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The Hartford (HIG) Q1 Earnings Miss Estimates, Down Y/Y

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. HIG reported first-quarter 2016 operating earnings per share 95 cents, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7.8% and deteriorated 8.7% year over year. The underperformance stemmed from the decline in investment income from limited partnerships and other alternative investments (LPs) as well as weak underwriting results in Personal Lines, including unfavorable prior accident year development (PYD) in automobile. However, reduced share count owing to lower share buyback over the last year partially offset the downside.

Including extraordinary items, The Hartford reported net income of 79 cents per share, down 26.9% year over year.

Total revenue of The Hartford came in at $4.4 billion, down 4.9% year over year, mainly due to lower fee income and less net investment income.

Segment Results

Property & Casualty (P&C): This segment’s core earnings were $291 million, down 11.6% from $329 million in the year-ago quarter. The P&C segment reported net income of $265 million in the first quarter, down 21.8% from $339 million in the prior-year period.

P&C written premiums inched up 0.7% from the year-ago quarter to $2.7 billion on the back of growth in Commercial Lines.

Investment income of $272 million decreased 16.8% year over year, while underwriting gain of $138 million was 6.2% higher than $130 million in the year-ago period. The segment’s first-quarter current accident year catastrophe loss of $1.5 billion remained flat year over year.

Group Benefits: This segment of The Hartford generated core earnings of $48 million, down 7.7% year over year. The decline was attributable to lower net investment income and increased losses, partially offset by decreased expenses. Net income came in at $50 million, down 3.8% from $52 million in the prior-year quarter.

Group Benefits’ fully-insured ongoing premiums inched up 1.2% to $772 million. Loss ratio deteriorated 90 basis points year over year to 77.6% owing to the rise in group life and group disability loss ratios.

Mutual Funds: Core earnings at The Hartford’s Mutual Funds segment were $20 million, down 9.1% year over year. This was due to a decline in fees due to lower average Assets Under Management (AUM) than the prior-year quarter. Net income in the quarter declined 9.1% year over year to $20 million. As of Mar 31, 2016, total AUM came in at $90.4 billion, down 5.8% from $95.9 billion as of Dec 31, 2015. The impact of market depreciation on Mutual Fund AUM and the continued decrease in Talcott Resolution AUM led to the downside.

Talcott Resolution: Core earnings at Talcott Resolution plummeted 30.6% year over year to $77 million. The deterioration is attributable to the decline in non-routine investment income including lower income on LPs, and lesser fees due to the continued runoff of the annuity business. The segment’s net income of $17 million saw a sharp decline of 84.7% from the year-ago income of $111 million.

Corporate: The Hartford’s Corporate segment recorded core loss of $51 million, narrower than the year-ago quarter loss of $62 million. Also, the segment’s net loss of $29 million was substantially narrower than a loss of $57 million in the year-ago quarter.

Financial Update

Net investment income of The Hartford declined around 14% year over year to $696 million in the reported quarter. This was largely due to a decrease in lower limited partnership.

The Hartford’s shareholder equity came in at $18.1 billion as of Mar 31, 2016, up 2.7% from $17.6 billion as of Dec 31, 2015. The improvement is attributable to an increase of $583 million in accumulated other comprehensive income (AOCI) from year-end 2015 as well as net income of $323 million, which were offset by the company’s share buyback and common dividends paid during the reported quarter.
 
Book value per share increased 4.5% to $44.90 from $42.96 as of Dec 31, 2015. Excluding AOCI, The Hartford’s book value per share came in at $44.27 as of Mar 31, 2016, up 1.2% from $40.71 as of Dec 31, 2015.

Dividend and Securities Update

The Hartford spent $350 million to buy back 8.4 million shares during the first quarter. Moreover the company paid amounting to $84 million in the reported quarter.

Zacks Rank and Performance of Other Multi Line Insurers

The Hartford currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some other multi line insurers too recently released their first-quarter earnings results. While the bottom line at Assurant, Inc. AIZ and Radian Group Inc. RDN beat their respective Zack Consensus Estimate, MGIC Investment Corp. MTG missed the same in the first quarter.

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RADIAN GRP INC (RDN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ASSURANT INC (AIZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HARTFORD FIN SV (HIG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MGIC INVSTMT CP (MTG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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