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FNHC > SEC Filings for FNHC > Form 10-K on 17-Mar-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for FEDERATED NATIONAL HOLDING CO

Form 10-K for FEDERATED NATIONAL HOLDING CO


17-Mar-2014

Annual Report


ITEM 7 MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

OVERVIEW

Federated National Holding Company ("FNHC", "Company", "we", "us"), formerly known as 21st Century Holding Company is an insurance holding company that controls substantially all steps in the insurance underwriting, distribution and claims processes through our subsidiaries and our contractual relationships with our independent agents and general agents. We changed our name on September 11, 2012, pursuant to approval received at our annual shareholders' meeting, from 21st Century Holding Company so that our parent company and other subsidiary companies' names are consistent with our primary insurance subsidiary and the name under which we have been writing insurance for more than 20 years.

We are authorized to underwrite, and/or place through our wholly owned subsidiaries, homeowners' multi-peril ("homeowners"), commercial general liability, federal flood, personal auto and various other lines of insurance in Florida and various other states. We market and distribute our own and third-party insurers' products and our other services through a network of independent agents.

Our insurance subsidiary is Federated National Insurance Company ("FNIC"). FNIC is licensed as an admitted carrier in Florida. An admitted carrier is an insurance company that has received a license from the state department of insurance giving the company the authority to write specific lines of insurance in that state. These companies are also bound by rate and form regulations, and are strictly regulated to protect policyholders from a variety of illegal and unethical practices, including fraud. Admitted carriers are also required to financially contribute to the state guarantee fund, which is used to pay for losses if an insurance carrier becomes insolvent or unable to pay the losses due their policyholders. Through contractual relationships with a network of approximately 3,600 independent agents, of which approximately 1,800 actively sell and service our products, FNIC is authorized to underwrite homeowners', commercial general liability, fire, allied lines and personal and commercial automobile insurance in Florida. FNIC is licensed as an admitted carrier in Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas and underwrites commercial general liability insurance in those states, homeowners' insurance in Louisiana and personal automobile insurance in Georgia and Texas.

FNIC is licensed as a non-admitted carrier in Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee and can underwrite commercial general liability insurance in all of these states. A non-admitted carrier, sometimes referred to as a "excess and surplus lines" carrier, is permitted to do business in a state and, although it is strictly regulated to protect policyholders from a variety of illegal and unethical practices, including fraud, non-admitted carriers are subject to considerably less regulation with respect to policy rates and forms. Non-admitted carriers are not required to financially contribute to and benefit from the state guarantee fund, which is used to pay for losses if an insurance carrier becomes insolvent or unable to pay the losses due their policyholders.

In January 2011, we merged FNIC and our other wholly owned insurance subsidiary, American Vehicle Insurance Company ("American Vehicle"), with FNIC continuing the operations of both entities. In connection with this merger, the Company, FNIC and American Vehicle entered into a Consent Order with the Florida OIR pursuant to which we agreed to certain restrictions on our business operations. The Consent Order was amended in February 2013 to lessen or eliminate certain of the original requirements, due to FNIC's statutory underwriting profit during 2012. See "Regulation- Consent Order."

We internally process claims made by our insureds through our wholly owned claims adjusting company, Federated National Adjusting, Inc. ("FNA"). Our agents have no authority to settle claims or otherwise exercise control over the claims process. Furthermore, we believe that the retention of independent adjusters, in addition to the employment of salaried claims personnel, results in reduced ultimate loss payments, lower LAE and improved customer service for our claimants and policyholders. We also employ an in-house Litigation Manager to cost effectively manage claims-related litigation and to monitor our claims handling practices for efficiency and regulatory compliance.

Until June 2011, we offered premium financing to our own and third-party insureds through our wholly owned subsidiary, Federated Premium Finance, Inc. ("Federated Premium").

Federated National Underwriters, Inc. ("FNU"), formerly known as Assurance Managing General Agents, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, acts as FNIC's exclusive managing general agent in Florida and is also licensed as a managing general agent in the States of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. FNU has contracted with several unaffiliated insurance companies to sell commercial general liability, workers compensation, personal umbrella, inland marine and other various lines of insurance through FNU's existing network of agents.

