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GBLI > SEC Filings for GBLI > Form 10-Q on 9-Nov-2012All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for GLOBAL INDEMNITY PLC



Quarterly Report


The following discussion and analysis of the Company's financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes of Global Indemnity included elsewhere in this report. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this report, including information with respect to the Company's plans and strategy, constitutes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Please see "Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" at the end of this Item 2 for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained herein. For more information regarding the Company's business and operations, please see the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011.

Recent Developments

Appointment of Stephen A. Cozen

Effective September 10, 2012, Stephen A. Cozen, Esq. was appointed to the Company's Board of Directors.

Share Repurchases

On August 28, 2012, the Company authorized the repurchase of up to $25.0 million of its A ordinary shares. Through November 9, 2012, 285,789 shares were repurchased for $5.9 million under the authorization at an average purchase price of $20.79 per share. The timing and amount of the repurchase transactions, if any, under this authorization will depend upon market conditions as well as other factors. The authorization does not require the purchase of any minimum number of shares and may be suspended or discontinued at any time.

Appointment of John Howes

Effective July 16, 2012, John Howes was appointed to the Company's Board of Directors.

Hurricane Sandy

In regard to Hurricane Sandy, which struck on October 29, 2012, the Company does not yet have a reliable estimate of the storm's impact on its financial results.


The Company's Insurance Operations distribute property and casualty insurance products through a group of approximately 100 professional general agencies that have limited quoting and binding authority, as well as a number of wholesale insurance brokers who in turn sell the Company's insurance products to insureds through retail insurance brokers. The Company operates predominantly in the excess and surplus lines marketplace. To manage its operations, the Company differentiates them by product classification. These product classifications are: 1) Penn-America, which includes property and general liability products for small commercial businesses distributed through a select network of wholesale general agents with specific binding authority; 2) United National, which includes property, general liability, and professional lines products distributed through program administrators with specific binding authority; and
3) Diamond State, which includes property, casualty, and professional lines products distributed through wholesale brokers and program administrators with specific binding authority.

The Company's Reinsurance Operations segment provides reinsurance solutions through brokers, program managers and primary writers, including regional insurance companies, and consists solely of the operations of Wind River Reinsurance. Wind River Reinsurance is a Bermuda based treaty reinsurer of excess and surplus lines carriers, specialty property and casualty insurance companies and U.S. regional insurance writers. Wind River Reinsurance conducts business in Bermuda and is focused on using its capital capacity to write catastrophe-oriented placements and other niche or specialty-focused treaties meeting the Company's risk tolerance and return thresholds. Given the current pricing environment, Wind River Reinsurance continues to cautiously deploy and manage its capital while seeking to position itself as a niche reinsurance solution provider.

The Company derives its revenues primarily from premiums paid on insurance policies that it writes and from income generated by its investment portfolio, net of fees paid for investment management services. The amount of insurance premiums that the Company receives is a function of the amount and type of policies it writes, as well as of prevailing market prices.

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The Company's expenses include losses and loss adjustment expenses, acquisition costs and other underwriting expenses, corporate and other operating expenses, interest, investment expenses, and income taxes. Losses and loss adjustment expenses are estimated by management and reflect the Company's best estimate of ultimate losses and costs arising during the reporting period and revisions of prior period estimates. The Company records losses and loss adjustment expenses based on an actuarial analysis of the estimated losses the Company expects to incur on the insurance policies it writes. The ultimate losses and loss adjustment expenses will depend on the actual costs to resolve claims. Acquisition costs consist principally of commissions and premium taxes that are typically a percentage of the premiums on the insurance policies the Company writes, net of ceding commissions earned from reinsurers. Other underwriting expenses consist primarily of personnel expenses and general operating expenses. Corporate and other operating expenses are comprised primarily of outside legal fees, other professional and accounting fees, directors' fees, management fees, salaries and benefits for company personnel whose services relate to the support of corporate activities, and capital duty taxes incurred. Interest expense consists primarily of interest on senior notes payable, junior subordinated debentures, and funds held on behalf of others.

