Good morning, and welcome, ladies and gentlemen to the RLI Corp. First Quarter Earnings Teleconference. Today's call is being recorded. At the request of the Company, we will open the conference up for questions and answers after the presentation.
Before we get started, let me remind everyone that through the course of the teleconference, RLI management may make comments that reflect their intentions, beliefs and expectations for the future. As always, these forward-looking statements are subject to certain risk factors, which could cause actual results to differ materially. These risk factors are listed in the Company's various SEC filings, including in the Annual Report on Form 10-K, which should be reviewed carefully. The Company has filed a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange that contains the press release announcing first quarter results.
RLI management may make reference during the call to operating earnings and earnings per share from operations, which are non-GAAP measures of financial results. RLI's operating earnings and earnings per share from operations consist of net earnings after the elimination of after-tax, realized gains or losses and after-tax unrealized gains or losses on equity securities. RLI's management believes these measures are useful engaging core operating performance across reporting periods, but may not be comparable to other companies definitions of operating earnings. The Form 8-K contains a reconciliation between operating earnings and net earnings. The Form 8-K and press release are available at the Company's web site at www.rlicorp.com.
I will now turn the conference over to RLI's Vice President, Corporate Development, Mr. Aaron Jacoby. Please go ahead, sir.
Thank you. Good morning to everyone. Welcome to the RLI earnings call for the first quarter of 2019. A special thanks to everyone for tuning out the Mueller Report coverage for a few minutes to join us on the call. With me today are Jon Michael, Chairman and CEO; Craig Kliethermes, President and Chief Operating Officer; and Tom Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
I'm going to turn the call over to Tom first to give some brief opening comments on the quarter's financial results, then Craig will talk about operations and market conditions. Next we'll open the call to questions, and Jon will finish up with some closing comments. Tom?
Bruce E. Kiddoo
Thanks, Aaron, and good morning, everyone. As reported last evening, first quarter 2019 operating earnings were $0.71 per share. We continue to experience top-line growth, while recording a combined ratio of below 90, and generating nearly $2 of growth in book value per share, as solid operating earnings were bolstered by a very favorable investment market.
From an underwriting perspective, we posted a combined ratio of 89. This result improved nearly 2 points from first quarter prior year, as our loss ratio benefited from increased favorable reserve development. For the first quarter of 2019, we reported net favorable prior year's reserve development of $17 million, compared to $13 million, last year. I'll also add from a storm perspective, there was a minimum amount of loss in the
Managing Director, Investor Relations
Bruce E. Kiddoo
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Executive Officer
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