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Aspen reports Q2 and H1 2014 results

23rd July

Read the full press release

  • Annualized Operating ROE of 12.8% 
  • Diluted Operating Income Per Share of $1.40, 122.2% Increase from Second Quarter of 2013
  • Diluted Book Value Per Share of $44.84, Up 9.6% from December 31, 2013

Aspen today reported net income after tax of $130.8 million, or $1.82 diluted net income per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2014.

Chris O'Kane, chief executive officer, commented, "Aspen's strong, high-quality results for the second quarter and first half of 2014 demonstrate the benefits of the investments we have made in our business, our operating focus and our successful strategy to manage a dynamic market. The combination of top-line growth, sound underwriting, impressive performance in our reinsurance business and increasing scale in the U.S Insurance platform is driving increases in ROE and book value per share. Going forward we expect our operating leverage to continue to increase with premiums growing across many lines and at a faster rate than both expenses and allocated capital. Improving operating leverage will drive an increase in ROE which will enable us to continue to enhance shareholder value."

Operating highlights for the quarter ended June 30, 2014

  • Gross written premiums increased overall by 13.4% to $779.3 million in the second quarter of 2014 from the second quarter of 2013. Gross written premiums in Reinsurance were flat and Insurance increased by 23.7% compared with the second quarter of 2013
  • Combined ratio of 90.1% (89.2% excluding non-recurring corporate expenses) for the second quarter of 2014 compared with 97.1% for the second quarter of 2013. There were $22.1 million, or 3.6 combined ratio points, of pre-tax catastrophe losses net of reinsurance recoveries and reinstatement premiums in the second quarter of 2014 compared with $58.7 million, or 10.9 percentage points, of pre-tax catastrophe losses net of reinsurance recoveries and reinstatement premiums in the second quarter of 2013
  • Net favorable development on prior year loss reserves of $31.8 million, or 5.2 combined ratio points, for the second quarter of 2014 compared with $27.4 million, or 5.0 combined ratio points, for the second quarter of 2013
  • The loss ratio of 54.7% for the second quarter of 2014 compared with 61.3% for the second quarter of 2013 and accident year ex-catastrophe loss ratio of 56.3% compared with 55.4% for the second quarter of 2013

Financial highlights for the quarter and six months ended June 30, 2014

  • Annualized net income return on average equity of 16.8% and annualized operating return on average equity of 12.8% for the second quarter of 2014 compared with 4.4% and 6.4%, respectively, for the second quarter of 2013(1)
  • Annualized net income return on average equity of 16.2% and annualized operating return on average equity of 13.8% for the first half of 2014 compared with 8.0% and 8.6%, respectively, for the first half of 2013(1)
  • Diluted net income per share of $1.82 for the quarter ended June 30, 2014, compared with diluted net income per share of $0.36 for the second quarter of 2013, and diluted net income per share of $3.48 for the six months ended June 30, 2014 compared with diluted net income per share of $1.52 for the six months ended June 30, 2013
  • Diluted operating income per share of $1.40 for the quarter ended June 30, 2014, an increase of 122.2% from $0.63 for the second quarter of 2013 and diluted operating income per share of $2.94 for the six months ended June 30, 2014 compared with diluted operating income per share of $1.70 for the six months ended June 30, 2013(1)
  • On a pre-tax basis, net catastrophe losses were $22.1 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2014 compared with $58.7 million, or $0.85 per share, for the second quarter of 2013
  • Diluted book value per share of $44.84 at June 30, 2014, up 5.0% from March 31, 2014 and up 9.6% from December 31, 2013

(1)See definition of non-GAAP financial measures in our press release.

Segment highlights

Reinsurance

Operating highlights for Reinsurance for the quarter ended June 30, 2014 include:

  • Gross written premiums of $298.4 million in line with $298.6 million for the second quarter of 2013
  • Combined ratio of 75.5% compared with 88.9% for the second quarter of 2013
  • Favorable prior year loss reserve development of $28.4 million, or 10.2 combined ratio points, compared with $24.1 million favorable prior year loss reserve development, or 8.7 combined ratio points, for the second quarter of 2013

Growth in gross written premiums in Catastrophe and Other Property lines of business was offset by declines in Casualty and Specialty lines.

