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PL > SEC Filings for PL > Form 10-K on 28-Feb-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for PROTECTIVE LIFE CORP

Form 10-K for PROTECTIVE LIFE CORP


28-Feb-2014

Annual Report


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

The following Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations ("MD&A") should be read in conjunction with our consolidated audited financial statements and related notes included herein.

Certain reclassifications and revisions have been made in the previously reported financial statements and accompanying notes to make the prior period amounts comparable to those of the current period. Such reclassifications had no effect on previously reported net income or shareowners' equity.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS-CAUTIONARY LANGUAGE

This report reviews our financial condition and results of operations including our liquidity and capital resources. Historical information is presented and discussed, and where appropriate, factors that may affect future financial performance are also identified and discussed. Certain statements made in this report include "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include any statement that may predict, forecast, indicate, or imply future results, performance, or achievements instead of historical facts and may contain words like "believe," "expect," "estimate," "project," "budget," "forecast," "anticipate," "plan," "will," "shall," "may," and other words, phrases, or expressions with similar meaning. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual results to differ materially from the results contained in the forward-looking statements, and we cannot give assurances that such statements will prove to be correct. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. For more information about the risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could affect our future results, please refer to Item 1A, Risk Factors and Cautionary Factors that may Affect Future Results included herein.

OVERVIEW

Our business

We are a holding company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with subsidiaries that provide financial services primarily in the United States through the production, distribution, and administration of insurance and investment products. Founded in 1907, Protective Life Insurance Company ("PLICO") is our largest operating subsidiary. Unless the context otherwise requires, the "Company," "we," "us," or "our" refers to the consolidated group of Protective Life Corporation and our subsidiaries.

We have several operating segments, each having a strategic focus. An operating segment is distinguished by products, channels of distribution, and/or other strategic distinctions. We periodically evaluate our operating segments as prescribed in the Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") Segment Reporting Topic, and make adjustments to our segment reporting as needed.

Our operating segments are Life Marketing, Acquisitions, Annuities, Stable Value Products, Asset Protection, and Corporate and Other.


Life Marketing-We market universal life ("UL"), variable universal life ("VUL"), bank-owned life insurance ("BOLI"), and level premium term insurance ("traditional") products on a national basis primarily through networks of independent insurance agents and brokers, stockbrokers, and independent marketing organizations.


Acquisitions-We focus on acquiring, converting, and servicing policies from other companies. The segment's primary focus is on life insurance policies and annuity products that were sold to individuals. The level of the segment's acquisition activity is predicated upon many factors, including available capital, operating capacity, potential return on capital, and market dynamics.


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Policies acquired through the Acquisition segment are typically blocks of business where no new policies are being marketed. Therefore earnings and account values are expected to decline as the result of lapses, deaths, and other terminations of coverage unless new acquisitions are made.


Annuities-We market fixed and variable annuity ("VA") products. These products are primarily sold through broker-dealers, financial institutions, and independent agents and brokers.


Stable Value Products-We sell fixed and floating rate funding agreements directly to the trustees of municipal bond proceeds, money market funds, bank trust departments, and other institutional investors. The segment also issues funding agreements to the Federal Home Loan Bank ("FHLB"), and markets guaranteed investment contracts ("GICs") to 401(k) and other qualified retirement savings plans. Additionally, we have contracts outstanding pursuant to a funding agreement-backed notes program registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") which offered notes to both institutional and retail investors.


Asset Protection-We market extended service contracts and credit life and disability insurance to protect consumers' investments in automobiles, watercraft, and recreational vehicles. In addition, the segment markets a guaranteed asset protection ("GAP") product. GAP coverage covers the difference between the loan pay-off amount and an asset's actual cash value in the case of a total loss.


Corporate and Other-This segment primarily consists of net investment income not assigned to the segments above (including the impact of carrying liquidity) and expenses not attributable to the segments above (including interest on certain corporate debt). This segment includes earnings from several non-strategic or runoff lines of business, various investment-related transactions, the operations of several small subsidiaries, and the repurchase of non-recourse funding obligations.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

We reported strong financial results in 2013. The following are notable accomplishments:


Operating earnings per share reached a record level of $4.26, an increase of 13% over 2012


Net income per share reached a record level of $4.86, an increase of 33% over 2012


Closed the $1.1 billion MONY acquisition on October 1, 2013


Dividends per share increased 11%


Maintained a strong capital position

We believe that our differentiated and balanced business model, which combines the strength of our acquisition capabilities and our efficient retail business segments, helped us to produce these solid earnings results.

Significant financial information related to each of our segments is included in "Results of Operations".

RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES

The factors which could affect our future results include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions and the following risks and uncertainties:

General


exposure to the risks of natural and man-made disasters and catastrophes, pandemics, malicious acts, terrorist acts and climate change could adversely affect our operations and results;


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a disruption affecting the electronic systems of the Company or those on whom the Company relies could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations;
confidential information maintained in our systems could be compromised or misappropriated, damaging our business and reputation and adversely affecting our financial condition and results of operations;
our results and financial condition may be negatively affected should actual experience differ from management's assumptions and estimates;
we may not realize our anticipated financial results from our acquisitions strategy;
we may not be able to achieve the expected results from our recent acquisition;
assets allocated to the MONY Closed Block benefit only the holders of certain policies; adverse performance of Closed Block assets or adverse experience of Closed Block liabilities may negatively affect us;
we are dependent on the performance of others;
our risk management policies, practices, and procedures could leave us exposed to unidentified or unanticipated risks, which could negatively affect our business or result in losses;
our strategies for mitigating risks arising from our day-to-day operations may prove ineffective resulting in a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition;

Financial Environment


interest rate fluctuations and sustained periods of low interest rates could negatively affect our interest earnings and spread income, or otherwise impact our business;
our investments are subject to market and credit risks, which could be heightened during periods of extreme volatility or disruption in financial and credit markets;
equity market volatility could negatively impact our business;
our use of derivative financial instruments within our risk management strategy may not be effective or sufficient;
credit market volatility or disruption could adversely impact our financial condition or results from operations;
our ability to grow depends in large part upon the continued availability of capital;
we could be adversely affected by a ratings downgrade or other negative action by a ratings organization;
we could be forced to sell investments at a loss to cover policyholder withdrawals;
disruption of the capital and credit markets could negatively affect our ability to meet our liquidity and financing needs;
difficult general economic conditions could materially adversely affect our business and results of operations;
we may be required to establish a valuation allowance against our deferred tax assets, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition, and capital position;
we could be adversely affected by an inability to access our credit facility;
we could be adversely affected by an inability to access FHLB lending;
our financial condition or results of operations could be adversely impacted if our assumptions regarding the fair value and future performance of our investments differ from actual experience;
the amount of statutory capital that we have and the amount of statutory capital that we must hold to maintain our financial strength and credit ratings and meet other requirements can vary significantly from time to time and is sensitive to a number of factors outside of our control;
we operate as a holding company and depend on the ability of our subsidiaries to transfer funds to us to meet our obligations and pay dividends;


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Industry


we are highly regulated, are subject to routine audits, examinations, and actions by regulators, law enforcement agencies, and self-regulatory agencies;
changes to tax law or interpretations of existing tax law could adversely affect our ability to compete with non-insurance products or reduce the demand for certain insurance products;
financial services companies are frequently the targets of legal proceedings, including class action litigation, which could result in substantial judgments;
publicly held companies in general and the financial services industry in particular are sometimes the target of law enforcement investigations and the focus of increased regulatory scrutiny;
new accounting rules, changes to existing accounting rules, or the grant of permitted accounting practices to competitors could negatively impact us;
use of reinsurance introduces variability in our statements of income;
our reinsurers could fail to meet assumed obligations, increase rates, terminate agreements, or be subject to adverse developments that could affect us;
our policy claims fluctuate from period to period resulting in earnings volatility;

Competition


we operate in a mature, highly competitive industry, which could limit our ability to gain or maintain our position in the industry and negatively affect profitability;
our ability to maintain competitive unit costs is dependent upon the level of new sales and persistency of existing business; and
we may not be able to protect our intellectual property and may be subject to infringement claims.

For more information about the risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could affect our future results, please see Part I, Item 1A of this report.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Our accounting policies require the use of judgments relating to a variety of assumptions and estimates, including, but not limited to expectations of current and future mortality, morbidity, persistency, expenses, and interest rates, as well as expectations around the valuations of investments, securities, and certain intangible assets. Because of the inherent uncertainty when using the assumptions and estimates, the effect of certain accounting policies under different conditions or assumptions could be materially different from those reported in the consolidated financial statements. A discussion of our various critical accounting policies is presented below.

Evaluation of Other-Than-Temporary Impairments-One of the significant estimates related to available-for-sale and held-to-maturity securities is the evaluation of investments for other-than-temporary impairments. If a decline in the fair value of an available-for-sale or held-to-maturity security is judged to be other-than-temporary, the security's basis is adjusted and an other-than-temporary impairment is recognized through a charge in the statement of income. The portion of this other-than-temporary impairment related to credit losses on a security is recognized in earnings, while the non-credit portion, representing the difference between fair value and the discounted expected future cash flows of the security, is recognized within other comprehensive income (loss). The fair value of the other-than-temporarily impaired investment becomes its new cost basis. For fixed maturities, we accrete the new cost basis to par or to the estimated future value over the expected remaining life of the security by adjusting the security's future yields, assuming that future expected cash flows on the securities can be properly estimated.

