Greenlight Capital Re's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Greenlight Capital Re (GLRE)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 1, 2012 09:00 AM ET

Executives

Bart Hedges – CEO

David Einhorn – Chairman

Tim Courtis – CFO

Analysts

Marie Lunackova – UBS

Presentation

Operator

Thank you for joining the Greenlight Re Conference Call on First Quarter 2012 Earnings. Joining us on the call this morning are David Einhorn, Chairman; Bart Hedges, Chief Executive Officer; Tim Courtis, Chief Financial Officer; Brendan Barry, Chief Underwriting Officer and Claude Wagner, Chief Actuarial Officers

After today’s presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. Please note, the company reminds you that forward-looking statements that may be made in this call are intended to be covered by the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical fact, but rather reflect the company’s current expectations, estimates and predictions about future results and events and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions including risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are enumerated in the company’s Form 10-K dated February 22st, 2012, and other documents filed by the company with the SEC.

If one or more risks or uncertainties materialize or if the company’s underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, actual results may vary materially from what the company projects. The company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Bart Hedges, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Hedges, the floor is your sir.

Bart Hedges

Good morning I am Bart Hedges, Chief Executive Officer of Greenlight Re. Thank you for taking the time to join us today. In the first quarter of 2012 Greenlight Re generated a small loss in our underwriting portfolio after all general and administrative expenses had a gain in our investment portfolio. Overall, our fully diluted adjusted book value per share increased by 7.8% in the quarter. Greenlight Re's combined ratio for the quarter ended March 31st, 2012 was 102.4%. Our combined ratio improved marginally over the fourth quarter of 2011. Our core businesses continued to produce acceptable results; however our combined ratio continues to be negatively impacted by higher than expected severity trends in our commercial, automobile, book of business. Our commercial automobile accounts have proved unprofitable over several years. In particular, transportation business were in by our partners in 2009, 2010 and to a lesser extent 2011 experienced unfavorable trends in the frequency of large losses compared to historical results. We are no longer writing commercial automobile business, but we continue to be responsible for the run-off of the claims for the business we did right. We monitored the run-off of this business closely and continue to reserve quarterly based upon on our best estimates.

Our gross written premium for the quarter was up 51% from the same quarter a year ago. The growth in written premium was mainly attributable to the relationships we entered into recently to write private passenger motor contracts. This business is quite different from the commercial automobile business discussed earlier. The coverage is non-standard motor liability for private passenger autos, not commercial vehicles used mostly in the long-haul trucking business. Additionally, the non-standard motor liability business covers very low limits of liability as compared to the commercial automobile business. For example, an average non-standard motor liability policy limit maybe $20,000 compared to an average commercial automobile policy limit of $1 million. The lower policy limit mitigates a potential negative impact of large losses. Additionally, the non-standard motor liability business we support is currently experiencing rate increase in excessive loss trends which we believe will result in expanded profit margins.

During the first quarter we did not experience any movement in our reserves for natural catastrophes experienced during 2010 or 2011. We renewed one significant catastrophe retro account at April 1st, 2012, with improved terms. Although 2011 was the year of historic international property catastrophe losses, new capacity from collateralized markets reduced the ability to significantly increase pricing and therefore limited our ability to find acceptable, new opportunities in this area. However, we are comfortable with our exposure in this part of our portfolio and continue to believe that we are achieving good risk adjusted returns on the business we support. Our maximum catastrophe exposure currently at 69.8 million for any one event and 102.7 million for our maximum aggregate exposure to all events. As a reminder, we always state our catastrophe aggregates as the absolute amount of limit we have at risk, less than any reinstatement premiums. We continue to signs of improved rate conditions on our private passenger automobile, Florida homeowners, employer stop loss and small accounts commercial liability and workers compensation businesses. This move towards higher rates is an encouraging sign for the future market conditions, particularly in combination with the low interest rate environment, and the slowdown in releases of prior period reverses being experienced by the broader industry. However the turn in the market is slow and we will stay patient and focused on writing business that fits our strategy and meets our return expectations.

During the quarter we added a new senior member to our underwriting team. Carl Trainer will join our Dublin Ireland operations as General Manager on June 1st 2012 with a mandate to drive implementation of our client focused underwriting strategy in Europe. Carl joins us from Conihout Ireland where he was responsible for underwriting reinsurance business in the UK and Europe. Additionally, we are pleased to welcome Matias Galker, the new Actuary to our team in Cayman.

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