Old Republic International Corporation (NYSE:ORI) Q4 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jan 28, 2016 • 03:00 pm ET


Old Republic International Corporation (NYSE:ORI) Q4 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good day everyone and welcome to Old Republic International Fourth Quarter and Year End Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen only mode. Following the presentation, we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will be provided at that time for you to queue up for questions. And I would like to remind everyone that this conference is being recorded.

And I would like to turn the conference over to Marilynn Meek. Please go ahead.

Marilynn Meek

Thank you, operator. Good afternoon everyone, and thank you for joining us for Old Republic's conference call to discuss fourth quarter and year-end 2015 results. This morning we distributed a copy of the press release. If there's anyone online who did not receive a copy, you can access it at Old Republic's website, which is www.oldrepublic.com. Please be advised that this call may involve forward-looking statements as discussed in the press release and dated January 28, 2016. Risks associated with these statements can be found in the Company's latest SEC filings.

Participating in today's call, we have Karl Mueller, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Craig Smiddy, President of the Old Republic's General Insurance Group; Rande Yeager, Chief Executive Officer of the Old Republic's Title Insurance Company; and Al Zucaro, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

At this time I'd like to turn the call over to Al Zucaro. Please go ahead, sir.

Al Zucaro

Okay. Thank you very much. And again, welcome everyone to this discussion of our Company's business for the year just ended three weeks ago. Obviously we're in light of the discussions we've had in some of the prior years, we are happy to be here as bearers of good news for our shareholders and all of our Company's other important stakeholders. So, as was indicated and as we've done in the past, we'll discuss our results in the same order as they are outlined in this morning's news release. We'll therefore start with Craig Smiddy who'll speak to our General Insurance business and he will be followed by Rande Yeager for Title Insurance, myself for a few comments on our run-off business, Karl Mueller will add more color to our financial situation and then we'll go on to closing comments and then the question-and-answer portion of today's visit.

So let's get going with you Craig Smiddy and your comments on General Insurance.

Craig Smiddy

Okay, thank you Al. Comparing fourth quarter 2015 with the same quarter for 2014, the General Insurance Group experienced 5.2% growth in net premiums earned. Comparing year-end 2014 to year-end 2015, the increase was 5.8%. While we experienced relatively consistent growth rate throughout '15, we believe this level of growth will likely decline in 2016, as we maintain our underwriting discipline in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Generally speaking, we still expect organic growth and strong retention ratios on most of our existing accounts along with a moderate amount of new business. As we always point out however, organic growth, retention ratios and new business will vary by line