AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter Operating Earnings(1) Of $34.0 Million And Net Income Of $33.6 Million

Full Year Operating Earnings(1) of $136.5 Million and Net Income of $142.5 Million Book Value Per Share of $12.03, Up 25.3% Since Year-End 2009

Financial Highlights
  • Annualized return on equity of 19.0% and operating(1) return on equity of 19.2% for the quarter
  • Gross written premium of $474.9 million, up 30.0%, and net earned premium of $210.4 million, up 32.0% from fourth quarter 2009
  • Commissions and other revenues of $72.2 million up 65.5% from fourth quarter 2009
  • Operating earnings(1) of $34.0 million up 5.9% from fourth quarter 2009
  • Operating EPS(1) of $0.57 compared to $0.53 in the fourth quarter 2009
  • Net income of $33.6 million up 19.9% from fourth quarter 2009
  • EPS of $0.56 compared to $0.47 in the fourth quarter 2009
  • Combined ratio of 87.6% compared to 81.8% in the fourth quarter 2009
  • Full year return on equity of 22.2% and operating return on equity of 21.2%(1)
  • Full year gross written premium of $1.6 billion, up 30.2%, and net earned premium of $745.7 million, up 29.9% over 2009
  • Full year operating earnings(1) of $136.5 million up 6.9% from 2009
  • Full year operating EPS(1) of $2.26 compared with $2.13 in 2009
  • Full year net income of $142.5 million up 38.0% from 2009
  • Full year EPS of $2.36 compared with $1.72 in 2009
  • Full year combined ratio of 85.3% compared to 79.8% in 2009
  • Book value per share of $12.03, up from $9.60 at year-end 2009

NEW YORK, Feb. 15, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (Nasdaq:AFSI) today reported net income of $33.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 19.9% from $28.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Earnings per diluted share totaled $0.56 in the quarter, up 19.1% from $0.47 in the same period last year. Operating earnings (1) totaled $34.0 million for the quarter, or $0.57 per diluted share, compared with $32.1 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2009.

For the full year 2010, net income totaled $142.5 million, up 38.0% from 2009. Earnings per diluted share of $2.36 increased 37.2% from $1.72 in 2009. Operating earnings (1) in 2010 totaled $136.5 million, or $2.26 per share, compared with $127.7 million, or $2.13 per share in the same period last year.

"Our fourth quarter and full year 2010 results reflect the power of our niche-oriented, lower-risk platform as we once again delivered strong returns for our shareholders," said Barry Zyskind, President and Chief Executive Officer of AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. "We remain committed to our core strategy of disciplined underwriting, risk and capital management coupled with strong efficiency centered around our proprietary technology platform." Zyskind continued, "I am proud of the great work of the entire AmTrust team as we continued to capture new market opportunities, broaden our geographic and product reach and enhance our fee and other income streams, which should provide even greater diversity and stability in the future."

Fourth Quarter 2010 Results

Total revenue of $282.7 million increased $79.7 million, or 39.2%, from $203.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Gross written premium of $474.9 million rose $109.6 million, or 30.0%, from fourth quarter 2009. Net written premium of $258.6 million increased $55.8 million, or 27.5%, from $202.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Net earned premium of $210.4 million increased $51.0 million, or 32.0%, from $159.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Commission and other revenues of $72.2 million increased $28.6 million, or 65.5%, from fourth quarter 2009, and represented 25.6% of total revenue. The combined ratio totaled 87.6% compared with 81.8% in the fourth quarter of 2009. Results include the effect of the Warrantech and Risk Services acquisitions, the investment in ACAC, and other acquisitions.

Ceding commission, primarily related to the quota-share reinsurance agreement with Maiden Holdings, Ltd. (Maiden), totaled $35.2 million, up 31.7% from $26.7 million a year ago. During the quarter, AmTrust ceded $127.0 million of gross written premium and $112.0 million of earned premium to Maiden compared to $110.0 million of gross written premium and $86.1 million of earned premium ceded in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Total service, fee and other income of $22.6 million increased $13.9 million from $8.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 and included $3.5 million from related parties compared with $2.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Investment income, excluding net realized gains and losses, totaled $11.3 million compared with $13.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Results also reflect net realized investment gains of $3.3 million, or $2.1 million after-tax, on certain fixed income and equity investments compared with losses of $5.0 million, or $3.2 million after-tax in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Loss and loss adjustment expense of $139.7 million increased $41.0 million from $98.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, and resulted in a loss ratio of 66.4% compared with 62.0% for the fourth quarter of 2009.

Acquisition costs and other underwriting expense of $79.7 million increased $21.3 million from the fourth quarter of 2009. Acquisition costs and other underwriting expenses less ceding commissions totaled $44.6 million compared with $31.7 million in the year ago quarter. The expense ratio totaled 21.2% compared with 19.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Other expense of $20.6 million increased $15.1 million from $5.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, largely reflecting the effect of the Warrantech and Risk Services acquisitions.

