SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
☒ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020
☐ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from _____ to _____
Commission file number 001-37848
|KINSALE CAPITAL GROUP, INC.|
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
2035 Maywill Street, Suite 100
Richmond, Virginia 23230
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
|Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, par value $0.01||KNSL||Nasdaq Global Select Market|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
|Large Accelerated Filer|
Accelerated filer ☐
Non-accelerated filer ☐
|Smaller reporting company ||☐||Emerging growth company ||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the shares of the registrant's common stock held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2020 was approximately $3,241,859,629.
The number of the registrant’s common shares outstanding was 22,773,134 as of February 18, 2021.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement relating to its 2021 annual meeting of stockholders (the "2021 Proxy Statement") are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The 2021 Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Table of Contents
Unless the context requires otherwise, the words "Kinsale," the "Company," "we," "us" and "our'" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K refer to Kinsale Capital Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include any statement that does not directly relate to historical or current fact. These statements may discuss, among others, our future financial performance, our business prospects and strategy, our anticipated financial position, liquidity and capital, dividends and general market and industry conditions. You can identify forward-looking statements by words such as "anticipates," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "plans," "predicts," "projects," "believes," "seeks," "outlook," "future," "will," "would," "should," "could," "may," "can have" and similar terms. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions about future events, which are subject to uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. These statements are only predictions and are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by a forward-looking statement. Factors that may cause such differences include, without limitation:
•the possibility that our loss reserves may be inadequate to cover our actual losses, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows;
•the inherent uncertainty of models resulting in actual losses that are materially different than our estimates;
•the failure of any of the loss limitations or exclusions we employ, or change in other claims or coverage issues, having a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations;
•the inability to obtain reinsurance coverage at reasonable prices and on terms that adequately protect us;
•the possibility that severe weather conditions and other catastrophes may result in an increase in the number and amount of claims filed against us;
•adverse economic factors, including recession, inflation, periods of high unemployment or lower economic activity resulting in the sale of fewer policies than expected or an increase in frequency or severity of claims and premium defaults or both, affecting our growth and profitability;
•a decline in our financial strength rating adversely affecting the amount of business we write;
•the potential loss of one or more key executives or an inability to attract and retain qualified personnel adversely affecting our results of operations;
•our reliance on a select group of brokers;
•the changing market conditions of our excess and surplus lines ("E&S") insurance operations, as well as the cyclical nature of our business, affecting our financial performance;
•our employees taking excessive risks;
•the intense competition for business in our industry;
•the effects of litigation having an adverse effect on our business;
•the performance of our investment portfolio adversely affecting our financial results;
•the ability to pay dividends being dependent on our ability to obtain cash dividends or other permitted payments from our insurance subsidiary;
•being forced to sell investments to meet our liquidity requirements;
•extensive regulation adversely affecting our ability to achieve our business objectives or the failure to comply with these regulations adversely affecting our financial condition and results of operations;
•the other risks and uncertainties discussed in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made. Except as expressly required under federal securities laws or the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), we do not assume any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements attributable to us are expressly qualified by these cautionary statements.
Item 1. Business
Kinsale is a property and casualty insurance company that focuses exclusively on the excess and surplus lines ("E&S") market in the U.S., where we can use our underwriting expertise to write coverages for hard-to-place small business risks and personal lines risks. We market and sell these insurance products in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands primarily through a network of independent insurance brokers. Our experienced and cohesive management team has an average of over 25 years of experience in the E&S market. Many of our employees and members of our management team have also worked together for decades at other E&S insurance companies.
Our goal is to deliver long-term value for our stockholders by growing our business and generating attractive returns. We seek to accomplish this by generating consistent and attractive underwriting profits while managing our capital prudently. Using our proprietary technology platform and leveraging the expertise of our highly experienced employees in our daily operations, we have built a company that is entrepreneurial and highly efficient. We believe our systems and technology are at the digital forefront of the insurance industry and allow us to quickly collect and analyze data, thereby improving our ability to manage our business and reduce our response times for our customers. We believe that we have differentiated ourselves from our competitors by effectively leveraging technology, vigilantly controlling expenses and maintaining control over our underwriting and claims operations.
We have significantly grown our business and have generated attractive returns. During 2020, our gross written premiums increased by 41.9%, to $552.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. Our return on equity and combined ratios were 18.0% and 86.7%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2020. Our operating return on equity, a non-GAAP financial measure, was 14.7% for the year ended December 31, 2020. We believe that we are well positioned to continue to capitalize on attractive opportunities in our target market and to prudently grow our business. See "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for a reconciliation of net income to net operating earnings and calculations using net operating earnings (e.g., operating return on equity).
Kinsale Capital Group, Inc., a Delaware domiciled insurance holding company, was formed on June 3, 2009 for the purpose of acquiring and managing insurance entities. Prior to September 5, 2014, the Company was a Bermuda registered holding company, formerly known as Kinsale Capital Group, Ltd. ("KCGL"). Effective September 5, 2014, KCGL was re-domesticated from Bermuda to Delaware. A wholly-owned subsidiary of KCGL, Kinsale Capital Group, Inc., which was formed on June 4, 2009 as a U.S. holding company, was immediately merged into the re-domesticated entity and Kinsale Capital Group, Ltd. changed its name to Kinsale Capital Group, Inc.
On June 4, 2009, we incorporated Kinsale Management, Inc. ("Kinsale Management") as a wholly-owned subsidiary domiciled in Delaware, in order to provide management services to all of our U.S.-based subsidiaries.
On February 5, 2010, we acquired American Healthcare Specialty Insurance Company and changed its name to Kinsale Insurance Company ("Kinsale Insurance"). Kinsale Insurance is an Arkansas-domiciled insurance company and is eligible to operate on an excess and surplus lines basis in 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
On August 21, 2013, we established Aspera Insurance Services, Inc. ("Aspera"), an insurance broker. Aspera is domiciled in Virginia and is authorized to conduct business in Virginia, Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Washington.
On December 3, 2018, we incorporated Kinsale Real Estate, Inc. ("Kinsale Real Estate"), as a wholly-owned subsidiary domiciled in Delaware, in order to acquire and hold real estate.
On December 3, 2018, we incorporated 2001 Maywill, LLC, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kinsale Real Estate, domiciled in Delaware, in order to acquire and hold our corporate headquarters.
We write a broad array of insurance coverages for risks that are unique or hard to place in the standard insurance market. Typical E&S risks include newly established companies or industries, high-risk operations, insureds in litigious venues or companies with poor loss histories. We target classes of business where our underwriters have extensive experience allowing us to compete effectively and earn attractive returns. Our underwriters specialize in individual lines of business which allow them to develop in-depth knowledge and experience of the risks they underwrite. Our core client focus is small to medium-sized accounts, which we believe tend to be subject to less competition and have better pricing. The average premium per policy written by us in 2020 was approximately $9,100. Excluding our personal lines insurance, which has a relatively low premium per policy written, the average premium per policy written was approximately $11,800 in 2020. We believe that our strategy, experience and expertise allow us to compete effectively in the E&S market and will enable us to generate attractive long-term stockholder value.
In 2020, the percentage breakdown of our gross written premiums was 85.6% casualty and 14.4% property. Our commercial lines offerings include construction, small business, excess casualty, commercial property, product liability, allied health, life sciences, general casualty, professional liability, management liability, energy, environmental, health care, inland marine, public entity and commercial insurance. We also write a small amount of homeowners insurance in the personal lines market, which in aggregate represented 3.9% of our gross written premiums in 2020 and is included within our personal insurance division.
Our Competitive Strengths
We believe that our competitive strengths include:
Exclusive focus on the E&S market. The E&S, or non-admitted, market has historically operated at lower loss ratios and higher margins, and has grown direct premiums written more quickly than the admitted market. From 2001 to 2019, A.M. Best Company's ("A.M. Best") domestic professional surplus lines composite produced an average net loss and loss adjustment expense ratio of 69.6% and grew direct premiums written by 7.4% annually, versus 73.7% and 3.7% respectively for the property and casualty ("P&C") industry.
Underwriting expertise across a broad spectrum of hard-to-place risks. We have a broad appetite to underwrite a diverse set of risks across the E&S market. Our underwriting team is highly experienced, and individually underwrites each risk to appropriately price and structure solutions. We balance our broad risk appetite by maintaining a diversified book of smaller accounts with strong pricing and well-defined coverages. Unlike many of our competitors, we do not extend underwriting authority to brokers, agents or other third parties. For the year ended December 31, 2020, our loss and loss adjustment expense ratio was 63.9%.
Technology is a core competency. As an insurance company that was founded in 2009, we have the benefit of having built a proprietary technology platform that reflects the best practices our management team has learned from its extensive prior experience. We operate on an integrated digital platform with a data warehouse that collects an array of statistical data. Our platform provides a high degree of efficiency, accuracy and speed across all of our processes. We are able to use the data that we collect to quickly analyze trends across all functions in our business. Our customized proprietary system helps us to reduce the risk of administrative errors in our policy forms and include all of the necessary exclusions for the specified risk, and provides for the efficient and accurate handling of claims. Additionally, our systems enable us to rapidly respond to brokers, allowing our underwriters to reply to the majority of submissions within 24 hours, a significant benefit to our brokers. We believe that our technology platform will provide us with an enduring competitive advantage as it allows us to quickly respond to market opportunities, and will continue to scale as our business grows.
Significantly lower expense ratio than our competitors. Expense management is ingrained in our business culture. We believe that our proprietary technology platform coupled with our low-cost operation allow us to process policy quotes, underwrite policies and operate at a lower cost than our direct competitors. In particular, our efficient platform allows us
to provide a higher level of service to our brokers and to target smaller accounts which we believe are generally subject to less competition. For the year ended December 31, 2020, our expense ratio was 22.8%.
Fully integrated claims management. We believe that actively managing our claims is an important aspect of keeping losses low, while accurately setting reserves. We manage all of our claims in-house and do not delegate claims management authority to third parties. We promptly and thoroughly investigate all claims, generally through direct contact with the insured, and leverage both our systems and our underwriters to gather the relevant facts. As necessary, we employ local counsel in defense of our policy holders and independent adjusters for task assignments. When we believe claims are without merit, we vigorously contest payment. We currently average 104 open claims per claims adjuster (88 open claims per claims adjuster excluding catastrophe claims), which we believe is lower than industry average. As of December 31, 2020, our reserves for claims incurred but not reported were approximately 84.9% of our total net loss reserves. Of the total open claims as of December 31, 2020, only 36.6% were open for accident years 2018 and prior.
Entrepreneurial management team with a track record of success. Our management team is highly experienced with an average of over 25 years of relevant experience, bringing together a full suite of underwriting, claims, technology and operating skills that we believe will drive our long-term success. The majority of our management team has a proven track record of successfully building high performing specialty insurance companies. We are led by Michael Kehoe who, prior to founding Kinsale, was the president and chief executive officer of James River Insurance Company from 2002 until 2008. Prior to James River Insurance Company, Mr. Kehoe held several senior positions at Colony Insurance Company. Many of our other employees and members of our management team worked with Mr. Kehoe at James River Insurance Company and have decades of experience at other E&S insurance companies. As meaningful owners of Kinsale, we believe our management team has closely aligned interests with our stockholders.
Our Board of Directors has deep insurance and financial services industry experience. Our Board of Directors is comprised of accomplished industry veterans. Collectively, our board members bring decades of experience from their prior roles operating and working in insurance and other financial services companies.
We believe that our approach to our business will allow us to achieve our goals of both growing our business and generating attractive returns. Our approach involves:
Expand our presence in the E&S market. According to A.M. Best, the total E&S market was approximately $55.5 billion of direct written premiums in 2019. Based on our 2020 gross written premiums of $552.8 million, our current market share is approximately 1.0%. We believe that our exclusive focus on the E&S market and our high levels of service, including our ability to quote, underwrite and bind insurance policies in a timely manner given our efficient systems, allow us to better serve our brokers and position us to profitably increase our market share.
Generate underwriting profits. We will continue to focus on underwriting profitability regardless of market cycles. Our strategy is to concentrate on hard-to-place risks and to maintain adequate rate levels for the risks that we underwrite. We maintain control over our underwriting process to ensure consistent quality of work. We underwrite each account individually and never delegate authority to any outside agents or brokers.
Maintain a contrarian risk appetite. Our flexibility as an E&S insurer enables us to write business at attractive returns while offering competitive policies to our brokers and insureds. We believe we distinguish ourselves in the market with our contrarian risk appetite and our willingness to offer terms on risks requiring more extensive underwriting that some of our competitors may decline to consider. Such accounts frequently offer us a better risk-adjusted return than those preferred by our competitors due to reduced competition.
Leverage investment in technology to drive efficiencies. We use a proprietary technology platform to drive a high level of efficiency, accuracy and speed in our underwriting and quoting process. We have organized our workflows, designed our systems and aligned our staff to provide superior service levels to brokers while achieving a level of efficiency that we believe provides us with a competitive advantage and helps contribute to our low expense ratio. We believe that automation also reduces human error in our underwriting, policy processing, accounting, collections, and claims adjusting processes. Additionally, we are able to track quotes, monitor historical loss experience and reserve development, and
measure other relevant metrics at a granular level of detail. We believe that our technology is scalable and will allow us to maintain a low expense ratio as we continue to organically grow our business.
Maintain a strong balance sheet. In order to maintain the confidence of policyholders, brokers, reinsurers, investors, regulators and rating agencies, we seek to establish and maintain a conservative balance sheet. We have a robust process for setting our loss reserves and regularly reviewing our estimates. In addition, we maintain a conservative investment portfolio. Our strong balance sheet allows us to maintain the confidence of our investors and other constituencies, and thereby position ourselves to better achieve our goals.
The chart below displays our corporate structure:
Kinsale Capital Group, Inc.
Kinsale Management, Inc.
(Delaware corporation; management services company)
Kinsale Insurance Company
(Arkansas corporation; stock insurance company)
Aspera Insurance Services, Inc.
(Virginia corporation; insurance broker)
Kinsale Real Estate, Inc.
(Delaware corporation; real estate holding company)
2001 Maywill, LLC
(Delaware limited liability company; real estate entity)
Marketing and Distribution
We market our products through a broad group of independent insurance brokers that we believe can consistently produce reasonable volumes of quality business for us. We also sell policies through our wholly-owned broker, Aspera. Aspera distributes 4.4% of Kinsale’s premiums, primarily personal lines, through independent brokers. Kinsale does not grant its brokers any underwriting or claims authority.
We select our brokers based on management's review of the experience, knowledge and business plan of each broker. While many of our brokers have more than one office, we evaluate each office as if it were a separate brokerage and may appoint some but not all offices owned by a broker for specialized lines of business. We seek brokers with business plans that are consistent with our strategy and underwriting objectives. Brokers must be able to demonstrate an ability to competently produce both the quality and quantity of business that we seek. For our more specialized divisions, we seek to appoint brokers that have a similar focus and demonstrated experience in the particular line of business. Brokers who produce unacceptably low volumes of business may be terminated. Our underwriters regularly visit with brokers in their offices in order to market to these brokers and discuss the products we offer.
For the year ended December 31, 2020, our largest brokers were R-T Specialty, LLC, which produced $72.1 million, or 13.0%, of our gross written premiums, AmWINS Group, LLC, which produced $63.8 million, or 11.5% of our gross written premiums, and CRC Commercial Solutions, which produced $56.5 million, or 10.2% of our gross written premiums. No other broker accounted for more than 10% of our gross written premiums in the year ended December 31, 2020.
It is important to us that we maintain excellent relationships with the group of brokers who present business to us. Commissions are an important part of that relationship, but brokers will also typically consider the ultimate price to the insured, and the service and expertise offered by the carrier when determining where to place their business. In 2020, we paid an average commission to our brokers of 14.6% of gross written premiums. We believe this is slightly lower than the
average commission paid by our competitors. We believe that our specialization in hard-to-place risks, combined with our high degree of service, including our rapid speed-to-quote, permits us to manage our commission expense as part of our overall management of the underwriting process. Additionally, we do not contract out our underwriting to program managers or general agents which typically requires a higher commission level to compensate the third party for its work on behalf of the carrier.
