its products or obtain a license on commercially reasonable terms to continue using the products or technology without substantial reengineering, or to otherwise modify programs.  In addition, product and technology development is inherently uncertain in a rapidly evolving technology environment in which there may be numerous patent applications pending for similar technologies, many of which are confidential when filed.  In addition, much of the software used by NLASCO may be used subject to a licensing agreement, and NLASCO’s failure to comply with the terms for usage under any such licensing agreement could subject it to claims that could adversely impact its business.  Although NLASCO sometimes may be indemnified by third-parties against claims that licensed third-party technology infringes proprietary rights of others, this indemnity may be limited, unavailable or, where the third party lacks sufficient assets or insurance, ineffective.  NLASCO currently does not have liability insurance to protect against the risk that its technology or future licensed third-party technology infringes the proprietary rights of others.  Any claim of infringement, even if invalid, could cause NLASCO to incur substantial costs defending against the claim and could distract its management from the business.  Furthermore, a party making such a claim could secure a judgment that requires NLASCO to pay substantial damages.  A judgment also could include an injunction or other court order that could prevent NLASCO from using the products and technologies.  Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on NLASCO’s business, operating results and financial condition.

 

Acquisitions could result in operating difficulties and other harmful consequences.

 

From time to time, NLASCO may engage in discussions regarding potential acquisitions, including potential acquisitions that could be material to its financial condition and results of operations.  NLASCO may acquire whole businesses or books of business that fit its underwriting competencies from insurance companies, MGAs and other agents.  In addition, NLASCO may expand its business, product offerings and policyholder base by acquiring businesses in areas in which NLASCO has limited operating experience.  The process of integrating an acquired company or book of business may create unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures.  In particular:

 

·                  NLASCO has achieved its prior success by applying a disciplined approach to underwriting and pricing in select markets that are not well served by its competitors. NLASCO may not be able to successfully implement its underwriting, claims management, pricing and product strategies in companies or books of business it acquires;

·                  NLASCO may not be able to retain the agents associated with acquired businesses and, as a result, may fail to realize the anticipated potential benefits of the acquisition;

·                  NLASCO could be required to implement or remediate controls, procedures and policies for an acquired privately-held company that prior to acquisition may not have been required;

·                  An acquisition could present cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into the organization, which could result in a loss of employees from the businesses NLASCO acquires and other adverse consequences;

·                  NLASCO’s management may have to divert its time and energy from operating the business to integration challenges;

·                  NLASCO could have no prior experience operating the type of business that it acquires, which could create difficulties and result in NLASCO failing to realize many of the anticipated potential benefits of the acquisition; and

·                  An acquisition could dilute NLASCO’s book value per share or after-tax return on average equity.

 

The anticipated benefits of any acquisition may not materialize.  Future acquisitions could result in the incurrence of debt or an assumption of inadequate liabilities for losses and loss adjusted expenses or claims management structures, any of which could harm NLASCO’s financial condition.  Future acquisitions may require NLASCO to obtain additional financing, which may not be available on favorable terms or at all.

 

Risks Related to the Securities Markets and Ownership of Our Common Stock

 

Our charter and insurance laws contain provisions that could discourage acquisition bids or merger proposals, which may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

 

Ownership Limit.  In order to reduce the risk of an ownership change in the future, our charter restricts certain acquisitions of our securities in order to preserve the benefit of our NOLs.  The charter generally prohibits any direct or indirect sale, transfer, assignment, conveyance, pledge or other disposition of shares of our stock or warrants, rights or options to purchase

 

