The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:HIG) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Nov 05, 2019 • 09:00 am ET


The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:HIG) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good day, and welcome to The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. Third Quarter Financial Results Conference Call and Webcast. [Operator Instructions] After today's presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to turn the conference call over to Susan Spivak of Investor Relations. The floor is yours, ma'am.

Susan Spivak Bernstein

Thank you, and good morning, and thank you for joining us today for our call and webcast on third quarter 2019 earnings. We reported our results yesterday afternoon and posted all the earnings-related materials, including the 10-Q, on our website.

For the call today, our speakers are: Chris Swift, Chairman and CEO of The Hartford; Doug Elliot, President; and Beth Costello, Chief Financial Officer. Following their prepared remarks, we will have a Q&A period.

Just a final few comments before Chris begins. Today's call includes forward-looking statements as defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results could be materially different. We do not assume any obligation to update information or forward-looking statements provided on this call. Investors should also consider the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from these statements. A detailed description of those risks and uncertainties can be found in our SEC filings.

Our commentary today includes non-GAAP financial measures. Explanations and reconciliations of these measures to the comparable GAAP measure are included in our SEC filing as well as in the news release and financial supplement.

Finally, please note that no portion of this conference call may be reproduced or rebroadcast in any form without The Hartford's prior written consent. Replays of this webcast and an official transcript will be available on The Hartford's website for one year.

I'll now turn the call over to Chris.

Christopher J. Swift

Good morning, and thank you for joining us today. The Hartford had an excellent quarter with strong financial results across all our business lines. Third quarter core earnings rose 31% over prior year to $548 million or $1.50 per diluted share with lower catastrophe losses and continued solid investment results. Our businesses are performing very well.

Book value per diluted share, excluding AOCI, was up 8% to $42.55 from year-end. The consolidated 12-month core earnings ROE was 12.3%, an impressive result in the current market environment. The strong execution of our strategy is demonstrated by our consistent operating performance quarter-to-quarter, delivering on key integration milestones and continuing to invest in our business to enhance customer experience and efficiency.

Doug and Beth will cover results in more detail, but I wanted to touch briefly on a few items. Commercial Lines highlights in the third quarter include: core earnings of $303 million, up 14% over prior year; solid top line growth, with and without Navigators; and a renewal pricing rate acceleration compared to the first half of the year.

When we announced the acquisition of Navigators more than a year ago, an important part of our strategy was to broaden our underwriting