We sell policies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The following tables show our gross written premiums by state for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018.
|Year Ended December 31,|
|2020||% of Total||2019||% of Total||2018||% of Total|
|($ in thousands)|
|Gross written premiums by state:|
|California||$||128,448 ||23.3 ||%||$||95,889 ||24.6 ||%||$||71,645 ||26.0 ||%|
|Florida||78,412 ||14.2 ||%||48,473 ||12.4 ||%||32,414 ||11.8 ||%|
|Texas||63,312 ||11.5 ||%||48,829 ||12.5 ||%||40,102 ||14.6 ||%|
|New York||27,234 ||4.9 ||%||27,441 ||7.0 ||%||14,311 ||5.2 ||%|
|Washington||23,960 ||4.3 ||%||17,339 ||4.4 ||%||13,071 ||4.7 ||%|
|Colorado||19,600 ||3.5 ||%||11,732 ||3.0 ||%||6,395 ||2.3 ||%|
|New Jersey||16,823 ||3.0 ||%||11,887 ||3.1 ||%||6,890 ||2.5 ||%|
|Arizona||12,722 ||2.3 ||%||8,116 ||2.1 ||%||5,469 ||2.0 ||%|
|Pennsylvania||11,184 ||2.0 ||%||6,867 ||1.8 ||%||5,343 ||1.9 ||%|
|Georgia||11,014 ||2.0 ||%||6,431 ||1.7 ||%||4,807 ||1.7 ||%|
|All other states||160,105 ||29.0 ||%||106,690 ||27.4 ||%||75,091 ||27.3 ||%|
|$||552,814 ||100.0 ||%||$||389,694 ||100.0 ||%||$||275,538 ||100.0 ||%|
Our underwriting department consisted of approximately 160 employees as of December 31, 2020. We use our proprietary technology platform to drive a high level of efficiency, accuracy and speed in our underwriting and quoting process. We believe our internal business processing systems allow us to maintain a high ratio of underwriters to total employees, as we do not require a significant number of administrative personnel to facilitate our underwriting process. We also believe that our digital environment allows us to engage fewer employees in policy administration.
We are very selective in the policies we choose to bind, with approximately one in every 8 submissions bound. If our underwriters cannot reasonably expect to bind coverage at the combination of premium and coverage that meets our standards, they are encouraged to quickly move on to another prospective opportunity. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we received approximately 461,000 new business submissions, and of those submissions, we issued approximately 300,000 quotes and bound 31,000 policies for a new policy to new submission ratio of 6.7%. We are careful to establish terms that are suited to the risk and the pricing of our policies. As an E&S company, we use our freedom of rate and form assertively in order to appropriately underwrite risks that have already been rejected by licensed carriers constrained by approved forms and filed rates.
Beyond simply selecting risks, we attempt to craft policies that offer affordable protection to insureds by tailoring coverages in ways that make potential losses more predictable and reduce claims costs. For example, our "defense inside the limits" clause, which we applied to more than 99.4% of our professional liability premiums written in 2020, means that funds we expend defending an insured against a claim are counted against the total policy limit. We believe we do not have any material exposure to claims from asbestos, lead paint, silica, mold or nuclear, biological or chemical terrorism.
Our claims department consisted of approximately 40 claims professionals who had an average of 11 years of claims experience in the P&C industry as of December 31, 2020. Our Chief Claims Officer has over 30 years of litigation and claims experience in large commercial insurance claims departments. Our claims department is fully integrated with our other functional departments. We manage all of our claims in-house and do not delegate claims management authority to third parties.
We focus on the effective management of the claims adjusting process. This process is achieved by extending low reserve and settlement authority levels to our front-line claim examiners; keeping the adjuster-to-supervisor ratios low to allow for greater supervision over the adjusting process; and monitoring the number of claims handled by each claims examiner. This method ensures that two or more members of the department participate in the decision-making process when appropriate; our claim examiners recognize and address key issues; and reserves are adjusted to the appropriate amount as necessary. We seek to manage the number of claims per claims examiner to allow our claim examiners sufficient time to review and investigate claims submitted. Moreover, prior to any scheduled mediation or trial, claims personnel conduct further peer review to ensure that issues and exposures have been adequately analyzed. In addition, our claim examiners work closely with members of the underwriting staff to keep them apprised of claim trends. Vendor management is also important, and our claim examiners work closely with our vendors to manage expenses and costs.
Our information technology department consisted of approximately 70 full-time employees and contractors as of December 31, 2020. Our Chief Information Officer has over 30 years of experience in the technology field. Our information technology staff utilizes an agile methodology and cloud strategy to develop best-in-class software solutions and to attract and retain quality staff.
We have built a proprietary technology platform that reflects the best practices our management team has learned from its extensive prior experiences. Our proprietary technology platform is comprised of multiple applications and services linked together in an integrated system. Key applications and services supporting the core business were developed in-house. We designed the architecture for our information systems in a fashion that would allow us to reduce our administrative costs and quickly provide us with useful information. Our insurance company subsidiary operates in a digital environment, which eliminates the costs of printing, storing and handling thousands of documents each week. Moreover, by maintaining electronic files on each account, we have been able to facilitate clear communication among personnel responsible for handling matters related to underwriting, servicing and claims as each has access to full information regarding the account.
We use a browser-based platform approach to processing business. When a broker makes a submission, the information is transferred into our browser-based underwriting system. This eliminates costly data-entry steps in our underwriting process and permits the underwriter to focus on underwriting the account accurately and rapidly.
Since inception, we have been intent on capturing and analyzing our data and building, over time, a robust repository of information that we can use to improve our decision making. We refer to this repository as our data warehouse. The design of our data warehouse permits us to capture an array of statistical data, collected by the policy management systems at Kinsale. The data warehouse is easily searchable, collects and labels information in a consistent format and contains most of the underwriting and claims information we collect at every level. The data warehouse permits us flexibility with regard to analyzing our business by segment or in the aggregate. We believe the proprietary technology platform, which includes the data warehouse, is a competitive advantage for us.
We enter into reinsurance contracts primarily to limit our exposure to potential large losses. Reinsurance involves an insurance company transferring ("ceding") a portion of its exposure on a risk to another insurer, the reinsurer. The reinsurer assumes the exposure in return for a portion of the premium. Our reinsurance is primarily contracted under quota-share reinsurance contracts and excess of loss contracts. In quota-share reinsurance, the reinsurer agrees to assume a
specified percentage of the ceding company's losses arising out of a defined class of business in exchange for a corresponding percentage of premiums, net of a ceding commission. In excess of loss reinsurance, the reinsurer agrees to assume all or a portion of the ceding company's losses, in excess of a specified amount. Under excess of loss reinsurance, the premium payable to the reinsurer is negotiated by the parties based on their assessment of the amount of risk being ceded to the reinsurer because the reinsurer does not share proportionately in the ceding company's losses.
We also use facultative reinsurance coverage on a limited basis. Facultative coverage refers to a reinsurance contract on individual risks as opposed to a group or class of business. It is used for a variety of reasons, including supplementing the limits provided by the treaty coverage or covering risks or perils excluded from treaty reinsurance.
We renew our reinsurance treaties annually. During each renewal cycle, there are a number of factors we consider when determining our reinsurance coverage, including (1) plans to change the underlying insurance coverage we offer, (2) trends in loss activity, (3) the level of our capital and surplus, (4) changes in our risk appetite and (5) the cost and availability of reinsurance coverage.
To manage our natural catastrophe exposure, we use computer models to analyze the risk of severe losses. We measure exposure to these losses in terms of probable maximum loss ("PML"), which is an estimate of the amount of loss we would expect to meet or exceed once in a given number of years (referred to as the return period). When managing our catastrophe exposure, we focus on the 100 year and the 250 year return periods. Effective with the June 1, 2020 renewal, we entered into a new personal insurance quota-share treaty. We used model results previously noted to stress test the completeness of our program and determined that over 70% of the modelled losses from catastrophes costing over $10 million came from our personal insurance business. We determined that utilizing a personal lines quota-share treaty combined with a catastrophe treaty was a more efficient and cost-effective way to manage the total loss exposure on our property coverages.
The following is a summary of our significant reinsurance programs as of December 31, 2020:
|Line of Business Covered||Company Policy Limit||Reinsurance Coverage||Company Retention|
|Property - per risk (1)||Up to $10.0 million per risk||$8.0 million excess of $2.0 million||$2.0 million per occurrence|
|Property - personal insurance (2)||N/A|
50% up to $47.5 million per catastrophe
50% of all personal property losses
|Property - catastrophe (3)||N/A||$45.0 million excess of $10.0 million||$10.0 million per catastrophe|
|Primary casualty (4)||Up to $10.0 million per occurrence||$8.0 million excess of $2.0 million||$2.0 million per occurrence|
|Excess casualty (5)||Up to $10.0 million per occurrence||Variable quota share||$2.0 million per occurrence except as described in note (5) below|
(1) Our property per-risk reinsurance reduces the financial impact of a large loss on a single commercial property or inland marine policy. This treaty includes a reinstatement provision which requires us to pay reinstatement premiums after a loss has occurred in order to preserve coverage.
(2) Our personal insurance quota-share reinsurance reduces the financial impact of property losses on our personal insurance policies.
(3) Our property catastrophe reinsurance reduces the financial impact of a catastrophe event involving multiple claims and policyholders. Our property catastrophe reinsurance includes a reinstatement provision which requires us to pay reinstatement premiums after a loss has occurred in order to preserve coverage. Including the reinstatement provision, the maximum aggregate loss recovery limit is $90 million and is in addition to the per-occurrence coverage provided by our facultative and treaty coverages.
(4) Reinsurance is not applicable to any individual policy with a per-occurrence limit of $2.0 million or less.
(5) For casualty policies with a per-occurrence limit higher than $2.0 million, the ceding percentage varies such that the retention is always $2.0 million or less. For example, for a $4.0 million limit excess policy, our retention would be 50%, whereas for a $10.0 million limit excess policy, our retention would be 20%. For policies for which we also write an underlying primary limit, the retention on the primary and excess policy combined would not exceed $2.0 million.
Reinsurance contracts do not relieve us from our obligations to policyholders. Failure of the reinsurer to honor its obligation could result in losses to us, and therefore, we established an allowance for credit risk based on historical analysis of credit losses for highly rated companies in the insurance industry. In formulating our reinsurance programs, we are selective in our choice of reinsurers and we consider numerous factors, the most important of which are the financial stability of the reinsurer, its history of responding to claims and its overall reputation. In an effort to minimize our exposure to the insolvency of our reinsurers, we review the financial condition of each reinsurer annually. In addition, we continually monitor for rating downgrades involving any of our reinsurers. At December 31, 2020, all reinsurance contracts that our insurance subsidiary was party to were with companies with A.M. Best ratings of "A" (Excellent) or better. As of December 31, 2020, we have never had a loss for uncollectible reinsurance.
We had reinsurance recoverables on unpaid losses of $83.7 million at December 31, 2020, and recoverables on paid losses of $9.5 million at December 31, 2020. The following table provides a summary of our top ten reinsurers, based on the amount recoverable, at December 31, 2020:
|Reinsurers||A.M. Best Rating||Reinsurance Recoverable|
|($ in thousands)|
|Swiss Reinsurance America Corp.||A+||$||26,336 |
|Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.||A+||19,705 |
|SCOR Reinsurance Co.||A+||11,902 |
|Allied World Reinsurance Co.||A||8,628 |
|Odyssey America Reinsurance Corp.||A||6,536 |
|Arch Reinsurance Co.||A+||6,330 |
|Hannover Ruck SE||A+||3,997 |
|BF Re||A+||2,489 |
|General Reinsurance Corp.||A++||1,738 |
|Partner Reinsurance Co. of the US||A+||1,417 |
|Total for Top Ten||89,078 |
|All others||4,137 |
We did not have reinsurance recoverables greater than $1.4 million at December 31, 2020 from any individual reinsurer other than the ten listed above.
To reduce credit exposure to reinsurance recoverable balances, we obtain letters of credit from certain reinsurers that are not authorized as reinsurers under U.S. state insurance regulations. In addition, under the terms of our reinsurance contracts discussed above, we may retain funds due from reinsurers as security for those recoverable balances.
Catastrophe Risk Management
In addition to the reinsurance protection noted above, we use other techniques to carefully manage our exposure to catastrophe losses. We use computer models to analyze the risk of severe losses from natural catastrophes. We measure exposure to these losses in terms of PML. When managing our catastrophe exposure, we focus on the 100 year and the 250 year return periods. Our main catastrophe risk arises from hurricanes. We manage this exposure through careful and disciplined underwriting, extensive reinsurance protection purchased from financially strong counterparties and monthly catastrophe modeling of the portfolio. Additionally, we limit the concentration of property business by geographic area to reduce loss exposure from extreme events.
We maintain reserves for specific claims incurred and reported, reserves for claims incurred but not reported and reserves for uncollectible reinsurance when appropriate. Our ultimate liability may be greater or less than current reserves. In the insurance industry, there is always the risk that reserves may prove inadequate. We continually monitor reserves using new information on reported claims and a variety of statistical techniques. Anticipated inflation is reflected implicitly in the reserving process through analysis of cost trends and the review of historical development. We do not discount our reserves for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses to reflect estimated present value.
See Note 7 of the notes to the consolidated financial statements and "Critical Accounting Estimates" for a discussion of estimates and assumptions related to the reserves for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses.
Investment income is an important component of our earnings. We collect premiums from our insureds and invest a portion of these funds until claims are paid. We seek to maximize investment returns using investment guidelines that stress prudent allocation among cash and cash equivalents, fixed-maturity securities and, to a lesser extent, equity securities.
Our cash and invested assets generally consist of fixed-maturity securities, short-term investments, cash and cash equivalents, exchange traded funds and preferred stock (classified as equity securities on the consolidated balance sheet). Our fixed-maturity securities are classified as "available-for-sale" and are carried at fair value with unrealized gains and losses on those securities reported, net of tax, as a separate component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). Our equity securities are carried at fair value and changes in the fair value of these investments are recognized in net income. Fair value generally represents quoted market value prices for securities traded in the public market or prices analytically determined using bid or closing prices for securities not actively traded in the public marketplace. Short-term investments, if any, are reported at cost and include investments that are both readily convertible to known amounts of cash and have maturities of 12 months or less upon acquisition by us.
Our cash and invested assets totaled $1.3 billion at December 31, 2020 and $908.2 million at December 31, 2019, and is summarized as follows:
|December 31, 2020||December 31, 2019|
|Fair Value||% of Portfolio||Fair Value||% of Portfolio|
|($ in thousands)|
U.S. Treasury securities and obligations of U.S. government agencies
|$||— ||— ||%||$||112 ||— ||%|
Obligations of states, municipalities and political subdivisions
|230,906 ||17.9 ||%||172,893 ||19.0 ||%|
|Corporate and other securities||316,608 ||24.6 ||%||184,768 ||20.4 ||%|
|Asset-backed securities||240,661 ||18.7 ||%||141,924 ||15.6 ||%|
|Commercial mortgage-backed securities||70,969 ||5.5 ||%||56,046 ||6.2 ||%|
|Residential mortgage-backed securities||222,656 ||17.3 ||%||173,789 ||19.1 ||%|
|Total fixed maturities||1,081,800 ||84.0 ||%||729,532 ||80.3 ||%|
|Exchange traded funds||98,050 ||7.6 ||%||54,463 ||6.0 ||%|
|Nonredeemable preferred stock||31,612 ||2.4 ||%||23,831 ||2.6 ||%|
|Total equity securities||129,662 ||10.0 ||%||78,294 ||8.6 ||%|
|Cash and cash equivalents||77,093 ||6.0 ||%||100,408 ||11.1 ||%|
|Total ||$||1,288,555 ||100.0 ||%||$||908,234 ||100.0 ||%|
Our policy is to invest primarily in high quality fixed-maturity securities with a primary focus on preservation of capital and a secondary focus on maximizing our risk adjusted investment returns. Investment policy is set by the Investment Committee of the Board of Directors, subject to the limits of applicable regulations. Our investment policy is designed to comply with the regulatory investment requirements and restrictions to which our insurance subsidiary is subject. Our fixed-maturity portfolio is managed by an outside investment advisory firm, which operates under guidelines approved by our Investment Committee. Our Investment Committee meets periodically and reports to our Board of Directors.
