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Table of Contents

 

 

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, 2021

or

¨

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

For transition period from                      to                     .

Commission File Number: 001-38046

ICC Holdings, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

_______________________________

Pennsylvania

(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization) 

81-3359409

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.) 

225 20th Street, Rock Island, Illinois

(Address of principal executive offices) 

61201

(Zip Code) 

(309) 793-1700

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

_______________________________

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

Title of each class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share

ICCH

The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC

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

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

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes    No 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes    No 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files). Yes    No 

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

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

Large accelerated filer   ¨

Accelerated filer   ¨

Non-accelerated filer   x  

Smaller reporting company   x

Emerging growth company    x

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act   ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ¨

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

The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2021, based upon the closing sale price of the Common Stock on June 30, 2021 as reported on the NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, was $34,813,105. Shares of Common Stock held directly or indirectly by each reporting officer and director along with shares held by the Company ESOP have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.

The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding as of March 10, 2022 was 3,295,356.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:

Portions of the definitive Proxy Statement for our 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders which is to be filed within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K, to the extent described in Part III.

 


Table of Contents

 

Table of Contents

Page 

PART I

Item 1.

Business

3

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

23

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

35

Item 2.

Properties

35

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

35

Item 3A.

Forward-Looking Information

36

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

37

PART II

Item 5.

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

38

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

40

Item 7.

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

41

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

58

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

60

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

97

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

97

Item 9B.

Other Information

97

PART III

Items 10-14.

98

PART IV

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

99

Signatures 

100

Exhibit Index 

101

 

 

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Item 1. Business

Overview

ICC Holdings, Inc. is a Pennsylvania corporation that was organized in 2016. As used in this Form 10-K, references to the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to the consolidated group. On a stand-alone basis ICC Holdings, Inc. is referred to as the “Parent Company.” The consolidated group consists of the holding company, ICC Holdings, Inc.; ICC Realty, LLC, a real estate services and holding company; Beverage Insurance Agency, Inc., dba Beverage Insurance Specialty, a non-insurance subsidiary; Estrella Innovative Solutions, Inc., an outsourcing company; Southern Hospitality Education, LLC, dba Katkin, a full-service food safety and education company, and Illinois Casualty Company (ICC), an operating insurance company. ICC is an Illinois domiciled company.



We are a specialty insurance carrier primarily underwriting commercial multi-peril, liquor liability, workers’ compensation, and umbrella liability coverages for the food and beverage industry through our subsidiary insurance company, ICC. ICC writes business in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and markets through independent agents. Approximately 24.0% and 25.0% of the premium was written in Illinois for the years ended December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. The Company operates as a single segment.

We primarily market our products through a network of 186 independent agents in the states that we write in. ICC has been assigned, as of June 22, 2021, an “A-” (Excellent) financial strength rating by A.M. Best Company, Inc. (A.M. Best), which is the fourth highest out of fifteen possible ratings. ICC’s upcoming evaluation by A.M. Best is occurring on April 28, 2022 and therefore the ratings from this evaluation will not be available at the time of this report. ICC’s prior evaluation with A.M. Best occurred on April 28, 2021, when A.M. Best upgraded its Financial Strength Rating (FSR) to “A-“ from “B++” and the Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) to “a-“ (Excellent) from “bbb+” (Good). At that time, the outlook of the FSR as well as the Long-Term ICR is stable. A.M. Best also upgraded the Long-Term ICR of ICC Holdings, Inc. to “bbb-“ (Good) from “bb+” (Good). The outlook assigned, as of June 22, 2021, to the credit rating of the Company is stable.

Since inception, ICC has specialized in providing customized insurance products and aggressive claims defense for customers exclusively in the food and beverage industry.

ICC was founded as an inter-insurance exchange in 1950 based upon the recognition that establishments serving alcohol require unique insurance protection. Beginning in 1998, we expanded the scope of our product offerings beyond liquor liability to include property, general liability, and umbrella. Workers’ compensation coverage was added in 2007. Our goal is to meet the full range of business insurance needs of our clients in the food and beverage industry.

In 1999, ICC recognized the significant need to automate. Upon determining available commercial software was inadequate to meet our long-term vision, we contracted the development of an integrated platform to handle agency, policy, and vendor management. Introduced in 2001, the first module successfully improved productivity and reporting capabilities. We built on that success by adding document imaging, claims, billing, and risk management modules. As it has grown, our information management system has provided us with a unique and comprehensive ability to automate processes, track and examine risk traits, and monitor claims development. As a result, ICC has constructed and leveraged a multi-variant pricing algorithm that allows us to better analyze our business in order to more effectively price to actual exposure.

ICC mutualized in 2004 and began to expand its territory geographically within the Midwest. We are an admitted carrier in 15 states: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. As we expand our territory and product lines, we maintain our focus and commitment to the food and beverage industry. As a result, we have developed an expertise in our niche, particularly within the areas of underwriting, loss control, and claims management. ICC continues to leverage that experience into the ongoing development of innovative insurance products and services uniquely tailored to the food and beverage industry.

