10-K 1 h10051668x1_10k.htm FORM 10-K

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

FORM 10-K

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017

or

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

Commission file number 0-3722

ATLANTIC AMERICAN CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Georgia
58-1027114
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
4370 Peachtree Road, N.E.,
Atlanta, Georgia
30319
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Zip Code)

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code) (404) 266-5500

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

Title of each class
Name of exchange
Common Stock, par value
$1.00 per share
NASDAQ Global Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None

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

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.

Yes o 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 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 ☒ 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. ☒

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 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 o
Accelerated filer o
Non-accelerated filer o
Smaller reporting company ☒
 
 
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
 
Emerging growth company o
 
 
 

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. o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

Yes o No ☒

The aggregate market value of common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2017, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $15,787,219. For purposes hereof, beneficial ownership is determined under rules adopted pursuant to Section 13 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the foregoing excludes value ascribed to common stock that may be deemed beneficially owned by the directors and executive officers, and 10% or greater stockholders, of the registrant, some of whom may not be deemed to be affiliates upon judicial determination. On March 14, 2018 there were 20,402,029 shares of the registrant’s common stock, par value $1.00 per share, outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

1. Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant’s fiscal year end, have been incorporated by reference in Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III of this Form 10-K.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 
 
Page
PART I
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PART II
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PART III
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PART IV
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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PART I

Item 1. Business

The Company

Atlantic American Corporation, a Georgia corporation incorporated in 1968 (the “Parent” or “Company”), is a holding company that operates through its subsidiaries in well-defined specialty markets within the life and health and property and casualty insurance industries. The Parent’s principal operating subsidiaries are American Southern Insurance Company and American Safety Insurance Company (together known as “American Southern”) within the property and casualty insurance industry and Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company and Bankers Fidelity Assurance Company (together known as “Bankers Fidelity”) within the life and health insurance industry. Each of American Southern and Bankers Fidelity is managed separately based upon the type of products it offers, and is evaluated on its individual performance. The Company’s strategy is to focus on well-defined geographic, demographic and/or product niches within the insurance marketplace. Each of American Southern and Bankers Fidelity operates with relative autonomy, which structure is designed to allow for quick reaction to market opportunities.

The Parent has no significant business operations of its own and relies on fees, dividends and other distributions from its operating subsidiaries as the principal source of cash flow to meet its obligations. Additional information regarding the cash flow and liquidity needs of the Parent can be found in the Liquidity and Capital Resources section of Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Property and Casualty Operations

American Southern comprises the Company’s property and casualty operations and its primary product lines are as follows:

Business Automobile Insurance policies provide bodily injury and/or property damage liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage and physical damage coverage for commercial accounts.

General Liability Insurance policies cover bodily injury and property damage liability for both premises and completed operations exposures for general classes of business.

Surety Bonds are contracts under which one party, the insurance company issuing the surety bond, guarantees to a third party that the primary party will fulfill an obligation in accordance with a contractual agreement. This obligation may involve meeting a contractual commitment, paying a debt or performing certain duties.

American Southern provides tailored business automobile insurance coverage, on a multi-year contract basis, to state governments, local municipalities and other large motor pools and fleets (“block accounts”) that can be specifically rated and underwritten. The size of the block accounts insured by American Southern are generally such that individual class experience can be determined, which allows for customized policy terms and rates. American Southern is licensed to do business in 32 states and the District of Columbia. While the majority of American Southern’s premiums are derived from its automobile lines of business, American Southern also offers inland marine and general liability coverages. Additionally, American Southern directly provides surety bond coverage for school bus transportation and subdivision construction, as well as performance and payment bonds.

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The following table summarizes, for the periods indicated, the allocation of American Southern’s net earned premiums from each of its principal product lines:

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
(In thousands)
Automobile liability
$
29,370
 
$
28,219
 
Automobile physical damage
 
9,972
 
 
10,192
 
General liability
 
2,953
 
 
3,009
 
Surety
 
8,441
 
 
8,999
 
Other lines
 
2,925
 
 
3,344
 
Total
$
53,661
 
$
53,763
 

Life and Health Operations

Bankers Fidelity comprises the life and health operations of the Company and offers a variety of life and supplemental health products. Products offered by Bankers Fidelity include ordinary and term life insurance, Medicare supplement and other accident and health insurance products. Health insurance products, primarily Medicare supplement insurance, accounted for 91% of Bankers Fidelity’s net earned premiums in 2017 while life insurance, including both whole and term life insurance policies, accounted for the balance. In terms of the number of policies written in 2017, 97% were health insurance policies and 3% were life insurance policies.

The following table summarizes, for the periods indicated, the allocation of Bankers Fidelity’s net earned premiums from each of its principal product lines followed by a brief description of the principal products:

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
(In thousands)
Life insurance
$
9,574
 
$
9,974
 
Medicare supplement
 
93,652
 
 
84,107
 
Other accident and health
 
6,440
 
 
5,621
 
Total health insurance
 
100,092
 
 
89,728
 
Total
$
109,666
 
$
99,702
 

Life Insurance products include non-participating individual term and whole life insurance policies with a variety of riders and options. Policy premiums are dependent upon a number of factors, including issue age, level of coverage and selected riders or options.

Medicare Supplement Insurance includes 8 of the 11 standardized Medicare supplement policies created under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (“MIPPA”), which are designed to provide insurance coverage for certain expenses not covered by the Medicare program, including copayments and deductibles.

Other Accident and Health Insurance coverages include several policies providing for the payment of standard benefits in connection with the treatment of diagnosed cancer and other critical illnesses, as well as a number of other policies providing nursing facility care, accident expense, hospital indemnity and disability coverages.

Marketing

Property and Casualty Operations

A portion of American Southern’s business is marketed through a small number of specialized, experienced independent agents. American Southern’s agent selection process is actively managed by internal marketing personnel with oversight from management. Senior management carefully reviews all new programs prior to acceptance. Most of American Southern’s agents are paid an up-front commission with the potential for additional commissions by participating in a profit sharing arrangement that is directly linked to the profitability

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of the underlying business. American Southern also solicits business from governmental entities. As an experienced writer of insurance policies for certain governmental programs, the company actively pursues this market on a direct basis. Much of this business is priced by means of competitive bid situations and there can be no assurance with respect to ultimate profitability or that the company can obtain or retain such business at the time of a specific contract renewal.

Life and Health Operations

Bankers Fidelity markets its policies through three distribution channels all of which utilize commissioned, independent agents. The three channels utilized are traditional independent agents, broker-agents typically interested in a specific product of Bankers Fidelity and special market agents who promote workplace, association and/or branded products.

Bankers Fidelity utilizes an agent qualification process and had 7,423 licensed agents as of December 31, 2017. The agents generally concentrate their sales activities in both the accident and health or life insurance product lines. During 2017, approximately 2,337 of the licensed agents wrote policies on behalf of Bankers Fidelity.

Bankers Fidelity, in an effort to motivate all of its licensed agents to market its products, offers the following: competitive products and commission structures, efficient claims service, prompt payment of commissions that vest immediately, simplified policy issuance procedures, periodic sales incentive programs and, as described below, for traditional independent agents, protected sales territories determined based on specific counties and/or zip codes.

In the traditional independent agent arrangement, Bankers Fidelity enters into contractual arrangements with various field marketing groups, regional sales directors and general agents responsible for marketing and other sales activities, who may also, in turn, recommend appointment of other independent agents. The standard agreements set forth the commission arrangements and are terminable without cause by either party upon notice. Regional sales directors and general agents receive an override commission on sales made by their sponsored agents. Management believes utilizing experienced agents, as well as independent general agents who recruit and train their own agents, is cost effective. All independent agents are compensated primarily on a commission basis. Using independent agents also enables Bankers Fidelity to effectively expand or contract its sales force without incurring significant expense.

With traditional independent agents, the company utilizes a lead generation system that rewards qualified agents with leads in accordance with certain production criteria. In addition, a protected territory is established for qualified agents, which entitles them to all leads produced within that territory. The territories are zip code or county based and encompass sufficient geographic territory designed to produce an economically serviceable senior population. The Company believes that offering a lead generation system solves an agent’s most important dilemma—prospecting—and allows Bankers Fidelity to build long-term relationships with agents who view Bankers Fidelity as their primary company. In addition, management believes that Bankers Fidelity’s product line is less sensitive to competitor pricing and commissions because of the perceived value of the protected territory and the lead generation system. In protected geographical areas, production per agent has historically compared favorably to unprotected areas served by the general brokerage division.

Products of Bankers Fidelity compete directly with products offered by other insurance companies, and agents may represent multiple insurance companies. Broker-agents generally are not interested in developing relationships with any one particular insurance company but are more interested in matching a specific product with the specific needs of their clients. These agents, while a source of business, do not participate in the company’s lead generation system, but can qualify for other incentives that Bankers Fidelity offers to traditional independent agents.

Bankers Fidelity also has a number of agents, some of whom belong to marketing organizations that solicit business from various groups including employers, trade associations and/or other organizations. Depending on the group’s needs, these agents may target one specific product or a group of Bankers Fidelity’s products to market to a group’s members. These agents also do not participate in the company’s lead generation system, but can also qualify for other incentives that Bankers Fidelity offers to its traditional independent agents.

