FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HALLMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC.
ANNOUNCES FOURTH QUARTER AND FISCAL YEAR 2009 EARNINGS RESULTS

FORT WORTH, Texas, (March 24, 2010) - Hallmark Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALL) (“Hallmark”) reported fourth quarter 2009 net earnings of $9.3 million compared to a net loss of $2.4 million reported for fourth quarter 2008.  Hallmark reported net earnings of $24.6 million for fiscal 2009, compared to $12.9 million for fiscal 2008.  On a fully diluted basis, net earnings were $0.46 per share and $1.19 per share for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2009, as compared to a net loss of $0.12 per share and net earnings of $0.62 per share for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2008.  Total revenues were $73.5 million and $287.0 million for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2009, as compared to $60.2 million and $268.7 million for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2008.

Mark J. Morrison, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our premium production remained relatively flat during fiscal 2009 as compared to 2008.  Increased premiums attributable to the ongoing geographic and product expansion in our Personal Segment and the expansion of our Specialty Commercial Segment with the acquisition of Heath XS late last year were offset by a decrease in premium production in our Standard Commercial Segment and the other lines of business in our Specialty Commercial Segment as a result of our continued adherence to underwriting discipline during prolonged soft market conditions. We continue to see aggressive pricing on larger commercial accounts from national standard lines carriers and an increased appetite for risks that have historically been written in the E&S market.  However, the greatest factor affecting our premium production continues to be the impact of the economic slowdown on our insureds. Even with strong retention rates on our existing accounts, our commercial businesses continue to experience declining premium as a result of a decrease in exposure units upon renewal.”
 
Mr. Morrison continued, “Our primary focus continues to be on underwriting profitability, as opposed to premium growth or market share. We are achieving this goal by remaining disciplined in soft market conditions, as evidenced by our 91.7% combined ratio for the year.”

Mark E. Schwarz, Executive Chairman of Hallmark, stated, “Book value per share is at the highest level in the history of the company, having increased 31% during 2009 to $11.26 per share at December 31, 2009 compared to $8.61 per share a year earlier.  Other operating metrics continue to be strong with cash flow from operations of $62 million and comprehensive income of $51 million for fiscal 2009.”

Mr. Schwarz continued, “Total investments and cash and cash equivalents of $445 million as of December 31, 2009 were up 23% compared to December 31, 2008. Investment income declined 7% during fiscal 2009 compared to fiscal 2008 due to near zero yields for cash and short term securities.  As of year end, Hallmark had $117 million of cash and cash equivalents, plus other securities with short maturities, available to be deployed in higher yielding investments should suitable opportunities arise.”

 
 

The following information was filed by Hallmark Financial Services Inc (HALL) on Thursday, March 25, 2010 as an 8K 2.02 statement, which is an earnings press release pertaining to results of operations and financial condition. It may be helpful to assess the quality of management by comparing the information in the press release to the information in the accompanying 10-K Annual Report statement of earnings and operation as management may choose to highlight particular information in the press release.

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