ICC is subject to examination and comprehensive regulation by the Illinois Department of Insurance. See Item 1. Business — Regulation.

Our executive offices are located at 225 20th Street, Rock Island, Illinois 61201, and our phone number is (309) 793-1700. Our corporate website address is http://IR.ICCHoldingsInc.com. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K and such information should not be considered to be part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

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Our Business Strategies

We believe that our mission is to deliver expertly crafted insurance products and services for the food and beverage industry. Accordingly, we believe that this focus positions us to write profitable business in both hard insurance markets (where industry capital is constricted, competition is low, and premium rates are rising) and soft insurance markets (where industry capital is rising, competition is high and premium rates are falling). As part of our business process, we have developed our business strategy and focus using the following guiding principles to reflect the essence of who we aspire to be:

we exist to return value to our stakeholders in the form of strong financial performance and sustained surplus growth;

we conduct our business with the highest ethics and unquestionable integrity;

we recognize and reward the commitment of all associates who make ICC a success, by challenging them, valuing them, and recognizing their contribution, while cultivating a mutually supporting culture;

we are committed to the independent agency system and our mutual drive to deliver the highest quality products at competitive prices;

customer service—understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of our policyholder and agents—is at the fundamental core of our existence;

we thrive in the marketplace by pursuing a unique understanding of the niche, offering customized products, and aggressively defending our insureds;

we identify worthy causes to support with our company and associate resources. We promote good corporate citizenship; and

innovation drives our efficiency, quality, and effectiveness. We proactively improve our products and processes by intelligent investment in talent and technology that meets the exacting needs of our customer.

In order to effectuate our mission and guiding principles, we have identified the following core strategies to achieve our long-term success:

design and market commercial property and casualty products customized for the food and beverage industry;

pursue deliberate geographic expansion;

foster partnerships with independent agents who focus on the food and beverage industry and appreciate the Company’s commitment and expertise;

leverage data and technology to maximize operational efficiency, maintain sustainable pricing and drive continuous innovation;

implement an investment strategy that maximizes return within acceptable risk tolerances;

promote a culture of excellence that encourages teamwork and contributes to talent attraction, development, and retention; and

maintain a robust and comprehensive Enterprise Risk Management program, focused on upside optimization and downside mitigation.

Competitive Growth Strategies

Technology – We believe that existing and developing technology and information systems are impacting and will continue to impact the insurance industry’s use of risk analysis in the underwriting process, providing tools for reduction of claims, and modernizing the claims handling process. As part of our focus, we have internally developed a completely integrated policy management system. This system allows us to leverage loss control data for predictive analytics in both the claims and underwriting areas. For example, in the underwriting area, we create pricing models taking into account the unique characteristics of our customers, with industry-specific variables such as latest hour of close, type and frequency of on-site entertainment, and average alcoholic beverage pricing. We also have achieved better efficiency by moving to a more paperless organization and have integrated off-site employees in our claims, underwriting, accounting, loss control and IT development areas. We intend to remain a leader in the industry in utilizing technology and data analysis to price our coverage based on the risk assumed, reduce accidents and provide prompt claims response.

 

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Industry Expertise – We have provided the food and beverage industry insurance products and services since 1950. By leveraging our experience, we better understand our customers and their needs, which allows us to better price our products and services and defend claims aggressively and economically using the experience of our in-house legal department and an established network of specialized defense attorneys. As a result, we are the exclusively endorsed property and liability insurance provider for the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association, the Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage Association, and the Tavern League of Colorado. We also provide insurance agents with continuing education on industry topics, such as liquor liability, kitchen fire prevention, and alcohol server training. For policyholders serving liquor, we provide certified alcohol server training as a value-added service and risk elimination/mitigation tool. Our employees are also regular panel speakers at local and national claims conferences.

Enterprise Risk Management – As part of our effort to grow responsibly, we have put in place a cross-functional, multi-dimensional enterprise risk management program. The program is focused on financial, organization, operational, tactical, market and legal risks and is managed at two different levels: the enterprise risk committee of our board of directors and our internal enterprise risk management committee. The focus of the enterprise risk committee of our board of directors is on oversight, top tier risk, emerging risks, and risk optimization. The internal enterprise risk committee is comprised of our executive team, along with our actuarial manager, which is focused on conducting a review of all risks attendant to the Company at least annually; rating triaged risks for severity, frequency, and control; completing risk control reports for stress testing, risk tolerance, and mitigation plans; measuring and monitoring risk on an ongoing basis; and tying enterprise risk management to individual performance evaluations and compensation. Annually the Company, working with its reinsurance broker, completes an economic capital model for the insurance operations of ICC.

