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HALL > SEC Filings for HALL > Form 10-K on 14-Mar-2013All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-K for HALLMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES INC


14-Mar-2013

Annual Report


Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

The following discussion should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto. This discussion contains forward-looking statements. Please see "Risks Associated with Forward-Looking Statements in this Form 10-K" for a discussion of some of the uncertainties, risks and assumptions associated with these statements.

Overview

Hallmark is an insurance holding company which, through its subsidiaries, engages in the sale of property/casualty insurance products to businesses and individuals. Our business involves marketing, distributing, underwriting and servicing our insurance products, as well as providing other insurance related services. We pursue our business activities primarily through subsidiaries whose operations are organized into business units and are supported by our insurance carrier subsidiaries.

Our insurance activities are organized by business units into the following reportable segments:

Standard Commercial Segment. The Standard Commercial Segment includes the standard lines commercial property/casualty insurance products and services handled by our Standard Commercial P&C business unit and the workers compensation insurance products handled by our Workers Compensation business unit. Our Standard Commercial P&C business unit is comprised of our American Hallmark Insurance Services and ECM subsidiaries. Our Workers Compensation business unit is comprised of our TBIC Holdings, TBIC and TBICRM subsidiaries. The Workers Compensation business unit was acquired July 1, 2011.

Specialty Commercial Segment. The Specialty Commercial Segment includes the excess and surplus lines commercial property/casualty and medical professional liability insurance products and services handled by our E&S Commercial business unit, the general aviation insurance products and services handled by our General Aviation business unit and the commercial excess liability and umbrella products handled by our Excess & Umbrella business unit, as well as certain Specialty Programs which are managed at the parent level. Our E&S Commercial business unit is comprised of our HSU, PAAC and TGASRI subsidiaries. Our General Aviation business unit is comprised of our Aerospace Insurance Managers, ASRI and ACMG subsidiaries. Our Excess & Umbrella business unit is comprised of our HXS and HDS subsidiaries.

Personal Segment. The Personal Segment includes the non-standard personal automobile, low value dwelling/homeowners, renters, manufactured homes, motorcycle and business auto insurance products and services handled by our Personal Lines business unit that is comprised of American Hallmark General Agency, Inc. and Hallmark Claims Services, Inc., both of which do business as Hallmark Insurance Company.

The retained premium produced by these reportable segments is supported by the following insurance company subsidiaries:

American Hallmark Insurance Company of Texas presently retains a portion of the risks on the commercial property/casualty and workers compensation policies marketed within the Standard Commercial Segment, retains a portion of the risks on personal policies marketed within the Personal Segment and retains a portion of the risks on the commercial, medical professional liability, aviation and satellite launch property/casualty policies marketed within the Specialty Commercial Segment.

Hallmark Specialty Insurance Company presently retains a portion of the risks on the commercial property/casualty and medical professional liability policies marketed within the Specialty Commercial Segment and a portion of the commercial property/casualty policies marketed within the Standard Commercial Segment.

Hallmark Insurance Company presently retains a portion of the risks on both the personal policies marketed within the Personal Segment and the commercial and aviation property/casualty products marketed within the Specialty Commercial Segment.

Hallmark National Insurance Company was acquired on December 31, 2010. Simultaneous with the closing of the acquisition, HNIC entered into reinsurance contracts with an affiliate of the seller, pursuant to which such affiliate of the seller handles all claims and assumes all liabilities arising under policies issued by HNIC prior to the closing or during a transition period following the closing. Commencing January 1, 2011, HNIC retains a portion of the risks on the personal policies marketed within the Personal Segment.

Hallmark County Mutual Insurance Company control and management is maintained through our wholly owned subsidiary, CYR Insurance Management Company ("CYR"). CYR has as its primary asset a management agreement with HCM which provides for CYR to have management and control of HCM. HCM is used to front certain lines of business in our Specialty Commercial and Personal Segments in Texas. HCM does not retain any business.

Texas Builders Insurance Company was acquired July 1, 2011 and retains a portion of the risks on the workers compensation policies marketed within our Standard Commercial Segment.