Full Year 2010 Results

Total revenue of $1.0 billion increased $262.2 million, or 35.4%, from $740.2 million in 2009. Gross written premium of $1.6 billion rose $361.9 million, or 30.2% from 2009. Net written premium of $827.2 million increased $183.8 million, or 28.6%, from $643.4 million in 2009. Net earned premium of $745.7 million increased $171.8 million, or 29.9% from 2009. Commission and other revenues of $256.8 million increased $90.5 million, or 54.4%, from 2009 and represented 25.6% of total revenue. The combined ratio totaled 85.3% compared with 79.8% in 2009. Results include the effect of the Warrantech and Risk Services acquisitions, the investment in ACAC, and other acquisitions.

Ceding commission, primarily related to the quota-share reinsurance agreement with Maiden, totaled $138.3 million, up 21.4% from $113.9 million a year ago. During 2010, AmTrust ceded $463.0 million of gross written premium and $441.3 million of earned premium to Maiden compared to $379.7 million of gross written premium and $357.9 million of earned premium ceded in 2009.

Total service and fee income of $62.1 million more than doubled from $30.7 million in 2009 and included $12.3 million from related parties compared with $8.6 million in 2009.

Investment income excluding net realized gains and losses totaled $50.5 million compared with $55.3 million in 2009. Results also reflect net realized investment gains of $6.0 million, or $3.9 million after-tax, on certain fixed income and equity investments compared with losses of $33.6 million, or $21.8 million after-tax, in 2009.

Loss and loss adjustment expense of $471.5 million increased $143.7 million from $327.8 million in 2009, and resulted in a loss ratio of 63.2% compared with 57.1% in 2009.

Acquisition costs and other underwriting expense of $302.8 million increased $58.5 million from $244.3 million in 2009. Acquisition costs and other underwriting expenses less ceding commissions totaled $164.5 million compared with $130.3 million in 2009. The expense ratio of 22.1% improved from 22.7% in 2009.

Total assets of $4.2 billion increased 23.1% from $3.4 billion at December 31, 2009 and included a 10.4% increase in cash and investments to $1.6 billion. AmTrust Financial shareholders' equity of $716.5 million increased 25.8% from $569.4 million at year-end 2009. During the quarter, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.08 per share. As of December 31, 2010, the Company's long-term debt-to-capitalization ratio was 16.8% compared with 22.5% at year-end 2009.

(1) References to operating earnings, operating EPS, and operating return on equity are non-GAAP financial measures defined by the Company as results excluding after-tax net realized investment gains and losses on securities, non-cash amortization of certain intangible assets and gain on investment in unconsolidated subsidiary. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table at the end of this release for important information about the use of these non-GAAP measures and their reconciliation to GAAP.

Conference Call:

At 9:00 a.m. ET, CEO Barry Zyskind and CFO Ron Pipoly will review these results via a conference call and webcast that may be accessed as follows:

Toll-free Dial-in: 877.755.7421

Toll Dial-in (Outside the U.S.): 973.200.3087

Webcast Registration: http://ir.amtrustgroup.com/events.cfm

A replay of the conference call will be available starting at 12:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 15th through Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 by dialing toll-free 800.642.1687 or toll 706.645.9291 and entering passcode 37165448. You may also access a replay of the webcast at http://ir.amtrustgroup.com/events.cfm.

About AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.

AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., headquartered in New York City, is a multinational insurance holding company, which, through its insurance carriers, offers specialty property and casualty insurance products, including workers' compensation, commercial automobile and general liability; extended service and warranty coverage. For more information about AmTrust, visit www.amtrustgroup.com, or call AmTrust toll-free at 866.203.3037.

The AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3280  Forward Looking Statements

This news release contains "forward-looking statements" that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects on the Company. There can be no assurance that actual developments will be those anticipated by the Company. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of significant risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, non-receipt of expected payments, changes in interest rates, effect of the performance of financial markets on investment income and fair values of investments, development of claims and the effect on loss reserves, accuracy in projecting loss reserves, the impact of competition and pricing environments, changes in the demand for the Company's products, the effect of general economic conditions, adverse state and federal legislation, regulations and regulatory investigations into industry practices, developments relating to existing agreements, heightened competition, changes in pricing environments, and changes in asset valuations. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made only as of the date of this release. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements except as may be required by law. Additional information about these risks and uncertainties, as well as others that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, is contained in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K and its quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.