Growth Strategies

While we have established a significant market share in our existing territories, we believe that there is still opportunity for growth within our existing footprint. We will continue to seek out insurance agency partners who have a commitment to our niche and an ability to sell the value represented by our products. Our long-term growth plan also involves expanding geographically into states where we believe current insurance laws provide an attractive market within our niche for our existing products and services. We will consider geographic expansion opportunities that allow us to leverage existing agency relationships whose footprints overlap our own. Growth opportunities will always be carefully evaluated with long term profitability at the forefront of the decision making process.

Although we do not have any current plans or intent to expand or grow our business by acquisition, we will consider opportunities that are presented to us.

Reaction to Market Cycles

Many insurance companies sporadically target businesses within our niche; however, a relatively small number make a long-term commitment to the niche through changing insurance market cycles. When the insurance market is “hard” and premium growth is achievable in less specialized segments, many carriers exit this niche. Large and diversified insurance carriers have the ability to shift their focus and resources to less challenging areas. When market conditions “soften,” those same carriers often aggressively move back into our niche for premium growth. Because we specialize in the niche, we do not shift resources to other market segments. Therefore, the Company generally maintains pricing stability throughout market cycles by relying on our strong loss control, underwriting and claims expertise, and our customer service commitment. We react to market cycles by adjusting our appetite for risks based on pricing and cycle conditions, but we maintain a consistent commitment to the food and beverage industry. Due to the relatively small number of insurance companies that make a long-term commitment to this niche, the insurance market does not fluctuate to the same extent as the insurance market for the general commercial market.

 

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Our Challenges

Our business faces significant challenges that can impede our goal of growing our business while realizing operating profits, including the following:

Estimating Our Loss Reserves.

We maintain loss reserves to cover our estimated ultimate liability for unpaid losses and settlement expenses for reported and unreported claims incurred as of the end of each accounting period. These reserves represent management’s estimates of what the ultimate settlement and administration of claims will cost. Pursuant to applicable insurance regulations, these reserves are reviewed by an independent actuary on at least an annual basis. Setting reserves is inherently uncertain and there can be no assurance that current or future reserves will prove adequate. If our loss reserves are inadequate, it will have an unfavorable impact on our results. See Item 1. Business — Losses and Settlement Expense for a summary of the favorable and unfavorable developments in our loss reserves in the previous 10-year period.

Reliance on Independent Agents.

Our product is distributed through a contracted network of independent insurance agents. Independent agents are typically contracted with a number of insurance carriers. The producers within an agency will determine which product is most appropriate to recommend to their client or prospective client. The agency will select a product based on a variety of factors such as: premium; coverage; service including billing and claims; agency compensation and agency/company relationship. Establishing and maintaining long term financially successful agency relationships is very important to the long term success of a company.

Maintaining Our Financial Strength Ratings.

In June 2021, A.M. Best upgraded ICC’s financial strength rating to “A-“ from “B++” stable outlook. A key to achieving our goal of significant growth in our premiums written is maintaining an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or better. Increasing our capitalization and maintaining strong operating performance are significant rating components reviewed by A.M. Best. This is combined with a review of various other rating requirements. If we are not able to increase our rating or if A.M. Best downgrades our rating, it is likely that we will not be able to compete as effectively and our ability to sell insurance policies could decline. As a result, our financial results would be adversely affected. A.M. Best reviews our rating approximately once per year.

Attracting, Developing and Retaining Experienced Personnel.

To sustain our growth as a property and casualty insurance company operating in a specialty niche market, we must continue to attract, develop and retain management, marketing, distribution, underwriting, customer service, and claims personnel with expertise in the products we offer. The loss of key personnel, or our inability to recruit, develop and retain additional qualified personnel, could materially and adversely affect our business, growth and profitability.

Competitive Strengths

Our opportunity for growth is driven by our competitive strengths, which include the following:

Use of Data and Metrics to Improve our Underwriting Results.

Our analysis of data available through both governmental and other industry resources, combined with our internal data, drive our underwriting and pricing decisions. We have developed a multi-variant risk grading system and pricing algorithm that combines both objective and subjective inputs that drive both whether to provide coverage and pricing. This information helps us avoid providing coverage to higher risk insureds while improving our overall risk profile. Most risks we insure are inspected within the first 60 days of policy binding, which permits us to cancel the policy if we determine that the insured is not an acceptable risk or pricing is inadequate. Each inspection consists of an extensive risk profile questionnaire as well as 25 to 100 pictures of the insured’s place of business. We believe this approach reduces claims frequency.

 

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Focus on niche food and beverage business.

We target niche markets within the food and beverage industry that support adequate pricing and believe we are able to adapt to changing market needs ahead of our competitors through our strategic focus. We develop and deliver specialty insurance products priced to meet our customers’ needs and strive to generate consistent underwriting profit. We believe that our extensive experience and expertise specific to underwriting and claims management in the food and beverage industry will allow continued loss ratio improvement going forward. The Company is committed to retaining this underwriting and claim handling expertise as a core competency as the volume of business increases.

