Horace Mann Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2018 Results
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb 5, 2019--Horace Mann Educators Corporation (NYSE:HMN) today reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2018:
“The combination of an unprecedented level of catastrophe costs, a challenging investment environment and expenses related to the two strategic acquisitions we announced during the period led to both a net and core loss for the fourth quarter and significantly reduced full-year return on equity,” said President and CEO Marita Zuraitis. “Consequently, our results do not convey the important progress we continue to make on the strategic initiatives that will drive long-term improvement in our return on equity. For example, the 2.6 point improvement in the underlying 2018 auto loss ratio was ahead of plan, adding almost one point to ROE.”
In the fourth quarter of 2018, Horace Mann announced plans to acquire:National Teachers Associates (NTA), a family-owned insurer focused on the education market with complementary products and distribution. Headquartered in Dallas, NTA specializes in developing, marketing and underwriting supplemental insurance products, including cancer and heart. Benefit Consultants Group (BCG), a retirement plan provider with strong employer plan infrastructure and competencies based in Cherry Hill, NJ. BCG expands Horace Mann’s strategic capabilities in the retirement market.
“Looking forward to 2019, we are well positioned to achieve profitable growth, putting us back on the path to a double-digit return on equity,” noted Zuraitis. “Our two announced acquisitions bring exciting capabilities to expand our product set, enhance our distribution channels and further improve our infrastructure, enhancing our long-term view.
“We are projecting full-year 2019 core earnings between $2.00 and $2.20 per share,” stated Zuraitis. “We see continued progress on our strategic initiatives, including a return to underlying auto profitability. At the same time, we are anticipating an increasingly challenged investment environment and have also updated our models with a higher catastrophe load than previous years’ guidance. Because the timing is uncertain, our stated guidance does not yet include any contribution from NTA, which should close in mid-2019 and be immediately accretive to both earnings and return on equity.”
For 2018, the Property and Casualty combined ratio was 109.3%, with full-year catastrophe costs adding 17.1 points to the ratio. As previously announced, the most significant event in the fourth quarter was the Camp Fire, which generated gross losses of $150.0 million. After reinsurance, the financial impact of that event was $38.0 million pretax, including $6.7 million in reinsurance reinstatement premiums. In addition, Hurricane Michael and seven smaller events added $7.3 million to catastrophe losses for the fourth quarter.
Excluding reinsurance reinstatement premiums, written premiums* increased 3.8% for 2018 and 5.1% for the quarter, driven primarily by rate actions.
The underlying auto loss ratio improved 2.6 points in 2018, reflecting the accelerating impact of rate actions and underwriting initiatives to improve profitability. The underlying property loss ratio also improved for the year by 1.0 points, reflecting continued rate actions and underwriting initiatives.
Auto and property policy retention rates for the current quarter were 81.9% and 88.0%, respectively.
For 2018, Retirement sales deposits increased 5.5%, driven entirely by 33% growth in fee-based product sales, including our Retirement Advantage products. Retirement assets under management, which are predominantly spread-based fixed annuities, were flat compared to a year ago. Total cash value persistency remained strong at 94.4% for variable annuities and 94.0% for fixed annuities.
Core earnings excluding DAC unlocking declined for the quarter and the year, primarily reflecting a lower net interest margin on fixed annuities and, to a lesser extent, higher expenses associated with continued investment in business capabilities.
The net interest spread for 2018 was 171 basis points on fixed annuity assets under management of $4.7 billion, primarily reflecting lower returns on alternative investments and a decline in prepayment activity.
Life sales* increased 19.8% for the year, with strong new policy growth for both recurring and single premium products. This reflects the sustained emphasis on meeting the needs of the under-insured educator market through enhanced marketing efforts and ease of doing business improvements. Fourth quarter sales were slightly ahead of the strong results generated in last year’s fourth-quarter, and core earnings were up 26.7%.
Life core earnings were up 8.7% for the full year, as fourth quarter mortality costs continued to compare favorably with actuarial assumptions. Life persistency of 95.4% was comparable to 12 months earlier.
While annuity asset balances in the Retirement segment rose modestly, annual investment yields continue to be impacted by the low interest rate environment of recent years. Full-year total net investment income was flat with 2017, having benefited from elevated prepayment activity. The decline in fourth-quarter net investment income reflected lower returns on alternative investments and a return to anticipated levels of prepayment activity.
Net realized investment losses on securities were up from last year, largely because of declines in the fair values of equity securities. Net unrealized investment gains on securities declined from last year due to increases in interest rates, which reduced the fair values of fixed maturity securities.
Capital Position Supports Business Investments
At year-end 2018, shareholders’ equity was $1.3 billion, or $31.50 per share. Excluding net unrealized investment gains on securities, shareholders’ equity was $1.2 billion, or $29.13 per share. The company’s conservative balance sheet forms a strong foundation to invest in organic and inorganic growth while simultaneously supporting an above-peer dividend and opportunistic share repurchase.
On January 2, 2019, the company completed the acquisition of BCG for $25 million in cash. The NTA transaction is expected to close in mid-2019, pending regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, for a purchase price of $405 million. Fourth-quarter and full-year expenses of $3.5 million and $4.0 million, after tax, related to these two transactions are reported in the Corporate and Other segment.
As of December 31, 2018, $22.8 million remained authorized for future share repurchases under the company’s share repurchase program.
Horace Mann’s senior management will discuss the company’s 2018 and fourth quarter financial results with investors and analysts on February 6, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The conference call will be webcast live at investors.horacemann.com and archived later in the day for replay.
About Horace Mann
Horace Mann Educators Corporation (NYSE: HMN) is the largest financial services company focused on providing America’s educators and school employees with insurance and retirement solutions. Founded by Educators for Educators ® in 1945, the company is headquartered in Springfield, Illinois. For more information, visit horacemann.com.
Safe Harbor Statement and Non-GAAP Measures
Statements included in this news release that are not historical in nature are forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Horace Mann is not under any obligation to (and expressly disclaims any such obligation to) update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Please refer to the company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2018 and the company’s past and future filings and reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for information concerning important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Information contained in this news release include measures which are based on methodologies other than accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP). Reconciliations of non-GAAP measures to the closest GAAP measures are contained in the Appendix to the Investor Supplement and additional descriptions of the non-GAAP measures are contained in the Glossary of Selected Terms included as an exhibit to the company’s SEC filings.
View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190205005947/en/
CONTACT: Horace Mann Educators Corporation
Heather J. Wietzel
Vice President, Investor Relations
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA ILLINOIS
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: EDUCATION OTHER EDUCATION PROFESSIONAL SERVICES BANKING FINANCE INSURANCE
SOURCE: Horace Mann Educators Corporation
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PUB: 02/05/2019 04:15 PM/DISC: 02/05/2019 04:15 PM