AXIS Capital Holdings gave investors some cause for celebration with its midyear results. The Bermuda specialty insurer and reinsurer reported growth for its 2014 second quarter in nearly every metric that investors look for.
Those successes came, in part, from a portfolio rebalancing focused on less volatility and new businesses. While the majority of AXIS’s business involves insurance, reinsurance results improved during Q2. That is noteworthy considering that current conditions have left reinsurance rivals with less successful results after dealing with heavy competition and declining prices. It also comes after AXIS’s strategy changes, such as ceding more than 32 percent of its D&O book last year, the company said during its July 30 earnings call, as transcribed by SeekingAlpha.
“We made strong progress across many of our initiatives during the quarter,” AXIS President and CEO Albert Benchimol said at the start of the presentation, according to the transcript.
Benchimol made particular note of AXIS’s decision to re-enter the U.S. primary casualty business—a move Benchimol said is “gaining traction.” The company’s new medical malpractice unit is growing, and its new Lloyd’s syndicate “is also providing opportunities for new business that we did not see previously,” he said.
Benchimol added during the call that he sees the company propelling forward despite challenging market conditions.
“With respect to market conditions for insurance, after three years of attractive pricing improvements for the industry, we have seen leveling off of pricing overall, with moderate decreases across some of the property and specialty lines,” Benchimol said, according to the transcript. “However, despite a slowdown on pricing, there remain good fundamentals and opportunities for profitable growth in many insurance lines of business.”
For the 2014 second quarter, AXIS said it produced $191 million in net income available to common shareholders ($1.79 per diluted common share), more than double the $72 million ($0.62 per diluted common share) generated during the 2013 second quarter.
The combined ratio came in at 90.8, down from 101.7 last year.
Natural catastrophe and weather-related pretax losses are booked at $36 million for the quarter, mostly due to weather events and a big drop from $140 million in comparable costs a year ago.
Net investment income grew to $115 million from $83 million in the 2013 second quarter.
Gross written premiums for the company inched up to $1.2 billion, a 1 percent increase. Within that number, AXIS’s reinsurance segment climbed 9 percent, but that was offset by a 3 percent dip in written premiums from the insurance arm.
Here are the results broken down by divisions:
For the 2014 second quarter, gross premiums written for this arm came in at $754.1 million; net premiums written are booked at $541 million; and net premiums earned are listed at almost $457.7 million.
AXIS produced $12.6 million in underwriting income, and the combined ratio came in at 97.2.
The premium figures are generally down from the 2013 second quarter, during which AXIS’s insurance division generated $781 million in gross premiums written, $559.6 million in net premiums written and $422.3 million in net premiums earned.
The 2013 second-quarter combined ratio was also much higher, at 113.2.
AXIS’s reinsurance division produced more than $477.1 million in gross premiums written during the 2014 second quarter. Net premiums written came in at $459 million, and net premiums earned surpassed $542.7 million.
Reinsurance generated $113.9 million in underwriting income, which translates to a combined ratio landed at 79.3–an improvement over last year’s second quarter combined ratio of 87.5.
The premium figures are all gains over the 2013 second quarter, where reinsurance produced $438.7 million in gross premiums written, $433.8 million in net premiums written and $523.5 million in net premiums earned.