Kemper (KMPR) Q2 2012 Earnings Call August 7, 2012 11:00 AM ET Executives Diana Hickert - Hill - VP, IR & Corporate Identity Don Southwell - Chairman, President & CEO Jim Schulte - Property and Casualty Group Executive Dennis Vigneau - SVP & CFO Analysts Paul Newsome - Sandler O'Neill Adam Klauber - William Blair Steven Schwartz - Raymond James & Associates Presentation Operator
This morning's discussion also includes non-GAAP financial measures that we believe, may be meaningful to investors. In our 10-Q supplement and earnings release, non-GAAP financial measures have been reconciled to GAAP where required in accordance with SEC rules. And now I will turn the call to Don Southwell.Don Southwell Thank you Diana, as you heard in the introductions I have asked Jim Schulte to join the call to provide details on our property and casualty business. So I will confine my remarks to the following three topics, first our recent decision about the direct business, second our life, health and investment performance and third our progress on capital. Starting with Kemper Direct, we recently announced that we are reviewing strategic options for the Direct business and that we have seized direct marketing activities. Overtime we had undertaken several significant actions to improve profitability in this segment. We were intentionally shrinking the business until loss ratios and acquisition fundamentals improved but we were not satisfied with the rate of progress. Given the reality we were not getting an appropriate return on capital we decided it was time to take more significant action. We have stopped direct marketing activities; we are evaluating all of our options for Kemper Direct. Since our announcement we have received a number of inquiries which we are actively exploring. Turning now to our business performance, overall we are benefiting from the diversity of our portfolio of companies, the life and health business is once again delivered steady top-lines and good profits. This along with our strong portfolio yield has helped us set losses in P&C. In the life and health segment the top-line held steady despite the discontinuation of sales of our dwelling and hospitalization products. We also delivered strong bottom-line performance and have taken price increases on our life insurance to help offset the difficult interest rate environment.
Our Kemper home service company’s flagship entity, United States Insurance Company of America was recognized as one of the top 50 performing life insurance companies by the Ward Group, a leading provider of benchmarking and best practice services for the insurance industry. This was the second consecutive year that our life business was recognized. On the supplemental health side, I am pleased with our reserved national team's performance as it continues its mix shift to products less affected by National Healthcare Reform.The investment portfolio delivered a solid performance as we navigate this low interest rate environment. While returns on our equity method investments were lower than last year’s superior results they were within our range of expectations. Despite the inherent volatility we like the expected life time performance of these assets. As to capital we are in a strong position, we continue to be disciplined as we allocate capital across our four priorities which include funding profitable organic growth, considering acquisitions that have a clear fit and make our existing businesses stronger. Maintaining our competitive dividend and repurchasing shares. On this fourth point, we have repurchased just over $50 million of stock year-to-date through July which is good progress on our plan to repurchase up to 100 million in 2012. I want to be very clear about my views of the quarter. In life and health, investments and capital management we delivered solid results. On the P&C side results were disappointing, our priorities for P&C are the following. Improve margins before growth, increased home owners profitability, achieve overall rate adequacy and continue to leverage our shared services to maximize operational effectiveness. And now I will turn the call over to Jim to provide color on the quarter’s results and explain how his team is addressing these priorities. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com