AHIC, HIC, HSIC and HNIC have entered into a pooling arrangement pursuant to which AHIC retains 30% of the net premiums written by any of them, HIC retains 27% of the net premiums written by any of them, HSIC retains 30% of the net premiums written by any of them and HNIC retains 13% of the net premiums written by any of them. Neither HCM nor TBIC is a party to the intercompany pooling arrangement.

Critical Accounting Estimates and Judgments

The significant accounting policies requiring our estimates and judgments are discussed below. Such estimates and judgments are based on historical experience, changes in laws and regulations, observance of industry trends and information received from third parties. While the estimates and judgments associated with the application of these accounting policies may be affected by different assumptions or conditions, we believe the estimates and judgments associated with the reported consolidated financial statement amounts are appropriate in the circumstances. For additional discussion of our accounting policies, see Note 1 to the audited consolidated financial statements included in this report.

Valuation of investments. We complete a detailed analysis each quarter to assess whether any decline in the fair value of any investment below cost is deemed other-than-temporary. All securities with an unrealized loss are reviewed. We recognize an impairment loss when an investment's value declines below cost, adjusted for accretion, amortization and previous other-than-temporary impairments and it is determined that the decline is other-than-temporary.

Debt Investments: We assess whether we intend to sell, or it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell, a fixed maturity investment before recovery of its amortized cost basis less any current period credit losses. For fixed maturity investments that are considered other-than-temporarily impaired and that we do not intend to sell and will not be required to sell, we separate the amount of the impairment into the amount that is credit related (credit loss component) and the amount due to all other factors. The credit loss component is recognized in earnings and is the difference between the investment's amortized cost basis and the present value of its expected future cash flows. The remaining difference between the investment's fair value and the present value of future expected cash flows is recognized in other comprehensive income.

Equity Investments: Some of the factors considered in evaluating whether a decline in fair value for an equity investment is other-than-temporary include:
(1) our ability and intent to retain the investment for a period of time sufficient to allow for an anticipated recovery in value; (2) the recoverability of cost; (3) the length of time and extent to which the fair value has been less than cost; and (4) the financial condition and near-term and long-term prospects for the issuer, including the relevant industry conditions and trends, and implications of rating agency actions and offering prices. When it is determined that an equity investment is other-than-temporarily impaired, the security is written down to fair value, and the amount of the impairment is included in earnings as a realized investment loss. The fair value then becomes the new cost basis of the investment, and any subsequent recoveries in fair value are recognized at disposition. We recognize a realized loss when impairment is deemed to be other-than-temporary even if a decision to sell an equity investment has not been made. When we decide to sell a temporarily impaired available-for-sale equity investment and we do not expect the fair value of the equity investment to fully recover prior to the expected time of sale, the investment is deemed to be other-than-temporarily impaired in the period in which the decision to sell is made.

Fair values of financial instruments. Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 820 defines fair value, establishes a consistent framework for measuring fair value and expands disclosure requirements about fair value measurements. ASC 820, among other things, requires us to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs when measuring fair value. In addition, ASC 820 precludes the use of block discounts when measuring the fair value of instruments traded in an active market, which were previously applied to large holdings of publicly traded equity securities.

We determine the fair value of our financial instruments based on the fair value hierarchy established in ASC 820. In accordance with ASC 820, we utilize the following fair value hierarchy:

Level 1: quoted prices in active markets for identical assets;

Level 2: inputs to the valuation methodology include quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets, inputs of identical assets for less active markets, and inputs that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly, for substantially the full term of the instrument; and

Level 3: inputs to the valuation methodology that are unobservable for the asset or liability.

This hierarchy requires the use of observable market data when available.

Under ASC 820, we determine fair value based on the price that would be received for an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants on the measurement date. It is our policy to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs when developing fair value measurements, in accordance with the fair value hierarchy described above. Fair value measurements for assets and liabilities where there exists limited or no observable market data are calculated based upon our pricing policy, the economic and competitive environment, the characteristics of the asset or liability and other factors as appropriate. These estimated fair values may not be realized upon actual sale or immediate settlement of the asset or liability.

Where quoted prices are available on active exchanges for identical instruments, investment securities are classified within Level 1 of the valuation hierarchy. Level 1 investment securities include common stock and preferred stock.