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Table of Contents
Federated National Holding Company Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

FNU earns commissions and fees for providing policy administration, marketing, accounting and analytical services, and for participating in the negotiation of reinsurance contracts. FNU earns a $25 per policy fee, and traditionally a 6% commission fee from its affiliate, FNIC. During the fourth quarter of 2010, FNU, pursuant to the Consent Order as discussed above, reduced its fee to earn amounts varying between 2% and 4%, which we anticipate will return to 6% at an unknown future date with approval from the Florida OIR. A formal agreement reflecting this fee modification was executed during January 2011.

The homeowner policy provides FNU the right to cancel any policy within a period of 90 days from the policy's inception with 25 days' notice, or after 90 days from policy inception with 95 days' notice, even if the risk falls within our underwriting criteria.

Although we are authorized to underwrite the various lines described above, our business is primarily underwriting homeowners' policies. During 2013, 89.6%, 4.3%, 2.6% and 3.5% of the premiums we underwrote were for homeowners', commercial general liability, federal flood, and personal automobile insurance, respectively. During 2013, $29.7 million or 13.6% of the $218.3 million of homeowners' premiums we underwrote were produced under an agency agreement with Ivantage Select Agency, Inc. ("ISA"), an affiliate of Allstate Insurance Company, that grants Allstate agents the authority to offer certain FNU products. The $29.7 million of homeowners' premiums produced under this agreement with ISA represents 25.5% of the total increase in the sale of homeowners' policies during 2013, compared with 2012. This network of agents began writing for FNIC in March 2013. During 2012, 85.3%, 7.8%, 4.4% and 2.5% of the premiums we underwrote were for homeowners', commercial general liability, federal flood, and personal automobile insurance, respectively.

During the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 or 2011, we did not experience any weather-related catastrophic events such as the hurricanes that occurred in Florida during 2005 and 2004. We are not able to predict how hurricanes or other insurable events will affect our future results of operations and liquidity. Loss and loss adjustment expenses ("LAE") are affected by a number of factors, many of which are partially or entirely beyond our control, including the following.

the nature and severity of the loss;

weather-related patterns;

the availability, cost and terms of reinsurance;

underlying settlement costs, including medical and legal costs;

legal and political factors such as legislative initiatives and public opinion;

macroeconomic issues.

Our business, results of operations and financial condition are subject to fluctuations due to a variety of factors. Abnormally high severity or frequency of claims in any period could have a material adverse effect on us. When our estimated liabilities for unpaid losses and LAE are less than the actuarially determined amounts, we increase the expense in the current period. Conversely, when our estimated liabilities for unpaid losses and LAE are greater than the actuarially determined amounts, we decrease the expense in the current period.

We have entered into a Coexistence Agreement effective August 30, 2013 (the "Coexistence Agreement") with Federated Mutual Insurance Company ("Federated Mutual") in response to correspondence received from Federated Mutual's counsel alleging that our use of the name "Federated" infringed certain federal trademarks held by Federated Mutual. Although we believe that we have meritorious defenses to this allegation, we sought to avoid litigation and therefore negotiated and entered into the Coexistence Agreement. Under the Coexistence Agreement, among other things, we may continue to use "Federated" until at least August 30, 2020, after which time we have agreed to either cease using "Federated" in commerce or otherwise adopt and use trade names that are not confusingly similar to Federated Mutual's trademarks. During this period, we continue to develop our brand under the "FedNat" name, which is the name by which agents generally know us.

Our goal in our reinsurance strategy is to equalize the liquidity requirements imposed by most severe insurable events and by all other insurable events we manage in the normal course of business. Please see "Reinsurance Agreements" under "Item 1. Business" for a more detailed description of our reinsurance agreements and strategy.

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Table of Contents
Federated National Holding Company Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Overview of Premium Growth

Gross premiums written increased $123.9 million, or 103.7%, to $243.4 million for 2013, compared with $119.5 million for 2012. Florida homeowners' represents 94% and Texas private passenger automobile represents the remaining 6% of the increased premium volume. We believe that our growth in 2013 reflects management's efforts over several years. Our success today reflects our goal to be an agent-friendly carrier that provides exceptional service. We have invested in our agent relationships and our staff, have created easy to use systems for the agent, and increased our relevance to the agents' operations by providing insurance products that meet their market needs.