Our investment policy also imposes strict requirements for credit quality, with a minimum average credit quality of the portfolio being rated "AA-" or higher by Standard & Poor's or the equivalent rating from another nationally recognized rating agency. Our investment policy also imposes restrictions on concentrations of securities by class and issuer. As of December 31, 2020, our fixed-maturity portfolio, including cash equivalents, had an average duration of 4.3 years and had an average rating of "AA-."
The following table sets forth the composition of our portfolio of fixed-maturity securities by rating as of December 31, 2020:
|($ in thousands)|
Obligations of states, municipalities and political subdivisions
|$||18,665 ||$||149,350 ||$||60,895 ||$||1,996 ||$||— ||$||230,906 |
|Corporate and other securities||— ||16,091 ||110,702 ||149,315 ||40,500 ||316,608 |
|Asset-backed securities||190,764 ||27,378 ||16,053 ||6,466 ||— ||240,661 |
|Commercial mortgage-backed securities||65,080 ||5,889 ||— ||— ||— ||70,969 |
|Residential mortgage-backed securities||38,212 ||183,466 ||320 ||— ||658 ||222,656 |
|Total fixed maturities||$||312,721 ||$||382,174 ||$||187,970 ||$||157,777 ||$||41,158 ||$||1,081,800 |
The fair value of our investments in fixed-maturity securities at December 31, 2020, summarized by stated maturities follows:
|December 31, 2020|
|Fair Value||Fair Value|
|($ in thousands)|
|Due in one year or less||$||15,782 ||1.4 ||%|
|Due after one year through five years||115,390 ||10.7 ||%|
|Due after five years through ten years||169,711 ||15.7 ||%|
|Due after ten years||246,631 ||22.8 ||%|
|Asset-backed securities||240,661 ||22.2 ||%|
|Commercial mortgage-backed securities||70,969 ||6.6 ||%|
|Residential mortgage-backed securities||222,656 ||20.6 ||%|
|Total fixed maturities||$||1,081,800 ||100.0 ||%|
Actual maturities may differ for some securities because borrowers have the right to call or prepay obligations with or without penalties. As of December 31, 2020, our fixed-maturity security portfolio contained $222.7 million (20.6%) of residential mortgage-backed securities ("RMBS"). RMBS, including collateralized mortgage obligations, are subject to prepayment risks that vary with, among other things, interest rates. During periods of declining interest rates, RMBS generally prepay faster as the underlying mortgages are prepaid and refinanced by the borrowers in order to take advantage of the lower rates. As a result, during periods of falling interest rates, proceeds from such prepayments generally must be reinvested at lower prevailing yields. In addition, RMBS that have an amortized cost that is greater than par (i.e., purchased at a premium) may incur a reduction in yield or a loss as a result of such prepayments. Conversely, during periods of rising interest rates, the rate of prepayments generally slows. RMBS that have an amortized value that is less than par (i.e., purchased at a discount) may incur a decrease in yield as a result of a slower rate of prepayments. Changes in estimated cash flows due to changes in prepayment assumptions from the original purchase assumptions are revised based on current interest rates and the economic environment. Our investment policy does not permit us to own any interest only, principal only or residual tranches of RMBS.
At December 31, 2020, our portfolio of fixed-maturity securities contained corporate bonds with a fair value of $316.6 million. A summary of these securities by industry segment is shown below as of December 31, 2020:
|December 31, 2020|
|Industry||Fair Value||% of Total|
|($ in thousands)|
|Industrials and other||$||172,500 ||54.5 ||%|
|Financial||122,887 ||38.8 ||%|
|Utilities||21,221 ||6.7 ||%|
|Total||$||316,608 ||100.0 ||%|
Approximately 8% of our total cash and investments were invested in exchange traded funds ("ETFs"), which provide low-cost diversification. At December 31, 2020, our ETF balance was comprised of the following funds:
|December 31, 2020|
|Fund||Fair Value||% of Total|
|($ in thousands)|
|Domestic stock market fund||$||64,760 ||66.0 ||%|
|Dividend yield equity fund||33,290 ||34.0 ||%|
|Total||$||98,050 ||100.0 ||%|
Approximately 2% of our total cash and investments were invested in nonredeemable preferred stock. A summary of these securities by industry segment is shown below as of December 31, 2020:
|December 31, 2020|
|Industry||Fair Value||% of Total|
|($ in thousands)|
|Financial||$||27,744 ||87.8 ||%|
|Utilities||3,034 ||9.6 ||%|
|Industrials and other||834 ||2.6 ||%|
|Total||$||31,612 ||100.0 ||%|
The P&C insurance industry is highly competitive. We compete with domestic and international insurers, some of which have greater financial, marketing and management resources and experience than we do. We may also compete with new market entrants in the future. Competition is based on many factors, including the perceived market strength of the insurer, pricing and other terms and conditions, services provided, the speed of claims payment, the reputation and experience of the insurer and ratings assigned by independent rating organizations such as A.M. Best. Our insurance subsidiary, Kinsale Insurance, currently has a rating from A.M. Best of "A" (Excellent). Ratings for an insurance company are based on its ability to pay policyholder obligations and are not directed toward the protection of investors.
Today, our primary competitors in the E&S sector include Alleghany Corporation, Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd., James River Group Holdings, Ltd., the Lloyds of London syndicates, Markel Corporation, ProSight Global, Inc., RLI Corp. and W. R. Berkley Corporation.
We are regulated by insurance regulatory authorities in the states in which we conduct business. State insurance laws and regulations generally are designed to protect the interests of policyholders, consumers and claimants rather than stockholders or other investors. The nature and extent of state regulation varies by jurisdiction, and state insurance regulators generally have broad administrative power relating to, among other matters, setting capital and surplus requirements, licensing of insurers and agents, establishing standards for reserve adequacy, prescribing statutory accounting methods, determining the form and content of statutory financial reports, regulating certain transactions with affiliates and prescribing types and amounts of investments.
Regulation of insurance companies constantly changes as governmental agencies and legislatures react to real or perceived issues. In recent years, the state insurance regulatory framework has come under increased federal scrutiny, and some state legislatures have considered or enacted laws that alter and, in many cases, increase, state authority to regulate insurance companies and insurance holding company systems. Further, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners ("NAIC") and state insurance regulators are continually re-examining existing laws and regulations,
specifically focusing on issues relating to the solvency of insurance companies, group capital requirements, interpretations of existing laws and the development of new laws. Although the federal government does not directly regulate the business of insurance, federal initiatives often affect the insurance industry in a variety of ways. In addition, the Federal Insurance Office (the "FIO") was established within the U.S. Department of the Treasury by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act") in July 2010 to monitor all aspects of the insurance industry, including identifying issues or gaps in the regulation of insurers that could contribute to a systemic crisis in the insurance industry or the U.S. financial system. See "—Federal and state legislative and regulatory changes" below.
Kinsale Insurance is organized and domiciled in the State of Arkansas and is authorized (licensed) in the State of Arkansas to transact certain lines of P&C insurance. This license is in good standing, and, pursuant to applicable Arkansas laws and regulations, will continue in force unless suspended, revoked or otherwise terminated, subject to certain conditions, including the payment by Kinsale Insurance of annual continuation fees, the filing of annual statutory financial statements and the filing of an annual registration statement with the Arkansas Insurance Department.
Kinsale Insurance currently operates on an excess and surplus lines basis in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While Kinsale Insurance does not have to apply for and maintain a license in those states (with the exception of Arkansas, its domiciliary state), it is subject to maintaining suitability standards under each particular state’s surplus lines laws to be included as an eligible surplus lines carrier (as discussed below, the Dodd-Frank Act has brought uniformity to these standards (see "—Federal and state legislative and regulatory changes")). In states in which it operates on a surplus line basis, Kinsale Insurance has freedom of rate and form on the majority of its business. This means that Kinsale Insurance can implement a change in policy form, underwriting guidelines, or rates for a product without regulatory approval.
Almost all insurance is written through licensed agents and brokers. In states in which we operate on a non-admitted basis, general agents and their retail insurance brokers generally are required to certify that a certain number of licensed admitted insurers had been offered and declined to write a particular risk prior to placing that risk with us.
In addition, Aspera, our insurance broker, and designated employees must be licensed to act as insurance producers, adjusters or third-party administrators, as applicable, by insurance regulatory authorities in the states where they operate. Such insurance regulatory authorities are vested in most cases with relatively broad discretion as to the granting, revocation, suspension, and renewal of licenses.
Insurance holding company regulation
We operate as an insurance holding company system and are subject to the insurance holding company laws of the State of Arkansas, the state in which Kinsale Insurance is organized and domiciled. These statutes require that each insurance company in the system register with the insurance department of its state of domicile and furnish information concerning the operations of companies within the holding company system that may materially affect the operations, management or financial condition of the insurers within the system and domiciled in that state. These statutes also provide that all transactions among members of a holding company system must be fair and reasonable. Transactions between insurance subsidiaries and their parents and affiliates generally must be disclosed to the state regulators, and notice to or prior approval of the applicable state insurance regulator generally is required for any material or extraordinary transaction. On December 9, 2020, the NAIC adopted the Group Capital Calculation (“GCC”) template and instructions, as well as corresponding amendments to NAIC model insurance holding company system laws. The amendments require, subject to certain exemptions, that the ultimate controlling person of each insurance group file a GCC on an annual basis with such insurance group’s lead state commissioner. The GCC uses a risk-based capital aggregation approach intended to provide regulators with an additional group supervisory tool.
Changes of control
Before a person can acquire control of a U.S. domestic insurer, prior written approval must be obtained from the insurance commissioner of the state where the insurer is domiciled. Prior to granting approval of an application to acquire control of a domestic insurer, the domiciliary state insurance commissioner will consider a number of factors, which include the
financial strength of the proposed acquiror, the acquiror’s plans for the future operations of the domestic insurer and any anti-competitive results that may arise from the consummation of the acquisition of control.
Generally, state insurance statutes provide that control over a domestic insurer is presumed to exist if any person, directly or indirectly, owns, controls, holds with the power to vote, or holds proxies representing, ten percent or more of the voting securities of the domestic insurer. This statutory presumption of control may be rebutted by a showing that control does not exist in fact. The state regulators, however, may find that "control" exists in circumstances in which a person owns or controls less than ten percent of the voting securities of the domestic insurer.
As Kinsale Insurance is domiciled in Arkansas, the insurance laws and regulations of that state would be applicable to any proposed acquisition of control of Kinsale Insurance. Under applicable Arkansas insurance laws and regulations, no person may acquire control of a domestic insurer until written approval is obtained from the state insurance commissioner following a public hearing on the proposed acquisition. Such approval would be contingent upon the state insurance commissioner’s consideration of a number of factors, including among others, the financial strength of the proposed acquiror, the integrity and management of the acquiror’s board of directors and executive officers, the acquiror’s plans for the future operations of the domestic insurer and any anti-competitive results that may arise from the consummation of the acquisition of control. Arkansas insurance laws and regulations contain a rebuttable presumption of control if any person directly or indirectly acquires ten percent or more of the voting stock of an Arkansas-domiciled insurer. Accordingly, the acquisition of ten percent or more of our common stock would be considered an indirect change of control of Kinsale Insurance and would trigger the applicable change of control filing requirements under Arkansas insurance laws and regulations, absent a disclaimer of control filing and its acceptance by the Arkansas Insurance Department. These requirements may discourage potential acquisition proposals and may delay, deter or prevent a change of control of us, including through transactions that some or all of our stockholders might consider to be desirable.
Restrictions on paying dividends
State insurance laws restrict the ability of insurance companies to declare and pay stockholder dividends. State insurance regulators require insurance companies to maintain specified levels of statutory capital and surplus. The maximum dividend distribution absent the approval or non-disapproval of the insurance regulatory authority in Arkansas is limited by Arkansas law to the greater of 10% of policyholder surplus as of December 31 of the previous year or net income, not including realized capital gains, for the previous calendar year. Dividend payments are further limited to that part of available policyholder surplus which is derived from net profits on an insurer’s business.
Kinsale Insurance is subject to state laws which require diversification of our investment portfolios and limits on the amount of our investments in certain categories. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations would cause non-conforming investments to be treated as non-admitted assets in the states in which we are licensed to sell insurance policies for purposes of measuring statutory surplus and, in some instances, would require us to sell those investments.
Restrictions on cancellation, non-renewal or withdrawal
Many states have laws and regulations that limit the ability of an insurance company licensed by that state to exit a market. Some states prohibit an insurer from withdrawing from one or more lines of business in the state except pursuant to a plan approved by the state insurance regulator, which may disapprove a plan that may lead to market disruption. Some state statutes may explicitly or by interpretation apply these restrictions to insurers operating on a surplus lines basis.
Enterprise risk and other developments
The NAIC, as part of its solvency modernization initiative, has engaged in a concerted effort to strengthen the ability of U.S. state insurance regulators to monitor U.S. insurance holding company groups. Recent efforts by the NAIC to establish group capital standards are consistent with this initiative. State insurance holding company laws, including those in Arkansas, address "enterprise" risk - the risk that an activity, circumstance, event or series of events involving one or more affiliates of an insurer will, if not remedied promptly, be likely to have a material adverse effect upon the financial condition or liquidity of the insurer or its insurance holding company system as a whole - and require annual reporting of potential enterprise risk as well as access to information to allow the state insurance regulator to assess such
risk. Under Arkansas insurance holding company laws, the ultimate controlling person of insurers subject to registration is required to file an annual enterprise risk report with the lead state commissioner, when applicable, of the insurance holding company system as determined by the procedures within the Financial Analysis Handbook adopted by the NAIC.
In 2012, the NAIC adopted the Risk Management and Own Risk and Solvency Assessment ("ORSA") Model Act. The ORSA Model Act, when adopted by state regulators requires domestic insurers to maintain a risk management framework and establishes a legal requirement for domestic insurers to conduct an ORSA. The ORSA is a confidential internal assessment, appropriate to the nature, scale and complexity of an insurer, regarding the material and relevant risks identified by the insurer associated with an insurer’s current business plan and the sufficiency of capital resources to support those risks. Effective July 2015, Arkansas adopted its version of the ORSA Model Act. Our subsidiary, Kinsale Insurance, is subject to the requirements of the ORSA Model Act adopted in its domicile of Arkansas.
Additionally, in response to the growing threat of cyber-attacks in the insurance industry, certain jurisdictions have begun to consider new cybersecurity measures, including the adoption of cybersecurity regulations which, among other things, would require insurance companies to establish and maintain a cybersecurity program and implement and maintain cybersecurity policies and procedures. On October 24, 2017, the NAIC adopted its Insurance Data Security Model Law, intended to serve as model legislation for states to enact in order to govern cybersecurity and data protection practices of insurers, insurance agents, and other licensed entities registered under state insurance laws (Arkansas has not yet adopted this model legislation). The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued regulations governing cybersecurity requirements for financial services companies, which became effective on March 1, 2017, and requires insurance companies, among others, regulated in New York to assess their specific cyber risk profiles and design cyber security programs to address such risks. We annually file our program compliance certifications pertaining to the DFS cybersecurity requirements in New York.
Federal and state legislative and regulatory changes
The U.S. federal government’s oversight of the insurance industry was expanded under the Dodd-Frank Act. Prior to the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act in July 2010, the U.S. federal government’s regulation of the insurance industry was essentially limited to certain insurance products, such as flood insurance, multi-peril crop insurance and reinsurance of losses from terrorism. As part of the overall federal financial regulatory reform package contained in the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress has legislated reforms in the surplus lines sector (among others).
