RLI Corp. Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection
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Description of the company
RLI Corp. is an Illinois corporation that was organized in 1965. We underwrite selected property and casualty insurance through major subsidiaries collectively known as RLI Insurance Group (the Group). We conduct operations principally through three insurance companies. RLI Insurance Company (RLI Ins.), a subsidiary of RLI Corp. and our principal insurance subsidiary, writes multiple lines of insurance on an admitted basis in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Mt. Hawley Insurance Company (Mt. Hawley), a subsidiary of RLI Ins., writes excess and surplus lines insurance on a non-admitted basis in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Contractors Bonding and Insurance Company (CBIC), a subsidiary of RLI Ins., writes multiple lines of insurance on an admitted basis in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each of our insurance companies is domiciled in Illinois. We have no material foreign operations.
As a specialty insurance company with a niche focus, we offer insurance coverages in both the specialty admitted and excess and surplus markets. We distribute our property and casualty insurance through our branch offices that market to wholesale and retail producers. We offer limited coverages on a direct basis to select insureds, as well as various reinsurance coverages. In addition, from time to time, we produce a limited amount of business under agreements with managing general agents under the direction of our product vice presidents.
SPECIALTY INSURANCE MARKET OVERVIEW
The specialty insurance market differs significantly from the standard market. In the standard market, products and coverage are largely uniform with relatively predictable exposures and companies tend to compete for customers on the basis of price. In contrast, the specialty market provides coverage for risks that do not fit the underwriting criteria of the standard carriers. Competition tends to focus less on price and more on availability, coverage, service and other value-based considerations. While specialty market exposures may have higher insurance risks than their standard admitted market counterparts, we manage these risks to achieve higher financial returns. To reach our financial and operational goals, we must have extensive knowledge of, and expertise in, our markets. Many of our risks are underwritten on an individual basis and tailored coverages are employed in order to respond to distinctive risk characteristics. We operate in the specialty admitted insurance market, the excess and surplus insurance market and the specialty property and casualty reinsurance markets.
SPECIALTY ADMITTED INSURANCE MARKET
We write business in the specialty admitted market. Most of these risks are unique and hard to place in the standard admitted market, but for marketing and regulatory reasons, they must remain with an admitted insurance company. The specialty admitted market is subject to greater state regulation than the excess and surplus market, particularly with regard to rate and form filing requirements, restrictions on the ability to exit lines of business, premium tax payments and membership in various state associations, such as state guaranty funds and assigned risk plans. For 2017, our specialty admitted operations produced gross premiums written of $572.2 million, representing approximately 64 percent of our total gross premiums for the year.
EXCESS AND SURPLUS INSURANCE MARKET
The excess and surplus market focuses on hard-to-place risks. Participating in this market allows us to underwrite non-standard risks with more flexible policy forms and unregulated premium rates. This typically results in coverages that are more restrictive and more expensive than in the standard admitted market. The excess and surplus lines regulatory environment and production model also effectively filter submission flow and match market opportunities to our expertise and appetite. According to the 2017 edition of A.M. Best Aggregate & Averages – Property/Casualty, United States & Canada, the excess and surplus market represented approximately $27 billion, or 4 percent, of the entire $613 billion domestic property and casualty industry in 2017, as measured by direct premiums written. Our excess and surplus operations wrote gross premiums of $280.1 million, or 32 percent, of our total gross premiums written in 2017.
SPECIALTY PROPERTY AND CASUALTY REINSURANCE MARKETS
We write business in the specialty property and casualty reinsurance markets. This business can be written on an individual risk (facultative) basis or on a portfolio (treaty) basis. We write contracts on an excess of loss and a proportional basis. Contract provisions are written and agreed upon between the company and its reinsurance clients. The business is typically more volatile as a result of unique underlying exposures and excess and aggregate attachments. This business requires specialized underwriting and technical modeling. For 2017, our specialty property and casualty reinsurance operations wrote gross premiums of $33.0 million, representing approximately 4 percent of our total gross premiums written for the year.
