Markel Corp. reported $197.9 million in net income to shareholders for the 2015 fourth quarter, up from $117.6 million during the same period in 2014.
For the full-year 2015, the Richmond, Virginia-based specialty insurer posted $582.8 million in net income to shareholders, compared with $321.2 million for 2014.
Net written premiums for the 2015 fourth quarter were $796.3 million, compared with $811.6 million during the same period in 2014. Net written premiums for the full-year 2015 were $3.819 billion, compared with $3.917 billion for 2014. Last year’s net retention was in line with prior year at an 82 percent.
The company saw improved combined ratios. The consolidated combined ratio for the 2015 fourth quarter was 88 percent, down from 89 percent during the same period in 2014. For the full-year 2015, the combined ratio improved to 89 percent, from 95 percent in 2014.
The company said the decrease in combined ratios was driven by a more favorable development on prior year’s loss reserves in its underwriting segments in 2015 compared to 2014, as well as a lower current accident year loss ratio in 2015 compared to 2014.
Net investment income for the 2015 fourth quarter was $82.7 million, compared with $93.3 million for the same period in 2014. Net investment income for the full-year 2015 was $353.2 million, compared with $363.2 million in 2014.
Net realized investment gains for the 2015 fourth quarter were $109.5 million, compared with $17.3 million a year earlier. For the full-year 2015, net realized investment gains were $106.5 million, compared with $46.0 million in 2014.
“We are proud of our 2015 results and our record of building shareholder value over the last 30 years as a public company,” Markel’s Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Anne G. Waleski said during an earnings conference call Thursday.
Waleski said 2015 was an outstanding year for Markel’s underwriting operations, which contributed more than $400 million to pre-tax profits.
She also noted the 10 year anniversary of the Markel Ventures operations, which surpassed $1 billion in revenues for the first time for the full-year 2015. “We continue to pursue growth opportunities in both our Insurance and Markel Ventures operations,” she said.
Waleski said the company is excited about its recent acquisitions of CATCo, a Bermuda-based specialist in insurance-linked securities, and CapTech, a Richmond-based IT consulting firm that provides services to a wide array of customers.
‘High Level of Competition’
Markel President F. Michael Crowley, commenting on the company’s U.S. insurance segment, said the company’s product line leadership is committed to maintaining a pricing integrity “in the face of the soft market and steady competition.” Large accounts and any Cat-exposed property are under a very high level of competition, he said.
Crowley said that on smaller accounts, the company continued to achieve modest single-digit increases. “It was a very successful underwriting year for all our divisions. Our focus on 2016 is on profitable growth and the divisions have very detailed initiatives underway with our key agents and producers to achieve our goals,” he said.
“We clearly recognize the challenges that market conditions present and we are prepared to meet those challenges,” Crowley said.
*This story appeared previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.