The Dodd-Frank Act incorporates the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of 2010 ("NRRA"), which became effective on July 21, 2011. Among other things, the NRRA establishes national uniform standards on how states may regulate and tax surplus lines insurance and sets national standards concerning the regulation of reinsurance. In particular, the NRRA gives regulators in the home state of an insured exclusive authority to regulate and tax surplus lines insurance transactions, and regulators in a ceding insurer’s state of domicile the sole responsibility for regulating the balance sheet credit that the ceding insurer may take for reinsurance recoverables.
The Dodd-Frank Act also established the FIO in the U.S. Department of the Treasury and vested the FIO with the authority to monitor all aspects of the insurance sector, monitor the extent to which traditionally underserved communities and consumers have access to affordable non-health insurance products, and to represent the United States on prudential aspects of international insurance matters, including at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (the "IAIS"). In addition, the FIO serves as an advisory member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, assists the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury with administration of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, and advises the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury on important national and international insurance matters. In addition, the FIO has the ability to recommend to the Financial Stability Oversight Council the designation of an insurer as "systemically significant" and therefore subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve as a bank holding company.
In limited circumstances, the FIO can declare a state insurance law or regulation "preempted," but this can be done only after extensive consultation with state insurance regulators, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and key insurance industry players (in trade associations representing insurers and intermediaries). Additionally, the FIO must publish a notice regarding the basis for the preemption in the Federal Register, allowing a reasonable opportunity for comments. The FIO cannot preempt state antitrust laws governing rate making, underwriting, sales practices or coverage
requirements. No later than September 30th of each year, the FIO must submit an annual report to Congress explaining any use of the preemption authority during the prior year.
In addition, a number of federal laws affect and apply to the insurance industry, including various privacy laws and the economic and trade sanctions implemented by the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. OFAC maintains and enforces economic sanctions against certain foreign countries and groups and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in certain transactions with certain persons or entities. OFAC has imposed civil penalties on persons, including insurance and reinsurance companies, arising from violations of its economic sanctions program.
On November 20, 2015, the FIO and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced their intention to exercise their authority under the Dodd-Frank Act to negotiate a “covered agreement” with the European Union (the “Covered Agreement”). After a number of private negotiating sessions, on January 13, 2017, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative notified Congress that they had completed negotiations with the European Union for the Covered Agreement, which addressed reinsurance, insurance group supervision and the exchange of information between insurance supervisors. The Covered Agreement was formally entered into on September 22, 2017. A covered agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom extending terms nearly identical to the EU Covered Agreement to insurers and reinsurers operating in the UK following Brexit was entered into on December 11, 2018.
With respect to reinsurance, under the Covered Agreement, both the U.S. and the European Union agreed that their supervisory authorities will not impose reinsurance collateral requirements or "local presence" requirements on a reinsurer domiciled in (or with a head office in) the other’s territory that are less favorable than collateral or local presence requirements applied to a domestic reinsurer. However, the collateral or local presence provisions apply only if the insurer or reinsurer satisfies certain conditions and standards, including among others, minimum capital and risk-based capital, confirmation of financial condition by the reinsurer’s domestic regulator and claims payment standards. U.S. states have five years from execution of the Covered Agreement to adopt reinsurance reforms removing collateral requirements for European Union reinsurers that meet the prescribed conditions in the Covered Agreement. If the FIO determines that state laws are inconsistent with the Covered Agreement (the process of making potential preemption determinations will begin 42 months following execution of the Covered Agreement), such states laws may be preempted.
On June 25, 2019, the NAIC adopted revisions to the Credit for Reinsurance Model Law and Regulation in order to satisfy the substantive and timing requirements of the Covered Agreement. These amendments pave the way for state legislatures to bring their credit for reinsurance laws into compliance with the Covered Agreement's zero reinsurance collateral provisions by September 2022, thereby avoiding a potential federal preemption of these laws (Arkansas has not yet adopted the Credit for Reinsurance Model Law and Regulation).
The manner in which insurance companies and insurance agents and brokers conduct the business of insurance is regulated by state statutes in an effort to prohibit practices that constitute unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices. Prohibited practices include, but are not limited to, disseminating false information or advertising, unfair discrimination, rebating and false statements. We set business conduct policies and provide training to make our employee-agents and other sales personnel aware of these prohibitions, and we require them to conduct their activities in compliance with these statutes.
Unfair claims practices
Generally, insurance companies, adjusting companies and individual claims adjusters are prohibited by state statutes from engaging in unfair claims practices on a flagrant basis or with such frequency to indicate a general business practice. Unfair claims practices include, but are not limited to, misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions; failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies; and attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable person would have believed such person was entitled. We set business conduct policies and conduct training to make our employee-adjusters and other
claims personnel aware of these prohibitions, and we require them to conduct their activities in compliance with these statutes.
Credit for reinsurance
State insurance laws permit U.S. insurance companies, as ceding insurers, to take financial statement credit for reinsurance that is ceded, so long as the assuming reinsurer satisfies the state’s credit for reinsurance laws. The NRRA contained in the Dodd-Frank Act provides that if the state of domicile of a ceding insurer is an NAIC accredited state, or has financial solvency requirements substantially similar to the requirements necessary for NAIC accreditation, and recognizes credit for reinsurance for the insurer’s ceded risk, then no other state may deny such credit for reinsurance. Because all states are currently accredited by the NAIC, the Dodd-Frank Act prohibits a state in which a U.S. ceding insurer is licensed but not domiciled from denying credit for reinsurance for the insurer’s ceded risk if the cedant’s domestic state regulator recognizes credit for reinsurance. The ceding company in this instance is permitted to reflect in its statutory financial statements a credit in an aggregate amount equal to the ceding company’s liability for unearned premium (which are that portion of written premiums which applies to the unexpired portion of the policy period), loss reserves and loss expense reserves to the extent ceded to the reinsurer.
Periodic financial and market conduct examinations
The insurance regulatory authority in the State of Arkansas, our insurance subsidiary’s state of domicile, conducts on-site visits and examinations of the affairs of our insurance subsidiary, including its financial condition, its relationships and transactions with affiliates and its dealings with policyholders, every three to five years, and may conduct special or targeted examinations to address particular concerns or issues at any time. Insurance regulators of other states in which we do business also may conduct examinations. The results of these examinations can give rise to regulatory orders requiring remedial, injunctive or other corrective action. Insurance regulatory authorities have broad administrative powers to regulate trade practices and, in that connection, to restrict or rescind licenses to transact business and to levy fines and monetary penalties against insurers and insurance agents and brokers found to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations.
Risk-based capital ("RBC") laws are designed to assess the minimum amount of capital that an insurance company needs to support its overall business operations and to ensure that it has an acceptably low expectation of becoming financially impaired. State insurance regulators use RBC to set capital requirements, considering the size and degree of risk taken by the insurer and taking into account various risk factors including asset risk, credit risk, underwriting risk and interest rate risk. As the ratio of an insurer’s total adjusted capital and surplus decreases relative to its risk-based capital, the RBC laws provide for increasing levels of regulatory intervention culminating with mandatory control of the operations of the insurer by the domiciliary insurance department at the so-called mandatory control level.
The Arkansas Insurance Department has largely adopted the model legislation promulgated by the NAIC pertaining to RBC, and requires annual reporting by Arkansas-domiciled insurers to confirm that the minimum amount of RBC necessary for an insurer to support its overall business operations has been met. Arkansas-domiciled insurers falling below a calculated threshold may be subject to varying degrees of regulatory action, including supervision, rehabilitation or liquidation by the Arkansas Insurance Department. Failure to maintain our risk-based capital at the required levels could adversely affect the ability of Kinsale Insurance to maintain the regulatory authority necessary to conduct our business. However, as of December 31, 2020, Kinsale Insurance maintained RBC levels significantly in excess of amounts that would require any corrective actions.
The NAIC Insurance Regulatory Information System, or IRIS, is part of a collection of analytical tools designed to provide state insurance regulators with an integrated approach to screening and analyzing the financial condition of insurance companies operating in their respective states. IRIS is intended to assist state insurance regulators in targeting resources to those insurers in greatest need of regulatory attention. IRIS consists of two phases: statistical and analytical. In the statistical phase, the NAIC database generates key financial ratio results based on financial information obtained from insurers’ annual statutory statements. The analytical phase is a review of the annual statements, financial ratios and
other automated solvency tools. The primary goal of the analytical phase is to identify companies that appear to require immediate regulatory attention. A ratio result falling outside the usual range of IRIS ratios is not considered a failing result; rather, unusual values are viewed as part of the regulatory early monitoring system. Furthermore, in some years, it may not be unusual for financially sound companies to have several ratios with results outside the usual ranges. An insurance company may fall out of the usual range for one or more ratios because of specific transactions that are in themselves immaterial.
A.M. Best, which rates insurance companies based on factors of concern to policyholders, rates our insurance subsidiary. A.M. Best assigns ratings to insurance companies, which range from "A++" (Superior) to "F" (In Liquidation). Our insurance subsidiary, Kinsale Insurance, has a rating of "A" (Excellent), which is the third highest rating. In evaluating a company's financial and operating performance, A.M. Best reviews the company's profitability, leverage and liquidity, as well as its book of business, the adequacy and soundness of its reinsurance, the quality and estimated market value of its assets, the adequacy of its loss and loss expense reserves, the adequacy of its surplus, its capital structure, the experience and competence of its management and its market presence. A.M. Best's ratings reflect its opinion of an insurance company's financial strength, operating performance and ability to meet its obligations to policyholders. These evaluations are not directed to purchasers of an insurance company's securities.
As of February 18, 2021, we had 323 full-time and 12 part-time employees, all of whom are employed by us through arrangements with Kinsale Management, Inc., and are located at our headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. Our employees are not subject to any collective bargaining agreements, and we are not aware of any current efforts to implement such an agreement. We consider our relationship with our employees to be good.
We believe our employees are key to achieving our business objectives. During fiscal year 2020, the Company launched remote-working protocols due to the escalating COVID-19 outbreak and, as a result, over 90% of our employees worked from home for a portion of time during the eight months spanning from March through October. Before our employees returned during the September to October time frame, we implemented COVID-19 protocols to minimize the spread of the virus in our workplace. These protocols, which currently remain in place, meet or exceed the Centers for Disease Control, Virginia Department of Health, and Virginia Department of Labor and Industry guidelines and, where applicable, our state mandate. Additionally, during the fourth quarter of 2020, we moved into a new headquarters building. Our new building utilizes technological amenities which facilitates the health and wellness of our employees. For example, our building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (“HVAC”) system monitors air quality and pulls air from the outside rather than simply recirculating it, which helps reduce indoor airborne contaminants. Many of our building’s fixtures are touchless, such as restroom doors, lighting fixtures, wash basins and elevators. We have also taken advantage of newer technologies to help sanitize the air, such as ultraviolet (“UV”) filters in our HVAC system. We continue to evaluate health and wellness initiatives which are in the best interests of our employees and the stakeholders of our Company.
Compensation and Benefits
We believe that our employees are one of our most valuable assets and paying our employees well is the foundation of our performance-based culture. In order to attract and retain talent, we offer and maintain market competitive compensation and benefit programs to all our employees. Our compensation program includes base salary, performance-based cash awards and equity grants for some management level employees. In 2020, the median pay of all our full-time employees was more than $97,000. The mix of these rewards varies depending on the employee’s role at the Company and our longstanding pay-for-performance philosophy. While all of our employees are eligible to participate in the variable compensation element of our program (annual cash bonus and equity awards), variable compensation becomes a larger portion of the total mix for employees at higher levels in the organization. Our executives, who are responsible for the development and execution of our strategic and financial plans, have the largest portion of their compensation tied to equity-based incentives to ensure financial alignment with our stakeholders.
In addition to competitive compensation, we offer our employees comprehensive and flexible benefit options including:
•Company-matched 401(k) plan
•Educational assistance program
•Medical insurance, with one tier being zero cost
•Company-paid insurance benefits
•Health savings with large employer contributions and flexible spending accounts
•Paid time off, family leave, and employee assistance programs.
Diversity and Inclusion
We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment free from discrimination of any kind and that supports the communities we serve. We seek to recruit the best qualified employees regardless of gender, ethnicity or other protected traits and it is our policy to fully comply with all laws applicable to discrimination in the workplace. Our diversity and inclusion principles are reflected in our employee training and policies.
We file annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and other information with the SEC. The SEC maintains an internet web site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers, including us, that file electronically with the SEC. The address of that site is http://www.sec.gov. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K and other information filed by us with the SEC are available, without charge, on our internet web site, http://www.kinsalecapitalgroup.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed electronically with the SEC. The information on our website is not a part of this Annual Report.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones facing us. There may be additional risks and uncertainties of which we currently are unaware or currently believe to be immaterial. The occurrence of any of these risks could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations and prospects.
Risks Related to Our Business, Industry, and Operations
Our loss reserves may be inadequate to cover our actual losses, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our success depends on our ability to accurately assess the risks related to the businesses and people that we insure. We establish loss and loss adjustment expense reserves for the ultimate payment of all claims that have been incurred, and the related costs of adjusting those claims, as of the date of our financial statements. Reserves do not represent an exact calculation of liability. Rather, reserves represent an estimate of what we expect the ultimate settlement and administration of claims will cost us, and our ultimate liability may be greater or less than our estimate.
As part of the reserving process, we review historical data and consider the impact of such factors as:
•claims inflation, which is the sustained increase in cost of raw materials, labor, medical services and other components of claims cost;
•claims development patterns by line of business and by "claims made" versus "occurrence" policies;
•social and economic patterns; and
•litigation, judicial and regulatory trends.
These variables are affected by both internal and external events that could increase our exposure to losses, and we continually monitor our reserves using new information on reported claims and a variety of statistical techniques. This process assumes that past experience, adjusted for the effects of current developments and anticipated trends, is an appropriate basis for predicting future events. There is, however, no precise method for evaluating the impact of any specific factor on the adequacy of reserves, and actual results may deviate, perhaps substantially, from our reserve estimates. For instance, the following uncertainties may have an impact on the adequacy of our reserves:
•When we write "occurrence" policies, we are obligated to pay covered claims, up to the contractually agreed amount, for any covered loss that occurs while the policy is in force. Accordingly, claims may arise many years after a policy has lapsed. Approximately 79.4% of our net casualty loss reserves were associated with "occurrence" policies as of December 31, 2020.
•Even when a claim is received (irrespective of whether the policy is a "claims made" or "occurrence" basis form), it may take considerable time to fully appreciate the extent of the covered loss suffered by the insured and, consequently, estimates of loss associated with specific claims can increase over time.
•New theories of liability are enforced retroactively from time to time by courts. See also "—The failure of any of the loss limitations or exclusions we employ, or changes in other claims or coverage issues, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations."
•Volatility in the financial markets, economic events and other external factors may result in an increase in the number of claims and/or severity of the claims reported. In addition, elevated inflationary conditions would, among other things, cause loss costs to increase. See also "—Adverse economic factors, including recession, inflation, periods of high unemployment or lower economic activity could result in the sale of fewer policies than expected or an increase in frequency or severity of claims and premium defaults or both, which, in turn, could affect our growth and profitability."
•If claims were to become more frequent, even if we had no liability for those claims, the cost of evaluating such potential claims could escalate beyond the amount of the reserves we have established. As we enter new lines of business, or as a result of new theories of claims, we may encounter an increase in claims frequency and greater claims handling costs than we had anticipated.
In addition, there may be significant reporting lags between the occurrence of the insured event and the time it is actually reported to us and additional lags between the time of reporting and final settlement of any claims. Consequently, estimates of loss associated with specified claims can increase as new information emerges, which could cause the reserves for the claim to become inadequate.
If any of our reserves should prove to be inadequate, we will be required to increase our reserves resulting in a reduction in our net income and stockholders’ equity in the period in which the deficiency is identified. Future loss experience substantially in excess of established reserves could also have a material adverse effect on our future earnings and liquidity and our financial rating.
For further discussion of our reserve experience, please see "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Critical Accounting Estimates — Reserves for Unpaid Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses."
Given the inherent uncertainty of models, the usefulness of such models as a tool to evaluate risk is subject to a high degree of uncertainty that could result in actual losses that are materially different than our estimates, including PMLs. A deviation from our loss estimates may adversely impact, perhaps significantly, our financial results.