 AFSI-F

AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
Income Statement
(in thousands, except per share data)
(Unaudited)
         
   Three Months Ended December 31,   Year Ended December 31, 
  2010 2009 2010 2009
         
Gross written premium  $ 474,865  $ 365,248  $ 1,560,822 $ 1,198,946
         
Premium income        
Net written premium  $ 258,581  $ 202,810  $ 827,226  $ 643,426
Change in unearned premium  (48,168)  (43,446)  (81,567)  (69,544)
Net earned premium  210,413  159,364  745,659  573,882
         
Ceding commission (primarily related party)  35,152  26,693  138,261  113,931
Service, fee and other income  22,562  8,678  62,067  30,690
Investment income, net  11,280  13,252  50,517  55,287
Net realized gains (losses)  3,252  (4,979)  5,953  (33,579)
Commission and other revenues  72,246  43,644  256,798  166,329
         
Total revenue  282,659  203,008  1,002,457  740,211
         
Loss and loss adjustment expense  139,718  98,740  471,481  327,771
Acquisition costs and other underwriting expense  79,732  58,384  302,809  244,279
Other expense  20,623  5,500  56,403  22,232
   240,073  162,624  830,693  594,282
         
Income before other, provision for income taxes, equity in earnings (loss) of unconsolidated subsidiaries and non-controlling interest  42,586  40,384  171,764  145,929
         
Other income (expense):        
Foreign currency gain  787  1,263  684  2,459
Interest expense  (2,857)  (4,893)  (12,902)  (16,884)
Income from life settlement contracts(1)  --   --   11,855  -- 
   (2,070)  (3,630)  (363)  (14,425)
         
Income before provision for income taxes, equity in earnings (loss) of unconsolidated subsidiaries and non-controlling interest  40,516  36,754  171,401  131,504
         
Provision for income taxes  (9,089)  (8,648)  (49,105)  (27,459)
Equity in earnings (loss) of unconsolidated subsidiaries (related party)(2)  2,241  (37)  24,044  (822)
Non-controlling interest  (22)  --   (3,875)  -- 
Net income  $ 33,646  $ 28,069  $ 142,465  $ 103,223
         
Operating earnings(3)  $ 33,983  $ 32,080  $ 136,512  $ 127,665
         
Earnings per common share:        
Basic earnings per share  $ 0.57  $ 0.47  $ 2.39  $ 1.74
Diluted earnings per share  $ 0.56  $ 0.47  $ 2.36  $ 1.72
Diluted operating earnings per share(4)  $ 0.57  $ 0.53  $ 2.26  $ 2.13
         
Weighted average number of basic shares outstanding   59,548  59,309  59,453  59,433
Weighted average number of diluted shares outstanding   60,698  60,022  60,346  59,954
         
Combined ratio 87.6% 81.8% 85.3% 79.8%
         
Return on equity 19.0% 20.3% 22.2% 21.5%
Operating return on equity(5) 19.2% 23.2% 21.2% 26.5%
         
Reconciliation of net realized losses:        
Other-than-temporary investment impairments  $ --   $ (9,418)  $ (21,196)  $ (24,778)
Impairments recognized in other comprehensive income  --   --   --   -- 
   --   (9,418)  (21,196)  (24,778)
Net realized gains (losses) on sale of investments  3,252  4,439  27,149  (8,801)
Net realized gains (losses)  $ 3,252  $ (4,979)  $ 5,953  $ (33,579)
 
AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
Balance Sheet Highlights
(in thousands)
(Unaudited)
     
  December 31, 2010 December 31, 2009
     
Cash, cash equivalents and investments  $ 1,561,454  $ 1,414,824
Premiums receivables  727,561  495,871
Goodwill and intangible assets  197,826  115,828
Total assets  4,186,456  3,400,364
Loss and loss expense reserves  1,263,537  1,091,944
Unearned premium  1,024,965  871,779
Trust preferred securities  123,714  123,714
AmTrust's stockholders' equity  $ 716,514  $ 569,392
 
AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
(in thousands, except per share data)
(Unaudited)
         
   Three Months Ended December 31,   Year Ended December 31, 
  2010 2009 2010 2009
         
Reconciliation of net income to operating earnings:        
Net income  $ 33,646  $ 28,069  $ 142,465  $ 103,223
Less: Net realized gains (losses) net of taxes/other  2,114  (3,236)  3,869  (21,826)
Gain on investment in unconsolidated subsidiary net of tax(2)  --   --   6,792  -- 
Non cash amortization of certain intangible assets  (2,451)  (775)  (4,708)  (2,616)
Operating earnings(3)  $ 33,983  $ 32,080  $ 136,512  $ 127,665
         
Reconciliation of diluted earnings per share to diluted operating earnings per share:        
Diluted earnings per share  $ 0.56  $ 0.47  $ 2.36  $ 1.72
Less: Net realized gains (losses) net of taxes  0.03  (0.05)  0.06  (0.37)
Gain on investment in unconsolidated subsidiary  --   --   0.11  -- 
Non cash amortization of certain intangible assets  (0.04)  (0.01)  (0.07)  (0.04)
Diluted operating earnings per share(4)  $ 0.57  $ 0.53  $ 2.26  $ 2.13
         