Critical Accounting Estimates and Policies

The Company's consolidated financial statements are prepared in conformity with GAAP, which requires it to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting periods. Actual results could differ from those estimates and assumptions.

Effective January 1, 2012, the Company adopted new accounting guidance that modified the definition of costs that can be capitalized in the acquisition of new and renewal business for insurance companies. Under the new guidance, only direct incremental costs associated with successful insurance contract acquisitions or renewals are deferrable. This guidance was adopted retrospectively and has been applied to all prior period information contained in these consolidated financial statements. For further information please see Note 2 of the notes to the consolidated financial statements in Item 1 of Part I of this report.

The Company believes that of its significant accounting policies, the following may involve a higher degree of judgment and estimation.

Liability for Unpaid Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses

Although variability is inherent in estimates, the Company believes that the liability for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses reflects its best estimate for future amounts needed to pay losses and related loss adjustment expenses and the impact of its reinsurance coverage with respect to insured events.

In developing loss and loss adjustment expense ("loss" or "losses") reserve estimates for the Company's Insurance Operations, its actuaries perform detailed reserve analyses each quarter. To perform the analysis, the data is organized at a "reserve category" level. A reserve category can be a line of business such as commercial automobile liability, or it can be a particular type of claim such as construction defect. The reserves within a reserve category level are characterized as short-tail through long-tail. For long-tail business, it will generally be several years between the time the business is written and the time when all claims are settled. The Company's long-tail exposures include general liability, professional liability, products liability, commercial automobile liability, and excess and umbrella. Short-tail exposures include property, commercial automobile physical damage, and equine mortality. To manage its insurance operations, the Company differentiates them by product classifications, which are Penn-America, United National, and Diamond State. For further discussion about the Company's product classifications, see "General - Our Insurance Operations" in Item 1 of Part I of the Company's 2011 Annual Report on Form 10-K. Each of the Company's product classifications contain both long-tail and short-tail exposures. Every reserve category is analyzed by the Company's actuaries each quarter. The analyses generally include reviews of losses gross of reinsurance and net of reinsurance.

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Loss reserve estimates for the Company's Reinsurance Operations are developed by independent, external actuaries; however management is responsible for the final determination of loss reserve selections. The data for this analysis is organized by treaty and treaty year. As with the Company's reserves for its Insurance Operations, reserves for its Reinsurance Operations are characterized as short-tail through long-tail. Long-tail exposures include workers compensation, professional liability, and excess and umbrella liability. Short-tail exposures are primarily catastrophe exposed property accounts. Every treaty is reviewed each quarter, both gross and net of reinsurance.

In addition to the Company's internal reserve analysis, independent external actuaries will perform a full, detailed review of the Company's reserves during the fourth quarter. The Company does not rely upon the review by the independent actuaries to develop its reserves; however, the data is used to corroborate the analysis performed by the in-house actuarial staff and management.

The methods used to project ultimate losses for both long-tail and short-tail exposures include, but are not limited to, the following:

Paid Development method;

Incurred Development method;

Expected Loss Ratio method;

Bornhuetter-Ferguson method using premiums and paid loss;

Bornhuetter-Ferguson method using premiums and incurred loss; and

Average Loss method.

The Paid Development method estimates ultimate losses by reviewing paid loss patterns and applying them to accident years with further expected changes in paid loss. Selection of the paid loss pattern requires analysis of several factors including the impact of inflation on claims costs, the rate at which claims professionals make claim payments and close claims, the impact of judicial decisions, the impact of underwriting changes, the impact of large claim payments and other factors. Claim cost inflation itself requires evaluation of changes in the cost of repairing or replacing property, changes in the cost of medical care, changes in the cost of wage replacement, judicial decisions, legislative changes and other factors. Because this method assumes that losses are paid at a consistent rate, changes in any of these factors can impact the results. Since the method does not rely on case reserves, it is not directly influenced by changes in the adequacy of case reserves.