Our homeowner business contributed $116.5 million or 94.0% of the increased gross written premiums during the year ended December 31, 2013. This increase was the result of:

policyholders continuing to renew their FNIC homeowners' policy,

a "flight to quality" in the market by agents who seek quality carriers to place their business,

and supporting a marketing team dedicated to promoting the quality and quantity of products and services that we offer.

During 2013, approximately 85% of our policyholders renewed their policies. This high retention rate reflects the confidence that the policyholder and his agent have in our financial stability and strength. Additionally, policyholders have told agents that our professional staff adjusts claims quickly and fairly.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP") requires management to make estimates and assumptions about future events that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Future events and their effects cannot be determined with absolute certainty. Therefore, the determination of estimates requires the exercise of judgment. Actual results inevitably will differ from those estimates, and such differences may be material to the financial statements.

The most significant accounting estimates inherent in the preparation of our financial statements include estimates associated with management's evaluation of the determination of (i) liability for unpaid losses and LAE, (ii) the amount and recoverability of amortization of Deferred Policy Acquisition Costs ("DPAC"), and (iii) estimates for our reserves with respect to finance contracts, premiums receivable and deferred income taxes. Various assumptions and other factors underlie the determination of these significant estimates, which are described in greater detail in Footnote 2 in this Form 10-K.

Except as described below, we believe that in 2013 there were no significant changes in those critical accounting policies and estimates. Senior management has reviewed the development and selection of our critical accounting policies and estimates and their disclosure in this Form 10-K with the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors.

The process of determining significant estimates is fact-specific and takes into account factors such as historical experience, current and expected economic conditions, and in the case of unpaid losses and LAE, an actuarial valuation. Management regularly reevaluates these significant factors and makes adjustments where facts and circumstances dictate. In selecting the best estimate, we utilize various actuarial methodologies. Each of these methodologies is designed to forecast the number of claims we will be called upon to pay and the amounts we will pay on average to settle those claims. In arriving at our best estimate, our actuaries consider the likely predictive value of the various loss development methodologies employed in light of underwriting practices, premium rate changes and claim settlement practices that may have occurred, and weight the credibility of each methodology. Our actuarial methodologies take into account various factors, including, but not limited to, paid losses, liability estimates for reported losses, paid allocated LAE, salvage and other recoveries received, reported claim counts, open claim counts and counts for claims closed with and without payment for loss.

Accounting for loss contingencies pursuant to Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued guidance involves the existence of a condition, situation or set of circumstances involving uncertainty as to possible loss that will ultimately be resolved when one or more future event(s) occur or fail to occur. Additionally, accounting for a loss contingency requires management to assess each event as probable, reasonably possible or remote. Probable is defined as the future event or events are likely to occur. Reasonably possible is defined as the chance of the future event or events occurring is more than remote but less than probable, while remote is defined as the chance of the future event or events occurring is slight. An estimated loss in connection with a loss contingency shall be recorded by a charge to current operations if both of the following conditions are met: First, the amount can be reasonably estimated, and second, the information available prior to issuance of the financial statements indicates that it is probable that a liability has been incurred at the date of the financial statements. It is implicit in this condition that it is probable that one or more future events will occur confirming the fact of the loss or incurrence of a liability.

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Federated National Holding Company Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

FASB issued guidance addresses accounting and reporting for (a) investments in equity securities that have readily determinable fair values and (b) all investments in debt securities. The guidance requires that these securities be classified into one of three categories: Held-to-maturity, Trading, or Available-for-sale securities.

Investments classified as held-to-maturity include debt securities wherein the Company's intent and ability are to hold the investment until maturity. The accounting treatment for held-to-maturity investments is to carry them at amortized cost without consideration to unrealized gains or losses. Investments classified as trading securities include debt and equity securities bought and held primarily for the sale in the near term. The accounting treatment for trading securities is to carry them at fair value with unrealized holding gains and losses included in current period operations. Investments classified as available-for-sale include debt and equity securities that are not classified as held-to-maturity or as trading security investments. The accounting treatment for available-for-sale securities is to carry them at fair value with unrealized holding gains and losses excluded from earnings and reported as a separate component of shareholders' equity, namely "Other Comprehensive Income".