Level 2 investment securities include corporate bonds, collateralized corporate bank loans, municipal bonds, U.S. Treasury securities, other obligations of the U.S. Government and mortgage-backed securities for which quoted prices are not available on active exchanges for identical instruments. We use a third party pricing service to determine fair values for each Level 2 investment security in all asset classes. Since quoted prices in active markets for identical assets are not available, these prices are determined using observable market information such as quotes from less active markets and/or quoted prices of securities with similar characteristics, among other things. We have reviewed the processes used by the pricing service and have determined that they result in fair values consistent with the requirements of ASC 820 for Level 2 investment securities. In addition, using the prices received for the securities from the third party pricing services, we compare a sample of the prices against additional sources. We have not adjusted any prices received from third-party pricing sources.

In cases where there is limited activity or less transparency around inputs to the valuation, investment securities are classified within Level 3 of the valuation hierarchy. Level 3 investments are valued based on the best available data in order to approximate fair value. This data may be internally developed and consider risk premiums that a market participant would require. Investment securities classified within Level 3 include other less liquid investment securities.

Deferred policy acquisition costs. Policy acquisition costs (mainly commission, underwriting and marketing expenses) that vary with and are primarily related to the successful acquisition of new and renewal insurance contracts are deferred and charged to operations over periods in which the related premiums are earned. Ceding commissions from reinsurers, which include expense allowances, are deferred and recognized over the period premiums are earned for the underlying policies reinsured.

The method followed in computing deferred policy acquisition costs limits the amount of such deferred costs to their estimated realizable value. A premium deficiency exists if the sum of expected claim costs and claim adjustment expenses, unamortized acquisition costs, and maintenance costs exceeds related unearned premiums and expected investment income on those unearned premiums, as computed on a product line basis. We routinely evaluate the realizability of deferred policy acquisition costs. At December 31, 2012 and 2011, there was no premium deficiency related to deferred policy acquisition costs.

Goodwill. Our consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2012 includes goodwill of acquired businesses of $44.7 million that is assigned to our business units as follows: Standard Commercial P&C business unit - $2.1 million; E&S Commercial business unit - $19.9 million; General Aviation business unit - $9.7 million; Personal Lines business unit - $5.3 million; and Excess & Umbrella business unit - $7.7 million. This amount has been recorded as a result of prior business acquisitions accounted for under the purchase method of accounting. Under ASC 350, "Intangibles- Goodwill and Other," goodwill is tested for impairment annually. We completed our last annual test for impairment on the first day of the fourth quarter of 2012 and determined that there was no impairment.

A significant amount of judgment is required in performing goodwill impairment tests. Such tests include estimating the fair value of our reporting units. As required by ASC 350, we compare the estimated fair value of each reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. Under ASC 350, fair value refers to the amount for which the entire reporting unit may be bought or sold.

The determination of fair value was based on an income approach utilizing discounted cash flows. The valuation methodology utilized is subject to key judgments and assumptions. Estimates of fair value are inherently uncertain and represent management's reasonable expectation regarding future developments. These estimates and the judgments and assumptions upon which the estimates are based will, in all likelihood, differ in some respects from actual future results. Declines in estimated fair value could result in goodwill impairments in future periods which could materially adversely affect our results of operations or financial position.

The income approach to determining fair value computed the projections of the cash flows that the reporting unit is expected to generate converted into a present value equivalent through discounting. Significant assumptions in the income approach model include income projections, discount rates and terminal growth values. The income projections reflect an improved premium pricing environment across most of our lines of business that began in 2012. The income projections also include loss and LAE assumptions which reflect recent historical claim trends and the movement towards a more favorable pricing environment. The income projections also include assumptions for expense growth and investment yields which are based on business plans for each of our business units. The discount rate was based on a risk free rate plus a beta adjusted equity risk premium and specific company risk premium. The assumptions were based on historical experience, expectations of future performance, expected market conditions and other factors requiring judgment and estimates. While we believe the assumptions used in these models were reasonable, the inherent uncertainty in predicting future performance and market conditions may change over time and influence the outcome of future testing.

The fair values of each of our business units were in excess of their respective carrying values, including goodwill, as a result of our annual test for impairment during the fourth quarter 2012. However, a 22% decline in the fair value of our Standard Commercial P&C business unit, a 17% decline in the fair value of our E&S Commercial business unit, a 7% decline in the fair value of our Personal Lines business unit, a 2% decline in the fair value of our General Aviation business unit, or a 52% decline in the fair value of our Excess & Umbrella business unit would have caused the carrying value of the respective business unit to be in excess of its fair value, resulting in the need to perform the second step of impairment testing prescribed by ASC 350, which could have resulted in an impairment to our goodwill.