For many reserve categories, paid loss data for recent periods may be too immature or erratic for accurate predictions. This situation often exists for long-tail exposures. In addition, changes in the factors described above may result in inconsistent payment patterns. Finally, estimating the paid loss pattern subsequent to the most mature point available in the data analyzed often involves considerable uncertainty for long-tail reserve categories.

The Incurred Development method is similar to the Paid Development method, but it uses case incurred losses instead of paid losses. Since this method uses more data (case reserves in addition to paid losses) than the Paid Development method, the incurred development patterns may be less variable than paid development patterns. However, selection of the incurred loss pattern requires analysis of all of the factors listed in the description of the Paid Development method. In addition, the inclusion of case reserves can lead to distortions if changes in case reserving practices have taken place and the use of case incurred losses may not eliminate the issues associated with estimating the incurred loss pattern subsequent to the most mature point available.

The Expected Loss Ratio method multiplies premiums by an expected loss ratio to produce ultimate loss estimates for each accident year. This method may be useful if loss development patterns are inconsistent, losses emerge very slowly, or there is relatively little loss history from which to estimate future losses. The selection of the expected loss ratio requires analysis of loss ratios from earlier accident years or pricing studies and analysis of inflationary trends, frequency trends, rate changes, underwriting changes, and other applicable factors.

The Bornhuetter-Ferguson method using premiums and paid losses is a combination of the Paid Development method and the Expected Loss Ratio method. This method normally determines expected loss ratios similar to the method used for the Expected Loss Ratio method and requires analysis of the same factors described above. The method assumes that only future losses will develop at the expected loss ratio level. The percent of paid loss to

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ultimate loss implied from the Paid Development method is used to determine what percentage of ultimate loss is yet to be paid. The use of the pattern from the Paid Development method requires consideration of all factors listed in the description of the Paid Development method. The estimate of losses yet to be paid is added to current paid losses to estimate the ultimate loss for each year. This method will react very slowly if actual ultimate loss ratios are different from expectations due to changes not accounted for by the expected loss ratio calculation.

The Bornhuetter-Ferguson method using premiums and incurred losses is similar to the Bornhuetter-Ferguson method using premiums and paid losses except that it uses case incurred losses. The use of case incurred losses instead of paid losses can result in development patterns that are less variable than paid development patterns. However, the inclusion of case reserves can lead to distortions if changes in case reserving practices have taken place. The method requires analysis of all the factors that need to be reviewed for the Expected Loss Ratio and Incurred Development methods.

The Average Loss method multiplies a projected number of ultimate claims by an estimated ultimate average loss for each accident year to produce ultimate loss estimates. Since projections of the ultimate number of claims are often less variable than projections of ultimate loss, this method can provide more reliable results for reserve categories where loss development patterns are inconsistent or too variable to be relied on exclusively. In addition, this method can more directly account for changes in coverage that impact the number and size of claims. However, this method can be difficult to apply to situations where very large claims or a substantial number of unusual claims result in volatile average claim sizes. Projecting the ultimate number of claims requires analysis of several factors including the rate at which policyholders report claims to the Company, the impact of judicial decisions, the impact of underwriting changes and other factors. Estimating the ultimate average loss requires analysis of the impact of large losses and claim cost trends based on changes in the cost of repairing or replacing property, changes in the cost of medical care, changes in the cost of wage replacement, judicial decisions, legislative changes and other factors.

For many exposures, especially those that can be considered long-tail, a particular accident year may not have a sufficient volume of paid losses to produce a statistically reliable estimate of ultimate losses. In such a case, the Company's actuaries typically assign more weight to the Incurred Development method than to the Paid Development method. As claims continue to settle and the volume of paid losses increases, the actuaries may assign additional weight to the Paid Development method. For most of the Company's reserve categories, even the incurred losses for accident years that are early in the claim settlement process will not be of sufficient volume to produce a reliable estimate of ultimate losses. In these cases, the Company will not assign any weight to the Paid and Incurred Development methods and will use the Bornhuetter-Ferguson and Expected Loss Ratio methods. For short-tail exposures, the Paid and Incurred Development methods can often be relied on sooner primarily because the Company's history includes a sufficient number of years to cover the entire period over which paid and incurred losses are expected to change. However, the Company may also use the Expected Loss Ratio, Bornhuetter-Ferguson and Average Loss methods for short-tail exposures.