Overview of Management's Loss Reserving Process

The Company's loss reserves can generally be categorized into two distinct groups. One group is short-tail classes of business consisting principally of property risks in connection with homes and automobiles. The other group is long-tail casualty classes of business which include primarily commercial general liability and to a much lesser extent, homeowner and automobile liability. For operations writing short-tail coverages our loss reserves were generally geared toward determining an expected loss ratio for current business rather than maintaining a reserve for the outstanding exposure. Estimations of ultimate net loss reserves for long-tail casualty classes of business is a more complex process and depends on a number of factors including class and volume of business involved. Experience in the more recent accident years of long-tail casualty classes of business shows limited statistical credibility in reported net losses because a relatively low proportion of net losses would be reported claims and expenses and even smaller percentage would be net losses paid. Therefore, incurred but not yet reported ("IBNR") would constitute a relatively high proportion of net losses.

Additionally, the different methodologies are utilized the same, regardless of the line of business. However, the final selection of ultimate loss and LAE is certain to vary by both line of business and by accident period maturity. There is no prescribed combination of line of business, accident year maturity, and methodologies; consistency in results of the different methodologies and reasonableness of the result are the primary factors that drive the final selection of ultimate loss and LAE.

Methods Used to Estimate Loss and LAE Reserves

The methods we use for our short-tail business do not differ from the methods we use for our long-tail business. The Incurred and Paid Development Methods intrinsically recognize the unique development characteristics contained within the historical experience of each material short-tail and long-tail line of business. The Incurred and Paid Cape Cod Methods reflect similar historical development unique to each material short-tail and long-tail line of business.

We apply the following general methods in projecting loss and LAE reserves:

Paid and Incurred Loss Development Method

Paid and Incurred Bornhuetter-Ferguson Incurred Method

Frequency / Severity Method

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Federated National Holding Company Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Description of Ultimate Loss Estimation Methods

The estimated Ultimate Loss and Defense and Cost Containment Expense ("DCCE") is based on an analysis by line of business, coverage and by accident quarter performed using data as of December 31, 2013. The analysis relies primarily on four actuarial methods: Incurred Loss and DCCE Development Method, Paid Loss and DCCE Development Method, Bornhuetter-Ferguson Incurred Method, and Bornhuetter-Ferguson Paid Method. Each method relies on company experience, and, where relevant, the analysis includes comparisons to industry experience. The following is a description of each of these methods:

Incurred Loss and DCCE Development Method - This reserving method is based on the assumption that the historical incurred loss and DCCE development pattern as reflected by the Company is appropriate for estimating the future loss & DCCE development. Incurred paid plus case amounts separated by accident quarter of occurrence and at quarterly evaluations are used in this analysis. Case reserves do not have to be adequately stated for this method to be effective; they only need to have a fairly consistent level of adequacy at all stages of maturity. Historical "age-to-age" loss development factors were calculated to measure the relative development of an accident quarter from one maturity point to the next. Loss and DCCE development factors ("LDF") are selected based on a review of the historical relationships between incurred loss & DCCE at successive valuations and based on industry patterns. The LDFs are multiplied together to derive cumulative LDF's that, when multiplied by actual incurred loss and DCCE, produce estimates of ultimate loss and DCCE.

Paid Loss & DCCE Development Method - This method is similar to the Incurred Loss & DCCE Development Method only paid loss & DCCE and paid patterns are substituted for the incurred loss & DCCE and incurred patterns.