Strong market presence with name recognition and long-standing producer relationships.

We have been writing insurance for the food and beverage industry in Illinois since 1950. Approximately 24.0% of current direct premium was generated in Illinois for the year ended December 31, 2021.

Great care is taken in building the ICC brand in all states of operation and the Company holds significant market share in nearly all states serviced. ICC acknowledges that each state, each agency and each customer is unique. A commitment to quality of product and services is universally important and recognized.

Scalable operations positioned for growth.

We are focused on automation and operating efficiencies across our core functional areas. We have consistently increased premium per full time equivalent employee for five consecutive years with the exception of 2020 during which we experienced a decrease in written premium per full time equivalent employee due to the disproportionate negative impact COVID-19 had on the Company’s market niche. We believe we are well-positioned in both terms of personnel and systems to increase written premiums and to expand into new geographic markets with better than industry level profitability using the efficient operating infrastructure we have developed.

Experienced management team.

We are managed by an experienced group of executives led by Arron K. Sutherland, our President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Sutherland has served in his current position since June 2010, joined ICC in 2006 and has worked in the insurance industry for over 25 years. Michael R. Smith, our Vice President – Chief Financial Officer, has served with ICC since 2011. Mr. Smith has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry. Howard J. Beck, our Vice President – Chief Underwriting Officer, has been with ICC since 2004 and has over 33 years of insurance experience and 26 years of property and casualty underwriting experience. Norman D. Schmeichel, our Vice President – Chief Information Officer, has served with ICC since 2002. Mr. Schmeichel has more than 25 years’ experience in information technologies and 18 years’ experience in the insurance industry. Additionally, Julia B. Suiter, our Chief Legal Officer, has served with ICC since 2009 and has over 25 years’ experience in insurance defense and contract law. Kathleen S. Springer, our Chief Human Resources Officer, has served with ICC since 2008 and has over 25 years’ experience in benefits, compensation, and talent acquisition and more than 12 years’ experience in the insurance industry. As a group, our executive officers have on average more than 23 years’ experience in the property and casualty insurance industry.

Products

ICC has specialized in the food and beverage industry since 1950. Our product language is based on Insurance Services Offices (ISO) forms, which is an industry standard, but tailored to the specific needs of our clients. We began by writing liquor liability or dram shop insurance and that remains a prominent line of business today. Commercial property and liability are written in a single policy as a business owners policy (BOP). ICC also writes workers’ compensation and commercial umbrella policies which are written as complementary lines to the BOP and liquor liability and are not offered on a stand-alone basis. As of December 31, 2021, ICC had 6,088 BOP policies, 6,667 liquor liability policies, 1,959 workers’ compensation policies and 1,696 commercial umbrella policies. 91.2% of BOP policies and 96.4% of liquor liability policies are for either restaurants or taverns. While we do not currently write commercial auto insurance, we do insure risks associated with the delivery of food or beverage.

Marketing and Distribution

Our commercial insurance product is sold by over 186 independent insurance agents, also referred to as producers. These agencies access multiple insurance companies and are typically established businesses in the communities in which they operate. We view these agents as our primary customers because they are in a position to recommend either our insurance products or those of a competitor to their customers. We consider our relationships with these agencies to be a core strength of the Company.

 

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We manage our producers through quarterly business reviews utilizing various internally generated reports. Our quantitative agency review (QAR) measures each agency on a variety of weighted metrics and ranks them from high to low. The measurement is updated on a weekly basis and is available for all company employees’ review.

For the year ended December 31, 2021, one of our producers was responsible for more than 5% of our direct premiums written and our top 10 producers accounted for approximately 39.9% of direct premiums written.

Our agency partners are supported by our Marketing Department. These representatives also identify and train new agents. We conduct regularly scheduled webinars for agents as well as onsite training on company products and services. These include technical training about our products as well as sales training to effectively market our products. We also offer our agents industry specific training that qualifies for continuing education credit for state insurance license requirements.

Agents are compensated through a fixed base commission with an opportunity for profit sharing depending on the producer’s premiums written and profitability. Agents receive commission as a percentage of premiums (generally 15% for most lines, except worker’s compensation policies which are generally at 7.5%) as their primary compensation from us. We offer a contingent compensation plan as an incentive for producers to place high-quality business with us and to support our loss control efforts. We believe that the contingent compensation paid to our producers is comparable with those offered by other insurance companies and is designed to reward agents for growth and profitability.

Our marketing efforts are also supported by our claims, litigation, billing, underwriting and loss control departments. As industry specialists, we are able to offer expertise in all interactions with agents and/or policyholders. For example, our claims philosophy is to provide prompt and efficient service and claims processing, resulting in a positive experience for both the agents and policyholders. We take an aggressive, defense-oriented position on third party liability claims which is recognized and appreciated by our policyholders. We believe that these positive experiences result in higher policyholder retention and create new business opportunities for our agents. While we rely on our agents for front line distribution and customer support, underwriting, billing, loss control and claim handling responsibilities are retained by us. Many of our agents have had direct relationships with us for a number of years.