Generally, reserves for long-tail lines use the Expected Loss Ratio method for the most recent accident year, shift to the Bornhuetter-Ferguson methods for the next two years, and then shift to the Incurred and/or Paid Development method. Claims related to umbrella business are usually reported later than claims for other long-tail lines. For umbrella business, the Expected Loss Ratio and Bornhuetter-Ferguson methods are used for as many as six years or more before shifting to the Incurred Development method. Reserves for short-tail lines use the Bornhuetter-Ferguson methods for the most recent accident year and shift to the Incurred and/or Paid Development method in subsequent years.

For other more complex reserve categories where the above methods may not produce reliable indications, the Company uses additional methods tailored to the characteristics of the specific situation. Such reserve categories include losses from construction defects and asbestos and environmental ("A&E").

For construction defect losses, the Company's actuaries organize losses by the year in which they were reported. To estimate losses from claims that have not been reported, various extrapolation techniques are applied to the pattern of claims that have been reported to estimate the number of claims yet to be reported. This process requires analysis of several factors including the rate at which policyholders report claims to the Company, the impact of judicial decisions, the impact of underwriting changes and other factors. An average claim size is determined from past experience and applied to the number of unreported claims to estimate reserves for these claims.

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Establishing reserves for A&E and other mass tort claims involves considerably more judgment than other types of claims due to, among other things, inconsistent court decisions, an increase in bankruptcy filings as a result of asbestos-related liabilities, and judicial interpretations that often expand theories of recovery and broaden the scope of coverage. The insurance industry continues to receive a substantial number of asbestos-related bodily injury claims, with an increasing focus being directed toward other parties, including installers of products containing asbestos rather than against asbestos manufacturers. This shift has resulted in significant insurance coverage litigation implicating applicable coverage defenses or determinations, if any, including but not limited to, determinations as to whether or not an asbestos-related bodily injury claim is subject to aggregate limits of liability found in most comprehensive general liability policies. In response to these continuing developments, management increased gross and net A&E reserves during the second quarter of 2008 to reflect its best estimate of A&E exposures. In 2009, one of the Company's insurance companies was dismissed from a lawsuit seeking coverage from it and other unrelated insurance companies. The suit involved issues related to approximately 3,900 existing asbestos related bodily injury claims and future claims. The dismissal was the result of a settlement of a disputed claim related to accident year 1984. The settlement is conditioned upon certain legal events occurring which will trigger financial obligations by the insurance company. Management will continue to monitor the developments of the litigation to determine if any additional financial exposure is present.

On October 9, 2012, The United States District Court for the Northern District of California (District Court) issued an order confirming an amended plan of reorganization (Plan) for a named insured that included an injunction under 11 U.S.C. Section 524(g) (US bankruptcy code). The injunction, also called a "channeling injunction," precludes, inter alia, non-settling insurers from asserting claims against United National and asbestos related claims by third parties against United National that are related to the named insured. An appeal from the District Court order has been filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A motion for stay to prevent the Plan and the channeling injunction from taking effect has been denied by the District Court.

Reserve analyses performed by the Company's internal and external actuaries result in actuarial point estimates. The results of the detailed reserve reviews were summarized and discussed with the Company's senior management to determine the best estimate of reserves. This group considered many factors in making this decision. The factors included, but were not limited to, the historical pattern and volatility of the actuarial indications, the sensitivity of the actuarial indications to changes in paid and incurred loss patterns, the consistency of claims handling processes, the consistency of case reserving practices, changes in the Company's pricing and underwriting, and overall pricing and underwriting trends in the insurance market.