Bornhuetter-Ferguson Incurred Method - This reserving method combines estimated initial expected unreported loss & DCCE with the actual loss & DCCE to yield the ultimate loss & DCCE estimate. Expected unreported loss & DCCE are equal to expected total loss & DCCE times the expected unreported percentage of loss & DCCE for each policy year. The incurred loss & DCCE emergence pattern used to determine the unreported percentages in our projections is based on the selected LDF's from the Incurred Loss & DCCE Development Method described above. The estimate of initial expected total loss & DCCE is based on the historical loss ratio for more mature accident years. While this approach reduces the independence of the Bornhuetter-Ferguson Method from the loss & DCCE development methods for older policy years, it is used primarily for estimating ultimate loss & DCCE for more recent, less mature, policy years.

Bornhuetter-Ferguson Paid Method - This method is similar to the Bornhuetter-Ferguson Incurred Method only paid loss & DCCE and paid patterns are substituted for the incurred loss & DCCE and incurred patterns.

We select an estimate of ultimate loss & DCCE for each accident quarter after considering the results of each projection method for the quarter and the relative maturity of the quarter (the time elapsed between the start of the quarter and December 31, 2013). Reserves for unpaid losses & DCCE for each quarter are the differences between these ultimate estimates and the amount already paid. The reserves for each quarter and each coverage are summed, and the result is the overall estimate of unpaid losses & DCCE liability for the company.

We also produce an estimate of unpaid Adjusting and Other Expense ("A&O"), as a reserve is required under Statutory Accounting Principles ("SAP") even if this expense has been pre-paid or with an unconsolidated affiliate. Although we do not prepay for A&O, the majority of the A&O incurred is with an affiliated company and eliminated under the accounting principles for consolidation. The unpaid A&O is added to unpaid losses & DCCE, resulting in total unpaid losses and LAE.

The validity of the results from using a loss development approach can be affected by many conditions, such as internal claim department processing changes, a shift between single and multiple claim payments, legal changes, or variations in a company's mix of business from year to year. Also, since the percentage of losses paid for immature years is often low, development factors can be volatile. A small variation in the number of claims paid can have a leveraging effect that could lead to significant changes in estimated ultimate values. Accordingly, our reserves are estimates because there are uncertainties inherent in the determination of ultimate losses. Court decisions, regulatory changes and economic conditions can affect the ultimate cost of claims that occurred in the past as well as create uncertainties regarding future loss cost trends. We compute our estimated ultimate liability using the most appropriate principles and procedures applicable to the lines of business written. However, because the establishment of loss reserves is an inherently uncertain process, we cannot be certain that ultimate losses will not exceed the established loss reserves and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

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Table of Contents
Federated National Holding Company Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Frequency / Severity Method - This method separately estimates the two components of ultimate losses (the frequency, or number of claims and the severity, or cost per claim) and then combines the resulting estimates in a multiplicative fashion to estimate ultimate losses. The approach is valuable because sometimes there is more inherent stability in the frequency and severity data when viewed separately than in the total losses.

We developed reported claim counts to ultimate levels using the development approach. The mechanics of this approach are the same as we described previously for paid and incurred losses. The validity of the results of this method depends on the stability of claim reporting and settlement rates. Then we developed accident year incurred severities (incurred losses divided by reported claim counts) to ultimate levels using the development approach.

We trended these severities to accident year 2013 levels. Trend rates were selected based on a review of historical severities. Selected severity was chosen based on judgment considering the developed severities and the trended severities, considering industry benchmarks for each segment. The loss & ALAE, claim count and severity triangles are evaluated as of 12 months, 24 months, 36 months etc. We selected loss development factors based on the loss development history, to the extent credible, and supplemented with industry data where appropriate.

A key assumption underlying the estimation of the reserve for loss and LAE is that past experience serves as the most reliable estimator of future events. This assumption may materially affect the estimates when the insurance market, the regulatory environment, the legal environment, the economic environment, the book of business, the claims handling department, or other factors (known or unknown) have varied over time during the experience period and / or will vary (expectedly or unexpectedly) in the future. Changes in estimates, or differences between estimates and amounts ultimately paid, are reflected in the operating results of the period during which such adjustments are made. Therefore, the ultimate liability for unpaid losses and LAE will likely differ from the amount recorded at December 31, 2013.

The following describes the extent of our procedures for determining the reserve for loss and LAE on both an annual and interim reporting basis:

Annually - Our policy is to select a single point estimate that best reflects . . .

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