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Underwriting

Property and Casualty Operations

American Southern specializes in underwriting various risks that are sufficiently large enough to establish separate class experience, relying upon the underwriting expertise of its agents.

During the course of the policy life, extensive use is made of risk management representatives to assist commercial underwriters in identifying and correcting potential loss exposures and to physically inspect new accounts. The underwriting results from each insured are reviewed on an individual basis periodically. When results are below expectations, management takes corrective action which may include adjusting rates, revising underwriting standards, adjusting commissions paid to agents, and/or altering or declining to renew accounts at expiration.

Life and Health Operations

Bankers Fidelity issues a variety of products that span from the worksite markets to the senior markets for both life and health insurance. Products offered by Bankers Fidelity include life insurance, typically with small face amounts, Medicare supplement and other accident and health insurance. Bankers Fidelity also provides an array of worksite products such as accident, cancer, critical illness, hospital indemnity and life insurance that is offered to employers who are looking to provide coverage for their employees and have the related premiums deducted through payroll deductions.

The majority of the products are underwritten on a non-medical basis using a simplified issue approach by which an application containing a variety of health related questions is submitted. Applications for insurance are reviewed to determine the face amount, age, medical history and any other necessary information. Bankers Fidelity utilizes information obtained directly from the insured, the Medical Information Bureau, prescription utilization reports as well as telephone interviews to determine whether an applicant meets the company’s underwriting criteria. Bankers Fidelity may also utilize medical records and investigative services to supplement and substantiate information, as necessary.

Policyholder and Claims Services

The Company believes that prompt, efficient policyholder and claims services are essential to its continued success in marketing its insurance products (see “Competition”). Additionally, the Company believes that its insureds are particularly sensitive to claims processing time and to the accessibility of qualified staff to answer inquiries. Accordingly, the Company’s policyholder and claims services seek to offer expeditious disposition of service requests by providing toll-free access for all customers, 24-hour claim reporting services, and direct computer links with some of its largest accounts. The Company also utilizes an automatic call distribution system to ensure that inbound calls to customer service support groups are processed efficiently. Operational data generated from this system allows management to further refine ongoing client service programs and service representative training modules.

Property and Casualty Operations

American Southern controls its claims costs by utilizing an in-house staff of claims supervisors to investigate, verify, negotiate and settle claims. Upon notification of an occurrence purportedly giving rise to a claim, a claim file is established. The claims department then conducts a preliminary investigation, determines whether an insurable event has occurred and, if so, updates the file for the findings and any required reserve adjustments. Frequently, independent adjusters and appraisers are utilized to service claims which require on-site inspections.

Life and Health Operations

Insureds may obtain claim forms by calling the claims department customer service group or through Bankers Fidelity’s website. To shorten claim processing time, a letter detailing all supporting documents that are required to complete a claim for a particular policy is sent to the customer along with the correct claim form. With respect to life policies, the claim is entered into Bankers Fidelity’s claims system when the proper documentation is received. Properly documented claims are generally paid within five business days of receipt. With regard to Medicare supplement policies, the claim is either directly billed to Bankers Fidelity by the provider or sent electronically through a Medicare clearing house.

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Reserves

The following table sets forth information concerning the Company’s reserves for losses and claims and reserves for loss adjustment expenses (“LAE”) for the periods indicated:

 
2017
2016
 
(In thousands)
Balance at January 1
$
62,562
 
$
63,870
 
Less: Reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses
 
(10,796
)
 
(11,741
)
Net balance at January 1
 
51,766
 
 
52,129
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Incurred related to:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Current year
 
114,099
 
 
103,252
 
Prior years(1)
 
(1,765
)
 
(3,377
)
Total incurred
 
112,334
 
 
99,875
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Paid related to:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Current year
 
82,092
 
 
71,980
 
Prior years
 
28,287
 
 
28,258
 
Total paid
 
110,379
 
 
100,238
 
Net balance at December 31
 
53,721
 
 
51,766
 
Plus: Reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses
 
11,968
 
 
10,796
 
Balance at December 31
$
65,689
 
$
62,562
 
(1) Prior years’ development was primarily the result of better than expected development on prior years reserves for certain lines of business in the property and casualty operations. See Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Reserves are set by line of business within each of the subsidiaries. At December 31, 2017, approximately 73% of the reserves related to property and casualty losses and approximately 27% related to life and health losses. The Company’s property and casualty operations incur losses which may take extended periods of time to evaluate and settle. Issues with respect to legal liability, actual loss quantification, legal discovery and ultimate subrogation, among other factors, may influence the initial and subsequent estimates of loss. In the property and casualty operations, the Company’s general practice is to reserve at the higher end of the determined reasonable range of loss if no other value within the range is determined to be more probable. The Company’s life and health operations generally incur losses which are more readily quantified. Medical claims received are recorded in case reserves based on contractual terms using the submitted billings as a basis for determination. Life claims are recorded based on contract value at the time of notification to the Company; although policy reserves related to such contracts have been previously established. Individual case reserves are established by a claims processor on each individual claim and are periodically reviewed and adjusted as new information becomes known during the course of handling a claim. Regular internal periodic reviews are also performed by management to ensure that loss reserves are established and revised timely relative to the receipt of new or additional information. Lines of business for which loss data (e.g. paid losses and case reserves) emerge over a long period of time are referred to as long-tail lines of business. Lines of business for which loss data emerge more quickly are referred to as short-tail lines of business. The Company’s long-tail line of business generally consists of its general liability coverage while the short-tail lines of business generally consist of property and automobile coverages.

The Company’s actuaries regularly review reserves for both current and prior accident years using the most current claims data. These reviews incorporate a variety of actuarial methods (discussed in Critical Accounting Policies) and judgments and involve a disciplined analysis. For most lines of business, certain actuarial methods and specific assumptions are deemed more appropriate based on the current circumstances affecting that line of business. These selections incorporate input from claims personnel and operating management on reported loss cost trends and other factors that could affect the reserve estimates.

For long-tail lines of business, the emergence of paid losses and case reserves is less credible in the early periods, and accordingly may not be indicative of ultimate losses. For these lines, methods which incorporate a development pattern assumption are given less weight in calculating incurred but not reported (“IBNR”) reserves

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for the early periods of loss emergence because such a low percentage of ultimate losses are reported in that time frame. Accordingly, for any given accident year, the rate at which losses on long-tail lines of business emerge in the early periods is generally not as reliable an indication of ultimate losses as it would be for shorter-tail lines of business. The estimation of reserves for these lines of business in the early periods of loss emergence is therefore largely influenced by statistical analyses and application of prior accident years’ loss ratios, after considering changes to earned pricing, loss costs, mix of business, ceded reinsurance and other factors that are expected to affect the estimated ultimate losses. For later periods of loss emergence, methods which incorporate a development pattern assumption are given more weight in estimating ultimate losses. For short-tail lines of business, the emergence of paid loss and case reserves is more credible in the early periods and is more likely to be indicative of ultimate losses. The method used to set reserves for these lines of business is based upon utilization of a historical development pattern for reported losses. IBNR reserves for the current year are set as the difference between the estimated fully developed ultimate losses for each year, less the established, related case reserves and cumulative related payments. IBNR reserves for prior accident years are similarly determined, again relying on an indicated, historical development pattern for reported losses.

Based on the results of regular reserve estimate reviews, the Company determines the appropriate reserve adjustment, if any, to record in each period. If necessary, recorded reserve estimates are changed after consideration of numerous factors, including, but not limited to, the magnitude of the difference between the actuarial indication and the recorded reserves, improvement or deterioration of actuarial indication in the period, the maturity of the accident year, trends observed over the recent past and the level of volatility within a particular line of business. In general, changes are made more quickly to recognize changes in estimates to ultimate losses in mature accident years and less volatile lines of business.

Estimating case reserves and ultimate losses involves various considerations which differ according to the line of business. In addition, changes in legislative and regulatory environments may impact loss estimates. General liability claims may have a long pattern of loss emergence. Given the broad nature of potential general liability coverages, investigative time periods may be extended and questions of coverage may exist. Such uncertainties create greater imprecision in estimating required levels of loss reserves. The property and automobile lines of business generally have less variable reserve estimates than other lines. This is largely due to the coverages having relatively shorter periods of loss emergence. Estimates, however, can still vary due to a number of factors, including interpretations of frequency and severity trends. Severity trends can be impacted by changes in internal claim handling and reserving practices in addition to changes in the external environment. These changes in claim practices increase the uncertainty in the interpretation of case reserve data, which increases the uncertainty in recorded reserve levels.

The Company’s policy is to record reserves for losses and claims in amounts which approximate actuarial best estimates of ultimate values. Actuarial best estimates do not necessarily represent the midpoint value determined using the various actuarial methods; however, such estimates will fall between the estimated low and high end reserve values. The range of estimates developed in connection with the December 31, 2017 actuarial review indicated that reserves could be as much as 8.5% lower or as much as 10.1% higher. In the opinion of management, recorded reserves represent the best estimate of outstanding losses, although significant judgments are made in the derivation of reserve estimates and revisions to such estimates are expected to be made in future periods. Any such revisions could be material, and may materially adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and results of operations in any future period.

