CARMEL, Ind., Nov. 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Baldwin & Lyons, Inc. (NASDAQ:BWINA) (NASDAQ:BWINB) today reported results for the third quarter and first nine months of 2017.  The Company produced third quarter net income of $7.4 million, or $0.49 per share, which compares to net income of $4.0 million, or $0.27 per share, for the prior year’s third quarter.  For the first nine months of 2017, net income totaled $1.8 million, or $0.12 per share, which compares to net income of $24.1 million, or $1.60 per share, for the prior year period. 

Gross premiums written for the current quarter increased 29.0% to $131.5 million compared to $101.9 million written during the third quarter of 2016.  Gross premiums written for the nine months of 2017 increased 20.9% to $360.6 million compared to $298.1 million written during the first nine months of 2016.  The increases were primarily driven by continued growth in the Company’s commercial automobile and workers’ compensation products as well as growth in the Company’s programs book of business. 

Net premiums earned for the third quarter of 2017 were $89.1 million, 25.1% higher than last year’s third quarter total.  The continued growth in the Company’s commercial automobile and workers’ compensation products as well as growth in the Company’s programs book of business contributed to the increase in premiums earned.  For the first nine months of 2017, net premiums earned increased 11.7% to $231.1 million.

Net investment income for the third quarter of 2017 increased 14.6% to $4.0 million compared to $3.5 million in 2016, reflecting higher interest rates leading to higher reinvestment yields for short-duration fixed income securities, increased dividends from equity securities and a 3.0% increase in average funds invested resulting from positive cash flow.  For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, net investment income increased 18.4% to $12.4 million, compared to $10.5 million in 2016, reflecting investment impacts similar to those experienced during the third quarter.

Underwriting operations produced a combined ratio of 99.3% during the third quarter of 2017, which compares to a combined ratio of 107.9% for the third quarter of 2016.  The combined ratio difference reflects a $10.1 million reserve strengthening that occurred during the third quarter of 2016.  For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, the combined ratio was 112.2%, which compares to a combined ratio of 95.9% for the 2016 period with the difference primarily related to reserve strengthening in the second quarter of 2017.    

During the third quarter of 2017, the Company repurchased 84,960 shares of its Class B common stock at an average price per share of $22.12.

Book value per share as of September 30, 2017 was $26.93, an increase of $0.43 per share during the third quarter, after the payment of cash dividends to shareholders totaling $0.27 per share.  For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, book value per share increased $0.12 after the payment of cash dividends to shareholders totaling $0.81 per share.  The combination of the year-to-date increase in book value of $0.12, plus dividends paid to shareholders of $0.81, represents an annualized total value creation of 4.6% on beginning book value for the nine months ended September 30, 2017.

Forward-looking statements in this report are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties.  Readers are encouraged to review the Company's annual report for its full statement regarding forward-looking information.

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