The market capitalization of Hallmark's common stock has been below book value during 2012. We consider our market capitalization in assessing the reasonableness of the fair values estimated for our business units in connection with our goodwill impairment testing. We believe the current market displacement caused by global financial market conditions, including the European sovereign credit crisis, as well as the limited daily trading volume of Hallmark shares has resulted in a decrease in our market capitalization that is not representative of a long-term decrease in value. The valuation analysis discussed above supports our view that goodwill was not impaired at October 1, 2012. Through December 31, 2012, there were no indicators of impairment.

While we believe the estimates and assumptions used in determining the fair value of our business units were reasonable, actual results could vary materially. If our actual results are not consistent with our estimates and assumptions used to calculate fair value, we may be required to perform the second step of impairment testing prescribed by ASC 350 in future periods and impairment of goodwill could result. We cannot predict future events that might impact the fair value of our business units and goodwill impairment. Such events include, but are not limited to, increased competition in insurance markets and global economic changes.

Deferred income tax assets and liabilities. We file a consolidated federal income tax return. Deferred federal income taxes reflect the future tax consequences of differences between the tax bases of assets and liabilities and their financial reporting amounts at each year end. Deferred taxes are recognized using the liability method, whereby tax rates are applied to cumulative temporary differences based on when and how they are expected to affect the tax return. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are adjusted for tax rate changes. A valuation allowance is provided against our deferred tax assets to the extent that we do not believe it is more likely than not that future taxable income will be adequate to realize these future tax benefits.

Reserves for unpaid losses and LAE. Reserves for unpaid losses and LAE are established for claims that have already been incurred by the policyholder but which we have not yet paid. Unpaid losses and LAE represent the estimated ultimate net cost of all reported and unreported losses incurred through each balance sheet date. The reserves for unpaid losses and LAE are estimated using individual case-basis valuations and statistical analyses. These reserves are revised periodically and are subject to the effects of trends in loss severity and frequency. (See "Item 1. Business - Analysis of Losses and LAE" and "-Analysis of Loss and LAE Reserve Development.")

Although considerable variability is inherent in such estimates, we believe that our reserves for unpaid losses and LAE are adequate. Due to the inherent uncertainty in estimating unpaid losses and LAE, the actual ultimate amounts may differ from the recorded amounts. A small percentage change could result in a material effect on reported earnings. For example, a 1% change in December 31, 2012 reserves for unpaid losses and LAE would have produced a $3.1 million change to pretax earnings. The estimates are continually reviewed and adjusted as experience develops or new information becomes known. Such adjustments are included in current operations.

An actuarial range of ultimate unpaid losses and LAE is developed independent of management's best estimate and is only used to assess the reasonableness of that estimate. There is no exclusive method for determining this range, and judgment enters into the process. The primary actuarial technique utilized is a loss development analysis in which ultimate losses are projected based upon historical development patterns. The primary assumption underlying this loss development analysis is that the historical development patterns will be a reasonable predictor of the future development of losses for accident years which are less mature. An alternate actuarial technique, known as the Bornhuetter-Ferguson method, combines an analysis of loss development patterns with an initial estimate of expected losses or loss ratios. This approach is most useful for recent accident years. In addition to assuming the stability of loss development patterns, this technique is heavily dependent on the accuracy of the initial estimate of expected losses or loss ratios. Consequently, the Bornhuetter-Ferguson method is primarily used to confirm the results derived from the loss development analysis.