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Property and Casualty Operations

American Southern maintains loss reserves representing estimates of amounts necessary for payment of losses and LAE, and which are not discounted. IBNR reserves are also maintained for future development. These loss reserves are estimates, based on known facts and circumstances at a given date, of amounts the Company expects to pay on incurred claims. All balances are reviewed periodically by the Company’s independent consulting actuary. Reserves for LAE are intended to cover the ultimate costs of settling claims, including investigation and defense of any lawsuits resulting from such claims. Loss reserves for reported claims are based on a case-by-case evaluation of the type of claim involved, the circumstances surrounding the claim, and the policy provisions relating to the type of loss along with anticipated future development. The LAE for claims reported and claims not reported is based on historical statistical data and anticipated future development. Inflation and other factors which may affect claim payments are implicitly reflected in the reserving process through analysis and consideration of cost trends and reviews of historical reserve results.

American Southern establishes reserves for claims based upon: (a) management’s estimate of ultimate liability and claims adjusters’ evaluations of unpaid claims reported prior to the close of the accounting period, (b) estimates of IBNR claims based on past experience, and (c) estimates of LAE. If no value is determined to be more probable in estimating a loss after considering all factors, the Company’s general practice is to reserve at the higher end of the determined reasonable range of loss. The estimated liability is periodically reviewed and updated, and changes to the estimated liability are recorded in the statement of operations in the period in which such changes become known.

The following table sets forth the development of reserves for unpaid losses and claims determined using generally accepted accounting principles of American Southern’s insurance lines from 2007 through 2017. Specifically excluded from the table are the life and health division’s claims reserves, which are included in the consolidated loss and claims reserves. The top line of the table represents the estimated cumulative amount of losses and LAE for claims arising in all prior years that were unpaid at the balance sheet date for each of the indicated periods, including an estimate of IBNR losses at the applicable date. The amounts represent initial reserve estimates at the respective balance sheet dates for the current and all prior years. The next portion of the table shows the cumulative amounts paid with respect to claims in each succeeding year. The lower portion of the table shows the re-estimated amounts of previously recorded reserves based on experience as of the end of each succeeding year.

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The reserve estimates are modified as more information becomes known about the frequency and severity of claims for individual years. The “cumulative redundancy (deficiency)” for each year represents the aggregate change in such year’s estimates through the end of 2017. Furthermore, the amount of the redundancy (deficiency) for any year represents the cumulative amount of the changes from initial reserve estimates for such year. Operations for any year may be affected, favorably or unfavorably, by the amount of the change in the estimate for such years; however, because such analysis is based on the reserves for unpaid losses and claims, before consideration of reinsurance, the total indicated redundancies (deficiencies) may not ultimately be reflected in the Company’s net income. Further, conditions and trends that have affected development of reserves in the past may not necessarily occur in the future and there could be future events or actions that impact future development which have not existed in the past. Accordingly, the accurate prediction of future redundancies (deficiencies) based on the data in the following table is not possible.

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
 
(Dollars In thousands)
Reserve for Losses and LAE
$
47,997
 
$
49,556
 
$
51,200
 
$
55,017
 
$
51,200
 
$
52,764
 
$
49,478
 
$
46,092
 
$
42,248
 
$
44,928
 
$
43,994
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cumulative paid as of:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
One year later
 
 
 
 
21,671
 
 
22,555
 
 
26,289
 
 
21,577
 
 
25,352
 
 
18,959
 
 
15,183
 
 
10,486
 
 
13,627
 
 
11,630
 
Two years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
35,171
 
 
40,440
 
 
37,022
 
 
37,128
 
 
34,805
 
 
25,333
 
 
17,462
 
 
19,003
 
 
21,187
 
Three years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
48,806
 
 
45,659
 
 
44,473
 
 
41,967
 
 
34,266
 
 
23,231
 
 
22,197
 
 
23,993
 
Four years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
49,395
 
 
48,338
 
 
46,715
 
 
37,720
 
 
29,254
 
 
24,016
 
 
25,733
 
Five years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
50,508
 
 
49,129
 
 
40,241
 
 
31,125
 
 
28,898
 
 
27,160
 
Six years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
51,135
 
 
41,787
 
 
32,488
 
 
30,286
 
 
31,659
 
Seven years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
42,867
 
 
33,847
 
 
31,462
 
 
32,489
 
Eight years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
34,576
 
 
31,858
 
 
33,616
 
Nine years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
32,544
 
 
33,953
 
Ten years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
34,439
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ultimate losses and LAE
reestimated as of:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
End of year
$
47,997
 
$
49,556
 
$
51,200
 
$
55,017
 
$
51,200
 
$
52,764
 
$
49,478
 
$
46,092
 
$
42,248
 
$
44,928
 
$
43,994
 
One year later
 
 
 
 
44,413
 
 
44,638
 
 
50,729
 
 
47,169
 
 
47,639
 
 
44,180
 
 
39,999
 
 
32,563
 
 
31,649
 
 
33,663
 
Two years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
47,626
 
 
51,853
 
 
49,927
 
 
49,966
 
 
46,109
 
 
38,859
 
 
30,562
 
 
28,386
 
 
29,903
 
Three years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
54,755
 
 
50,163
 
 
50,142
 
 
48,386
 
 
39,153
 
 
30,288
 
 
27,570
 
 
29,077
 
Four years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
51,840
 
 
49,692
 
 
49,361
 
 
41,339
 
 
31,798
 
 
28,169
 
 
29,162
 
Five years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
51,512
 
 
50,254
 
 
42,273
 
 
33,508
 
 
30,883
 
 
30,156
 
Six years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
51,881
 
 
42,393
 
 
34,331
 
 
31,696
 
 
33,091
 
Seven years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
43,324
 
 
34,286
 
 
32,073
 
 
33,804
 
Eight years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
35,009
 
 
32,269
 
 
34,184
 
Nine years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
32,942
 
 
34,278
 
Ten years later
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
34,736
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cumulative redundancy
(deficiency)
 
 
 
$
5,143
 
$
3,574
 
$
262
 
$
(640
)
$
1,252
 
$
(2,403
)
$
2,768
 
$
7,239
 
$
11,986
 
$
9,258
 
 
 
 
 
 
10.4
%
 
7.0
%
 
0.5
%
 
-1.3
%
 
2.4
%
 
-4.9
%
 
6.0
%
 
17.1
%
 
26.7
%
 
21.0
%

Note: This analysis is based on reserves for unpaid losses and claims, before consideration of reinsurance; therefore the total indicated redundancy (deficiency) may not ultimately be reflected in the Company’s net income.

See Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for historical loss development data on significant lines of business.

Life and Health Operations

Bankers Fidelity establishes liabilities for future policy benefits to meet projected future obligations under outstanding policies. These reserves are calculated to satisfy policy and contract obligations as they mature. The amount of reserves for insurance policies is calculated using assumptions for interest rates, mortality and

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morbidity rates, expenses, and withdrawals. Reserves are adjusted periodically based on published actuarial tables with modifications to reflect actual experience. The use of significantly different assumptions, or actual results that differ significantly from our estimates, could materially adversely affect our liquidity, results of operations or financial condition. See Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Reinsurance

The Company’s insurance subsidiaries from time to time purchase reinsurance from unaffiliated insurers and reinsurers to reduce their potential liability on individual risks and to protect against catastrophic losses. In a reinsurance transaction, an insurance company transfers, or “cedes,” a portion or all of its exposure on insurance policies to a reinsurer. The reinsurer assumes the exposure in return for a portion of the premiums. The ceding of insurance does not legally discharge the insurer from primary liability for the full amount of the policies written by it, and the ceding company will incur a loss if the reinsurer fails to meet its obligations under the reinsurance agreement.

Property and Casualty Operations

American Southern’s basic reinsurance treaties generally cover all claims in excess of specified per occurrence limitations. Limits per occurrence within the reinsurance treaties are as follows: Inland marine and commercial automobile physical damage - $175,000 excess of $75,000 retention; and automobile liability and general liability - excess coverage of $2.0 million less retentions that may vary from $100,000 to $200,000 depending on the account. American Southern maintains a property catastrophe treaty with a $5.7 million limit excess of $300,000 retention. American Southern also issues individual surety bonds with face amounts generally up to $1.5 million, and limited to $5.0 million in aggregate per account, that are not reinsured.

Life and Health Operations

Bankers Fidelity has entered into reinsurance contracts ceding the excess of its life retention to several primary reinsurers. Maximum retention by Bankers Fidelity on any one individual in the case of life insurance policies is $100,000. At December 31, 2017, $14.9 million of the $255.4 million of life insurance in force at Bankers Fidelity was reinsured under a mix of coinsurance and yearly renewable term agreements. Certain prior year reinsurance agreements also remain in force although they no longer provide reinsurance for new business.

Bankers Fidelity has also entered into a reinsurance contract ceding excess new Medicare supplement business to General Re Life Corporation. Ceding thresholds are set annually. At December 31, 2017, the 2017 retention threshold was $15.0 million of annualized premium; accordingly $39.1 million of the company’s $54.1 million of new annualized Medicare supplement premium was ceded to a reinsurer.

