CONTACT: David Foy
WHITE MOUNTAINS REPORTS ADJUSTED BOOK VALUE PER SHARE OF $665
HAMILTON, Bermuda (February 10, 2015) - White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM) reported an adjusted book value per share of $665 at December 31, 2014, basically flat for the quarter and up 3.6% for the year, including dividends.
Ray Barrette, Chairman and CEO, commented, “We had a mixed year, growing ABVPS only 4% while making progress on many fronts. Foreign currency exchange losses cost us $15 per share, or roughly 2 points of ABVPS growth, despite reducing our foreign currency exposures to the lowest levels allowed by regulatory capital requirements. OneBeacon closed the runoff sale on December 23, after two years of regulatory review. The final amount of $101 million in surplus notes is higher than we had hoped for, and we took a $36 million pre-tax haircut on the notes to reflect the expected delays in payments of principal and interest. We strengthened OneBeacon’s reserves at year-end to address the recent trend of large claim emergence in a few areas in order to put it behind us. OneBeacon reported a 102% combined ratio for the year and growth in book value per share, including dividends, of only 2%. These major steps put the ‘new’ OneBeacon on a clear path to success with a clean balance sheet, profitable, growing businesses, and a deep management team.”
Barrette continued, “Sirius Group had another excellent year, growing its adjusted book value per share by 13% in local currencies (8% in U.S. dollars) with a 76% combined ratio that reflected light catastrophes, good underwriting around the globe and favorable reserve developments. January 1, 2015 renewals were tough but we held our own, growing the book about 2% at good expected margins. It pays to have a long history of deep relationships with cedants. BAM insured $8 billion of municipal bond par, achieving a roughly 50% market share of insured deals, but at much lower margins than expected. Symetra had a good year, increasing book value per share by 10% on an operating basis. Our total return on investments for the year was 3.8% in local currencies, a decent absolute result but below most external benchmarks. Foreign exchange rates brought that return down to 1.9%. Life Re lost ‘only’ $9 million, as its run rate is lower with liabilities meaningfully out of the money. The whole book runs off by June 2016. Our new insurance services businesses are doing well but had little impact on our 2014 GAAP results. WOBI is fantastic, QuoteLab is building quickly with free cash flow, and Tranzact is growing profitably on many fronts. We should get regulatory approvals to close the PassportCard deal soon. Demand for that product around the world is strong. Between our investments in insurance services and share repurchases, we deployed almost $400 million of capital in 2014. This still leaves us with over half a billion dollars to deploy in high return opportunities in 2015 and beyond.”
Adjusted comprehensive loss was $7 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 and adjusted comprehensive net income was $136 million in the year, compared to adjusted comprehensive net income of $128 million and $340 million in the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2013. Net income attributable to common shareholders was $70 million and $313 million in the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2014, compared to $118 million and $322 million in the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2013.
The following information was filed by White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd (WTM) on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 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.