Underwriting, Risk Assessment and Pricing

Our underwriting philosophy is aimed at consistently generating profits through sound risk selection, stringent loss control and pricing discipline. One key element in sound risk selection is our use of risk characteristic metrics. Through our practice of focused underwriting, we have identified predictive metrics of data that many other insurance companies do not recognize or measure. Use of these metrics allows us to more effectively price risks, thereby improving our profitability and allowing us to compete favorably with other insurance carriers. We also are very active in leveraging our onsite loss control inspections. An example would be the monitoring of kitchen fire suppression systems servicing to reduce kitchen fire losses.

Our philosophy is to understand our industry and be disciplined in our underwriting efforts. We will not compromise profitability for top line growth.

Our competitive strategy in underwriting is:

Maximize the use of available information acquired through a wide variety of industry resources.

Allow our internal metrics and rating to establish risk pricing and use sound underwriting judgment for risk selection and pricing modification.

Utilize our risk grading system, which combines both objective and subjective inputs, to quantify desirability of risks and improve our overall risk profile.

Physically inspect most new insureds within the first 60 days of policy binding with our in-house loss control representatives. Our inspection consists of an extensive risk profile questionnaire and includes 25 to 100 electronic photos of the insured’s place of business. Inspections that demonstrate that a risk is not desirable is a basis for revoking coverage.

Provide very high-quality service to our agents and insureds by responding quickly and effectively to information requests and policy submissions. Treat our agents as partners and have the same expectation of them.

Our underwriting department works in teams with each agent assigned to one of three teams. We underwrite our accounts by evaluating each risk with consistently applied standards. Each policy undergoes a thorough evaluation process prior to every renewal.

 

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Our underwriting staff of 21 employees has an average of 18 years of insurance industry experience. Howard J. Beck, our Vice President – Chief Underwriting Officer, has been with ICC since 2004 and has over 33 years of insurance experience with 26 years of property and casualty underwriting experience.

We strive to be disciplined in our pricing by pursuing targeted rate changes to continually improve our underwriting profitability while still being able to attract and retain profitable customers. Our pricing reviews involve evaluating our claims experience, loss trends, data acquired from inspections, applications and other data sources to identify characteristics that drive the frequency and severity of our claims. These results drive changes to rates and rating metrics as well as understanding what portions of our business are most profitable.

This knowledge and analysis enables us to price risks accurately, improve account retention, and drive profitable new business.

Claims and Litigation Management

Our claims team supports our underwriting strategy by working to provide a timely, good faith claims handling response to our policyholders. Claims excellence is achieved by timely investigation and handling of claims, settlement of meritorious claims for equitable amounts, maintenance of adequate case reserves, and control of claims loss settlement expenses.

Claims on insurance policies are received directly from the insured or through our independent agents. Our claims department supports our producer relationship strategy by working to provide a consistently responsive level of claim service to our policyholders.

Chief Legal Officer, Julia Suiter, provides oversight of our claims and legal departments. She has over 25 years’ experience in insurance defense litigation and contract law. Ms. Suiter, supervises a legal department staff that includes a Litigation Manager, a Litigation Counsel, a Paralegal, a Claims Manager and a claims staff of 17 employees with considerable years of experience in processing property and casualty insurance claims.

Technology

Our technology efforts are focused on supporting our strategy of differentiating ourselves from our competitors through use of data mining, business intelligence solutions, and data analysis to determine profitability of new and existing business and to better price risks that we underwrite.

We have streamlined internal processes to achieve operational efficiencies through the implementation of a policy and claim imaging and workflow system. This system provides online access to electronic copies of policies, quotes, inspections, and any other correspondence enabling our associates to quickly and efficiently underwrite policies, adjust claims, and respond to our producers’ inquiries.

Since the system integrates all aspects of the policy life cycle, from underwriting to billing to claims, we are able to better automate all internal workflows through electronic routing thus lowering costs and providing better service to our customers. This system allows us to leverage loss control data for predictive analytics in both the claims and underwriting areas. For example, in the underwriting area, we can create pricing models taking into account the unique characteristics of our customers, such as neighborhoods, entertainment on site and average alcoholic beverage pricing.

We have implemented best in class virus or malware protections while still enabling our employees to work from any location. We are tested on a periodic basis to ensure our protections are sufficient.

We have the ability to scale since we are almost entirely a paperless organization. This allows us to integrate off-site employees just as if they are in the office. We intend to remain a leader in the industry by utilizing technology and data analysis to price our coverage based on the risk assumed and to both reduce accidents and provide a prompt response to claims.