Competition

Competition for insurance products is based on many factors including premiums charged, terms and conditions of coverage, service provided, financial ratings assigned by independent rating agencies, claims services, reputation, perceived financial strength and the experience of the organization in the line of business being written.

Property and Casualty Operations

The businesses in which American Southern engages are highly competitive. The principal areas of competition are pricing and service. Many competing property and casualty companies, which have been in business longer than American Southern, offer more diversified lines of insurance and have substantially greater financial resources. Management believes, however, that the policies it sells are competitive with those providing similar benefits offered by other insurers doing business in the states in which American Southern operates. American Southern attempts to develop strong relationships with its agents and, consequently, believes it is better positioned for new opportunities and programs with those agents.

Life and Health Operations

The life and health insurance business also remains highly competitive and includes a large number of insurance companies, many of which have substantially greater financial resources than Bankers Fidelity or the Company. Bankers Fidelity offers life insurance products, Medicare supplement and other accident and health

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insurance products. Bankers Fidelity believes that its primary competitors are Americo Life, GTL, Lincoln Heritage, Medico, Monumental, Mutual of Omaha, New Era, Standard Life, Transamerica and United Healthcare. Bankers Fidelity competes with these as well as other insurers on the basis of premium rates, policy benefits and service to policyholders. Bankers Fidelity also competes with other insurers to attract and retain the allegiance of its independent agents through commission and sales incentive arrangements, accessibility and marketing assistance, lead programs, reputation, and market expertise. In order to better compete, Bankers Fidelity actively seeks opportunities in niche markets, developing long-term relationships with a select number of independent marketing organizations promoting worksite marketing and selective association endorsements. Bankers Fidelity has a track record of successfully competing in its chosen markets by establishing relationships with independent agents and providing proprietary marketing initiatives as well as providing outstanding service to policyholders. Bankers Fidelity believes that it competes effectively on the bases of policy benefits, services and market segmentation.

Ratings

Ratings of insurance companies are not designed for investors and do not constitute recommendations to buy, sell, or hold any security. Ratings are important measures within the insurance industry, and higher ratings should have a favorable impact on the ability of a company to compete in the marketplace.

Each year A.M. Best Company, Inc. (“A.M. Best”) publishes Best’s Insurance Reports, which includes assessments and ratings of all insurance companies. A.M. Best’s ratings, which may be revised quarterly, fall into fifteen categories ranging from A++ (Superior) to F (in liquidation). A.M. Best’s ratings are based on a detailed analysis of the statutory financial condition and operations of an insurance company compared to the industry in general.

American Southern. American Southern Insurance Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, American Safety Insurance Company, are each, as of the date of this report, rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best.

Bankers Fidelity. Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Bankers Fidelity Assurance Company, are each, as of the date of this report, rated “A-” (Excellent) by A.M. Best.

Regulation

In common with all domestic insurance companies, the Company’s insurance subsidiaries are subject to regulation and supervision in the jurisdictions in which they do business. Statutes typically delegate regulatory, supervisory, and administrative powers to state insurance commissioners. The method of such regulation varies, but regulation relates generally to the licensing of insurers and their agents, the nature of and limitations on investments, approval of policy forms, reserve requirements, the standards of solvency to be met and maintained, deposits of securities for the benefit of policyholders, and periodic examinations of insurers and trade practices, among other things. The Company’s products generally are subject to rate regulation by state insurance commissions, which require that certain minimum loss ratios be maintained. Certain states also have insurance holding company laws which require registration and periodic reporting by insurance companies controlled by other corporations licensed to transact business within their respective jurisdictions. The Company’s insurance subsidiaries are subject to such legislation and are registered as controlled insurers in those jurisdictions in which such registration is required. Such laws vary from state to state, but typically require periodic disclosure concerning the corporation which controls the registered insurers and all subsidiaries of such corporations, as well as prior notice to, or approval by, the state insurance commissioners of intercorporate transfers of assets (including payments of dividends by the insurance subsidiaries in excess of specified amounts) within the holding company system. The Company believes it is in compliance with all such requirements.

Most states require that rate schedules and other information be filed with the state’s insurance regulatory authority, either directly or through a ratings organization with which the insurer is affiliated. The regulatory authority may disapprove a rate filing if it determines that the rates are inadequate, excessive, or discriminatory. The Company has historically experienced no significant regulatory resistance to its applications for rate adjustments; however, the Company cannot provide any assurance that it will not receive any objections to any applications in the future.

A state may require that acceptable securities be deposited for the protection either of policyholders located in those states or of all policyholders. As of December 31, 2017, the Company was in compliance with all such

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requirements, and securities with an amortized cost of $11.2 million were on deposit either directly with various state authorities or with third parties pursuant to various custodial agreements on behalf of the Company’s insurance subsidiaries.

Virtually all of the states in which the Company’s insurance subsidiaries are licensed to transact business require participation in their respective guaranty funds designed to cover claims against insolvent insurers. Insurers authorized to transact business in these jurisdictions are generally subject to assessments of up to 4% of annual direct premiums written in that jurisdiction to pay such claims, if any. The likelihood and amount of any future assessments cannot be estimated until an insolvency has occurred.

NAIC Ratios

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (the “NAIC”) was established to, among other things, provide guidelines to assess the financial strength of insurance companies for state regulatory purposes. The NAIC conducts annual reviews of the financial data of insurance companies primarily through the application of twelve financial ratios prepared on a statutory basis. Annual statements are required to be submitted to state insurance departments to assist them in monitoring insurance companies in their state and to allow such states to determine a desirable range for each such ratio with which companies should comply.

The NAIC suggests that insurance companies which fall outside of the “usual” range in four or more financial ratios are those most likely to require analysis by state regulators. However, according to the NAIC, it may not be unusual for a financially sound company to have several ratios outside the “usual” range.

For the Year Ended December 31, 2017, less than four of the total of twelve ratios required to be calculated by the Company’s insurance subsidiaries were outside of the “usual” range and, as a result, such subsidiaries are not likely to require analysis by state regulators.

Risk-Based Capital

Risk-based capital (“RBC”) is a metric used by ratings agencies and regulators as an early warning tool to identify weakly capitalized companies for the purpose of initiating further regulatory action. The RBC calculation determines the amount of adjusted capital needed by a company to avoid regulatory action. “Authorized Control Level Risk-Based Capital” (“ACL”) is calculated, and if a company’s adjusted capital is 200% or lower than ACL, it is subject to regulatory action. At December 31, 2017, the Company’s insurance subsidiaries, RBC levels exceeded the required regulatory levels.

Investments

Investment income represents a significant portion of the Company’s operating and total income. Insurance company investments are subject to state insurance laws and regulations which limit the concentration and types of investments. The following table provides information on the Company’s investments as of the dates indicated.

 
December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
Amount
Percent
Amount
Percent
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Fixed maturities:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S. Treasury securities and obligations of U.S. Government agencies and authorities
$
31,155
 
 
12.6
%
$
31,102
 
 
12.7
%
States, municipalities and political subdivisions
 
10,809
 
 
4.4
 
 
17,572
 
 
7.2
 
Public utilities
 
14,935
 
 
6.0
 
 
11,216
 
 
4.6
 
All other corporate bonds
 
158,017
 
 
63.8
 
 
150,588
 
 
61.7
 
Redeemable preferred stock
 
192
 
 
0.1
 
 
192
 
 
0.1
 
Total fixed maturities(1)
 
215,108
 
 
86.9
 
 
210,670
 
 
86.3
 
Common and non-redeemable preferred stocks(2)
 
23,355
 
 
9.4
 
 
20,257
 
 
8.3
 
Policy loans(3)
 
2,146
 
 
0.9
 
 
2,265
 
 
0.9
 
Other invested assets(4)
 
5,626
 
 
2.3
 
 
9,709
 
 
4.0
 
Real estate
 
38
 
 
0.0
 
 
38
 
 
0.0
 
Investments in unconsolidated trusts
 
1,238
 
 
0.5
 
 
1,238
 
 
0.5
 
Total investments
$
247,511
 
 
100.0
%
$
244,177
 
 
100.0
%
(1) Fixed maturities are carried on the balance sheet at estimated fair value. Certain fixed maturities do not have publicly quoted prices, and are carried at estimated fair value as determined by management. Total adjusted cost of fixed maturities was $212.5 million as of December 31, 2017 and $210.5 million as of December 31, 2016.

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(2) Equity securities are carried on the balance sheet at estimated fair value. Total adjusted cost of equity securities was $10.9 million as of December 31, 2017 and $11.5 million as of December 31, 2016.
(3) Policy loans are valued at historical cost.
(4) Other invested assets are accounted for using the equity method. Total adjusted cost of other invested assets was $5.6 million as of December 31, 2017 and $9.7 million as of December 31, 2016.

Estimated fair values are determined as discussed in Note 1 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Results of the Company’s investment portfolio for periods shown were as follows:

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Average investments(1)
$
247,739
 
$
243,174
 
Net investment income
 
7,707
 
 
9,307
 
Average yield on investments
 
3.1
%
 
3.8
%
Realized investment gains, net
 
9,168
 
 
2,595
 
(1) Calculated as the average of cash and investment balances (at amortized cost) at the beginning of the year and at the end of each of the succeeding four quarters.

