Improved marketing efforts, expanded insurance programs, and small rate increases in certain business lines were the main reasons for the increase. The $51.8 million written premium level represents a new six-month high for the Company, exceeding the previous mark of $47.4 million by nearly 10 percent.
Gross written premiums for the three months ended June 30, 2000 was $28.4 million, also representing record volume, and $3.1 million or 12.1 percent higher than that of the second quarter of 1999.
Operating earnings (excluding after-tax realized investment gains) for the first six months of 2000 were $6.5 million or $0.58 per share (diluted unless otherwise noted) vs. $7.8 million or $0.70 per share for the same period in 1999. For the second quarter, 2000 operating earnings were $1.5 million or $0.13 per share compared with 1999 figures of $4.8 million or $0.43 per share.
Year-to-date earnings for the six months ending June 30, including $2.6 million of after tax realized investment gains, were $9.1 million or $0.81 per share. This compares with earnings of $11.3 million or $1.00 per share, including $3.4 million of after tax realized investment gains, for the same time period in 1999. For the quarter ended June 30, earnings were $3.4 million or $0.31 per share compared with second quarter 1999 earnings of $6.7 million or $0.60 per share.
Despite higher second-quarter claims and claims expenses, the Company’s statutory combined loss and expense ratio for the first six months of 2000 was 87.6 percent. This ratio compares favorably to the industry-wide average, which stood at 107.4 percent as of March 31, 2000.
The Company has consistently been lower than the industry average including combined ratios of 91.9 percent vs. 110.5 percent for calendar year 1999 and 95 percent vs. 107.4 percent for calendar year 1998. With total shareholders’ equity of $136.8 million at June 30, book value per share on shares outstanding increased to $12.34 from the December 31, 1999 book value of $11.82. The Company continued its regular dividend payment of $0.07 per outstanding share during the second quarter.
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