Our approach to risk management relies on subjective variables that entail significant uncertainties. For example, we rely heavily on estimates of PMLs for certain events that are generated by computer-run models. In addition, we rely on historical data and scenarios in managing credit and interest rate risks in our investment portfolio. These estimates, models, data and scenarios may not produce accurate predictions and consequently, we could incur losses both in the risks we underwrite and to the value of our investment portfolio.
We use third-party vendor analytic and modeling capabilities to provide us with objective risk assessment relating to other risks in our reinsurance portfolio. We use these models to help us control risk accumulation, inform management and other stakeholders of capital requirements and to improve the risk/return profile or minimize the amount of capital required to cover the risks in each of our reinsurance contracts. However, given the inherent uncertainty of modeling techniques and the application of such techniques, these models and databases may not accurately address a variety of matters which might impact certain of our coverages.
Small changes in assumptions, which depend heavily on our judgment and foresight, can have a significant impact on the modeled outputs. For example, catastrophe models that simulate loss estimates based on a set of assumptions are important tools used by us to estimate our PMLs. These assumptions address a number of factors that impact loss potential including, but not limited to, the characteristics of a given natural catastrophe event; the increase in claim costs resulting from limited supply of labor and materials needed for repairs following a catastrophe event (demand surge); the types, function, location and characteristics of exposed risks; susceptibility of exposed risks to damage from an event with specific characteristics; and the financial and contractual provisions of the (re)insurance contracts that cover losses arising from an event. We run many model simulations in order to understand the impact of these assumptions on a catastrophe’s loss potential. Furthermore, there are risks associated with catastrophe events, which are either poorly represented or not represented at all by catastrophe models. Each modeling assumption or un-modeled risk introduces uncertainty into PML estimates that management must consider. These uncertainties can include, but are not limited to, the following:
•The models do not address all the possible hazard characteristics of a catastrophe peril (e.g. the precise path and wind speed of a hurricane);
•The models may not accurately reflect the true frequency of events;
•The models may not accurately reflect a risk's vulnerability or susceptibility to damage for a given event characteristic;
•The models may not accurately represent loss potential to insurance or reinsurance contract coverage limits, terms
and conditions; and
•The models may not accurately reflect the impact on the economy of the area affected or the financial, judicial, political, or regulatory impact on insurance claim payments during or following a catastrophe event.
Our PMLs are reviewed by management after the assessment of outputs from multiple third-party vendor models and other qualitative and quantitative assessments, including exposures not typically modeled in vendor models. Our methodology for estimating PMLs may differ from methods used by other companies and external parties given the various assumptions and judgments required to estimate a PML.
As a result of these factors and contingencies, our reliance on assumptions and data used to evaluate our entire reinsurance portfolio and specifically to estimate a PML is subject to a high degree of uncertainty that could result in actual losses that are materially different from our PML estimates and our financial results could be adversely affected.
The failure of any of the loss limitations or exclusions we employ, or changes in other claims or coverage issues, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
Although we seek to mitigate our loss exposure through a variety of methods, the future is inherently unpredictable. It is difficult to predict the timing, frequency and severity of losses with statistical certainty. It is not possible to completely eliminate our exposure to unforecasted or unpredictable events and, to the extent that losses from such risks occur, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
For instance, various provisions of our policies, such as limitations or exclusions from coverage or choice of forum, which have been negotiated to limit our risks, may not be enforceable in the manner we intend. At the present time, we employ a variety of endorsements to our policies that limit exposure to known risks. As industry practices and legal, judicial, social and other conditions change, unexpected and unintended issues related to claims and coverage may emerge.
In addition, we design our policy terms to manage our exposure to expanding theories of legal liability like those which have given rise to claims for lead paint, asbestos, mold, construction defects and environmental matters. Many of the policies we issue also include conditions requiring the prompt reporting of claims to us and entitle us to decline coverage in the event of a violation of those conditions. Also, many of our policies limit the period during which a policyholder may bring a claim under the policy, which in many cases is shorter than the statutory period under which such claims can be brought against our policyholders. While these exclusions and limitations help us assess and reduce our loss exposure and help eliminate known exposures to certain risks, it is possible that a court or regulatory authority could nullify or void an exclusion or legislation could be enacted modifying or barring the use of such endorsements and limitations. These types of governmental actions could result in higher than anticipated losses and loss adjustment expenses, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
As industry practices and legal, judicial, social and other environmental conditions change, unexpected and unintended issues related to claims and coverage may emerge. Three examples of unanticipated risks that have adversely affected the insurance industry are:
•Asbestos liability applied to manufacturers of products and contractors who installed those products.
•Apportionment of liability arising from subsidence claims assigned to subcontractors who may have been involved in mundane tasks (such as installing sheetrock in a home).
•Court decisions, such as the 1995 Montrose decision in California, that read policy exclusions narrowly so as to expand coverage, thereby requiring insurers to create and write new exclusions.
These issues may adversely affect our business by either broadening coverage beyond our underwriting intent or by increasing the number or size of claims. In some instances, these changes may not become apparent until sometime after we have issued insurance contracts that are affected by the changes. As a result, the full extent of liability under our insurance contracts may not be known for many years after a contract is issued.
We may be unable to obtain reinsurance coverage at reasonable prices or on terms that adequately protect us.
We use reinsurance to help manage our exposure to insurance risks. Reinsurance is a practice whereby one insurer, called the reinsurer, agrees to indemnify another insurer, called the ceding insurer, for all or part of the potential liability arising from one or more insurance policies issued by the ceding insurer. The availability and cost of reinsurance are subject to prevailing market conditions, both in terms of price and available capacity, which can affect our business volume and profitability. In addition, reinsurance programs are generally subject to renewal on an annual basis. We may not be able to obtain reinsurance on acceptable terms or from entities with satisfactory creditworthiness. If we are unable to obtain new reinsurance facilities or to renew expiring facilities, our net exposures would increase. In such event, if we are unwilling to bear an increase in our net exposure, we would have to reduce the level of our underwriting commitments, which would reduce our revenues.
Many reinsurance companies have begun to exclude certain coverages from, or alter terms in, the reinsurance contracts we enter into with them. Some exclusions are with respect to risks that we cannot exclude in policies we write due to business or regulatory constraints. In addition, reinsurers are imposing terms, such as lower per-occurrence and aggregate limits, on direct insurers that do not wholly cover the risks written by these direct insurers. As a result, we, like other direct insurance companies, write insurance policies which to some extent do not have the benefit of reinsurance protection. These gaps in reinsurance protection expose us to greater risk and greater potential losses. For example, certain reinsurers have excluded coverage for terrorist acts or priced such coverage at rates higher than the underlying risk. Many direct insurers, including us, have written policies without terrorist act exclusions and in many cases we cannot exclude terrorist acts because of regulatory constraints. We may, therefore, be exposed to potential losses as a result of terrorist acts. See also "Business — Reinsurance."
Severe weather conditions, catastrophes, pandemics and similar events may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our business is exposed to the risk of severe weather conditions and other catastrophes. Catastrophes can be caused by various events, including natural events such as severe winter weather, tornadoes, windstorms, earthquakes, hailstorms, severe thunderstorms and fires, and other events such as explosions, war, terrorist attacks and riots. The incidence and severity of catastrophes and severe weather conditions are inherently unpredictable. The extent of losses from catastrophes is a function of the total amount of losses incurred, the number of insureds affected, the frequency and severity of the events, the effectiveness of our catastrophe risk management program and the adequacy of our reinsurance coverage. Insurance companies are not permitted to reserve for a catastrophe until it has occurred. Severe weather conditions and catastrophes can cause losses in our property lines and generally result in both an increase in the number of claims incurred and an increase in the dollar amount of each claim asserted, which may require us to increase our reserves, causing our liquidity and financial condition to deteriorate. In addition, our inability to obtain reinsurance coverage at reasonable rates and in amounts adequate to mitigate the risks associated with severe weather conditions and other catastrophes could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Our business is also exposed to the risk of pandemics, outbreaks, public health crises, and geopolitical and social events, and their related effects. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization designated COVID-19 as a global pandemic. In response, governmental authorities (including the U.S. federal government, states and localities) have mandated, and continue to introduce, measures to slow the transmission of the virus, including shelter-in-place orders, significant restrictions on travel, limits on gatherings, quarantines and business shutdowns. While to date we have not seen a decrease in the growth rate of our gross written premiums since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic downturn, the COVID-19 situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, and at this time we are unable to determine the ultimate impact of COVID-19 and related economic downturn on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. While policy terms and conditions in the lines of business written by Kinsale would be expected to preclude coverage for virus-related claims, court decisions and governmental actions may challenge the validity of any exclusions or our interpretation of how such terms and conditions operate. In addition, in response to COVID-19, legislative, regulatory and judicial actions may include, but are not limited to, actions prohibiting us from cancelling insurance policies in accordance with our policy terms, ordering us to provide premiums refunds, granting extended grace periods for payment of premiums and providing for extended periods of time to pay past due premiums. We are closely monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic downturn on all aspects of our business,
including how it will impact premium volume, losses and the fair value of our investment portfolio as well as how it may result in other effects such as the potential for delayed reporting and settlement of claims due to limited access to business locations. During the first quarter of 2020, we experienced a significant decline in the fair value of our investment portfolio due to disruption in the global financial markets associated with COVID-19, which adversely affected our total comprehensive income (loss) for the quarter. Subsequent to the first quarter of 2020, the fair values of our investment portfolio rebounded sharply, gaining back all of the decline in fair value. If the COVID-19 pandemic continues for a significant length of time and measures put in place to stabilize the economy are not effective, or pandemics, outbreaks and other events occur or re-occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows may be materially adversely affected.
Global climate change may have an adverse effect on our financial results.
Our insurance policies are generally written for one year and repriced annually to reflect changing exposures. However, assessing the risk of loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change and the range of approaches to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including impacts related to extreme weather events and slow onset events, remains a challenge and may adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Market Conditions
Adverse economic factors, including recession, inflation, periods of high unemployment or lower economic activity could result in the sale of fewer policies than expected or an increase in frequency or severity of claims and premium defaults or both, which, in turn, could affect our growth and profitability.
Factors, such as business revenue, economic conditions, the volatility and strength of the capital markets and inflation can affect the business and economic environment. These same factors affect our ability to generate revenue and profits. In an economic downturn that is characterized by higher unemployment, declining spending and reduced corporate revenues, the demand for insurance products is generally adversely affected, which directly affects our premium levels and profitability. Negative economic factors may also affect our ability to receive the appropriate rate for the risk we insure with our policyholders and may adversely affect the number of policies we can write, including with respect to our opportunities to underwrite profitable business. In an economic downturn, our customers may have less need for insurance coverage, cancel existing insurance policies, modify their coverage or not renew the policies they hold with us. Existing policyholders may exaggerate or even falsify claims to obtain higher claims payments. These outcomes would reduce our underwriting profit to the extent these factors are not reflected in the rates we charge.
We underwrite a significant portion of our insurance in California, Texas and Florida. Any economic downturn in any such state could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
A decline in our financial strength rating may adversely affect the amount of business we write.
Participants in the insurance industry use ratings from independent ratings agencies, such as A.M. Best, as an important means of assessing the financial strength and quality of insurers. In setting its ratings, A.M. Best uses a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a company’s balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile. This analysis includes comparisons to peers and industry standards as well as assessments of operating plans, philosophy and management. A.M. Best financial strength ratings range from "A++" (Superior) to "F" for insurance companies that have been publicly placed in liquidation. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, A.M. Best has assigned a financial strength rating of "A" (Excellent) to our operating subsidiary, Kinsale Insurance. A.M. Best assigns ratings that are intended to provide an independent opinion of an insurance company’s ability to meet its obligations to policyholders and such ratings are not evaluations directed to investors and are not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold our common stock or any other securities we may issue. A.M. Best periodically reviews our financial strength rating and may revise it downward or revoke it at its sole discretion based primarily on its analysis of our balance sheet strength (including capital adequacy and loss adjustment expense reserve adequacy), operating performance and business profile. Factors that could affect such analysis include but are not limited to:
•if we change our business practices from our organizational business plan in a manner that no longer supports A.M. Best’s rating;
•if unfavorable financial, regulatory or market trends affect us, including excess market capacity;
•if our losses exceed our loss reserves;
•if we have unresolved issues with government regulators;
•if we are unable to retain our senior management or other key personnel;
•if our investment portfolio incurs significant losses; or
•if A.M. Best alters its capital adequacy assessment methodology in a manner that would adversely affect our rating.
These and other factors could result in a downgrade of our financial strength rating. A downgrade or withdrawal of our rating could result in any of the following consequences, among others:
•causing our current and future brokers and insureds to choose other, more highly-rated competitors;
•increasing the cost or reducing the availability of reinsurance to us; or
•severely limiting or preventing us from writing new and renewal insurance contracts.
In addition, in view of the earnings and capital pressures recently experienced by many financial institutions, including insurance companies, it is possible that rating organizations will heighten the level of scrutiny that they apply to such institutions, will increase the frequency and scope of their credit reviews, will request additional information from the companies that they rate or will increase the capital and other requirements employed in the rating organizations’ models for maintenance of certain ratings levels. We can offer no assurance that our rating will remain at its current level. It is possible that such reviews of us may result in adverse ratings consequences, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We could be adversely affected by the loss of one or more key executives or by an inability to attract and retain qualified personnel.
We depend on our ability to attract and retain experienced personnel and seasoned key executives who are knowledgeable about our business. The pool of talent from which we actively recruit is limited and may fluctuate based on market dynamics specific to our industry and independent of overall economic conditions. As such, higher demand for employees having the desired skills and expertise could lead to increased compensation expectations for existing and prospective personnel, making it difficult for us to retain and recruit key personnel and maintain labor costs at desired levels. Only our Chief Executive Officer has an employment agreement with us and is subject to a non-compete agreement. Should any of our key executives terminate their employment with us, or if we are unable to retain and attract talented personnel, we may be unable to maintain our current competitive position in the specialized markets in which we operate, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
We rely on a select group of brokers, and such relationships may not continue.
We distribute the majority of our products through a select group of brokers. Of our 2020 gross written premiums, 46.1%, or $255.0 million, were distributed through five of our approximately 167 brokers, three of which accounting for 34.8%, or $192.3 million, of our 2020 gross written premiums.
Our relationship with any of these brokers may be discontinued at any time. Even if the relationships do continue, they may not be on terms that are profitable for us. The termination of a relationship with one or more significant brokers could result in lower gross written premiums and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or business prospects.
Our E&S insurance operations are subject to increased risk from changing market conditions and our business is cyclical in nature, which may affect our financial performance.
E&S insurance covers risks that are typically more complex and unusual than standard risks and require a high degree of specialized underwriting. As a result, E&S risks do not often fit the underwriting criteria of standard insurance carriers, and are generally considered higher risk than those covered in the standard market. If our underwriting staff inadequately
judges and prices the risks associated with the business underwritten in the E&S market, our financial results could be adversely impacted.
Historically, the financial performance of the P&C insurance industry has tended to fluctuate in cyclical periods of price competition and excess capacity (known as a soft market) followed by periods of high premium rates and shortages of underwriting capacity (known as a hard market). Soft markets occur when the supply of insurance capital in a given market or territory is greater than the amount of insurance coverage demanded by all potential insureds in that market. When this occurs, insurance prices tend to decline and policy terms and conditions become more favorable to the insureds. Conversely, hard markets occur when there is not enough insurance capital capacity in the market to meet the needs of potential insureds, causing insurance prices to generally rise and policy terms and conditions to become more favorable to the insurers.
Although an individual insurance company's financial performance depends on its own specific business characteristics, the profitability of most P&C insurance companies tends to follow this cyclical market pattern. Further, this cyclical market pattern can be more pronounced in the E&S market than in the standard insurance market. When the standard insurance market hardens, the E&S market hardens, and growth in the E&S market can be significantly more rapid than growth in the standard insurance market. Similarly, when conditions begin to soften, many customers that were previously driven into the E&S market may return to the admitted market, exacerbating the effects of rate decreases. We cannot predict the timing or duration of changes in the market cycle because the cyclicality is due in large part to the actions of our competitors and general economic factors. These cyclical patterns cause our revenues and net income to fluctuate, which may cause the price of our common stock to be volatile.