Management’s recent investment strategy has been a continued focus on quality, diversification and higher yielding corporate bonds and preferred stocks; but at the same time shortening up on maturities to give recognition to the rise and potential future increases in longer-term interest rates.

Employees

The Company and its subsidiaries employed 159 people at December 31, 2017. Of the 159 people employed at December 31, 2017, 154 were full-time.

Financial Information by Industry Segment

Each of American Southern and Bankers Fidelity operate with relative autonomy and each company is evaluated on its individual performance. American Southern operates in the property and casualty insurance market, while Bankers Fidelity operates in the life and health insurance market. Each segment derives revenue from the collection of premiums, as well as from investment income. Substantially all revenue other than that in the corporate and other segment is from external sources. See Note 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Available Information

The Company files annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, amendments to those reports and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The public can read and obtain copies of those materials by visiting the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers like the Company that file electronically with the SEC. The address of the SEC’s web site is www.sec.gov. In addition, as soon as reasonably practicable after such materials are filed with or furnished to the SEC by the Company, the Company makes copies available to the public, free of charge, on or through its web site at www.atlam.com. Neither the Company’s website, nor the information appearing on the website, is included, incorporated into, or a part of, this report.

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Executive Officers of the Registrant

The table below and the information following the table set forth, for each executive officer of the Company as of December 31, 2017, his name, age, positions with the Company and business experience for the past five years, as well as any prior service to the Company.

Name
Age
Positions with the Company
Director or
Officer Since
Hilton H. Howell, Jr.
 
55
 
Chairman of the Board, President & CEO
 
1992
 
J. Ross Franklin
 
40
 
Vice President, CFO and Corporate Secretary
 
2017
 

Officers are elected annually and serve at the discretion of the board of directors.

Mr. Howell has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company since May 1995, and prior thereto served as Executive Vice President of the Company from October 1992 to May 1995. He has been a Director of the Company since October 1992 and effective February 24, 2009, began serving as Chairman of the board of directors. He is also a chairman of the board, and serves as president and chief executive officer, of Gray Television, Inc.

Mr. Franklin has been Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of the Company since November 2017, and prior thereto served as Interim Chief Financial Officer from August 2017 to November 2017. Since 2000 he has held various roles of increasing responsibility with Atlantic American and its subsidiaries, previously serving as Vice President, Accounting and Treasurer of Bankers Fidelity since 2009.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain of the statements contained or incorporated by reference herein are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934, and include estimates and assumptions related to, among other things, general economic, competitive, operational and legislative developments. Forward-looking statements are subject to changes and uncertainties which are, in many instances, beyond the Company’s control and have been made based upon management’s current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effect upon the Company. There can be no assurance that future developments will be in accordance with management’s expectations or that the effect of future developments on the Company will be those anticipated by management. Actual results could differ materially from those expected by the Company, depending on the occurrence or outcome of various factors. These factors include, among others: significant changes in general economic conditions; the possible occurrence of terrorist attacks; unexpected developments in the health care or insurance industries affecting providers or individuals, including the cost or availability of services, or the tax consequences related thereto; disruption to the financial markets; unanticipated increases in the rate, number and amounts of claims outstanding; the level of performance of reinsurance companies under reinsurance contracts and the availability, pricing and adequacy of reinsurance to protect the Company against losses; changes in the stock markets, interest rates or other financial markets, including the potential effect on the Company’s statutory capital levels; the uncertain effect on the Company of regulatory and market-driven changes in practices relating to the payment of incentive compensation to brokers, agents and other producers; the incidence and severity of catastrophes, both natural and man-made; stronger than anticipated competitive activity; unfavorable judicial or legislative developments; the potential effect of regulatory developments, including those which could increase the Company’s business costs and required capital levels; the Company’s ability to distribute its products through distribution channels, both current and future; the uncertain effect of emerging claim and coverage issues; the effect of assessments and other surcharges for guaranty funds and other mandatory pooling arrangements; and risks related to cybersecurity matters, such as breaches of our computer network or the loss of unauthorized access to the data we maintain. Many of such factors are beyond the Company’s ability to control or predict. As a result, the Company’s actual financial condition and results of operations could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by the Company. Undue reliance should not be placed upon forward-looking statements. The Company does not intend to publicly update any forward-looking statements that may be made from time to time by, or on behalf of, the Company.

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Item 1A. Risk Factors

As a smaller reporting company as defined by Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act and in Item 10(f)(1) of Regulation S-K (a “smaller reporting company”), we have elected to comply with certain scaled disclosure reporting obligations, and therefore are not providing the information required by this Item.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

Not applicable.

Item 2. Properties

Leased Properties. The Company leases space for its principal offices and for some of its insurance operations in an office building located in Atlanta, Georgia, from Delta Life Insurance Company under a lease which continues until either party provides written notice of cancellation at least twelve months in advance of the actual termination date. The lease, which commenced on November 1, 2007, provides for rent adjustments on every fifth anniversary of the commencement date. Under the current terms of the lease, the Company occupies approximately 49,586 square feet of office space. Delta Life Insurance Company, the owner of the building, is controlled by an affiliate of the Company. The terms of the lease are believed by Company management to be comparable to terms which could be obtained by the Company from unrelated parties for comparable rental property.

American Southern leases space for its office in a building located in Atlanta, Georgia. The lease term expires September 30, 2026. Under the terms of the lease, American Southern occupies approximately 17,014 square feet.

The Company believes that its current properties are in good condition, and are sufficient for the operations of its business.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

From time to time, the Company and its subsidiaries are, and expect to continue to be, involved in various claims and lawsuits arising in the ordinary course of business, both as a liability insurer defending third-party claims brought against insureds and as an insurer defending coverage claims brought against it. The Company accounts for such exposures through the establishment of loss and loss adjustment expense reserves. We do not expect that the ultimate liability, if any, with respect to such ordinary-course claims litigation, after consideration of provisions made for probable losses and costs of defense, will be material to the Company’s consolidated financial condition, although the results of such litigation could be material to the consolidated results of operations for any given period.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

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PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Shareholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

The Company’s common stock is quoted on the Nasdaq Global Market (Symbol: AAME). As of February 21, 2018, there were 2,727 shareholders of record. The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the high and low sales prices of the Company’s common stock as reported on the Nasdaq Global Market.

Year Ended December 31,
High
Low
2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
1st quarter
$
4.35
 
$
3.40
 
2nd quarter
 
4.03
 
 
3.50
 
3rd quarter
 
3.75
 
 
3.15
 
4th quarter
 
4.00
 
 
3.00
 
2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
1st quarter
$
4.99
 
$
3.39
 
2nd quarter
 
5.00
 
 
3.21
 
3rd quarter
 
4.30
 
 
3.06
 
4th quarter
 
4.65
 
 
3.21
 

In each year since 2012, the Company has paid an annual cash dividend of $0.02 per share. In addition, on March 20, 2018, the Company’s board of directors declared an annual cash dividend of $0.02 per share that is payable to shareholders of record as of the close of business on April 23, 2018. Payment of dividends in the future will be at the discretion of the Company’s board of directors and will depend upon the financial condition, capital requirements, earnings of the Company, any restrictions contained in any agreements by which the Company is bound, as well as other factors as the board of directors may deem relevant. The Company’s primary recurring source of cash for the payment of dividends is dividends from its subsidiaries; although as of December 31, 2017, the Parent held unrestricted cash and investment balances of approximately $25.8 million. Under the insurance code of the state in which each insurance subsidiary is domiciled, dividend payments to the Company by its insurance subsidiaries are subject to certain limitations without the prior approval of the applicable state’s Insurance Commissioner. In 2018, dividend payments to the Parent by the insurance subsidiaries in excess of $4.8 million would require prior approval.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

On October 31, 2016, the Board of Directors of the Company approved a plan that allows for the repurchase of up to 750,000 shares of the Company’s common stock (the “Repurchase Plan”) on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions, as determined by an authorized officer of the Company. Any such repurchases can be made from time to time in accordance with applicable securities laws and other requirements.

Other than pursuant to the Repurchase Plan, no purchases of common stock of the Company were made by or on behalf of the Company during the periods described below.

The table below sets forth information regarding repurchases by the Company of shares of its common stock on a monthly basis during the three month period ended December 31, 2017.

Period
Total
Number of
Shares
Purchased
Average
Price Paid
per Share
Total
Number of
Shares
Purchased
as Part of
Publicly
Announced
Plans or
Programs
Maximum
Number of
Shares that
May Yet be
Purchased
Under the
Plans or
Programs
October 1 – October 31, 2017
 
11,708
 
$
3.39
 
 
11,708
 
 
573,779
 
November 1 – November 30, 2017
 
10,186
 
 
3.75
 
 
10,186
 
 
563,593
 
December 1 – December 31, 2017
 
19,151
 
 
3.56
 
 
19,151
 
 
544,442
 
Total
 
41,045
 
$
3.56
 
 
41,045
 
 
 
 

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Stock Performance Graph

As a smaller reporting company, we have elected to comply with certain scaled disclosure reporting obligations, and therefore are not providing the information required by this Item.