As part of our disaster recovery program, we utilize a third party backup software package to provide a complete copy of our production systems at an off-site location that is updated on a daily basis. We also have a generator that will allow the home office to operate in the event power or access to our headquarters is disrupted. We test this disaster recovery plan annually as well as continually expand its capabilities to eliminate business interruption to the best of our ability.

 

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Reinsurance

In accordance with insurance industry practice, we reinsure a portion of our exposure and pay to the reinsurers a portion of the premiums received on all policies reinsured. Insurance policies written by us are reinsured with other insurance companies principally to:

reduce net liability on individual risks;

mitigate the effect of individual loss occurrences (including catastrophic losses);

stabilize underwriting results;

decrease leverage; and

increase our underwriting capacity.

Reinsurance can be facultative or treaty. Under facultative reinsurance, each policy or portion of a risk is reinsured individually. Under treaty reinsurance, an agreed-upon portion of a class of business is automatically reinsured. Reinsurance also can be classified as quota share reinsurance, pro rata reinsurance or excess of loss reinsurance. Under quota share reinsurance and pro rata reinsurance, the insurance company issuing the policy cedes a percentage of its insurance liability to the reinsurer in exchange for a like percentage of premiums, less a ceding commission. The company issuing the policy in turn recovers from the reinsurer the reinsurer’s share of all loss and settlement expenses incurred on those risks. Under excess of loss reinsurance, an insurer limits its liability to all or a particular portion of the amount in excess of a predetermined deductible or retention. Regardless of type, reinsurance does not legally discharge the insurance company issuing the policy from primary liability for the full amount due under the reinsured policies. However, the assuming reinsurer is obligated to reimburse the company issuing the policy to the extent of the coverage ceded.

We determine the amount and scope of reinsurance coverage to purchase each year based on a number of factors. These factors include the evaluation of the risks accepted, consultations with reinsurance intermediates and a review of market conditions, including the availability and pricing of reinsurance. A primary factor in the selection of reinsurers from whom we purchase reinsurance is their financial strength. Our reinsurance arrangements are generally renegotiated annually. We expect 2022’s reinsurance spend to be slightly lower than 2021. For the year ended December 31, 2021, we ceded to reinsurers $11.0 million of written premiums, compared to $10.1 million of written premiums for the year ended December 31, 2020.

The chart below illustrates the 2022 reinsurance coverage under our excess of loss treaty for individual liability and property risks (with the defined terms following the chart):

Picture 3

 

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Term

 

Meaning

1 @ x%

 

“1” refers to the number of times that we reinstate the coverage. The number prior to the “%” sign indicates the overall cost to us when reinstating coverage.

AAD

This is short for Aggregate Annual Deductible. Aggregate annual deductible is the maximum amount ICC needs to pay within a policy period before the reinsurer pays for covered losses.

Aggregate Catastrophe

 

An aggregate catastrophe treaty is a reinsurance cover designed to help us manage the effects of multiple catastrophe events on our results.

Basket Coverage

 

Excess liability reinsurance that attaches once retained losses in combined property and casualty occurrences (i.e. those that involve BOP property and BOP liability, or Liquor Liability or Workers’ Compensation or Hired and Non-owned Auto) exceed $1 million.  If ICC has an occurrence where the combined property and casualty retention is greater than $1 million then the company would recover up to $1 million of loss in excess of that $1 million retention.  The basket coverage limits the Company’s retention in any one combined occurrence to $1 million and not the combined separate retentions provided for in the casualty reinsurance ($1.0 million), Workers’ Compensation reinsurance ($1.0 million), Hired and Non-owned Auto reinsurance ($750,000) and Property reinsurance ($750,000).

Casualty

 

For this chart, this refers to our Liquor Liability, BOP liability, Workers’ Compensation and any Umbrella policies.

Catastrophe

Reflects the sum of all individual losses directly resulting from any one occurrence, disaster, accident or loss or a series of occurrences, disasters, accidents or losses arising out of one event.

Free

Refers to the number of reinstatements available for reinsurance coverage. With this wording, each separate loss occurrence above the retention is covered by the treaty.

Inures

 

Our Workers’ Compensation reinsurance contracts are first applied to reduce the loss subject to the Casualty XOL contract and are said to inure to the benefit of the Casualty XOL contract.

MAOL

 

This reinsurance sublimit puts a cap on the maximum loss any one life/claimant can contribute to the reinsurance recoverable.

Per Risk

 

Reinsurance in which the reinsurance limit and our loss retention apply “per risk,” rather than per accident, per event, or in the aggregate.

Retention

 

The amount of loss and settlement expense retained by us either per occurrence on casualty losses or per risk on property claims.

WC

 

This is short for Workers’ Compensation.

XOL

 

This is short for Excess of Loss reinsurance coverage.

XS

 

This is short for Excess. For example, our Property per Risk tower has three separate contracts providing coverage. The top layer in that tower provides $7.0 million coverage for each risk for losses in excess of $5.0 million.

