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Assurant's (AIZ) Q1 Earnings and Revenues Beat Estimates

Assurant, Inc. AIZ reported first-quarter 2016 net operating income of $1.52 per share that surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 16.9%. However, the bottom line declined 7.9% from $1.65 per share earned in the year-ago quarter.

Higher tax expenses and employee-related benefit costs at Corporate in comparison with first-quarter 2015 as well as lower contributions from Assurant Solution’s mobile business and North American retailers led to the year-over-year deterioration.

 

Total revenue came in at $1.91 billion, down 26.3% year over year, due to lower premiums earned and decline in net investment income. Nevertheless, it beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.86 billion by 2.7%.

Net investment income, excluding Assurant Health runoff operations, declined 10.9% year over year to $135.7 million.

Total benefits, losses and expenses decreased 28% to $1.8 billion mainly due to a decline in policyholder benefits and selling, underwriting, general and administrative expenses.

Segmental Performance

The company divested Assurant Employee Benefits on Mar 1, 2016. Now, it will operate only through the segments – Assurant Solutions and Assurant Specialty Property.

Net earned premiums, fees and other at Assurant Solutions increased 5.3% to $977 million year over year on global growth in mobile covered devices as well as the extension of the vehicle protection business. However, effect of foreign exchange volatility and the loss of the tablet program partially offset the improvement.

Net operating income declined 13.4% year over year to $47.1 million, primarily owing to the loss incurred from the tablet program and lower contributions from North American retail clients in Connected Living.

Net earned premiums, fees and others at Assurant Specialty Property declined 5.8% year over year to $577.4 million. The decrease, primarily due to the ongoing normalization of the lender-placed insurance business including the loss of business, was partially offset by growth in mortgage solutions and multi-family housing businesses.

Net operating income of $76.4 million inched up 1.7% year over year.  Lower expenses and non-catastrophe losses as well as reduced reinsurance costs primarily drove the upside. However, the ongoing normalization of the lender-placed insurance business including the loss of business limited the upside.

Financial Position

Assurant’s financial position remains strong with around $450 million in corporate capital as of Mar 31, 2016. Total assets amounted to $30.3 billion as of Mar 31, 2016, up 0.83% year over year.

Annualized operating return on average equity, excluding AOCI and Assurant Health runoff operations, was 11.2% as of Mar 31, 2016 compared with 11.5% as of Dec 31, 2015.

Debt-to-capital ratio, excluding AOCI and Assurant Health runoff operations, deteriorated to 24.6% as of Mar 31, 2016 from 20.9% as of Dec 31, 2015.

Share Repurchase and Dividends Update

The company’s total share buybacks and dividends amounted to $290.9 million in the first quarter. Assurant bought back around 3.4 million shares worth 258.5 million over the same period. Through Apr 22, 2016, the company spent $64.0 million to repurchase an additional 0.8 million shares and has $629.8 million remaining in the current repurchase authorization. Moreover, the company paid dividends worth $32.4 million to its shareholders.

2016 Outlook

The company expects Assurant Solutions’ net earned premiums, fees and net operating income to improve from the 2015 levels. The insurer anticipates an improvement in overall results in the second half of 2016 owing to new mobile programs, additional cost-cutting initiatives and improved international profitability. However, foreign exchange volatility, lower service contract revenues from legacy North American retail clients as well as continued declines in credit insurance are likely to adversely impact results.

Assurant Specialty Property’s net earned premiums and net operating income are likely to decline due to the ongoing normalization of lender-placed insurance business. However, increased efficiencies and expense-saving initiatives will somewhat mitigate the deterioration. Through gain in market shares, the company envisions expansion in multi-family housing and mortgage solutions businesses. However, overall results are likely to be affected by catastrophe losses.

Assurant Health is anticipated to fully exit the health insurance market in 2016. During the remainder of the period before exit, the company is likely to incur $20–$30 million pre-tax of extra exit-related charges and overhead expenses, which had been excluded from the premium deficiency reserve calculation. Dividends from this segment are expected to be around $475 million for the full year, of which $65 million was received in the first quarter of 2016.

Zacks Rank and Performance of Other Insurers

Currently, Assurant carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some other insurers too recently released their first-quarter earnings results. While the bottom line at RLI Corp. RLI and First American Financial Corporation FAF beat the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate, Progressive Corp. PGR missed the same in the first quarter.

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ASSURANT INC (AIZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
RLI CORP (RLI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PROGRESSIVE COR (PGR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
FIRST AMER FINL (FAF): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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