BUSINESS SEGMENT OVERVIEW
The segments of our insurance operations are casualty, property and surety. For additional information, see note 11 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
Commercial and Personal Umbrella
Our commercial umbrella coverage is written in excess of primary liability insurance provided by other carriers and in excess of primary liability written by us. The personal umbrella coverage is written in excess of homeowners’ and automobile liability coverage provided by other carriers, except in Hawaii, where some underlying homeowners’ coverage is written by us. Net premiums earned from this business totaled $115.5 million, $111.1 million and $104.6 million, or 16 percent, 15 percent and 15 percent of total net premiums earned for 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Our general liability business consists primarily of coverage for third-party liability of commercial insureds including manufacturers, contractors, apartments, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and mercantile. We also offer coverages for security guards and in the specialized areas of onshore energy-related businesses and environmental liability for underground storage tanks, contractors and asbestos and environmental remediation specialists. Net premiums earned from our general liability business totaled $90.3 million, $86.9 million and $84.2 million, or 12 percent of total net premiums earned for 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
We offer professional liability coverages focused on providing errors and omission coverage to small to medium-sized design, technical, computer and miscellaneous professionals. Our product suite for these customers also includes a full array of multi-peril package products including general liability, property, automobile, excess liability and workers’ compensation coverages. This business primarily markets its products through specialty retail agents nationwide. Net premiums earned from the professional services group totaled $78.5 million, $75.9 million and $71.0 million, or 11 percent, 10 percent and 10 percent of total net premiums earned for 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Our transportation insurance provides commercial automobile liability and physical damage insurance to local, intermediate and long haul truckers, public transportation entities and equipment dealers, along with other types of specialty commercial automobile risks. We also offer incidental, related insurance coverages including general liability, excess liability and motor truck cargo. Our highly experienced transportation underwriters produce business through independent agents and brokers nationwide. Net premiums earned from this business totaled $78.1 million, $81.4 million and $65.6 million, or 11 percent, 11 percent and 9 percent of total net premiums earned for 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Our small commercial business offers property and casualty insurance coverages to small contractors and other small to medium-sized retail businesses. The coverages included in these packages are predominantly general liability, but also have some inland marine coverages as well as commercial automobile, property and umbrella coverage. These products are primarily marketed through retail agents. Net premiums earned from the small commercial business totaled $49.6 million, $45.7 million and $40.4 million, or 7 percent, 6 percent and 6 percent of total net premiums earned for 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
We provide a suite of management liability coverages, such as directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance, fiduciary liability and fidelity coverages, for a variety of low to moderate classes of risks, including both public and private businesses. Our publicly traded D&O appetite generally focuses on offering excess “Side A” D&O coverage (where corporations cannot indemnify the individual directors and officers) as well as excess full coverage D&O. Additionally, we offer representations and warranties coverage for companies involved in mergers and acquisitions and cyber liability coverage to medium to large size public and private businesses. Net premiums earned from the executive products business totaled $18.1 million, $18.8 million and $17.9 million, or 2 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent of total net premiums earned for 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Medical Professional Liability
We provide healthcare liability coverage that is focused on long-term care and hospital liability. We also offer medical professional liability insurance specializing in hard-to-place individuals and group physicians. This business is marketed through wholesale brokers and retail agents. Net premiums earned from the medical professional liability business totaled $17.1 million, $17.4 million and $12.3 million, or 2 percent of total net premiums earned for 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
We offer a variety of other smaller products in our casualty segment, including home business insurance, which provides limited liability and property coverage, on and off-site, for a variety of small business owners who work from their own home. We have a quota share reinsurance agreement with Prime Insurance Company and Prime Property and Casualty Insurance Inc., the two insurance subsidiaries of Prime Holdings Insurance Services, Inc. (Prime). We assume general liability, excess, commercial auto, property and professional liability coverages on hard-to-place risks that are primarily written in the excess and surplus insurance market, as well as certain coverages written on an admitted basis. Additionally, we write mortgage reinsurance, which provides credit risk transfer on pools of mortgages, and offer general liability coverage through a general binding authority group. Net premiums earned from these lines totaled $31.4 million, $17.8 million and $16.3 million, or 4 percent, 2 percent and 2 percent of total net premiums earned for 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.