Determining whether a decline in the current fair value of invested assets is other-than-temporary is both objective and subjective, and can involve a variety of assumptions and estimates, particularly for investments that are not actively traded in established markets. For example, assessing the value of certain


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investments requires that we perform an analysis of expected future cash flows including rates of prepayments. Other investments, such as collateralized mortgage or bond obligations, represent selected tranches of a structured transaction, supported in the aggregate by underlying investments in a wide variety of issuers. Management considers a number of factors when determining the impairment status of individual securities. These include the economic condition of various industry segments and geographic locations and other areas of identified risks. Although it is possible for the impairment of one investment to affect other investments, we engage in ongoing risk management to safeguard against and limit any further risk to our investment portfolio related concentrations or leveraged risk. Special attention is given to correlative risks within specific industries, related parties, and business markets.

For certain securitized financial assets with contractual cash flows, including other asset-backed securities, the ASC Investments-Other Topic requires us to periodically update our best estimate of cash flows over the life of the security. If the fair value of a securitized financial asset is less than its cost or amortized cost and there has been a decrease in the present value of the estimated cash flows since the last revised estimate, considering both timing and amount, an other-than-temporary impairment charge is recognized. Estimating future cash flows is a quantitative and qualitative process that incorporates information received from third party sources along with certain internal assumptions and judgments regarding the future performance of the underlying collateral. Projections of expected future cash flows may change based upon new information regarding the performance of the underlying collateral. In addition, we consider our intent and ability to retain a temporarily depressed security until recovery.

Each quarter we review investments with unrealized losses and test for other-than-temporary impairments. We analyze various factors to determine if any specific other-than-temporary asset impairments exist. These include, but are not limited to: 1) actions taken by rating agencies, 2) default by the issuer,
3) the significance of the decline, 4) an assessment of our intent to sell the security (including a more likely than not assessment of whether we will be required to sell the security) before recovering the security's amortized cost,
5) the duration of the decline, 6) an economic analysis of the issuer's industry, and 7) the financial strength, liquidity, and recoverability of the issuer. Management performs a security by security review each quarter in evaluating the need for any other-than-temporary impairments. Although no set formula is used in this process, the investment performance, collateral position, and continued viability of the issuer are significant measures considered, and in some cases, an analysis regarding our expectations for recovery of the security's entire amortized cost basis through the receipt of future cash flows is performed. Once a determination has been made that a specific other-than-temporary impairment exists, the security's basis is adjusted and an other-than-temporary impairment is recognized. Equity securities that are other-than temporarily impaired are written down to fair value with a realized loss recognized in earnings. Other-than-temporary impairments to debt securities that we do not intend to sell and do not expect to be required to sell before recovering the security's amortized cost are written down to discounted expected future cash flows ("post impairment cost") and credit losses are recorded in earnings. The difference between the securities' discounted expected future cash flows and the fair value of the securities on the impairment date is recognized in other comprehensive income (loss) as a non-credit portion impairment. When calculating the post impairment cost for residential mortgage-backed securities ("RMBS"), commercial mortgage-backed securities ("CMBS"), and other asset-backed securities (collectively referred to as asset-backed securities or "ABS"), we consider all known market data related to cash flows to estimate future cash flows. When calculating the post impairment cost for corporate debt securities, we consider all contractual cash flows to estimate expected future cash flows. To calculate the post impairment cost, the expected future cash flows are discounted at the original purchase yield. Debt securities that we intend to sell or expect to be required to sell before recovery are written down to fair value with the change recognized in earnings.


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During the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012, and 2011, we recorded pre-tax other-than-temporary impairments of investments of $10.9 million, $66.2 million, and $62.3 million, respectively. Credit impairments recorded in earnings during the year ended December 31, 2013, were $22.4 million. During the year ended December 31, 2013, $11.5 million of non-credit losses previously recorded in other comprehensive income (loss) were recorded in earnings as credit losses. Of the $66.2 million of impairments for the year ended December 31, 2012, $58.9 million was recorded in earnings and $7.3 million was recorded in other comprehensive income. Of the $62.3 million of impairments for the year ended December 31, 2011, $47.4 million was recorded in earnings and $14.9 million was recorded in other comprehensive income.

For the years ended December 31, 2013, there were $3.3 million of other-than-temporary impairments related to equity securities. For the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, there were no other-than-temporary impairments related to equity securities. For the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012, and 2011, there were $7.6 million, $66.2 million, and $62.3 million of other-than-temporary impairments related to debt securities, respectively.

