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Infinity Property And Casualty Corporation Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Our largest state California was relatively flat falling just 1.2% during the quarter. Within the focus states, premiums in our targeted urban zones were up 10.9%. We experienced growth in 12 of our 21 targeted urban zones including our largest urban area Los Angeles, which was up 1.3%. And we continue to build our commercial vehicle product which posted growth for the ninth consecutive quarter.

Net earnings per share for the quarter were $1.15 compared to $0.76 for the same period in 2009. Net earnings for the first quarter of this year include favorable development on prior period reserves of $16.7 million pretax or $0.80 per share.

Also included in net earnings is a one-time adjustment, the GAAP expenses of $1.3 million pretax or $0.06 per share. Excluding the favorable development and this one-time adjustment to expenses, our 2010 accident year combined ratio was running about 99.1%.

As we mentioned last quarter, we expected our combined ratio to tick up this year as a result of our growth plans given higher underwriting expenses and loss ratios associated with new business. And we have seen this in our PPA book in Florida and our commercial vehicle business given our substantial growth in these two products.

In addition, there is some seasonality to the business for the first quarter typically running a higher loss ratio due to weather conditions and fewer daylight driving hours. In fact, both Florida and California had significant amounts of rainfall during the first quarter this year, which we suspect impacted claim frequencies.

Currently, we are slightly above our accident year combined ratio of guidance of 97% to 98%, yet we believe the book will settle into the expected range over the next three quarters.

Continuing on, our operating earnings per diluted share were relatively flat at $1.18 for the quarter as compared to $1.19 in the first quarter of ‘09. Regarding capital management actions, we purchased 251,900 shares for an average price of $41.30 during the quarter. Those purchases represent about 1.9% of the outstanding shares at the beginning of the first quarter.

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