The range of unpaid losses and LAE estimated by our actuary as of December 31, 2012 was $266.7 million to $322.6 million. Our best estimate of unpaid losses and LAE as of December 31, 2012 is $313.4 million. Our carried reserve for unpaid losses and LAE as of December 31, 2012 is comprised of $163.2 million in case reserves and $150.2 million in incurred but not reported reserves. In setting this estimate of unpaid losses and LAE, we have assumed, among other things, that current trends in loss frequency and severity will continue and that the actuarial analysis was empirically valid. We have established a best estimate of unpaid losses and LAE, which is approximately $18.7 million higher than the midpoint or 97.1% of the high end of the actuarial range at December 31, 2012 as compared to $6.5 million above the midpoint or 92.2% of the high end of the actuarial range at December 31, 2011. We expect our best estimate to move within the actuarial range from year to year due to changes in our operations and changes within the marketplace. Due to the inherent uncertainty in reserve estimates, there can be no assurance that the actual losses ultimately experienced will fall within the actuarial range. However, because of the breadth of the actuarial range, we believe that it is reasonably likely that actual losses will fall within such range.

Our reserve requirements are also interrelated with product pricing and profitability. We must price our products at a level sufficient to fund our policyholder benefits and still remain profitable. Because claim expenses represent the single largest category of our expenses, inaccuracies in the assumptions used to estimate the amount of such benefits can result in our failing to price our products appropriately and to generate sufficient premiums to fund our operations.

Recognition of profit sharing commissions. Profit sharing commission is calculated and recognized when the loss ratio, as determined by a qualified actuary, deviates from contractual targets. We receive a provisional commission as policies are produced as an advance against the later determination of the profit sharing commission actually earned. The profit sharing commission is an estimate that varies with the estimated loss ratio and is sensitive to changes in that estimate.

The following table details the profit sharing commission revenue sensitivity of the Standard Commercial P&C business unit to the actual ultimate loss ratio for each effective quota share treaty at 5.0% above and below the current estimate, which we believe is a reasonably likely range of variance ($ in thousands).

                                                        Treaty Effective Dates
                                          7/1/01         7/1/02         7/1/03         7/1/04
Provisional loss ratio                        60.0 %         59.0 %         59.0 %         64.2 %
Estimated ultimate loss ratio
recorded at December 31, 2012                 63.5 %         64.5 %         62.5 %         61.8 %
Effect of actual 5.0% above estimated
loss ratio at December 31, 2012                  -              -     $   (3,024 )   $   (3,790 )
Effect of actual 5.0% below estimated
loss ratio at December 31, 2012         $    1,850     $    3,055     $    3,025     $    3,790

The following table details the profit sharing commission revenue sensitivity of the E&S Commercial business unit for each effective quota share treaty at 5.0% above and below the current estimate, which we believe is a reasonably likely range of variance ($ in thousands).

                                                                 Treaty Effective Dates
                                                            1/1/06       1/1/07       1/1/08
Provisional loss ratio                                         65.0 %       65.0 %       65.0 %
Estimated ultimate loss ratio recorded at December 31,
2012                                                           58.3 %       62.4 %       58.8 %
Effect of actual 5.0% above estimated loss ratio at
December 31, 2012                                          $ (3,096 )   $ (1,223 )   $ (1,618 )
Effect of actual 5.0% below estimated loss ratio at
December 31, 2012                                          $  2,663     $  2,351     $  1,554

The Workers Compensation business unit earns a profit share commission on a quota share treaty effective July 1, 2001. The provisional loss ratio is 62.5% and we recorded an estimated ultimate loss ratio of 50.7% at December 31, 2012. The effect of a 5.0% movement in the loss ratio above or below the current estimated ultimate loss ratio would result in a $0.7 million adjustment to our pre-tax earnings.

Results of Operations

Comparison of Years ended December 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011

Management overview. During fiscal 2012, our total revenues were $341.8 million, representing an approximately 6% increase over the $322.8 million in total revenues for fiscal 2011. The growth in revenue was primarily attributable to increased premium production and resulting earned premium driven largely from our E&S Commercial business unit and from the acquisition of our Workers Compensation business unit during the third quarter of 2011. The increase in revenue was partially offset by an adverse profit share commission revenue adjustment in our Standard Commercial P&C business unit, combined with lower finance charges and earned premium in our Personal Segment due mostly to the impact of a reduction of premium written in underperforming states and products exited over the past twelve months. Further offsetting the increase in revenue was lower net realized gains for the period ended December 31, 2012.

We reported net income attributable to Hallmark of $3.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, as compared to a net loss of $10.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. On a diluted per share basis, net income attributable to Hallmark was $0.18 per share for fiscal 2012 as compared to a net loss of $0.55 per share for fiscal 2011.

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