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our stock or any other interests that would be treated as our stock under the income tax regulations promulgated under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, if as a result of such sale, transfer, assignment, conveyance, pledge or other disposition any person or group would beneficially own five percent or more of the market value of the total outstanding shares of our common stock or the percentage of our common stock owned by a five percent or greater stockholder would be increased.  Beneficial ownership is determined utilizing Treasury Regulation Section 1.382-2T(g).  The transfer restrictions were implemented in January 2007, and we expect to maintain these provisions for the foreseeable future.  We cannot assure you, however, that these restrictions will prevent an ownership change.  If any of our stockholders increase their beneficial ownership percentage in our common stock through future acquisitions, there is an increased possibility that the provisions under the charter may be triggered.  Any attempted transfer of shares in violation of the charter prohibitions will be void, and the intended transferee will not acquire any right in those shares.  We have the right to take any lawful action that we believe is necessary or advisable to ensure compliance with these ownership and transfer restrictions, including refusing to recognize any transfer of stock in violation of our charter.  These ownership and transfer restrictions of our charter may have the effect of discouraging or preventing a third party from attempting to gain control of us without the approval of our board of directors.  Accordingly, it is less likely that a change in control, even if beneficial to stockholders, could be effected without the approval of our board of directors.

 

Authority to Issue Additional Shares. Under our charter, our board of directors may issue up to an aggregate of ten million shares of preferred stock without stockholder action.  The preferred stock may be issued, in one or more series, with the preferences and other terms designated by our board of directors that may delay or prevent a change in control of us, even if the change is in the best interests of stockholders. As of December 31, 2010, no shares of preferred stock were designated or outstanding.

 

Insurance LawsNLIC and ASIC are domiciled in the State of Texas.  Before a person can acquire control of an insurance company domiciled in Texas, prior written approval must be obtained from the Texas Department of Insurance.  Acquisition of control would be presumed on the acquisition, directly or indirectly, of ten percent or more of Hilltop’s outstanding voting stock, unless the regulators determine otherwise.  Prior to granting approval of an application to acquire control of a domestic insurer, the Texas Department of Insurance will consider several factors, such as:

 

·                  the financial strength of the acquirer;

·                  the integrity and management experience of the acquirer’s board of directors and executive officers;

·                  the acquirer’s plans for the management of the insurer;

·                  the acquirer’s plans to declare dividends, sell assets or incur debt;

·                  the acquirer’s plans for the future operations of the domestic insurer;

·                  the impact of the acquisition on continued licensure of the domestic insurer;

·                  the impact on the interests of Texas policyholders; and

·                  any anti-competitive results that may arise from the consummation of the acquisition of control.

 

These laws may discourage potential acquisition proposals of Hilltop and may delay, deter or prevent a change of control of Hilltop, including transactions that some or all of our stockholders might consider desirable.

 

We previously announced a stock repurchase program approved by our board of directors whereby we are authorized to repurchase shares of our common stock.

 

Such purchases may be limited, suspended, or terminated at any time without prior notice. There can be no assurance that we will buy shares of our common stock under our stock repurchase program or that any future repurchases will have a positive impact on the trading price of our common stock or earnings per share. Important factors that could cause us to limit, suspend or terminate our stock repurchase program include, among others, unfavorable market conditions, the trading price of our common stock, the nature of other investment or strategic opportunities presented to us from time to time, the rate of dilution of our equity compensation programs and the availability of adequate funds, our ability to make appropriate, timely, and beneficial decisions as to when, how, and whether to purchase shares under the stock repurchase program. If we limit, suspend or terminate our stock repurchase program, our stock price may be negatively affected.

 

Future issuances of shares of common stock may adversely affect the price of our common stock.

 

The future issuance of a substantial number of shares of common stock into the public market, or the perception that such issuance could occur, could adversely affect the prevailing market price of our common stock.  A decline in the price of our common stock could make it more difficult to raise funds through future offerings of our common stock or securities convertible into common stock.

 

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Our common stock price may experience substantial volatility, which may affect your ability to sell our common stock at an advantageous price.