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

As a smaller reporting company, we have elected to comply with certain scaled disclosure reporting obligations, and therefore are not providing the information required by this Item.

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following is management’s discussion and analysis of the financial condition and results of operations of Atlantic American Corporation (“Atlantic American” or the “Parent”) and its subsidiaries (collectively with the Parent, the “Company”) for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016. This discussion should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included elsewhere herein.

Atlantic American is an insurance holding company whose operations are conducted primarily through its insurance subsidiaries: American Southern Insurance Company and American Safety Insurance Company (together known as “American Southern”) in the property and casualty insurance industry, and Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company and Bankers Fidelity Assurance Company (together known as “Bankers Fidelity”) in the life and health insurance industry. Each operating company is managed separately, offers different products and is evaluated on its individual performance.

Critical Accounting Policies

The accounting and reporting policies of the Company are in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”) and, in management’s belief, conform to general practices within the insurance industry. The following is an explanation of the Company’s accounting policies and the resultant estimates considered most significant by management. These accounting policies inherently require significant judgment and assumptions and actual operating results could differ significantly from management’s estimates determined using these policies. Atlantic American does not expect that changes in the estimates determined using these policies will have a material effect on the Company’s financial condition or liquidity, although changes could have a material effect on its consolidated results of operations.

Unpaid loss and loss adjustment expenses comprised 29% of the Company’s total liabilities at December 31, 2017. This liability includes estimates for: 1) unpaid losses on claims reported prior to December 31, 2017, 2) future development on those reported claims, 3) unpaid ultimate losses on claims incurred prior to December 31, 2017 but not yet reported and 4) unpaid loss adjustment expenses for reported and unreported claims incurred prior to December 31, 2017. Quantification of loss estimates for each of these components involves a significant degree of judgment and estimates may vary, materially, from period to period. Estimated unpaid losses on reported claims are developed based on historical experience with similar claims by the Company. Development on reported claims, estimates of unpaid ultimate losses on claims incurred prior to December 31, 2017 but not yet reported, and estimates of unpaid loss adjustment expenses are developed based on the Company’s historical experience, using actuarial methods to assist in the analysis. The Company’s actuaries develop ranges of estimated development on reported and unreported claims as well as loss adjustment expenses using various methods, including the paid-loss development method, the reported-loss development method, the paid Bornhuetter-Ferguson method and the reported Bornhuetter-Ferguson method. Any single method used to estimate ultimate losses has inherent advantages and disadvantages due to the trends and changes affecting the business environment and the Company’s administrative policies. Further, external factors, such as legislative changes, medical cost inflation, and others may directly or indirectly impact the relative adequacy of liabilities for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses. The Company’s approach is to select an estimate of ultimate losses based on comparing results of a variety of reserving methods, as opposed to total reliance on any single method. Unpaid loss and loss adjustment expenses are reviewed periodically for significant lines of business, and when current results differ from the original assumptions used to develop such estimates, the amount of the Company’s recorded liability for unpaid loss and loss adjustment expenses is adjusted. In the event the Company’s actual reported losses in any period are materially in excess of the previously estimated amounts, such losses, to the extent reinsurance coverage does not exist, could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations.

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Future policy benefits comprised 36% of the Company’s total liabilities at December 31, 2017. These liabilities relate primarily to life insurance products and are based upon assumed future investment yields, mortality rates, and withdrawal rates after giving effect to possible risks of adverse deviation. The assumed mortality and withdrawal rates are based upon the Company’s experience. If actual results differ from the initial assumptions, the amount of the Company’s recorded liability could require adjustment.

Deferred acquisition costs comprised 10% of the Company’s total assets at December 31, 2017. Deferred acquisition costs are commissions, premium taxes, and other incremental direct costs of contract acquisition that results directly from and are essential to the contract transaction(s) and would not have been incurred by the Company had the contract transaction(s) not occurred. The deferred amounts are recorded as an asset on the balance sheet and amortized to expense in a systematic manner. Traditional life insurance and long-duration health insurance deferred policy acquisition costs are amortized over the estimated premium-paying period of the related policies using assumptions consistent with those used in computing the related liability for policy benefit reserves. Deferred acquisition costs for property and casualty insurance and short-duration health insurance are amortized over the effective period of the related insurance policies. Deferred policy acquisition costs are expensed when such costs are deemed not to be recoverable from future premiums (for traditional life and long-duration health insurance) and from the related unearned premiums and investment income (for property and casualty and short-duration health insurance). Assessments of recoverability for property and casualty and short-duration health insurance are extremely sensitive to the estimates of a subsequent year’s projected losses related to the unearned premiums. Projected loss estimates for a current block of business for which unearned premiums remain to be earned may vary significantly from the indicated losses incurred in any previous calendar year.

Receivables are amounts due from reinsurers, insureds and agents, and any sales of investment securities not yet settled, and comprised 9% of the Company’s total assets at December 31, 2017. Insured and agent balances are evaluated periodically for collectibility. Annually, the Company performs an analysis of the creditworthiness of the reinsurers with whom the Company contracts using various data sources. Failure of reinsurers to meet their obligations due to insolvencies, disputes or otherwise could result in uncollectible amounts and losses to the Company. Allowances for uncollectible amounts are established, as and when a loss has been determined probable, against the related receivable. Losses are recognized by the Company when determined on a specific account basis and a general provision for loss is made based on the Company’s historical experience.

Cash and investments comprised 79% of the Company’s total assets at December 31, 2017. Substantially all of the Company’s investments are in bonds and common and preferred stocks, the values of which are subject to significant market fluctuations. The Company carries all fixed maturities, which includes bonds and redeemable preferred stocks, and equity securities, which includes common and non-redeemable preferred stocks, as available for sale and, accordingly, at their estimated fair values. The Company owns certain fixed maturities that do not have publicly quoted values, but had an estimated fair value as determined by management of $1.4 million at December 31, 2017. Such values inherently involve a greater degree of judgment and uncertainty and therefore ultimately greater price volatility than the value of securities with publicly quoted market values. On occasion, the value of an investment may decline to a value below its amortized purchase price and remain at such value for an extended period of time. When an investment’s indicated fair value has declined below its cost basis for a period of time, the Company evaluates such investment for an other than temporary impairment. The evaluation for an other than temporary impairment is a quantitative and qualitative process, which is subject to risks and uncertainties in the determination of whether declines in the fair value of investments are other than temporary. Potential risks and uncertainties include, among other things, changes in general economic conditions, an issuer’s financial condition or near term recovery prospects and the effects of changes in interest rates. In evaluating a potential impairment, the Company considers, among other factors, management’s intent and ability to hold the securities until price recovery, the nature of the investment and the expectation of prospects for the issuer and its industry, the status of an issuer’s continued satisfaction of its obligations in accordance with their contractual terms, and management’s expectation as to the issuer’s ability and intent to continue to do so, as well as ratings actions that may affect the issuer’s credit status. If an other than temporary impairment is deemed to exist, then the Company will write down the amortized cost basis of the investment to its estimated fair value. While any such write down does not impact the reported value of the investment in the Company’s balance sheet, it is reflected as a realized investment loss in the Company’s consolidated statements of operations in the period incurred.

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The Company determines the fair values of certain financial instruments based on the fair value hierarchy established in Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 820-10-20, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures (“ASC 820-10-20”). The fair values of fixed maturities and equity securities are largely determined by either independent methods prescribed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which do not differ materially from nationally quoted market prices, when available, or independent broker quotations. See Note 2 and Note 14 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements with respect to assets and liabilities carried at fair value and information about the inputs used to value those financial instruments, by hierarchy level, in accordance with ASC 820-10-20.

Deferred income taxes reflect the effect of temporary differences between assets and liabilities that are recognized for financial reporting purposes and the amounts that are recognized for tax purposes. These deferred income taxes are measured by applying currently enacted tax laws and rates. Valuation allowances are recognized to reduce the deferred tax asset to the amount that is deemed more likely than not to be realized. In assessing the likelihood of realization, management considers estimates of future taxable income and tax planning strategies.

Refer to Note 1 of “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements” for details regarding the Company’s significant accounting policies.

Overall Corporate Results

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
(In thousands)
Revenue
 
 
 
 
 
 
Property and Casualty:
 
 
 
 
 
 
American Southern
$
59,485
 
$
58,159
 
Life and Health:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bankers Fidelity
 
117,495
 
 
107,505
 
Corporate and Other
 
4,134
 
 
413
 
Total revenue
$
181,114
 
$
166,077
 
Income before income taxes
 
 
 
 
 
 
Property and Casualty:
 
 
 
 
 
 
American Southern
$
8,567
 
$
7,314
 
Life and Health:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bankers Fidelity
 
(268
)
 
2,950
 
Corporate and Other
 
(2,943
)
 
(6,740
)
Income before income taxes
$
5,356
 
$
3,524
 
Net income
$
4,528
 
$
2,636
 

Management also considers and evaluates performance by analyzing the non-GAAP measure operating income, and believes it is a useful metric for investors, potential investors, securities analysts and others because it isolates the “core” operating results of the Company before considering certain items that are either beyond the control of management (such as taxes, which are subject to timing, regulatory and rate changes depending on the timing of the associated revenues and expenses) or are not expected to regularly impact the Company’s operational results (such as any realized investment gains, which are not a part of the Company’s primary operations and are, to a limited extent, subject to discretion in terms of timing of realization).