For the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, there were no other-than-temporary impairments related to debt securities or equity securities that we intend to sell or expect to be required to sell. For the year ended December 31, 2011, other-than-temporary impairments related to debt securities that we do not intend to sell and do not expect to be required to sell were $52.8 million, with $37.9 million of credit losses recorded on debt securities in earnings and $14.9 million of non-credit losses recorded in other comprehensive income. During the same period, other-than-temporary impairments related to debt securities that we intend to sell or expect to be required to sell were $9.5 million and were recorded in earnings.

Our specific accounting policies related to our invested assets are discussed in Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, and Note 5, Investment Operations, to the consolidated financial statements. As of December 31, 2013, we held $32.0 billion of available-for-sale investments, including $10.9 billion in investments with a gross unrealized loss of $604.6 million, and $365.0 million of held-to-maturity investments, none of which were in an unrealized loss position.

Derivatives-We utilize a risk management strategy that incorporates the use of derivative financial instruments to reduce exposure to interest rate risk, inflation risk, currency exchange risk, volatility risk, foreign exchange, and equity market risk. Assessing the effectiveness of the hedging programs and evaluating the carrying values of the related derivatives often involve a variety of assumptions and estimates. Derivative financial instruments are valued using exchange prices, independent broker quotations, or pricing valuation models, which utilize market data inputs. The fair values of most of our derivatives are determined using exchange prices or independent broker quotes, but certain derivatives are valued based upon industry standard models which calculate the present-value of the projected cash flows of the derivatives using current and implied future market conditions. These models include market-observable estimates of volatility and interest rates in the determination of fair value. The use of different assumptions may have a material effect on the estimated fair value amounts, as well as the amount of reported net income. In addition, measurements of ineffectiveness of hedging relationships are subject to interpretations and estimations, and any differences may result in material changes to our results of operations. As of December 31, 2013, the fair value of derivatives reported on our balance sheet in "other long-term investments" and "other liabilities" was $307.6 million and $457.8 million, respectively.

Reinsurance-For each of our reinsurance contracts, we must determine if the contract provides indemnification against loss or liability relating to insurance risk, in accordance with applicable accounting standards. We must review all contractual features, particularly those that may limit the amount of insurance risk to which we are subject or features that delay the timely reimbursement of claims. If we determine that the possibility of a significant loss from insurance risk will occur only under remote circumstances, we record the contract under a deposit method of accounting with the net amount


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payable/receivable reflected in other reinsurance assets or liabilities on our consolidated balance sheets. Fees earned on the contracts are reflected as other revenues, as opposed to premiums, in our consolidated statements of income.

Our reinsurance is ceded to a diverse group of reinsurers. The collectability of reinsurance is largely a function of the solvency of the individual reinsurers. We perform periodic credit reviews on our reinsurers, focusing on, among other things, financial capacity, stability, trends, and commitment to the reinsurance business. We also require assets in trust, letters of credit, or other acceptable collateral to support balances due from reinsurers not authorized to transact business in the applicable jurisdictions. Despite these measures, a reinsurer's insolvency, inability, or unwillingness to make payments under the terms of a reinsurance contract could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. As of December 31, 2013, our third party reinsurance receivables amounted to $6.2 billion. These amounts include ceded reserve balances and ceded benefit payments.

We account for reinsurance as required by Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") guidance under the ASC Financial Services Topic as applicable. In accordance with this guidance, costs for reinsurance are amortized as a level percentage of premiums for traditional life products and a level percentage of estimated gross profits for universal life products. Accordingly, ceded reserve and deferred acquisition cost balances are established using methodologies consistent with those used in establishing direct policyholder reserves and deferred acquisition costs. Establishing these balances requires the use of various assumptions including investment returns, mortality, persistency, and expenses. The assumptions made for establishing ceded reserves and ceded deferred acquisition costs are consistent with those used for establishing direct policyholder reserves and deferred acquisition costs.

Assumptions are also made regarding future reinsurance premium rates and allowance rates. Assumptions made for mortality, persistency, and expenses are consistent with those used for establishing direct policyholder reserves and deferred acquisition costs. Assumptions made for future reinsurance premium and allowance rates are consistent with rates provided for in our various reinsurance agreements. For certain of our reinsurance agreements, premium and allowance rates may be changed by reinsurers on a prospective basis, assuming certain contractual conditions are met (primarily that rates are changed for all companies with which the reinsurer has similar agreements). We do not anticipate any changes to these rates and, therefore, have assumed continuation of these non-guaranteed rates. To the extent that future rates are modified, these assumptions would be revised and both current and future results would be . . .

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