The combined ratio of 75.5% for the second quarter of 2014 included $11.9 million, or 4.3 percentage points, of pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance recoveries and reinstatement premiums related to U.S. storms and Japanese snowstorms.  The combined ratio of 88.9% for the second quarter of 2013 included $51.8 million, or 19.4 percentage points, of pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance recoveries and $5.2 million of reinstatement premiums, related to flooding in Central Europe, Canada and India, and tornadoes and hailstorms in the U.S.  The accident year ex-catastrophe loss ratio for the Reinsurance segment was 50.7% for the second quarter of 2014 compared with 46.7% for the second quarter of 2013.

Insurance

Operating highlights for Insurance for the quarter ended June 30, 2014 include:

  • Gross written premiums of $480.9 million, increased 23.7% compared with $388.7 million for the second quarter of 2013
  • Combined ratio of 95.5% compared with 99.8% for the second quarter of 2013
  • Prior year favorable reserve development of $3.4 million, or 1.0 combined ratio point, compared with prior year reserve favorable development of $3.3 million, or 1.2 combined ratio points, for the second quarter of 2013

The increase in gross written premiums was mainly attributable to continued higher contribution from the U.S. teams in addition to growth in our International Financial and Professional lines. The U.S. Insurance teams were again profitable in the quarter with an impressive loss ratio of 58.9%.

The combined ratio of 95.5% for the second quarter of 2014 included $10.2 million, or 3.0 percentage points, of pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance recoveries, related to U.S. storms. The combined ratio for the second quarter of 2013 included $6.9 million, or 2.6 percentage points, of pre-tax catastrophe losses net of reinsurance recoveries and reinstatement premiums related to tornadoes and hailstorms in the U.S. The accident year ex-catastrophe loss ratio for the Insurance segment was 60.9% compared with 63.8% for the second quarter of 2013.

Investment performance

Aspen's investment portfolio continues to be comprised primarily of high quality fixed income securities with an average credit quality of "AA-". The average duration of the fixed income portfolio was 3.4 years at June 30, 2014, excluding the impact of interest rate swaps, or 3.1 years including the impact of interest rate swaps. The total return on Aspen's investment portfolio was 1.3% for the second quarter of 2014, compared to negative 1.2% for the second quarter of 2013. The equity portfolio had a total return of 5.2% for the quarter compared to a loss of 0.3% for the second quarter of 2013.

Net investment income for the second quarter of 2014 was $46.1 million compared with $45.9 million for the second quarter of 2013. Book yield as at June 30, 2014 on the fixed income portfolio was 2.61% compared to 2.74% at December 31, 2013 and 2.71% at June 30, 2013.

Net realized and unrealized investment gains included in net income for the quarter were $25.2 million.

Capital

Total shareholders' equity increased by $167.4 million in the quarter to $3.6 billion at June 30, 2014.

Aspen had $193.3 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization as at June 30, 2014.

Outlook

Aspen continues to expect to achieve or exceed an operating return on equity of 10% in 2014, assuming a pre-tax catastrophe load of $185 million(2), normal loss experience, the current interest rate environment and insurance pricing environment.

We expect to achieve an operating return on equity of 11% in 2015, and to achieve an operating return on equity of between 11% and 12% in 2016, assuming normal loss experience, our expectations for rising interest rates and a less favorable insurance pricing environment(3).

(3)See "Forward-looking Statements Safe Harbor" in our press release.

Earnings conference call and webcast

Aspen will host a conference call to discuss the results at 9:00 am (EDT) on Thursday, July 24, 2014.

To participate in the July 24 conference call by phone

Please call to register at least 10 minutes before the conference call begins by dialing:

  • +1 (888) 459 5609 (US toll free) or
  • +1 (404) 665 9920 (international)

Conference ID 60476327

To listen live online

Aspen will provide a live webcast in the Investor Relations section of our website.

To download the materials

The earnings press release and a detailed financial supplement will also be published in the Investor Relations section of our website.

To listen later

A replay of the call will be available for 14 days via phone and internet, available two hours after the end of the live call. To listen to the replay by phone please dial:

  • +1 (855) 859 2056 (US toll free) or
  • +1 (404) 537 3406 (international)

Replay ID 60476327

The recording will be also available on our website on the Event Calendar page within the Investor Relations section.

Read the full press release