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A reconciliation of net income to operating income is as follows:

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
(In thousands)
Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measure
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income
$
4,528
 
$
2,636
 
Income tax expense
 
828
 
 
888
 
Realized investment gains, net
 
(9,168
)
 
(2,595
)
Operating income (loss)
$
(3,812
)
$
929
 

On a consolidated basis, the Company had net income of $4.5 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in 2017, compared to $2.6 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, in 2016. Operating loss was $3.8 million in 2017 as compared to operating income of $0.9 million in 2016. The decrease in operating income was primarily due to unfavorable loss experience in the life and health operations. Also contributing to the decrease in operating income was a decrease in investment income attributable to a decrease in the average yield on the Company’s investments in fixed maturities and losses from the equity in earnings from investments in real estate partnerships.

Total revenue was $181.1 million in 2017 as compared to $166.1 million in 2016. Premium revenue increased to $163.3 million in 2017 from $153.5 million in 2016. The increase in premium revenue was primarily due to an increase in Medicare supplement business in the life and health operations. Also included in total revenue were net realized investment gains of $9.2 million in 2017 compared to $2.6 million in 2016. The magnitude of realized investment gains and losses in any year is a function of the timing of trades of investments relative to the markets themselves as well as the recognition of any other than temporary impairments on investments.

Total expenses were $175.8 million in 2017 as compared to $162.6 million in 2016. As a percentage of premiums, insurance benefits and losses incurred and commissions and underwriting expenses were 98.6% in 2017 and 96.4% in 2016.

A more detailed analysis of the operating companies and other corporate activities follows.

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UNDERWRITING RESULTS

American Southern

The following table summarizes, for the periods indicated, American Southern’s premiums, losses, expenses and underwriting ratios:

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Gross written premiums
$
58,149
 
$
56,131
 
Ceded premiums
 
(4,787
)
 
(4,654
)
Net written premiums
$
53,362
 
$
51,477
 
Net earned premiums
$
53,661
 
$
53,763
 
Net losses and loss adjustment expenses
 
34,486
 
 
34,408
 
Underwriting expenses
 
16,432
 
 
16,437
 
Underwriting income
$
2,743
 
$
2,918
 
Loss ratio
 
64.3
%
 
64.0
%
Expense ratio
 
30.6
 
 
30.6
 
Combined ratio
 
94.9
%
 
94.6
%

Gross written premiums at American Southern increased $2.0 million, or 3.6%, during 2017 as compared to 2016. The increase in gross written premiums was primarily attributable to an increase in automobile liability written premiums from existing programs. Also contributing to the increase in gross written premiums were increases in the automobile physical damage and surety lines of business from two new agencies.

Ceded premiums increased $0.1 million, or 2.9%, during 2017 as compared to 2016. The increase in ceded premiums was primarily due to a reinsurance rate increase in the automobile liability line of business.

The following table summarizes, for the periods indicated, American Southern’s net earned premiums by line of business:

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
(In thousands)
Automobile liability
$
29,370
 
$
28,219
 
Automobile physical damage
 
9,972
 
 
10,192
 
General liability
 
2,953
 
 
3,009
 
Surety
 
8,441
 
 
8,999
 
Other lines
 
2,925
 
 
3,344
 
Total
$
53,661
 
$
53,763
 

Net earned premiums decreased slightly during 2017 as compared to 2016. The decrease in net earned premiums was primarily attributable to decreases in automobile physical damage and surety net earned premiums resulting from decreased business writings in 2016. Premiums are earned ratably over their respective policy terms, and therefore premiums earned in the current year are related to policies written during both the current year and immediately preceding year.

The performance of an insurance company is often measured by its combined ratio. The combined ratio represents the percentage of losses, loss adjustment expenses and other expenses that are incurred for each dollar of premium earned by the company. A combined ratio of under 100% represents an underwriting profit while a combined ratio of over 100% indicates an underwriting loss. The combined ratio is divided into two components, the loss ratio (the ratio of losses and loss adjustment expenses incurred to premiums earned) and the expense ratio (the ratio of expenses incurred to premiums earned).

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Net losses and loss adjustment expenses at American Southern increased slightly during 2017 as compared to 2016. As a percentage of premiums, net losses and loss adjustment expenses were 64.3% in 2017 compared to 64.0% in 2016. The slight increase in the loss ratio was primarily attributable to less favorable loss experience in the general liability and surety lines of business during 2017 as compared to 2016.

Underwriting expenses decreased slightly during 2017 as compared to 2016. As a percentage of premiums, underwriting expenses were 30.6% in 2017 and 2016. The nominal increase in the expense ratio was primarily due to American Southern’s use of a variable commission structure with certain agents, which compensates the participating agents in relation to the loss ratios of the business they write. In 2017, variable commissions at American Southern increased $0.2 million as compared to 2016 due to more favorable loss experience from certain accounts subject to variable commissions.

In establishing reserves, American Southern initially reserves for losses at the higher end of the reasonable range if no other value within the range is determined to be more probable. Selection of such an initial loss estimate is an attempt by management to give recognition that initial claims information received generally is not conclusive with respect to legal liability, is generally not comprehensive with respect to magnitude of loss and generally, based on historical experience, will develop more adversely as time passes and more information becomes available. However, as a result, American Southern generally experiences reserve redundancies when analyzing the development of prior year losses in a current period. At December 31, 2017, the range of estimates developed in connection with the loss reserves for American Southern indicated that reserves could be as much as 9.7% lower or as much as 12.1% higher. Development from prior years’ reserves has historically reduced the current year loss ratio; however, such reduction in the current year loss ratio is generally offset by the reserves established in the current year for current period losses. American Southern’s estimated net reserve redundancies for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 were $2.5 million and $2.1 million, respectively. To the extent reserve redundancies vary between years, there is an incremental impact on the results of operations of American Southern and the Company. The indicated redundancy in 2017 was $0.4 million more than in 2016. After considering the impact on contingent commissions and other related accruals, the $0.4 million increase in the redundancy resulted in an estimated increase in income from operations before tax of approximately $0.2 million in 2017 as compared to 2016. Management believes that such differences will continue in future periods but is unable to determine if or when incremental redundancies will increase or decrease, until the underlying losses are ultimately settled.

Contingent commissions, if contractually applicable, are ultimately payable to participating agents based on the underlying profitability of a particular insurance contract or a group of insurance contracts, and are periodically evaluated and accrued as earned. In 2017, approximately 51% of American Southern’s earned premium provides for contractual commission arrangements which compensate the company’s agents in relation to the loss ratios of the business they write, compared to 52% in 2016. By structuring its business in this manner, American Southern provides its agents with an economic incentive to place profitable business with American Southern. In periods in which loss reserves reflect favorable development from prior years’ reserves, there is generally a highly correlated increase in commission expense also related to the prior year business. Accordingly, favorable loss development from prior years, while anticipated to continue in future periods, is not an indicator of significant additional profitability in the current year.

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Bankers Fidelity

The following summarizes, for the periods indicated, Bankers Fidelity’s premiums, losses and expenses:

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Medicare supplement
$
93,652
 
$
84,107
 
Other health products
 
6,440
 
 
5,621
 
Life insurance
 
9,574
 
 
9,974
 
Total earned premiums
 
109,666
 
 
99,702
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Insurance benefits and losses
 
83,029
 
 
68,789
 
Underwriting expenses
 
34,734
 
 
35,766
 
Total expenses
 
117,763
 
 
104,555
 
Underwriting loss
$
(8,097
)
$
(4,853
)
Loss ratio
 
75.7
%
 
69.0
%
Expense ratio
 
31.7
 
 
35.9
 
Combined ratio
 
107.4
%
 
104.9
%

Premium revenue at Bankers Fidelity increased $10.0 million, or 10.0%, during 2017 as compared to 2016. Premiums from the Medicare supplement line of business increased $9.5 million, or 11.3%, in 2017 as compared to 2016, due primarily to the successful execution of new business generating strategies with both new and existing agents. Other health product premiums increased $0.8 million, or 14.6%, during 2017 as compared to 2016, primarily as a result of new sales of the company’s disability income and group health products. Premiums from the life insurance line of business decreased $0.4 million, or 4.0%, in 2017 from 2016 due to the redemption and settlement of existing policy obligations exceeding the level of new sales activity. Medicare supplement premiums ceded under the reinsurance agreement in 2017 and 2016 were approximately $32.5 million and $5.3 million, respectively.

Benefits and losses increased $14.2 million, or 20.7%, during 2017 as compared to 2016. As a percentage of premiums, benefits and losses were 75.7% in 2017 compared to 69.0% in 2016. The increase in the loss ratio was primarily attributable to unfavorable loss experience in the Medicare supplement line. Further, beginning late in 2016 and continuing throughout the first quarter of 2017, Bankers Fidelity experienced significantly increased levels of mortality and morbidity across all lines of business which had an unfavorable effect on the company’s loss patterns and increased the resultant 2017 loss ratio.

