Losses from Hurricane Matthew helped contribute to RLI Corp.’s 2016 fourth quarter drops in property/casualty underwriting income. But the specialty insurer’s combined ratio remained at healthy levels.

RLI said that net earnings for Q4 came in at $32.2 million, or $0.72 per share, down slightly from just under $34 million, or $0.76 per share, in the 2015 fourth quarter.

Underwriting income for the quarter was $19.2 million with a combined ratio of 90.3. That compares to $22.5 million in underwriting income with an 87.4 combined ratio over the same period last year.

RLI said it produced close to $115 million in net earnings during 2016, or $2.59 per share, versus $137.5 million, or $3.12 per share, in the 2015 fiscal year.

RLI Chairman and CEO Jonathan Michael touted the fact that the insurer returned a significant amount of money to its shareholders in 2016 and was able to continue a long-term trend of keeping its combined ratio relatively low.

“In addition to growing our top line, we reported an 98.5 combined ratio for the year, marking our 12th consecutive year of achieving a combined ratio below 90,” Michael said in prepared remarks. “We returned over $120 million to our shareholders in the form of regular and special dividends, bringing the total amount returned to shareholders over the past 10 years to more than $1.2 billion.

Here are some additional financial highlights from RLI’s quarter and year.

  • Net premiums earned surpassed $187.8 million during the quarter, compared to almost $179.4 million in Q4 2015. For the year, net premiums earned were $728.6 million, compared to $700 million in 2015.
  • Losses from Hurricane Matthew led to a $6.6 million net decrease to underwriting income.
  • There was a special dividend during Q4 of $2 per share, which resulted in nearly $88 million being returned to shareholders.
  • Net investment income for Q4 reached $13.2 million, a 4.4 percent drop from more than $13.7 million in the same period a year ago.
  • Loss and settlement expenses for Q4 were more than $90.4 million, versus almost $80.6 million in the 2015 fourth quarter. For the year, the number was more than $349.7 million, up from $299 million in 2015.

Source: RLI Corp.