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RenaissanceRe (RNR) Beats on Q1 Earnings, Revenues Miss

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. RNR reported first-quarter 2016 operating earnings per share of $1.51, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 46%. The bottom line plunged 51% year over year.

The decline was due to a rise in total expense that outpaced revenue growth. Though the Catastrophe Reinsurance segment benefited from low catastrophe loss, Specialty Reinsurance witnessed significant loss in the quarter.

Including non-recurring items, the company reported net income of $2.95, down 29% year over year.

RenaissanceRe posted total revenue of $387 million, up 14.5% year over year. Higher premiums earned and an increase in net investment income mainly contributed to the upside. The top line, however, missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $402 million.

Underwriting income decreased 19.6% year over year to $105.2 million, owing primarily to an increase in net claims and claim expenses along with higher underwriting expenses. Combined ratio deteriorated 1,440 basis points to 70.3%.

Gross premiums written of $862.1 million increased 34%, year over year.

RenaissanceRe reported total investment result of $90.2 million in the quarter against $81.3 million in the year-ago quarter. The improvement was prompted by net unrealized gains in fixed maturity investments trading and an increase in net investment income of fixed maturity investments.

During the quarter, RenaissanceRe witnessed a 23% year-over-year increase in total expenses to $267.21 million. This was mainly on account of higher net claims and claim expenses, acquisition costs, operational expenses and interest expenses.

Segment Update

Catastrophe Reinsurance: Gross premiums written were $360.4 million, down 7.4% year over year.

Underwriting income came in at $99.3 million, down from $108.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Combined ratio deteriorated 270 basis points to 27.1%.

Specialty Reinsurance: Gross premiums written were $369 million, up a whopping 196.9% from the prior-year quarter. This was largely attributable to improvement across all the business lines.

Underwriting income of $0.03 million plunged from $21.3 million in the year-ago quarter. Combined ratio deteriorated 2,250 basis points to 100%.

Lloyd’s: Gross premiums written were $132.7 million, up 2% from the year-ago quarter on organic growth at Syndicate 1458. Underwriting income was $5.9 million against $1.9 million in the year-ago period. This improvement was largely attributable to lower net claims and claim expenses and an increase in net premiums earned. As a result, combined ratio improved 660 basis points to 90.4%.

Financial Position    

As of Mar 31, 2016, total assets of RenaissanceRe were $12.2 billion, up from $11.6 billion as of Dec 31, 2015. The company had a total debt burden of $957.51 million as of Mar 31, 2016, improving than $960.5 million on Dec 31, 2015.

Cash and cash equivalents came in at $449 million as of Mar 31, 2016, down from $506.9 million as of Dec 31, 2015. Shareholders’ equity at RenaissanceRe totaled $4.8 billion at the end of the quarter, higher than $4.7 billion at the end of 2015.

RenaissanceRe’s annualized operating return on average common equity or ROCE was 11.8% as of Mar 31, 2016. This represents a decline of 530 basis points from Dec 31, 2015.

Tangible book value per common share plus accumulated dividends increased 2.6% in the quarter compared with a 0.5% increase in the first quarter of 2015.

Share Buyback

RenaissanceRe repurchased shares worth $85.2 million in the quarter.

Zacks Rank

RenaissanceRe currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Performance of Other Insurers

The bottom line at The Travelers Companies, Inc. TRV missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while earnings of First American Financial FAF and RLI Corp. RLI beat the same.

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