RenaissanceRe Holdings' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. (RNR)

Q1 2012 Earnings Conference Call

May 3, 2012 10:00 ET

Executives

Peter Hill – Investor Relations

Neill Currie – Chief Executive Officer

Kevin O'Donnell – Executive Vice President and Global Chief Underwriting Officer

Jeff Kelly –Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Mike Zaremski – Credit Suisse

Sarah DeWitt – Barclays

Michael Nannizzi – Goldman Sachs

Greg Locraft – Morgan Stanley

Josh Shanker – Deutsche Bank

Doug Mewhirter – RBC Capital Markets

Josh Stirling – Sanford Bernstein

Vinay Misquith – Evercore Partners

Jay Cohen – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Ron Bobman – Private Investor

Presentation

Operator

Good morning. My name is (Naina). I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the RenaissanceRe's First Quarter 2011 Financial Results Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) Thank you.

Mr. Peter Hill, you may begin your conference.

Peter Hill – Investor Relations

Good morning and thank you for joining our first quarter 2012 financial results conference call.

Yesterday after the market close, we issued our quarterly release. If you didn't get a copy, please call me at 212-521-4800, and we'll make sure to provide you with one. There will be an audio replay of the call available from approximately noon Eastern Time today through midnight on May 24. The replay can be accessed by dialing 855-859-2056 or 404-537-3406. The pass code you will need for both numbers is 68232084. Today's call is also available through the Investors section of www.renre.com and will be archived on RenaissanceRe's website through midnight on July 12, 2012.

Before we begin, I am obliged to caution that today's discussion may contain forward-looking statements and actual results may differ materially from those discussed. Additional information regarding the factors shaping these outcomes can be found in RenaissanceRe's SEC filings to which we direct you.

With me to discuss today's results are Neill Currie, Chief Executive Officer; Jeff Kelly, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Kevin O'Donnell, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Underwriting Officer.

I'd now like to turn the call over to Neill. Neill?

Neill Currie – Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Peter. Good morning, everyone and thank you for joining us this morning. After two years of severe catastrophe losses, the industry experienced its first period of low-to-moderate catastrophe loss activity during the first quarter. Our underwriting results reflected this along with improved risk adjusted pricing for our core product. We've reported operating income of $155 million for the first quarter and an increase in tangible book value per share plus accumulated dividends of just over 6%.

Over the course of the last 12 months, we have been speaking on these calls of our expectation that conditions in the property catastrophe market would improve gradually and steadily. The pricing in terms we saw at the January first renewals bore out this view. Against the backdrop of a favorable environment, our whole markability to integrate science with sound underwriting judgment and to deploy risk capital efficiently allowed us to grow our book of business significantly. As we have many times over the history of our company, our strong technical capabilities, excellent customer relationships, and underwriting experience enabled us to provide coverage for our clients following large events while still building an attractive portfolio.

At the recently concluded April renewals, we continued to serve our Japanese clients by remaining a stable source of capacity for them after an extremely difficult year. We did not back away from risk in Japan or any of the other regions that were impacted by the catastrophe losses in 2011. Rather we used this information gleaned from the event including local seismic stress changes post event along with our own internal assessments of risk and took steps to further sharpen our underwriting. Our underwriters have been at work for sometime now on the June/July Florida renewals, where we are seeing interesting dynamics at play.

We continue to be encouraged by the latest initiatives in Florida with respect to reforming the property insurance market, reducing reliance on bonding and assessments and increasing risk transfer to the world market. We are hopeful that the Florida primary homeowners market is trending towards health after several challenging years. Kevin will talk about Florida in more detail in a few minutes.

Outside of property catastrophe, we continued to position our specialty reinsurance franchise to expand meaningfully when market conditions improve. And our Lloyd's unit continues to develop business we would not have seen in Bermuda. Our Ventures unit has been active in recent months. As we announced earlier in the first quarter, we said of the sidecar vehicle, Upsilon Re to target the structured retro marketplace globally. Capital was provided by RenaissanceRe and third-party investors.

We continue to meet with investors regarding opportunities to deploy third-party capital. The potential for new ventures will likely depend on the level of attractive business opportunities we see emerging during the June/July renewals. The work of our Ventures unit remains core to our strategy as these vehicles allow us to bring significantly more capital to bear for our clients, while earning us fees and profit commissions.

Our investment portfolio benefited from the decline in credit spreads in some sectors, and a strong rebound in the value of our alternative investments. This was partially offset however by losses at REAL, our weather and energy risk management business, as the abnormally warm winter in parts of the U.S. and Europe persisted through the first quarter.

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