Our employees could take excessive risks, which could negatively affect our financial condition and business.
As an insurance enterprise, we are in the business of binding certain risks. The employees who conduct our business, including executive officers and other members of management, underwriters, product managers and other employees, do so in part by making decisions and choices that involve exposing us to risk. These include decisions such as setting underwriting guidelines and standards, product design and pricing, determining which business opportunities to pursue and other decisions. We endeavor, in the design and implementation of our compensation programs and practices, to avoid giving our employees incentives to take excessive risks. Employees may, however, take such risks regardless of the structure of our compensation programs and practices. Similarly, although we employ controls and procedures designed to monitor employees’ business decisions and prevent them from taking excessive risks, these controls and procedures may not be effective. If our employees take excessive risks, the impact of those risks could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and business operations.
Competition for business in our industry is intense.
We face competition from other specialty insurance companies, standard insurance companies and underwriting agencies, as well as from diversified financial services companies that are larger than we are and that have greater financial, marketing and other resources than we do. Some of these competitors also have longer experience and more market recognition than we do in certain lines of business. In addition, it may be difficult or prohibitively expensive for us to implement technology systems and processes that are competitive with the systems and processes of these larger companies.
In particular, competition in the insurance industry is based on many factors, including price of coverage, the general reputation and perceived financial strength of the company, relationships with brokers, terms and conditions of products offered, ratings assigned by independent rating agencies, speed of claims payment and reputation, and the experience and reputation of the members of our underwriting team in the particular lines of insurance and reinsurance we seek to underwrite. See "Business — Competition." In recent years, the insurance industry has undergone increasing consolidation, which may further increase competition.
A number of new, proposed or potential legislative or industry developments could further increase competition in our industry. These developments include:
•An increase in capital-raising by companies in our lines of business, which could result in new entrants to our markets and an excess of capital in the industry;
•The deregulation of commercial insurance lines in certain states and the possibility of federal regulatory reform of the insurance industry, which could increase competition from standard carriers; and
•Changing practices caused by the internet, including shifts in the way in which E&S insurance is purchased. We currently depend largely on the wholesale distribution model. If the wholesale distribution model were to be significantly altered by changes in the way E&S insurance were marketed, including, without limitation, through use of the internet, it could have a material adverse effect on our premiums, underwriting results and profits.
We may not be able to continue to compete successfully in the insurance markets. Increased competition in these markets could result in a change in the supply and demand for insurance, affect our ability to price our products at risk-adequate rates and retain existing business, or underwrite new business on favorable terms. If this increased competition so limits our ability to transact business, our operating results could be adversely affected.
If we are unable to underwrite risks accurately and charge competitive yet profitable rates to our policyholders, our business, financial condition and results of operations will be adversely affected.
In general, the premiums for our insurance policies are established at the time a policy is issued and, therefore, before all of our underlying costs are known. Like other insurance companies, we rely on estimates and assumptions in setting our premium rates. Establishing adequate premium rates is necessary, together with investment income, to generate sufficient revenue to offset losses, loss adjustment expenses and other underwriting costs and to earn a profit. If we do not accurately assess the risks that we assume, we may not charge adequate premiums to cover our losses and expenses, which would adversely affect our results of operations and our profitability. Alternatively, we could set our premiums too high, which could reduce our competitiveness and lead to lower revenues. Pricing involves the acquisition and analysis of historical loss data and the projection of future trends, loss costs and expenses, and inflation trends, among other factors, for each of our products in multiple risk tiers and many different markets. In order to accurately price our policies, we must:
•collect and properly analyze a substantial volume of data from our insureds;
•develop, test and apply appropriate actuarial projections and ratings formulas;
•closely monitor and timely recognize changes in trends; and
•project both frequency and severity of our insureds’ losses with reasonable accuracy.
We seek to implement our pricing accurately in accordance with our assumptions. Our ability to undertake these efforts successfully and, as a result, accurately price our policies, is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including:
•insufficient or unreliable data;
•incorrect or incomplete analysis of available data;
•uncertainties generally inherent in estimates and assumptions;
•our failure to implement appropriate actuarial projections and ratings formulas or other pricing methodologies;
•regulatory constraints on rate increases;
•our failure to accurately estimate investment yields and the duration of our liability for loss and loss adjustment expenses; and
•unanticipated court decisions, legislation or regulatory action.
Because our business depends on insurance brokers, we are exposed to certain risks arising out of our reliance on these distribution channels that could adversely affect our results.
Certain premiums from policyholders, where the business is produced by brokers, are collected directly by the brokers and forwarded to our insurance subsidiary. In certain jurisdictions, when the insured pays its policy premium to its broker for payment on behalf of our insurance subsidiary, the premium might be considered to have been paid under applicable insurance laws and regulations. Accordingly, the insured would no longer be liable to us for those amounts, whether or not we have actually received the premium from that broker. Consequently, we assume a degree of credit risk associated with the brokers with whom we work. Where necessary, we review the financial condition of potential new brokers before
we agree to transact business with them. Although the failure by any of our brokers to remit premiums to us has not been material to date, there may be instances where our brokers collect premiums but do not remit them to us and we may be required under applicable law to provide the coverage set forth in the policy despite the absence of related premiums being paid to us.
Because the possibility of these events occurring depends in large part on the financial condition and internal operations of our brokers, we monitor broker behavior and review financial information on an as-needed basis. If we are unable to collect premiums from our brokers in the future, our underwriting profits may decline and our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
We are subject to reinsurance counterparty credit risk.
Although reinsurance makes the reinsurer liable to us to the extent the risk is transferred or ceded to the reinsurer, it does not relieve us (the ceding insurer) of our primary liability to our policyholders. Our reinsurers may not pay claims made by us on a timely basis, or they may not pay some or all of these claims. For example, reinsurers may default in their financial obligations to us as the result of insolvency, lack of liquidity, operational failure, fraud, asserted defenses based on agreement wordings or the principle of utmost good faith, asserted deficiencies in the documentation of agreements or other reasons. Any disputes with reinsurers regarding coverage under reinsurance contracts could be time consuming, costly and uncertain of success. We evaluate each reinsurance claim based on the facts of the case, historical experience with the reinsurer on similar claims and existing case law and include any amounts deemed uncollectible from the reinsurer in our reserve for uncollectible reinsurance. As of December 31, 2020, we had $117.5 million of aggregate reinsurance balances on paid and unpaid losses and ceded unearned premiums. These risks could cause us to incur increased net losses, and, therefore, adversely affect our financial condition.
We may act based on inaccurate or incomplete information regarding the accounts we underwrite.
We rely on information provided by insureds or their representatives when underwriting insurance policies. While we may make inquiries to validate or supplement the information provided, we may make underwriting decisions based on incorrect or incomplete information. It is possible that we will misunderstand the nature or extent of the activities or facilities and the corresponding extent of the risks that we insure because of our reliance on inadequate or inaccurate information.
The failure of our information technology and telecommunications systems could adversely affect our business.
Our business depends on our information technology and telecommunications systems, including our browser-based underwriting system. Among other things, we rely on these systems to interact with brokers and insureds, to underwrite business, to prepare policies and process premiums, to perform actuarial and other modeling functions, to process claims and make claims payments and to prepare internal and external financial statements and information. In addition, some of these systems include or rely on third-party systems not located on our premises or under our control. Events such as natural catastrophes, terrorist attacks, industrial accidents, third-party system or network outages or computer malware may cause our systems to fail or be inaccessible for extended periods of time. While we have implemented business contingency and other plans to protect our systems, sustained or repeated system failures or service denials could severely limit our ability to write and process new and renewal business, provide customer service, pay claims in a timely manner or otherwise operate in the ordinary course of business.
Our operations depend on the reliable and secure processing, storage and transmission of confidential and other data and information in our computer systems and networks. Computer malware, hackers, employee misconduct and other external hazards could expose our systems to security breaches, cyber-attacks or other disruptions. In addition, we routinely transmit and receive personal, personally identifiable, sensitive, confidential and proprietary data by electronic means and are subject to data privacy laws and regulations enacted in the jurisdictions in which we do business.
While we have implemented security measures designed to protect against breaches of security and other interference with our systems and networks, our systems and networks may be subject to breaches or interference. Any such event may result in operational disruptions as well as unauthorized access to or the disclosure or loss of our proprietary information or our customers’ data and information, which in turn may result in legal claims, regulatory scrutiny and liability, the incurrence of costs to eliminate or mitigate further exposure, the loss of customers or affiliated advisors, reputational harm
or other damage to our business. In addition, the trend toward general public notification of such incidents could exacerbate the harm to our business, financial condition and results of operations. Even if we successfully protect our technology infrastructure and the confidentiality of sensitive data, we could suffer harm to our business and reputation if attempted security breaches are publicized. We cannot be certain that advances in criminal capabilities, discovery of new vulnerabilities, attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in our systems, data thefts, physical system or network break-ins or inappropriate access, or other developments will not compromise or breach the technology or other security measures protecting the networks and systems used in connection with our business.
We employ third-party and open source licensed software for use in our business, and the inability to maintain these licenses, errors in the software we license or the terms of open source licenses could result in increased costs, or reduced service levels, which would adversely affect our business.
Our business relies on certain third-party software obtained under licenses from other companies. We anticipate that we will continue to rely on such third-party software in the future. Although we believe that there are commercially reasonable alternatives to the third-party software we currently license, this may not always be the case, or it may be difficult or costly to replace. In addition, integration of new third-party software may require significant work and require substantial investment of our time and resources. Our use of additional or alternative third-party software would require us to enter into license agreements with third parties, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Many of the risks associated with the use of third-party software cannot be eliminated, and these risks could negatively affect our business.
Additionally, the software powering our technology systems incorporates software covered by open source licenses. The terms of many open source licenses have not been interpreted by U.S. courts and there is a risk that the licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to operate our systems. In the event that portions of our proprietary software are determined to be subject to an open source license, we could be required to publicly release the affected portions of our source code or re-engineer all or a portion of our technology systems, each of which could reduce or eliminate the value of our technology systems. Such risk could be difficult or impossible to eliminate and could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Any cloud provider service failure or control weakness could adversely affect our business.
We employ cloud-based services to host our applications and intend to expand our use. As we expand our use of cloud-based services, we will increasingly rely on third-party cloud providers to maintain appropriate controls and safeguards to protect confidential information we receive, including personal, personally identifiable, sensitive, confidential or proprietary data, and the integrity and continuous operation of our proprietary technology platform. While we conduct due diligence on these cloud providers with respect to their security and business controls, we may not have the visibility to effectively monitor the implementation and efficacy of these controls. Outside parties may be able to circumvent controls or exploit vulnerabilities, resulting in operational disruption, data loss, defects or a security event. Migrating to the cloud increases the risk of operational disruption should internet service be interrupted. While we have implemented business contingency and other plans to facilitate continuous internet access, sustained or concurrent service denials or similar failures could limit our ability to write and process new and renewal business, provide customer service, pay claims in a timely manner or otherwise operate our business. Any such event or failure could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may change our underwriting guidelines or our strategy without stockholder approval.
Our management has the authority to change our underwriting guidelines or our strategy without notice to our stockholders and without stockholder approval. As a result, we may make fundamental changes to our operations without stockholder approval, which could result in our pursuing a strategy or implementing underwriting guidelines that may be materially different from the strategy or underwriting guidelines described in the section titled "Business" or elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
If actual renewals of our existing contracts do not meet expectations, our written premiums in future years and our future results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Many of our contracts are written for a one-year term. In our financial forecasting process, we make assumptions about the rates of renewal of our prior year’s contracts. The insurance and reinsurance industries have historically been cyclical businesses with intense competition, often based on price. If actual renewals do not meet expectations or if we choose not to write a renewal because of pricing conditions, our written premiums in future years and our future operations would be materially adversely affected.
Our failure to accurately and timely pay claims could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We must accurately and timely evaluate and pay claims that are made under our policies. Many factors affect our ability to pay claims accurately and timely, including the training and experience of our claims representatives, our claims organization’s culture and the effectiveness of our management, our ability to develop or select and implement appropriate procedures and systems to support our claims functions and other factors. Our failure to pay claims accurately and timely could lead to regulatory and administrative actions or material litigation, undermine our reputation in the marketplace and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
In addition, if we do not train new claims employees effectively or if we lose a significant number of experienced claims employees, our claims department’s ability to handle an increasing workload could be adversely affected. In addition to potentially requiring that growth be slowed in the affected markets, our business could suffer from decreased quality of claims work which, in turn, could adversely affect our operating margins.
The effects of litigation on our business are uncertain and could have an adverse effect on our business.
As is typical in our industry, we continually face risks associated with litigation of various types, including disputes relating to insurance claims under our policies as well as other general commercial and corporate litigation. Although we are not currently involved in any material litigation with our customers, other members of the insurance industry are the target of class action lawsuits and other types of litigation, some of which involve claims for substantial or indeterminate amounts, and the outcomes of which are unpredictable. This litigation may be based on a variety of issues, including insurance and claim settlement practices. We cannot predict with any certainty whether we will be involved in such litigation in the future or what impact such litigation would have on our business.
Risks Related to Our Investment Portfolio
Performance of our investment portfolio is subject to a variety of investment risks that may adversely affect our financial results.
Our results of operations depend, in part, on the performance of our investment portfolio. We seek to hold a high-quality, diversified portfolio of investments that is managed by professional investment advisory management firms in accordance with our investment policy and routinely reviewed by our Investment Committee. However, our investments are subject to general economic conditions and market risks as well as risks inherent to particular securities.
Our primary market risk exposures are to changes in interest rates and equity prices. See "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation — Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk." In recent years, interest rates have been at or near historic lows. A protracted low interest rate environment would continue to place pressure on our net investment income, particularly as it relates to fixed-maturity securities and short-term investments, which, in turn, may adversely affect our operating results. Future increases in interest rates could cause the values of our fixed-maturity securities portfolios to decline, with the magnitude of the decline depending on the duration of securities included in our portfolio and the amount by which interest rates increase. Some fixed-maturity securities have call or prepayment options, which create possible reinvestment risk in declining rate environments. Other fixed-maturity securities, such as mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, carry prepayment risk or, in a rising interest rate environment, may not prepay as quickly as expected.
The value of our investment portfolio is subject to the risk that certain investments may default or become impaired due to deterioration in the financial condition of one or more issuers of the securities we hold, or due to deterioration in the financial condition of an insurer that guarantees an issuer’s payments on such investments. Downgrades in the credit ratings of fixed maturities also have a significant negative effect on the market valuation of such securities.
Such factors could reduce our net investment income and result in realized investment losses. Our investment portfolio is subject to increased valuation uncertainties when investment markets are illiquid. The valuation of investments is more subjective when markets are illiquid, thereby increasing the risk that the estimated fair value (i.e., the carrying amount) of the securities we hold in our portfolio does not reflect prices at which actual transactions would occur.
We also invest in marketable equity securities. These securities are carried on the consolidated balance sheet at fair value and are subject to potential losses and declines in value, which may never recover. Our equity investments totaled $129.7 million as of December 31, 2020.
Risks for all types of securities are managed through the application of our investment policy, which establishes investment parameters that include but are not limited to, maximum percentages of investment in certain types of securities and minimum levels of credit quality, which we believe are within applicable guidelines established by the NAIC and the Arkansas State Insurance Department.
Although we seek to preserve our capital, we cannot be certain that our investment objectives will be achieved, and results may vary substantially over time. In addition, although we seek to employ investment strategies that are not correlated with our insurance and reinsurance exposures, losses in our investment portfolio may occur at the same time as underwriting losses and, therefore, exacerbate the adverse effect of the losses on us.
Risks Related to Liquidity and Access to Capital
Because we are a holding company and substantially all of our operations are conducted by our insurance subsidiary, our ability to pay dividends depends on our ability to obtain cash dividends or other permitted payments from our insurance subsidiary.