We retain the first $1.0 million of workers’ compensation losses. Losses in excess of the $1.0 million are covered under our casualty excess of loss program within the Casualty XOL Tower up to $6.0 million. Losses above the $6.0 million are then covered under the second workers’ compensation treaty through $11.0 million. Above $11.0 million, losses are covered under a workers’ compensation cover within the WC XOL Tower that provides $14.5 million in excess of $11.0 million. We have an additional cover that provides $10.0 million of coverage in excess of $25.5 million for nineteen direct policies issued by the Company.

Casualty risks (Casualty XOL Tower) (business owners, liability, liquor liability, umbrella) are covered for $10.0 million in loss above a $1.0 million retention for each loss occurrence.

Property per risk excess of loss program (Property Per Risk XOL Tower) provides coverage above our $750,000 retention up to $12.0 million on a treaty basis and facultative for a few risks above that to their full limits.

Property catastrophe reinsurance (Section A Property Cat Occurrence) provides coverage in any one event for $14.0 million of loss in excess of our $1.0 million retention.

We also have aggregate catastrophe protection (Section B Aggregate Catastrophe) in the event that catastrophe losses retained by us exceeds $2.0 million in such year. This program allows us to aggregate catastrophe events where losses exceed $100,000 but fall below the $1 million occurrence retention.

 

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The insolvency or inability of any reinsurer to meet its obligations to us could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. Our reinsurance providers, the majority of whom are longstanding partners who understand our business, are all carefully selected with the help of our reinsurance broker. We monitor the solvency of reinsurers through regular review of their financial statements and, if available, their A.M. Best ratings. All of our reinsurance partners have at least an “A-” rating from A.M. Best. According to A.M. Best, companies with a rating of “A-” or better “have an excellent ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders.”

The following table sets forth the largest amounts of loss and loss expenses unpaid and recoverable from reinsurers as of December 31, 2021:

Losses and Settlement

Expense Recoverable

Percentage of

On Unpaid Claims
(In thousands)

Total

A.M. Best

Reinsurance Company

(In thousands)

Recoverable

Rating

Platinum Underwriters

$

2,684

18.5%

A+

Hannover Rückversicherungs

1,932

13.3%

A+

Aspen Insurance UK Ltd

1,805

12.4%

A

Partner Reinsurance Company

1,496

10.3%

A+

Everest Reinsurance Company

1,163

8.0%

A+

Swiss Reinsurance

1,143

7.9%

A+

Endurance Reinsurance

852

5.9%

A+

Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

609

4.2%

A

Employers Mutual Casualty Company

341

2.3%

A

Toa Reinsurance Company

162

1.1%

A

Allied World Insurance Company

102

0.7%

A

All other reinsurers including anticipated subrogation

2,232

15.4%

A- or better

Total

$

14,521

100.0%

 

Losses and Settlement Expense Reserves

We are required by applicable insurance laws and regulations to maintain reserves for payment of loss and settlement expenses. These reserves are established for both reported claims and for claims incurred but not reported (IBNR), arising from the policies we have issued. The laws and regulations require that provision be made for the ultimate cost of those claims without regard to how long it takes to settle them or the time value of money. The determination of reserves involves actuarial and statistical projections of what we expect to be the cost of the ultimate settlement and administration of such claims. The reserves are set based on facts and circumstances then known, estimates of future trends in claims severity, and other variable factors such as inflation and changing judicial theories of liability.

Estimating the ultimate liability for losses and settlement expense is an inherently uncertain process. Therefore, the reserve for losses and settlement expense does not represent an exact calculation of that liability. Our reserve policy recognizes this uncertainty by maintaining reserves at a level providing for the possibility of adverse development relative to the estimation process. We do not discount our reserves to recognize the time value of money.

When a claim is reported to us, our claims personnel establish a “case reserve” for the estimated amount of the ultimate payment. This estimate reflects an informed judgment based upon general insurance reserving practices and on the experience and knowledge of our claims staff. In estimating the appropriate reserve, our claims staff considers the nature and value of the specific claim, the severity of injury or damage, and the policy provisions relating to the type of loss. Case reserves are adjusted by our claims staff as more information becomes available. It is our policy to resolve each claim as expeditiously as possible.

We maintain IBNR reserves to provide for already incurred claims that have not yet been reported and developments on reported claims. The IBNR reserve is determined by estimating our ultimate net liability for both reported and IBNR claims and then subtracting the case reserves and paid loss and settlement expense for reported claims.

Each quarter, we compute our estimated ultimate liability using principles and procedures applicable to the lines of business written. However, because the establishment of loss reserves is an inherently uncertain process, we cannot provide assurance that ultimate losses will not exceed the established loss reserves. Adjustments in aggregate reserves, if any, are reflected in the operating results of the period during which such adjustments are made.