         
Reconciliation of return on equity to operating return on equity:        
Return on equity 19.0% 20.3% 22.2% 21.5%
Less: Net realized gains (losses) net of taxes 0.2%  (2.4)% 0.6%  (4.5)%
Gain on investment in unconsolidated subsidiary  --   --  1.1%  -- 
Non cash amortization of certain intangible assets  (0.4)%  (0.5)%  (0.7)%  (0.5)%
Operating return on equity(5) 19.2% 23.2% 21.2% 26.5%
         
         
(1)Income from life settlement contracts includes a retrospective pre-tax gain of $1,263 before non-controlling interest for the three months ended September 30, 2010.
 
(2)Equity in earnings (loss) of unconsolidated subsidiaries (related party) includes a gain on investment related to ACAC of $10,450 and an after tax amount of $6,792.
 
(3)Operating earnings is a non-GAAP financial measure defined by the Company as net income less after-tax realized investment gains and losses, gain on investment in unconsolidated subsidiary and certain amortization expense and should not be considered an alternative to net income. The Company's management believes that operating earnings is a useful indicator of trends in the Company's underlying operations because it provides a more meaningful representation of the Company's earnings power. The Company's measure of operating earnings may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies.
 
(4)Diluted operating earnings per share is a non-GAAP financial measure defined by the Company as net income less after-tax net realized investment gains and losses, gain on investment in unconsolidated subsidiary and certain amortization expense divided by the weighted average diluted shares outstanding for the period and should not be considered an alternative to diluted earnings per share. The Company's management believes that diluted operating earnings per share is a useful indicator of trends in the Company's underlying operations because it provides a more meaningful representation of the Company's earnings power. The Company's measure of diluted operating earnings per share may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies.
 
(5)Operating return on equity is a non-GAAP financial measure defined by the Company as net income less net after-tax realized investment gains and losses, gain on investment in unconsolidated subsidiary and certain amortization expense divided by the average shareholders' equity for the period and should not be considered an alternative to return on equity.  The Company's management believes that operating return on equity is a useful indicator of trends in the Company's underlying operations because it provides a more meaningful representation of the Company's earnings power. The Company's measure of operating return on equity may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies.
 
AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.
Segment Information
(in thousands, except percentages)
(Unaudited)
         
   Three Months Ended December 31,   Year Ended December 31, 
  2010 2009 2010 2009
Gross written premium        
Small Commercial Business  $ 127,811  $ 147,206  $ 465,951  $ 469,627
Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty  252,726  147,078  748,525  461,338
Specialty Program  71,116  70,965  264,051  267,981
Personal Lines Reinsurance  23,212  --   82,295  -- 
   $ 474,865  $ 365,249  $ 1,560,822  $ 1,198,946
         
Net written premium        
Small Commercial Business  $ 69,270  $ 83,297  $ 243,146  $ 255,496
Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty  123,458  83,298  362,100  245,604
Specialty Program  42,641  36,215  139,685  142,326
Personal Lines Reinsurance  23,212  --   82,295  -- 
   $ 258,581 $ 202,810  $ 827,226  $ 643,426
         
Net earned premium        
Small Commercial Business  $ 63,163  $ 63,598  $ 252,442  $ 238,971
Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty  84,331  58,487  303,583  190,226
Specialty Program  41,081  37,279  140,253  144,685
Personal Lines Reinsurance  21,838  --   49,381  -- 
   $ 210,413  $ 159,364  $ 745,659  $ 573,882
         
Loss Ratio        
Small Commercial Business 64.5% 58.1% 61.2% 57.5%
Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty 65.6% 62.8% 63.0% 51.9%
Specialty Program 71.1% 67.3% 67.2% 63.2%
Personal Lines Reinsurance 66.0%  --  64.1%  -- 
Total 66.4% 62.0% 63.2% 57.1%
         
Expense Ratio        
Small Commercial Business 23.5% 22.9% 24.5% 25.2%
Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty 14.7% 11.6% 16.6% 15.6%
Specialty Program 25.0% 27.8% 25.7% 27.9%
Personal Lines Reinsurance 32.5%  --  32.5%  -- 
Total 21.2% 19.9% 22.1% 22.7%
         
Combined Ratio        
Small Commercial Business 88.0% 81.0% 85.7% 82.8%
Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty 80.3% 74.4% 79.6% 67.5%
Specialty Program 96.0% 95.1% 93.0% 91.1%
Personal Lines Reinsurance 98.5%  --  96.6%  -- 
Total 87.6% 81.8% 85.3% 79.8%
CONTACT: AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.         IR@amtrustgroup.com

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