Underwriting expenses decreased $1.0 million, or 2.9%, during 2017 as compared to 2016. As a percentage of earned premiums, these expenses were 31.7% in 2017 compared to 35.9% in 2016. The decrease in the expense ratio was primarily due to the increase in earned premiums coupled with a relatively consistent level of fixed general and administrative expenses. Also contributing to the decrease in the expense ratio was a reinsurance expense-reimbursement allowance associated with the Company’s reinsurance agreement, which reimbursed the company for a portion of its indirect underwriting expenses.

Investment Income and Realized Gains

Investment income decreased $1.4 million, or 14.0%, in 2017 as compared to 2016. The decrease in investment income was primarily attributable to a decrease in the average yield on the Company’s investments in fixed maturities and losses from the equity in earnings from investments in real estate partnerships.

The Company had net realized investment gains of $9.2 million in 2017 compared to net realized investment gains of $2.6 million in 2016. The net realized investment gains in 2017 and 2016 were primarily attributable to gains of $6.0 million and $1.6 million, respectively, from the sale of property held within the Company’s real estate partnership investments as well as gains from the sale of a number of the Company’s investments in fixed maturities. Management continually evaluates the Company’s investment portfolio and, as may be determined to be appropriate, makes adjustments for impairments and/or will divest investments. See Note 2 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

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Interest Expense

Interest expense increased $0.2 million, or 10.3%, in 2017 as compared to 2016 due to an increase during the year in the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), as the interest rates on the Company’s outstanding junior subordinated deferrable interest debentures (“Junior Subordinated Debentures”) are directly related to LIBOR.

Other Expenses

Other expenses (commissions, underwriting expenses, and other expenses) decreased $1.3 million, or 2.2%, in 2017 as compared to 2016. The decrease in other expenses was primarily attributable to a reinsurance expense-reimbursement allowance associated with the reinsurance agreement in the life and health operations, which reimbursed a portion of the Company’s indirect underwriting expenses. Partially offsetting the decrease in other expenses was the $0.2 million increase in variable commission accruals at American Southern due to favorable loss experience from certain accounts subject to variable commissions. American Southern’s variable commission structure compensates the participating agents in relation to the loss ratios of the business they write. As a percentage of earned premiums, other expenses were 34.6% in 2017 as compared with 37.7% in 2016. The decrease in the expense ratio was primarily attributable to the increase in earned premiums coupled with a lower level of general and administrative expenses.

Income Taxes

The primary differences between the effective tax rate and the federal statutory income tax rate for 2017 and 2016 resulted from the dividends-received deduction (“DRD”), the small life insurance company deduction (“SLD”) and the remeasurement of deferred taxes. The current estimated DRD is adjusted as underlying factors change and can vary from estimates based on, but not limited to, actual distributions from investments as well as the amount of the Company’s taxable income. The SLD varies in amount and is determined at a rate of 60 percent of the tentative life insurance company taxable income (“LICTI”). The SLD for any taxable year is reduced (but not below zero) by 15 percent of the tentative LICTI for such taxable year as it exceeds $3.0 million and is ultimately phased out at $15.0 million. The remeasurement of deferred taxes resulted from legislated tax reform enacted on December 22, 2017. The tax reform reduced the federal tax rate applied to the Company’s deferred tax balances from 35% to 21% on enactment.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

The primary cash needs of the Company are for the payment of claims and operating expenses, maintaining adequate statutory capital and surplus levels, and meeting debt service requirements. Current and expected patterns of claim frequency and severity may change from period to period but generally are expected to continue within historical ranges. The Company’s primary sources of cash are written premiums, investment income and proceeds from the sale and maturity of its invested assets. The Company believes that, within each operating company, total invested assets will be sufficient to satisfy all policy liabilities and that cash inflows from investment earnings, future premium receipts and reinsurance collections will be adequate to fund the payment of claims and expenses as needed.

Cash flows at the Parent are derived from dividends, management fees, and tax-sharing payments, as described below, from the subsidiaries. The principal cash needs of the Parent are for the payment of operating expenses, the acquisition of capital assets and debt service requirements, as well as the repurchase of shares and payments of any dividends as may be authorized and approved by the Company’s board of directors from time to time. At December 31, 2017, the Parent had approximately $25.8 million of unrestricted cash and investments.

Dividend payments to a parent corporation by its wholly owned insurance subsidiaries are subject to annual limitations and are restricted to 10% of statutory surplus or statutory earnings before recognizing realized investment gains of the individual insurance subsidiaries. At December 31, 2017, the Parent’s insurance subsidiaries had an aggregate statutory surplus of $77.5 million. Dividends were paid to Atlantic American by its subsidiaries totaling $4.9 million and $5.5 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

The Parent provides certain administrative, purchasing and other services to each of its subsidiaries. The amount charged to and paid by the subsidiaries for these services was $7.7 million and $7.4 million in 2017 and 2016, respectively. In addition, the Parent has a formal tax-sharing agreement with each of its insurance subsidiaries. A net total of $2.7 million and $2.8 million were paid to the Parent under the tax sharing agreement in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

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The Company has two statutory trusts which exist for the exclusive purpose of issuing trust preferred securities representing undivided beneficial interests in the assets of the trusts and investing the gross proceeds of the trust preferred securities in Junior Subordinated Debentures. The outstanding $18.0 million and $15.7 million of Junior Subordinated Debentures mature on December 4, 2032 and May 15, 2033, respectively, are callable quarterly, in whole or in part, only at the option of the Company, and have an interest rate of three-month LIBOR plus an applicable margin. The margin ranges from 4.00% to 4.10%. At December 31, 2017, the effective interest rate was 5.50%. The obligations of the Company with respect to the issuances of the trust preferred securities represent a full and unconditional guarantee by the Parent of each trust’s obligations with respect to the trust preferred securities. Subject to certain exceptions and limitations, the Company may elect from time to time to defer Junior Subordinated Debenture interest payments, which would result in a deferral of distribution payments on the related trust preferred securities. The Company has not made such an election.

The Company intends to pay its obligations under the Junior Subordinated Debentures using existing cash balances, dividend and tax-sharing payments from the operating subsidiaries, or from potential future financing arrangements.

At December 31, 2017, the Company had 55,000 shares of Series D preferred stock (“Series D Preferred Stock”) outstanding. All of the shares of Series D Preferred Stock are held by an affiliate of the Company’s controlling shareholder. The outstanding shares of Series D Preferred Stock have a stated value of $100 per share; accrue annual dividends at a rate of $7.25 per share (payable in cash or shares of the Company’s common stock at the option of the board of directors of the Company) and are cumulative. In certain circumstances, the shares of the Series D Preferred Stock may be convertible into an aggregate of approximately 1,378,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, subject to certain adjustments and provided that such adjustments do not result in the Company issuing more than approximately 2,703,000 shares of common stock without obtaining prior shareholder approval; and are redeemable solely at the Company’s option. The Series D Preferred Stock is not currently convertible. The Company had accrued, but unpaid, dividends, on the Series D Preferred Stock of $17,722 at December 31, 2017 and 2016. During each of 2017 and 2016, the Company paid Series D Preferred Stock dividends of $0.4 million.

Cash and cash equivalents increased from $13.3 million at December 31, 2016 to $24.5 million at December 31, 2017. The increase in cash and cash equivalents during 2017 was primarily attributable to the sale and maturity of securities exceeding investment purchases, as well as the net cash provided by operations of $2.6 million during 2017. Partially offsetting the increase were additions to property and equipment of $0.1 million, dividends paid on the Company’s common stock and Series D Preferred Stock of $0.8 million, and the purchase of shares for treasury for $0.7 million.

The Company believes that existing cash balances as well as the dividends, fees, and tax-sharing payments it expects to receive from its subsidiaries and, if needed, additional borrowings from financial institutions, will enable the Company to meet its liquidity requirements for the foreseeable future. Management is not aware of any current recommendations by regulatory authorities, which, if implemented, would have a material adverse effect on the Company’s liquidity, capital resources or operations.

New Accounting Pronouncements

See “Recently Issued Accounting Standards” in Note 1 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Impact of Inflation

Insurance premiums are established before the amount of losses and loss adjustment expenses, or the extent to which inflation may affect such losses and expenses, are known. Consequently, the Company attempts, in establishing its premiums, to anticipate the potential impact of inflation. If, for competitive reasons, premiums cannot be increased to anticipate inflation, this cost would be absorbed by the Company. Inflation also affects the rate of investment return on the Company’s investment portfolio with a corresponding effect on investment income. To date, inflation has not had a material effect on the Company’s results of operations in any of the periods presented.

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Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

In the normal course of business, the Company has structured borrowings that, in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, are recorded on the Company’s balance sheet at an amount that differs from the ultimate contractual obligation. See Note 6 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Contractual Obligations

As a smaller reporting company, we have elected to comply with certain scaled disclosure reporting obligations, and therefore are not providing the table of contractual obligations required by this Item.

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

As a smaller reporting company, we have elected to comply with certain scaled disclosure reporting obligations, and therefore are not providing the information required by this Item.

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