Specialty insurer RLI Corp. closed its 2014 second quarter with higher underwriting income and net earnings, greater book value, and growth in premiums earned.

But the Illinois company still faced a few blips. Its combined ratio grew slightly, and 2014 spring storms chipped at underwriting returns. Overall, however, RLI conveyed solid results that continued a positive trend beginning early in the year, Chairman and CEO Jonathan E. Michael noted during the company’s investor call on July 17.

It was “a good quarter, good earnings. Premiums earned were up over 9 percent for the quarter and a little bit more than that year-to-date,” Michael said, adding it was “a very good first half [of the year] for us.”

Michael noted that there is “new capital in the market, reflective of the reinsurance pricing decreases we have seen the last 18 months, and that continues.” To offset this, the company has been launching new products, he added.

RLI said it booked more than $35.7 million net earnings during the 2014 second quarter, up 19.5 percent from $29.9 million over the same period last year.

Broken down:

  • Underwriting income reached close to $26.6 million during the quarter, with an 84.2 combined ratio. That compares to $25.6 million in underwriting income and an 83.4 combined ratio in the 2013 second quarter. Underwriting income grew in RLI’s casualty and property arms but dropped a bit in its surety division during the period.
  • RLI’s net investment income for the 2014 second quarter reached $14 million, an 8.8 percent jump over $12.8 million produced during same period in 2013, driven by small gains in the bond portfolio’s return and larger gains in equities. Net realized investment gains surpassed $10.4 million during the quarter, versus more than $3.7 million in the 2013 second quarter.
  • Net premiums earned reached $168.6 million during the 2014 second quarter. That’s a gain of more than 9 percent over $154.5 million in net premiums earned during the equivalent period in 2013.
  • Net premiums written surpassed $208.5 million during the quarter, and that’s well above the $199.9 million in net premiums written in the 2013 second quarter.
  • RLI said it generated net earnings per share of $0.82 during the 2014 second quarter, up from $0.69 over the same period in 2013.

The company said it produced a book value per share of $21.37 during the quarter, an 11 percent increase from the end of 2013.