Because we are a holding company with no business operations of our own, our ability to pay dividends to stockholders largely depends on dividends and other distributions from our insurance subsidiary, Kinsale Insurance. State insurance laws, including the laws of Arkansas, restrict the ability of Kinsale Insurance to declare stockholder dividends. State insurance regulators require insurance companies to maintain specified levels of statutory capital and surplus. Consequently, the maximum dividend distribution is limited by Arkansas law to the greater of 10% of policyholder surplus as of December 31 of the previous year or net income, not including realized capital gains, for the previous calendar year. Dividend payments are further limited to that part of available policyholder surplus which is derived from net profits on our business. The maximum amount of dividends Kinsale Insurance could pay us during 2021 without regulatory approval is $51.8 million. State insurance regulators have broad powers to prevent the reduction of statutory surplus to inadequate levels, and there is no assurance that dividends up to the maximum amounts calculated under any applicable formula would be permitted. Moreover, state insurance regulators that have jurisdiction over the payment of dividends by our insurance subsidiary may in the future adopt statutory provisions more restrictive than those currently in effect.
The declaration and payment of future dividends to holders of our common stock will be at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on many factors. See "Dividend Policy."
We could be forced to sell investments to meet our liquidity requirements.
We invest the premiums we receive from our insureds until they are needed to pay policyholder claims. Consequently, we seek to manage the duration of our investment portfolio based on the duration of our loss and loss adjustment expense reserves to ensure sufficient liquidity and avoid having to liquidate investments to fund claims. Risks such as inadequate loss and loss adjustment reserves or unfavorable trends in litigation could potentially result in the need to sell investments to fund these liabilities. We may not be able to sell our investments at favorable prices or at all. Sales could result in significant realized losses depending on the conditions of the general market, interest rates and credit issues with individual securities.
We may require additional capital in the future, which may not be available or may only be available on unfavorable terms.
Our future capital requirements depend on many factors, including our ability to write new business successfully and to establish premium rates and reserves at levels sufficient to cover losses. Many factors will affect the amount and timing of our capital needs, including our growth rate and profitability, our claims experience, and the availability of reinsurance, market disruptions and other unforeseeable developments. If we need to raise additional capital, equity or debt financing may not be available at all or may be available only on terms that are not favorable to us. In the case of equity financings, dilution to our stockholders could result. In the case of debt financings, we may be subject to covenants that restrict our ability to freely operate our business. In any case, such securities may have rights, preferences and privileges that are senior to those of the shares of common stock currently outstanding. If we cannot obtain adequate capital on favorable terms or at all, we may not have sufficient funds to implement our operating plans and our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Risks Related to Regulation
We are subject to extensive regulation, which may adversely affect our ability to achieve our business objectives. In addition, if we fail to comply with these regulations, we may be subject to penalties, including fines and suspensions, which may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our insurance subsidiary, Kinsale Insurance, is subject to extensive regulation in Arkansas, its state of domicile, and to a lesser degree, the other states in which it operates. Most insurance regulations are designed to protect the interests of insurance policyholders, as opposed to the interests of investors or stockholders. These regulations generally are administered by a department of insurance in each state and relate to, among other things, authorizations to write E&S lines of business, capital and surplus requirements, investment and underwriting limitations, affiliate transactions, dividend limitations, changes in control, solvency and a variety of other financial and non-financial aspects of our business. Significant changes in these laws and regulations could further limit our discretion or make it more expensive to conduct our business. State insurance regulators also conduct periodic examinations of the affairs of insurance companies and require the filing of annual and other reports relating to financial condition, holding company issues and other matters. These regulatory requirements may impose timing and expense constraints that could adversely affect our ability to achieve some or all of our business objectives.
In addition, state insurance regulators have broad discretion to deny or revoke licenses for various reasons, including the violation of regulations. In some instances, where there is uncertainty as to applicability, we follow practices based on our interpretations of regulations or practices that we believe generally to be followed by the industry. These practices may turn out to be different from the interpretations of regulatory authorities. If we do not have the requisite licenses and approvals or do not comply with applicable regulatory requirements, state insurance regulators could preclude or temporarily suspend us from carrying on some or all of our activities or could otherwise penalize us. This could adversely affect our ability to operate our business. Further, changes in the level of regulation of the insurance industry or changes in laws or regulations themselves or interpretations by regulatory authorities could interfere with our operations and require us to bear additional costs of compliance, which could adversely affect our ability to operate our business.
The NAIC has adopted a system to test the adequacy of statutory capital of insurance companies, known as "risk-based capital." This system establishes the minimum amount of risk-based capital necessary for a company to support its overall business operations. It identifies P&C insurers that may be inadequately capitalized by looking at certain inherent risks of each insurer's assets and liabilities and its mix of net written premiums. Insurers falling below a calculated threshold may be subject to varying degrees of regulatory action, including supervision, rehabilitation or liquidation. Failure to maintain our risk-based capital at the required levels could adversely affect the ability of our insurance subsidiary to maintain regulatory authority to conduct our business. See also "Regulation — Required licensing."
We may become subject to additional government or market regulation.
Our business could be adversely affected by changes in state laws, including those relating to asset and reserve valuation requirements, surplus requirements, limitations on investments and dividends, enterprise risk and risk-based capital requirements and, at the federal level, by laws and regulations that may affect certain aspects of the insurance industry,
including proposals for preemptive federal regulation. The U.S. federal government generally has not directly regulated the insurance industry except for certain areas of the market, such as insurance for flood, nuclear and terrorism risks. However, the federal government has undertaken initiatives or considered legislation in several areas that may affect the insurance industry, including tort reform, corporate governance and the taxation of reinsurance companies.
The Dodd-Frank Act also established the FIO and vested the FIO with the authority to monitor all aspects of the insurance sector, including to monitor the extent to which traditionally underserved communities and consumers have access to affordable non-health insurance products. In addition, the FIO has the ability to recommend to the Financial Stability Oversight Council the designation of an insurer as "systemically significant" and therefore subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve as a bank holding company. Any additional regulations established as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act could increase our costs of compliance or lead to disciplinary action. In addition, legislation has been introduced from time to time that, if enacted, could result in the federal government assuming a more direct role in the regulation of the insurance industry, including federal licensing in addition to or in lieu of state licensing and requiring reinsurance for natural catastrophes. We are unable to predict whether any legislation will be enacted or any regulations will be adopted, or the effect any such developments could have on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
We own our executive and insurance offices located in Richmond, Virginia, and we currently occupy approximately 70,000 square feet of the 137,000 square feet of available office space.
We believe that our facilities are adequate for our current needs.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
We are subject to legal proceedings in the normal course of operating our insurance business. We are not involved in any legal proceedings which reasonably could be expected to have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Price for Common Stock
Our common stock began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market ("Nasdaq") under the symbol "KNSL" on July 28, 2016. Before then, there was no public market for our common stock. As of February 18, 2021, we had 90 stockholders of record of our common stock.
We currently expect to pay quarterly cash dividends in the future; however, the declaration, payment and amount of future dividends is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors. Our Board of Directors give consideration to various risks and uncertainties, including those discussed under the headings "Risk Factors" and "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K when determining whether to declare and pay dividends, as well as the amount thereof. Our Board of Directors may take into account a variety of factors when determining whether to declare any dividends, including (1) our financial condition, liquidity, results of operations (including our ability to generate cash flow in excess of expenses and our expected or actual net income), retained earnings and capital requirements, (2) general business conditions, (3) legal, tax and regulatory limitations, (4) contractual prohibitions and other restrictions, (5) the effect of a dividend or dividends on our financial strength ratings and (6) any other factors that our Board of Directors deem relevant.
Our status as a holding company and a legal entity separate and distinct from our subsidiaries affects our ability to pay dividends and make other payments. As a holding company without significant operations of our own, the principal sources of our funds are dividends and other payments from our subsidiaries. The ability of our insurance subsidiary to pay dividends to us is subject to limits under insurance laws of the state in which our insurance subsidiary is domiciled. See "Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Business and Our Industry – Because we are a holding company and substantially all of our operations are conducted by our insurance subsidiary, our ability to pay dividends and service our debt obligations depends on our ability to obtain cash dividends or other permitted payments from our insurance subsidiary" and "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources."
The following performance graph compares the cumulative total shareholder return of an investment in (1) our common stock, (2) the cumulative total returns to the Nasdaq Composite Index and (3) the cumulative total returns to the Nasdaq Insurance Index, for the period from July 28, 2016 (the date our common stock began trading on Nasdaq) through December 31, 2020.
The graph assumes an initial investment of $100 and the reinvestment of dividends, if any. Such returns are based on historical results and are not indicative of future performance.
|July 28, 2016||December 31, 2016||December 31, 2017||December 31, 2018||December 31, 2019||December 31, 2020|
|Kinsale Capital Group, Inc.||$||100.00 ||$||186.12 ||$||247.91 ||$||307.63 ||$||565.00 ||$||1,114.63 |
|Nasdaq Composite Index||$||100.00 ||$||105.01 ||$||136.14 ||$||132.27 ||$||180.80 ||$||262.02 |
|Nasdaq Insurance Index||$||100.00 ||$||114.29 ||$||133.66 ||$||126.11 ||$||152.18 ||$||151.31 |
Item 6. Selected Consolidated Financial and Other Data
The following tables present our selected consolidated financial and other data, at the dates and for the periods indicated. The selected consolidated financial and other data set forth below as of and for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements for those years.
These historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period. The following information is only a summary and should be read in conjunction with the section entitled "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
|Year Ended December 31, |
|($ in thousands, except for per share data)|
|Gross written premiums||$||552,814 ||$||389,694 ||$||275,538 ||$||223,191 ||$||188,478 |
Ceded written premiums(1)
|Net written premiums||$||478,219 ||$||342,061 ||$||235,614 ||$||189,472 ||$||167,264 |
|Net earned premiums||$||412,754 ||$||282,981 ||$||212,688 ||$||176,053 ||$||133,816 |
|Net investment income||26,110 ||20,133 ||15,688 ||10,569 ||7,487 |
Net investment gains (losses)(2)
|20,388 ||12,748 ||(6,274)||151 ||176 |
|Other income||634 ||26 ||12 ||3 ||136 |
|Total revenues||459,886 ||315,888 ||222,114 ||186,776 ||141,615 |
Losses and loss adjustment expenses(1)
|263,802 ||169,563 ||128,041 ||103,680 ||70,961 |
Underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses(1)
|94,296 ||70,217 ||53,425 ||44,146 ||28,551 |
|Other expenses||1,375 ||57 ||168 ||429 ||2,567 |
|Total expenses||359,473 ||239,837 ||181,634 ||148,255 ||102,079 |
|Income before income taxes||100,413 ||76,051 ||40,480 ||38,521 ||39,536 |
Income tax expense(3)
|11,994 ||12,735 ||6,693 ||13,620 ||13,369 |
|Net income||$||88,419 ||$||63,316 ||$||33,787 ||$||24,901 ||$||26,167 |
|$||54,656 ||$||43,201 ||$||31,222 ||$||28,227 ||$||34,304 |
|Per common share data:|
|Basic earnings per share:|
|Common stock||$||3.96 ||$||2.94 ||$||1.60 ||$||1.19 ||$||0.57 |
Class A common stock(5)
|— ||— ||— ||— ||0.98 |
Class B common stock(5)
|— ||— ||— ||— ||0.48 |
|Diluted earnings per share:|
|Common stock||$||3.87 ||$||2.86 ||$||1.56 ||$||1.16 ||$||0.56 |
Class A common stock(5)
|— ||— ||— ||— ||0.98 |
Class B common stock(5)
|— ||— ||— ||— ||0.46 |
|Cash dividends declared and paid||0.36 ||0.32 ||0.28 ||0.24 ||0.10 |
|At December 31,|
|($ in thousands)|
|Balance sheet data:|
|Cash and invested assets||$||1,288,555 ||$||908,234 ||$||643,051 ||$||561,070 ||$||480,349 |
|Premiums receivable, net||48,641 ||34,483 ||24,253 ||19,787 ||16,984 |
Reinsurance recoverables, net(1)
|93,215 ||72,574 ||56,788 ||49,593 ||70,317 |
Ceded unearned premiums(1)
|24,265 ||16,118 ||16,072 ||13,858 ||13,512 |
|Intangible assets||3,538 ||3,538 ||3,538 ||3,538 ||3,538 |
|Total assets||1,546,896 ||1,090,550 ||773,063 ||667,849 ||614,389 |
|Reserves for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses||636,013 ||460,058 ||369,152 ||315,717 ||264,801 |
|Unearned premiums||260,986 ||187,374 ||128,250 ||103,110 ||89,344 |
Funds held for reinsurers(1)
|— ||— ||— ||— ||36,497 |
|Debt||42,570 ||16,744 ||— ||— ||— |
|Total liabilities||970,658 ||684,670 ||509,077 ||429,660 ||404,175 |
|Total stockholders' equity||576,238 ||405,880 ||263,986 ||238,189 ||210,214 |
Tangible stockholders' equity(6)
|$||573,443 ||$||403,085 ||$||261,191 ||$||235,394 ||$||207,914 |
Debt to total capitalization ratio(7)
|6.9 ||%||4.1 ||%||— ||%||— ||%||— ||%|
Statutory capital and surplus(8)
|$||476,066 ||$||348,811 ||$||233,500 ||$||213,833 ||$||193,387 |
|Year Ended December 31, |
|Underwriting and other ratios:|
|63.9 ||%||59.9 ||%||60.2 ||%||58.9 ||%||53.0 ||%|
|22.8 ||%||24.8 ||%||25.1 ||%||25.1 ||%||21.3 ||%|
|86.7 ||%||84.7 ||%||85.3 ||%||84.0 ||%||74.3 ||%|
Adjusted loss ratio(12)
Adjusted expense ratio(12)
Adjusted combined ratio(12)
Return on equity(13)
|18.0 ||%||18.9 ||%||13.5 ||%||11.1 ||%||16.2 ||%|
Operating return on equity(14)
|14.7 ||%||15.9 ||%||15.4 ||%||11.9 ||%||16.1 ||%|
(1) Prior to our IPO in 2016, a significant amount of our business was reinsured through our multi-line quota-share reinsurance treaty ("MLQS") with third-party reinsurers. The MLQS transferred a portion of the risk related to certain lines of business written by us to reinsurers in exchange for a portion of the gross written premiums on that business. Effective January 1, 2017, the Company commuted the remaining outstanding MLQS covering the period January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, which reduced reinsurance recoverables on unpaid losses by approximately $27.9 million. The commutation did not have any effect on the Company's results of operations or cash flows for the applicable period.
(2) Effective January 1, 2018, we adopted ASU 2016-01, which eliminated the available-for-sale classification for equity securities and required changes in unrealized gains and losses in fair value of these investments to be recognized in net income.
(3) During the fourth quarter of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the "TCJA") was enacted, which lowered the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% starting January 1, 2018. As a result of the TCJA enactment, deferred tax balances were remeasured to reflect the lower rate, which resulted in charge to tax expense of $1.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.
(4) Underwriting income is a non-GAAP financial measure. See "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for a reconciliation of net income to underwriting income.
(5) In connection with the IPO, the Company amended and restated its certificate of incorporation, which reclassified the Company’s former Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock into a single class of common stock.
(6) Tangible stockholders’ equity is a non-GAAP financial measure. See "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources — Financial Condition" for a reconciliation of stockholders’ equity to tangible stockholders’ equity.
(7) The debt to total capitalization ratio is the ratio, expressed as a percentage, of total indebtedness for borrowed money, including financing leases, to the sum of total indebtedness for borrowed money, including financing leases if any, and stockholders’ equity.
(8) Statutory and surplus capital is the excess of assets over liabilities for our insurance subsidiary, as determined in accordance with statutory accounting principles prescribed by the NAIC.
(9) The loss ratio is the ratio, expressed as a percentage, of losses and loss adjustment expenses to net earned premiums, net of the effects of reinsurance.
(10) The expense ratio is the ratio, expressed as a percentage, of underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses to net earned premiums.
