Selective Insurance Group Inc Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection
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Description of the company
Selective Insurance Group, Inc. (referred to as the “Parent”) is a New Jersey holding company that was incorporated in 1977. Our main office is located in Branchville, New Jersey and the Parent’s common stock is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “SIGI.” The Parent has ten insurance subsidiaries, nine of which are licensed by various state departments of insurance to write specific lines of property and casualty insurance business in the standard market. The remaining subsidiary is authorized by various state insurance departments to write property and casualty insurance in the excess and surplus ("E&S") lines market. Our ten insurance subsidiaries are collectively referred to as the “Insurance Subsidiaries.”
In 2017, we were ranked as the 36th largest property and casualty group in the United States based on 2016 net premiums written (“NPW”) in A.M. Best Company’s (“A.M. Best”) annual list of “Top 200 U.S. Property/Casualty Writers.”
The property and casualty insurance market is highly competitive, with fragmented market share and three main distribution methods: (i) sales through independent insurance agents; (ii) direct sales to personal and commercial customers; and (iii) a combination of independent agent and direct sales. In this highly competitive and regulated industry, we have several strategic advantages as follows: (i) the true franchise value we have built through our relationships with a small group of distribution partners that we refer to as our "ivy league" independent distribution partners, who collectively have significant market share in the states in which we operate and from whom we expect to gain increasing percentages of the business they write; (ii) our unique field model, in which our underwriting, claims, and safety management personnel are located in the same communities as our distribution partners and customers supported by sophisticated analytics, technology, and regional and home office support; and (iii) our focus on service and providing an exceptional and personalized customer experience that is seamless regardless of whether the method of communication is on-line, over the phone, or in person with one of our distribution partners. We refer to this as our omni-channel customer experience.
We classify our business into four reportable segments, which are as follows:
• Standard Commercial Lines, which is comprised of insurance products and services provided in the standard marketplace to commercial enterprises, which are typically businesses, non-profit organizations, and local government agencies. This business represents 78% of our total insurance operations’ NPW and is sold in 25 states and the District of Columbia.
• Standard Personal Lines, which is comprised of insurance products and services provided primarily to individuals acquiring coverage in the standard marketplace. This business represents 13% of our total insurance operations’ NPW and is primarily sold in 13 Eastern and Midwestern states. Standard Personal Lines includes flood insurance coverage. We are the fifth largest writer of this coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) and write flood business in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
• E&S Lines, which is comprised of insurance products and services provided to customers who have not obtained coverage in the standard marketplace. We currently only write commercial lines E&S coverages and this business represents 9% of our total insurance operations’ NPW and is sold in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
• Investments, which invests the premiums collected by our insurance operations, as well as amounts generated through our capital management strategies, which includes the issuance of debt and equity securities.
We derive substantially all of our income in three ways:
• Underwriting income/loss from our insurance operations. Underwriting income/loss is comprised of revenues, which are the premiums earned on our insurance products and services, less expenses. Gross premiums are direct premium written (“DPW”) plus premiums assumed from other insurers. Gross premiums less premium ceded to reinsurers, is NPW. NPW is recognized as revenue ratably over a policy’s term as net premiums earned (“NPE”). Expenses related to our insurance operations fall into three main categories: (i) losses associated with claims and various loss expenses incurred for adjusting claims (referred to as “loss and loss expense”); (ii) expenses related to insurance policy issuance, such as commissions to our distribution partners, premium taxes, and other expenses incurred in issuing and maintaining policies, including employee compensation and benefits (referred to as “underwriting expenses”); and (iii) policyholder dividends.
• Net investment income from the investment segment. We generate income from investing insurance premiums and amounts generated through our capital management strategies. Net investment income consists primarily of: (i) interest earned on fixed income investments and preferred stocks; (ii) dividends earned on equity securities; and (iii) other income primarily generated from our alternative investment portfolio.
• Net realized gains and losses on investment securities from the investments segment. Realized gains and losses from the investment portfolios of the Insurance Subsidiaries and the Parent are typically the result of sales, calls, and redemptions. They also include write downs from other-than-temporary impairments (“OTTI”).
Our income is partially offset by: (i) expenses at the Parent that include long-term incentive compensation to employees, interest on our debt obligations, and other general corporate expenses; and (ii) federal income taxes.
We use the combined ratio as the key measure in assessing the performance of our insurance operations. The combined ratio is calculated by adding: (i) the loss and loss expense ratio, which is the ratio of incurred loss and loss expense to NPE; (ii) the expense ratio, which is the ratio of underwriting expenses to NPE; and (iii) the dividend ratio, which is the ratio of policyholder dividends to NPE. A combined ratio under 100% indicates an underwriting profit and a combined ratio over 100% indicates an underwriting loss. The combined ratio does not reflect investment income, federal income taxes, or Parent company income or expense.
We use after-tax investment income, and net realized gains or losses as the key measures in assessing the performance of our investments segment. Our investment philosophy includes setting certain risk and return objectives for the fixed income, equity, and other investment portfolios. We generally review our performance by comparing our returns for each of these components of our portfolio to a weighted-average benchmark of comparable indices.