Management's best estimate at September 30, 2012 was recorded as the loss reserve. Management's best estimate is as of a particular point in time and is based upon known facts, the Company's actuarial analyses, current law, and the Company's judgment. This resulted in carried gross and net reserves of $923.8 million and $654.6 million, respectively, as of September 30, 2012. A breakout of the Company's gross and net reserves, excluding the effects of the intercompany pooling arrangements and intercompany stop loss and quota share reinsurance agreements, as of September 30, 2012 is as follows:

                                                  Gross Reserves
              (Dollars in thousands)     Case        IBNR (1)        Total
              Insurance Operations     $ 274,146     $ 541,936     $ 816,082
              Reinsurance Operations      34,434        73,262       107,696

              Total                    $ 308,580     $ 615,198     $ 923,778

                                                 Net Reserves (2)
                                         Case        IBNR (1)        Total
              Insurance Operations     $ 182,636     $ 365,546     $ 548,182
              Reinsurance Operations      34,434        72,021       106,455

              Total                    $ 217,070     $ 437,567     $ 654,637

(1) Losses incurred but not reported, including the expected future emergence of case reserves.

(2) Does not include reinsurance receivable on paid losses.

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The Company continually reviews these estimates and, based on new developments and information, includes adjustments of the estimated ultimate liability in the operating results for the periods in which the adjustments are made. The establishment of loss and loss adjustment expense reserves makes no provision for the possible broadening of coverage by legislative action or judicial interpretation, or the emergence of new types of losses not sufficiently represented in the Company's historical experience or that cannot yet be quantified or estimated. The Company regularly analyzes its reserves and reviews pricing and reserving methodologies so that future adjustments to prior year reserves can be minimized. However, given the complexity of this process, reserves require continual updates and the ultimate liability may be higher or lower than previously indicated. See Note 8 of the notes to the consolidated financial statements in Item 1 of Part I of this report for details concerning the changes in the estimate for incurred loss and loss adjustment expenses related to prior accident years.

The detailed reserve analyses that the Company's internal and external actuaries complete use a variety of generally accepted actuarial methods and techniques to produce a number of estimates of ultimate loss. The Company determines its best estimate of ultimate loss by reviewing the various estimates and assigning weight to each estimate given the characteristics of the reserve category being reviewed. The reserve estimate is the difference between the estimated ultimate loss and the losses paid to date. The difference between the estimated ultimate loss and the case incurred loss (paid loss plus case reserve) is considered to be losses incurred but not reported ("IBNR"). IBNR calculated as such includes a provision for development on known cases (supplemental development) as well as a provision for claims that have occurred but have not yet been reported (pure IBNR).

In light of the many uncertainties associated with establishing the estimates and making the assumptions necessary to establish reserve levels, the Company reviews its reserve estimates on a regular basis and makes adjustments in the period that the need for such adjustments is determined. The anticipated future loss emergence continues to be reflective of historical patterns, and the selected development patterns have not changed significantly from those underlying the Company's most recent analyses.

The key assumptions fundamental to the reserving process are often different for various reserve categories and accident years. Some of these assumptions are explicit assumptions that are required of a particular method, but most of the assumptions are implicit and cannot be precisely quantified. An example of an explicit assumption is the pattern employed in the Paid Development method. However, the assumed pattern is itself based on several implicit assumptions such as the impact of inflation on medical costs and the rate at which claim professionals close claims. Loss frequency is a measure of the number of claims per unit of insured exposure, and loss severity is a measure of the average size of claims. Each reserve segment has an implicit frequency and severity for each accident year as a result of the various assumptions made.

Previous reserve analyses have resulted in the Company's identification of information and trends that have caused the Company to increase or decrease its frequency and severity assumptions in prior periods and could lead to the identification of a need for additional material changes in loss and loss adjustment expense reserves, which could materially affect the Company's results . . .

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