 

Price volatility of our common stock may affect your ability to sell our common stock at an advantageous price.  Market price fluctuations in our common stock may arise due to acquisitions, dispositions or other material public announcements, including those regarding dividends or changes in management, along with a variety of additional factors, including, without limitation, other risks identified in “Forward-looking Statements” and these “Risk Factors.”  In addition, the stock markets in general, including the NYSE, have experienced extreme price and trading fluctuations.  These fluctuations have resulted in volatility in the market prices of securities that often have been unrelated or disproportionate to changes in operating performance.  These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

 

Our rights and the rights of our stockholders to take action against our directors and officers are limited.

 

We are organized under Maryland law, which provides that a director or officer has no liability in that capacity if he or she performs his or her duties in good faith, in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in our best interests and with the care that an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances.  In addition, our charter eliminates our directors’ and officers’ liability to us and our stockholders for money damages, except for liability resulting from actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services or active and deliberate dishonesty established by a final judgment and that is material to the cause of action.  Our bylaws require us to indemnify our directors and officers for liability resulting from actions taken by them in those capacities to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law.  As a result, our stockholders and we may have more limited rights against our directors and officers than might otherwise exist under common law.  In addition, we may be obligated to fund the defense costs incurred by our directors and officers.

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.  PROPERTIES

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3.  LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

We are a party to various legal actions resulting from our operating activities. These actions consist of litigation and administrative proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business, some of which are covered by liability insurance, and none of which is expected to have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations or cash flows taken as a whole.

 

ITEM 4.  MINE SAFETY

 

Not applicable.

 

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PART II

 

ITEM 5.                  MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

Securities, Stockholder and Dividend Information

 

Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HTH”.  Our common stock has no public trading history prior to February 12, 2004.  The initial public offering price of our common stock on February 12, 2004 was $19.00 per share.  Our common stock closed at $8.00 on March 8, 2012.  As of March 9, 2012, there were 56,502,246 shares of our common stock outstanding with approximately 170 stockholders of record.

 

Prior to full redemption of our Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock on September 6, 2010, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HTHPRA”.  Our Series A preferred stock has no public trading history prior to February 12, 2004.

 

We have not paid, and do not intend to pay in the foreseeable future, cash dividends on our common stock.  Any declaration of dividends on our common stock will be at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on the earnings, financial condition, capital requirements, contractual restrictions with respect to payment of dividends and other factors.  See Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources — Restrictions on Dividends and Distributions.”

 

The following table sets forth the cash dividends declared and paid in 2010 with respect to our Series A Preferred Stock:

 

 

 

First Quarter

 

Second Quarter

 

Third Quarter

 

Fourth Quarter

 

Series A Preferred Stock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date of declaration

 

March 17, 2010

 

July 8, 2010

 

August 6, 2010

 

N/A

 

Date of record

 

April 15, 2010

 

July 15, 2010

 

September 6, 2010

 

N/A

 

Date paid

 

April 30, 2010

 

July 30, 2010

 

September 6, 2010

 

N/A

 

Distribution per unit

 

$

0.5156

 

$

0.5156

 

$

0.2063

 

N/A

 

Total dollars (in thousands)

 

$

2,578

 

$

2,578

 

$

1,032

 

N/A

 

 

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The following table discloses the high and low sales prices per quarter for our common and preferred stock during 2011 and 2010.  Quotations reflect inter-dealer prices, without retail mark-up, mark-down or commission and may not represent actual transactions.

 

 

 

Common

 

Series A

 

 

 

Stock

 

Preferred Stock

 

December 31, 2011

 

High

 

Low

 

High

 

Low

 

First Quarter

 

$

10.13

 

$

9.01

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

Second Quarter

 

$

10.09

 

$

8.60

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

Third Quarter

 

$

9.01

 

$

7.12

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

Fourth Quarter

 

$

8.60

 

$

6.88

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

 

December 31, 2010

 

High

 

Low

 

High

 

Low

 

First Quarter

 

$

12.41

 

$

11.29

 

$

25.86

 

$

24.48

 

Second Quarter

 

$

12.20

 

$

9.90

 

$

26.58

 

$