The Hanover Insurance's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Start Time: 10:00

End Time: 10:58

The Hanover Insurance Group (THG)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 2, 2012 10:00 a.m. ET

Executives

Oksana Lukasheva – IR

Fred Eppinger – President & CEO

David Greenfield – EVP & CFO

Marita Zuraitis – President of Property and Casualty Companies

Andrew Robinson – President of Specialty Lines

Bob Stuchbery – President of International Operations and CEO of Chaucer

Analysts

Dan Farrell – Sterne Agee

Cliff Gallant – KBW

Meyer Shields – Stifel Nicolaus

Matthew Carletti – JMP Securities

Ray Iardella – Macquarie

Presentation

Operator

Welcome to the Hanover Insurance Group Second Quarter Conference Call. My name is Larissa and I’ll be your operator for today’s call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we’ll conduct a question-and-answer session. Please note that this conference is being recorded.

I’ll now like to turn the conference over to Oksana Lukasheva. Please go ahead.

Oksana Lukasheva

Thank you, Larissa. Good morning and thank you for joining us for our second quarter conference call. We will begin today’s call with prepared remarks from Fred Eppinger, our President and Chief Executive Officer, and David Greenfield, our Executive Vice President and CFO. Also in the room and available to answer your questions after our prepared remarks are Marita Zuraitis, President, Property and Casualty Companies; Andrew Robinson, President of Specialty Lines; and Bob Stuchbery, President of International Operations and Chief Executive Officer of Chaucer.

Before I turn the call over to Fred, let me note that our earnings press release, statistical supplement and a complete slide presentation for today’s call are available in the Investor Section of our website at www.hanover.com. After the presentation, we will answer questions in the Q&A session.

Our prepared remarks and responses to your questions today, other than statements of historical facts, include forward-looking statements such as our guidance for segment income per share for 2012 and commentary on 2013 and ‘14. There are certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by the press release, slide presentation and conference call. We caution you with respect to reliance on forward-looking statements and in this respect refer you to the forward-looking statements section in our press release, slide two of the presentation deck and our filings with the SEC.

Today’s discussion will also reference, certain non-GAAP financial measures, such as total segment income, after-tax earnings per share, segment result excluding the impact of catastrophes and development, among others. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to the closest GAAP measure on a historical basis can be found in the press release or the statistical supplements, which are posted on our website, as I mentioned earlier.

With those comments, I will turn the call over to Fred.

Fred Eppinger

Thank you, Oksana, and good morning everyone, and thank you for joining our call today. The results released late yesterday were in line with the early information we provided two weeks ago. Net income per share for the quarter was $0.46 and operating EPS was $0.22, which translates to an annualized operating RoE of 5% to the first six months of the year. Our book value per share, which is now 58.81 increased 8% over the last 12 months and 2% during the quarter.

Though our earnings for the quarter were disappointing due to some specific challenges we faced, we continue to seek favorable trends in our businesses and progress on our strategic priorities that positions us well for continued earnings improvement.

Weather once again affected our domestic results. Our catastrophe losses in the U.S. were 71 million or nine points of the combined ratio. Additionally in response to some emerging loss trends in auto lines we increased our loss estimates, most notably for 2011. We also increased loss estimates on our contract surety book.

However, despite these challenges, we produced a profitable quarter to given our diversified and improved portfolio, importantly we made progress on key strategic priorities. We continue to improve the quality of our business mix through targeted pricing and underwriting activities and increased share of the higher margin business in the mix. We further strengthen our position and alignment with wining agents while maintaining a disciplined focus on pricing. We have also gained expense leverage through operating model efficiency.

Finally, July 1, marked one full year since we completed the acquisition of Chaucer. Over the past year Chaucer has delivered strong pre-tax segments of 88 million. Before I go into these areas in more detail and offer some thoughts on the market, the trends we are seeing in our business and the impact they should have on our 2012 and longer-term outlook, I would like to have David review our second quarter results and provide you a better context.

David Greenfield

Thank you, Fred, and good morning everyone. Net income for the second quarter was $20.8 million, or $0.46 per diluted share compared to a net loss of $32.2 million, or $0.71 per diluted share in the prior year quarter. Our segment income this quarter was $10 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, a substantial improvement over the loss of $38.4 million, or $0.85 per diluted share in the prior year quarter.

The difference between net income and segment income is due to the realized gain from CMI, a small workers compensation third-party administrator business we sold. This business was not a strategic part of our core operations and the sale allowed us to free up a modest amount of capital. This transaction resulted in an after tax gain of $11 million, or $0.24 per share, which is included in discontinued operations.

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