 

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Table of Contents

 

The following table provides information about open claims, reserves, and paid loss and settlement expense on a direct basis only:

As of and for the period ended December 31, 2021

(In millions, except open claims count)

Open Claims

Total Reserves1

Case Reserves

IBNR Reserves

Paid Losses and Settlement Expense

Commercial Multi-Peril (non-liability portion)

422

$

6.77

$

5.30

$

1.48

$

15.73

Commercial Multi-Peril (liability portion)

325

28.77

12.59

16.19

9.43

Workers' Compensation

156

7.87

4.46

3.41

3.08

Other Liability - occurrence

251

18.11

7.77

10.33

7.70

Total

1,154

$

61.52

$

30.12

$

31.41

$

35.94

1

Assumed reserves of $0.31 million are excluded from the Total Gross Reserves. Workers' Compensation ($0.28 million assumed reserve) and Umbrella Liability ($0.03 million assumed reserve) are the only lines of business that have assumed reserves.

The following table provides a reconciliation of beginning and ending unpaid losses and settlement expense reserve balances for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, prepared in accordance with GAAP.

(In thousands)

2021

2020

Unpaid losses and settlement expense - beginning of the period:

Gross

$

61,576

$

56,838

Less: Ceded

13,020

11,036

Net

48,556

45,802

Increase in incurred losses and settlement expense:

Current year

33,968

31,356

Prior years

732

1,206

Total incurred

34,700

32,562

Deduct: Loss and settlement expense payments for claims incurred:

Current year

14,740

13,054

Prior years

21,203

16,754

Total paid

35,943

29,808

Net unpaid losses and settlement expense - end of the period

47,314

48,556

Plus: Reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses

14,521

13,020

Gross unpaid losses and settlement expense - end of the period

$

61,835

$

61,576

The estimation process for determining the liability for unpaid losses and settlement expense inherently results in adjustments each year for claims incurred (but not paid) in preceding years. Negative amounts reported for claims incurred related to prior years are a result of claims being settled for amounts less than originally estimated (favorable development). Positive amounts reported for claims incurred related to prior years are a result of claims being settled for amounts greater than originally estimated (unfavorable or adverse development).

Reconciliation of Reserve for Loss and Settlement Expenses

The following table shows the development of our reserves for unpaid loss and settlement expense from 2012 through 2021 on a GAAP basis. The top line of the table shows the liabilities at the balance sheet date, including losses incurred but not yet reported. The upper portion of the table shows the cumulative amounts subsequently paid as of successive years with respect to the liability. The lower portion of the table shows the re-estimated amount of the previously recorded liability based on experience as of the end of each succeeding year. The estimates change as more information becomes known about the frequency and severity of claims for individual years. The redundancy (deficiency) exists when the re-estimated liability for each reporting period is less (greater) than the prior liability estimate. The “cumulative redundancy (deficiency)” depicted in the table, for any particular calendar year, represents the aggregate change in the initial estimates over all subsequent calendar years.

Gross deficiencies and redundancies may be significantly more or less than net deficiencies and redundancies due to the nature and extent of applicable reinsurance.

 

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Table of Contents

 

As noted in the table below, since 2012 the Company has principally selected initial ultimate loss picks that have proven to be deficient over time.

(In thousands)

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Liability for unpaid loss and settlement expense, net of reinsurance recoverable

$

35,976 

$

36,340 

$

38,795 

$

41,898 

$

40,702 

$

41,048 

$

44,714 

$

45,802 

$

48,556 

$

47,314 

Cumulative amount of liability paid through:

One year later

12,188 

12,509 

14,088 

17,686 

16,841 

17,122 

17,311 

16,737 

21,203 

Two years later

20,899 

22,677 

26,877 

29,066 

26,640 

28,219 

27,719 

31,628 

Three years later

27,481 

29,923 

34,742 

35,548 

34,275 

34,955 

37,237 

Four years later

31,900 

33,651 

37,926 

39,047 

37,901 

41,329 

Five years later

33,842 

35,207 

39,452 

40,592 

41,614 

Six years later

34,593 

36,053 

40,224 

41,835 

Seven years later

34,854 

36,356 

40,810 

Eight years later

34,982 

36,914 

Nine years later

35,306 

Liability estimated after:

One year later

35,113 

36,765 

38,237 

40,417 

39,667 

42,525 

44,839 

46,993 

49,288 

Two years later

35,574 

36,209 

39,598 

42,176 

41,573 

44,176 

45,631 

49,918 

Three years later

35,379 

36,766 

41,569 

42,294 

43,011 

45,156 

47,963 

Four years later

36,029 

37,274 

41,348 

43,108 

43,772 

47,581 

Five years later

35,744 

36,958 

41,519 

43,155 

45,310 

Six years later

35,471 

37,045 

41,355 

43,903 

Seven years later

35,350 

36,924 

41,637