Universal Insurance Holdings income surges 21 percent

May 8, 2013 | By

The following article was published in the South Florida Business Journal on May 8, 2013:

Income at Universal Insurance Holdings surges 21 percent


By Brian Bandell

www.bizjournals.com

Universal Insurance Holdings, the owner of the largest private homeowners insurance company in Florida, enjoyed a 21 percent boost to its income in the first quarter as its premiums increased.

The Fort Lauderdale-based company (NASDAQ: UVE) had net income of $12 million, or 29 cents per share, which beat analyst expectations by four cents per share. The company had net income of $9.9 million, or 24 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Its direct premiums written grew 7.4 percent during the first quarter to reach $204.1 million. Universal received approval to raise homeowners insurance rates in Florida 14.1 percent in February.

Its Universal Property & Casualty Insurance subsidiary ranked second in Florida in the Business Journal’s List of Top 25 Florida Property & Casualty Insurance Companies with 542,882 policies in force in 2012. State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. ranks first.

“Universal began 2013 with strong operating results driven by continued strengthening of underwriting margins,” President and CEO Sean Downes stated in a news release. “We have continued to follow our business model and if not for the first quarter 2013 investment losses, our results would have been significantly better. We believe we are well-positioned going forward as we have engaged Deutsche Bank Investment Asset Division to manage our investment portfolio.”

The company recorded a $16 million investment loss in the first quarter.

Shares of Universal Insurance were up 35 cents, or 5 percent, to $7.13 on Wednesday morning after reaching a 52-week high of $7.18 earlier in the day. Its stock has hit several highs after the Florida Legislature approved a bill to reform Citizens that should allow private insurers to better compete for its members using a clearinghouse.

Read the original article here: http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2013/05/08/income-at-floridas-largest-private.html