(11) The combined ratio is the sum of the loss ratio and the expense ratio. A combined ratio under 100% generally indicates an underwriting profit. A combined ratio over 100% generally indicates an underwriting loss.
(12) The adjusted loss ratio, adjusted expense ratio and adjusted combined ratio are non-GAAP financial measures. As previously discussed, the Company participated in a MLQS that transferred a portion of its risk related to certain lines of business to reinsurers that received a portion of the direct written premiums on that business. We define our adjusted loss ratio, adjusted expense ratio and adjusted combined ratio as each of our loss ratio, expense ratio and combined ratio, respectively, excluding the effects of the MLQS. See "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for a reconciliation of our loss ratio, expense ratio and combined ratio to our adjusted loss ratio, adjusted expense ratio and adjusted combined ratio.
(13) Return on equity represents net income expressed as a percentage of average beginning and ending stockholders’ equity during the period.
(14) Operating return on equity is net operating earnings expressed as a percentage of average beginning and ending stockholders’ equity during the period and is a non-GAAP financial measure. See "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for a reconciliation of net income to net operating earnings.
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report. The discussion and analysis below include certain forward-looking statements that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors described in "Risk Factors" that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, those forward-looking statements. See "Forward-Looking Statements."
Year ended December 31, 2019 compared to year ended December 31, 2018
For a comparison of years ended December 31, 2019 and December 2018, see “Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, which was filed with the SEC on March 2, 2020.
Founded in 2009, we are an established and growing specialty insurance company. We focus exclusively on the E&S market in the U.S., where we use our underwriting expertise to write coverages for hard-to-place small business risks and personal lines risks. We market and sell these insurance products in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands primarily through a network of independent insurance brokers. We have an experienced and cohesive management team, that has an average of over 25 years of relevant experience. Many of our employees and members of our management team have also worked together for decades at other E&S insurance companies.
We have one reportable segment, our Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance segment, which offers P&C insurance products through the E&S market. In 2020, the percentage breakdown of our gross written premiums was 85.6% casualty and 14.4% property. Our commercial lines offerings include construction, small business, excess casualty, commercial property, product liability, allied health, life sciences, general casualty, professional liability, management liability, energy, environmental, health care, inland marine, public entity and commercial insurance. We also write a small amount of homeowners insurance in the personal lines market, which in aggregate represented 3.9% of our gross written premiums in 2020.
Our goal is to deliver long-term value for our stockholders by growing our business and generating attractive returns. We seek to accomplish this by generating consistent and attractive underwriting profits while managing our capital prudently. We believe that we have built a company that is entrepreneurial and highly efficient, using our proprietary technology platform and leveraging the expertise of our highly experienced employees in our daily operations. We believe our systems and technology are at the digital forefront of the insurance industry, allowing us to quickly collect and analyze data, thereby improving our ability to manage our business and reducing response times for our customers. We believe that we have differentiated ourselves from our competitors by effectively leveraging technology, vigilantly controlling expenses and maintaining control over our underwriting and claims management.
We are closely monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic effects on all aspects of our business, including how it will impact premium volume, losses and the fair value of our investment portfolio.
To date, management has not seen a significant decrease in the growth rate of its gross written premiums since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic downturn. Over the past year, including a time period
preceding COVID-19, the E&S segment of the P&C market has been experiencing rapid growth due to dislocation in the overall property and casualty market.
With respect to reported claims, Kinsale does not write lines of business with heightened exposure to COVID-19 related claims. Specifically, Kinsale does not write event cancellation, mortgage insurance, trade credit or surety, workers compensation or reinsurance business. Lines of business written by Kinsale that could be subject to COVID-19 related claims include general liability, management liability, healthcare-related professional liability and commercial property. In each case, policy terms and conditions would be expected to preclude coverage for virus-related claims. Although management cannot definitively determine the ultimate impact of COVID-19 and related economic conditions at this time, management does not currently expect a material adverse effect on Kinsale’s loss ratios due to COVID-19 related claims.
With respect to our investment portfolio, we seek to hold a high-quality, diversified portfolio of investments. During the first quarter of 2020, we experienced a significant decline in the fair value of our investment portfolio due to disruption in the global financial markets associated with COVID-19. Subsequent to the first quarter of 2020, the fair values of our investment portfolio rebounded sharply, gaining back all of the decline in fair value. However, during economic downturns, certain investments may default or become impaired due to deterioration in the financial condition or due to deterioration in the financial condition of an insurer that guarantees an issuer’s payments on such investments. Given the conservative nature of our investment portfolio, we do not expect a material adverse impact on the value of our investment portfolio or a long-term negative impact on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows as it relates to COVID-19.
Components of Our Results of Operations
Gross written premiums
Gross written premiums are the amounts received or to be received for insurance policies written or assumed by us during a specific period of time without reduction for policy acquisition costs, reinsurance costs or other deductions. The volume of our gross written premiums in any given period is generally influenced by:
•New business submissions;
•Binding of new business submissions into policies;
•Renewals of existing policies; and
•Average size and premium rate of bound policies.
We earn insurance premiums on a pro rata basis over the term of the policy. Our insurance policies generally have a term of one year. Net earned premiums represent the earned portion of our gross written premiums, less that portion of our gross written premiums that is ceded to third-party reinsurers under our reinsurance agreements.
Ceded written premiums
Ceded written premiums are the amount of gross written premiums ceded to reinsurers. We enter into reinsurance contracts to limit our exposure to potential large losses as well as to provide additional capacity for growth. Ceded written premiums are earned over the reinsurance contract period in proportion to the period of risk covered. The volume of our ceded written premiums is impacted by the level of our gross written premiums and any decision we make to increase or decrease retention levels.
Losses and loss adjustment expenses
Losses and loss adjustment expenses are a function of the amount and type of insurance contracts we write and the loss experience associated with the underlying coverage. In general, our losses and loss adjustment expenses are affected by:
•Frequency of claims associated with the particular types of insurance contracts that we write;
•Trends in the average size of losses incurred on a particular type of business;
•Mix of business written by us;
•Changes in the legal or regulatory environment related to the business we write;
•Trends in legal defense costs;
•Wage inflation; and
•Inflation in medical costs.
Losses and loss adjustment expenses are based on an actuarial analysis of the estimated losses, including losses incurred during the period and changes in estimates from prior periods. Losses and loss adjustment expenses may be paid out over a period of years.
Underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses
Underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses include policy acquisition costs and other underwriting expenses. Policy acquisition costs are principally comprised of the commissions we pay our brokers, net of ceding commissions we receive on business ceded under certain reinsurance contracts. Policy acquisition costs that are directly related to the successful acquisition of those policies are deferred. The amortization of such policy acquisition costs is charged to expense in proportion to premium earned over the policy life. Other underwriting expenses represent the general and administrative expenses of our insurance business including but not limited to employment costs, telecommunication and technology costs, and legal and auditing fees.
Net investment income
Net investment income is an important component of our results of operations. We earn investment income on our portfolio of cash and invested assets. Our cash and invested assets are primarily comprised of fixed-maturity securities, and may also include cash and cash equivalents, equity securities and short-term investments. The principal factors that influence net investment income are the size of our investment portfolio and the yield on that portfolio. As measured by amortized cost (which excludes changes in fair value, such as changes in interest rates), the size of our investment portfolio is mainly a function of our invested equity capital along with premiums we receive from our insureds less payments on policyholder claims.
Change in fair value of equity securities
Change in fair value of equity securities represents the increase or decrease in the market value of equity securities held during the period.
Net realized investment gains (losses) on investments
Net realized gains (losses) on investments are a function of the difference between the amount received by us on the sale of a security and the security's amortized cost, as well as any allowances for credit losses recognized in earnings, if any.
Income tax expense
Currently all of our income tax expense relates to federal income taxes. Kinsale Insurance is generally not subject to income taxes in the states in which it operates; however, our non-insurance subsidiaries are subject to state income taxes. The amount of income tax expense or benefit recorded in future periods will depend on the jurisdictions in which we operate and the tax laws and regulations in effect.
We discuss certain key metrics, described below, which provide useful information about our business and the operational factors underlying our financial performance.
Underwriting income is a non-GAAP financial measure. We define underwriting income as net income, excluding net investment income, net change in the fair value of equity securities, net realized gains and losses on investments, other income, other expenses and income tax expense. See "—Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for a reconciliation of net income in accordance with GAAP to underwriting income.
Net operating earnings is a non-GAAP financial measure. We define net operating earnings as net income excluding the net change in the fair value of equity securities, after taxes, and net realized gains and losses on investments, after taxes. See "—Reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures" for a reconciliation of net income in accordance with GAAP to net operating earnings.
Loss ratio, expressed as a percentage, is the ratio of losses and loss adjustment expenses to net earned premiums, net of the effects of reinsurance.
Expense ratio, expressed as a percentage, is the ratio of underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses to net earned premiums.
Combined ratio is the sum of the loss ratio and the expense ratio. A combined ratio under 100% generally indicates an underwriting profit. A combined ratio over 100% generally indicates an underwriting loss.
Return on equity is net income as a percentage of average beginning and ending total stockholders’ equity during the period.
Operating return on equity is a non-GAAP financial measure. We define operating return on equity as net operating earnings expressed as a percentage of average beginning and ending stockholders’ equity during the period. See "—Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for a reconciliation of net income in accordance with GAAP to net operating earnings.
Net retention ratio is the ratio of net written premiums to gross written premiums.
Gross investment return is investment income from fixed-maturity and equity securities, before any deductions for fees and expenses, expressed as a percentage of average beginning and ending balances of those investments during the period.
Results of Operations
Year ended December 31, 2020 compared to year ended December 31, 2019
The following table summarizes our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:
|Year Ended December 31,|
|($ in thousands)||2020||2019||Change||Percent|
|Gross written premiums||$||552,814 ||$||389,694 ||$||163,120 ||41.9 ||%|
|Ceded written premiums||(74,595)||(47,633)||(26,962)||56.6 ||%|
|Net written premiums||$||478,219 ||$||342,061 ||$||136,158 ||39.8 ||%|
|Net earned premiums ||$||412,754 ||$||282,981 ||$||129,773 ||45.9 ||%|
|Losses and loss adjustment expenses||263,802 ||169,563 ||94,239 ||55.6 ||%|
|Underwriting, acquisition and insurance expenses||94,296 ||70,217 ||24,079 ||34.3 ||%|
Underwriting income (1)
|54,656 ||43,201 ||11,455 ||26.5 ||%|
|Other expenses, net||(741)||(31)||(710)||NM|
|Net investment income||26,110 ||20,133 ||5,977 ||29.7 ||%|
|Change in fair value of equity securities||16,855 ||12,389 ||4,466 ||NM|
|Net realized gains on investments||3,533 ||359 ||3,174 ||NM|
|Income before taxes||100,413 ||76,051 ||24,362 ||32.0 ||%|
|Income tax expense||11,994 ||12,735 ||(741)||(5.8)||%|
|Net income||$||88,419 ||$||63,316 ||$||25,103 ||39.6 ||%|
Net operating earnings (2)
|$||72,313 ||$||53,245 ||$||19,068 ||35.8 ||%|
|Loss ratio||63.9 ||%||59.9 ||%|
|Expense ratio||22.8 ||%||24.8 ||%|
|Combined ratio||86.7 ||%||84.7 ||%|
|Return on equity||18.0 ||%||18.9 ||%|
Operating return on equity (2)
|14.7 ||%||15.9 ||%|
NM - Percentage change is not meaningful
(1) Underwriting income is a non-GAAP financial measure. See "—Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for a reconciliation of net income in accordance with GAAP to underwriting income.
(2) Net operating earnings and operating return on equity are non-GAAP financial measures. Net operating earnings is defined as net income excluding the effects of the net change in the fair value of equity securities, after taxes, and net realized gains and losses on investments, after taxes. Operating return on equity is defined as net operating earnings expressed as a percentage of average beginning and ending stockholders’ equity during the period. See "—Reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures" for a reconciliation of net income in accordance with GAAP to net operating earnings.
Net income was $88.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $63.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $25.1 million, or 39.6%. The increase in net income in 2020 over 2019 was primarily due to higher earned premiums, resulting from favorable E&S market conditions and strong growth in
broker submissions, and higher returns on our investment portfolio. In addition, the increase in net income was also attributable to a lower effective tax rate generated from the tax benefits related to stock-based compensation activity and higher favorable development of loss reserves from prior accident years. These increases were offset in part by higher catastrophe losses incurred in 2020 compared to the prior year.
Our underwriting income was $54.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $43.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $11.5 million, or 26.5%. The increase in our underwriting income was attributable to a combination of growth in the business and higher net favorable development of loss reserves for prior accident years, offset in part by higher catastrophe losses incurred during the year. The corresponding combined ratios were 86.7% for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 84.7% for the year ended December 31, 2019.
Gross written premiums were $552.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $389.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $163.1 million, or 41.9%. The increase in gross written premiums for the for the year ended December 31, 2020 over the prior year was due to higher submission activity from brokers across most lines of business and higher rates on bound accounts, resulting from continued favorable market conditions. The average premium per policy written by us was $9,100 in 2020 compared to $8,200 in 2019. Excluding our personal lines insurance, which has relatively low premiums per policy written, the average premium per policy written was approximately $11,800 in 2020 compared to $10,800 in 2019. The increase in the average premium per policy written was due to changes in the mix of business and higher rates on bound accounts during 2020 compared to the prior year. The changes in gross written premiums were most notable in the following lines of business:
•Excess casualty, which represented approximately 13.9% of our gross written premiums in 2020, increased by $25.5 million, or 49.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2020 over the prior year;
•Commercial property, which represented approximately 9.4% of our gross written premiums in 2020, increased by $22.7 million, or 77.9%, for the year ended December 31, 2020 over the prior year;
•Small business, which represented approximately 15.1% of our gross written premiums in 2020, increased by $20.1 million, or 31.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2020 over the prior year, and
•Construction, which represented approximately 15.8% of our gross written premiums in 2020, increased by $16.2 million, or 22.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2020 over the prior year.
Net written premiums increased by $136.2 million, or 39.8%, to $478.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 from $342.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase in net written premiums was largely due to higher gross written premiums for the year ended December 31, 2020. Our net retention ratio was 86.5% for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 87.8% for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease in the net retention ratio was primarily due to change in the mix of business.
Net earned premiums were $412.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $283.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $129.8 million, or 45.9%. As previously discussed, the increase was due to growth in gross written premiums in 2020 compared to 2019.
Our loss ratio was 63.9% for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 59.9% for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase in the loss ratio for the year ended December 31, 2020 was primarily due to higher
catastrophe losses incurred in 2020 compared to 2019. Catastrophe losses incurred during the current accident year in 2020 were largely related to Hurricanes Laura, Sally and Zeta and the California wildfires.
For each year of 2020 and 2019, the overall favorable development of loss reserves for prior accident years was primarily due to reported losses emerging at lower levels than expected for certain accident years. During the year ended December 31, 2020, prior accident years developed favorably by $13.3 million, of which $12.3 million was attributable to accident years 2019 and 2018.
During the year ended December 31, 2019, loss reserves for prior accident years developed favorably by $9.4 million, which was largely attributable to accident years 2018 and 2017 of $14.6 million. This favorable development was offset in part by adverse development in the accident years 2011 through 2015 of $5.2 million, which resulted from higher IBNR reserves to provide for emergence of reported losses over a longer period of time based on observed trends.
On an inception-to-date basis as of December 31, 2020, all accident years have developed favorably, with the exception of the 2011 accident year.
The following tables summarize the effect of the factors indicated above on the loss ratios for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:
|Year Ended December 31,|
|($ in thousands)|
Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses
|% of Earned Premiums|
Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses
|% of Earned Premiums|
Current accident year
|$||253,948 ||61.5 ||%||$||175,939 ||62.1 ||%|
Current accident year - catastrophe losses
|23,192 ||5.6 ||%||3,047 ||1.1 ||%|
|Effect of prior year development||(13,338)||(3.2)||%||(9,423)||(3.3)||%|