Members of the board of directors of InsurTech Hippo were on the receiving end of an open letter from a “concerned shareholder group,” yesterday, urging board actions to preserve the value of a company that has faced financial difficulties recently.
Asserting that Hippo has reported “abysmal financial results and operated in an unsustainable manner” since becoming public in 2021, the shareholder group wrote, “The only viable path forward is for the board to immediately announce and run a strategic review process with the goal of preserving and maximizing value from the company’s capital, Spinnaker Insurance Company [a Hippo fronting operation] and NOLs [net operating losses].”
The letter signers, Bradley L. Radoff and Etude Capital LLC (Steven Stein), also called for enhanced financial disclosures “so that shareholders can hold the board and management accountable,” as well as an end to “meaningless non-GAAP guidance, like adjusted EBITDA.” The “adjusted EBITDA metric is regularly highlighted in Hippo’s earnings reports.
Members of the shareholder group, according to a media statement, hold roughly 2.5 percent of the outstanding common shares of Hippo Holdings Inc., ranking them among the company’s 10 largest shareholders,
Instead of the non-GAAP measures, the focus should be on metrics critical to success as an insurer, they wrote, listing book value and net income as preferred measures.
“Taking the right and necessary steps, in our view, could return $15-$20 in per share value,” the shareholder group letter said.
Hippo’s share price has been in the $9-$10 range since the company reported a bottom-line net loss of $108 million on Aug. 8.
Recently, Hippo’s CEO Rick McCathron reported that the company would start writing new business again, after implementing a 30-day pause to mend underwriting results.
In yesterday’s letter to the board, the concerned shareholders also called for the appointment of industry veteran Jay Nichols Jr. as independent chair of the board. Hippo’s co-founder Assaf Wand currently serves as the company’s executive chairman.
Nichols, whose prior experience includes roles as CEO of AXIS Re and executive vice president at RenaissanceRe, most recently served as Interim CEO and chair of Protective Insurance Company, overseeing the 2021 acquisition of that company, a commercial auto insurer, by Progressive Insurance.