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RLI sees flat operating earnings, higher combined ratio in Q4'16

RLI Corp. reported fourth-quarter 2016 operating earnings of $24.9 million, or 56 cents per share, compared with $24.6 million, or 56 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2015.

Net earnings totaled $32.2 million, or 72 cents per share, down from $33.9 million, or 76 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

The combined ratio for the quarter was 90.3%, compared with a combined ratio of 87.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015. Total underwriting income was $18.2 million, down from $22.5 million in the year-ago period. Losses from Hurricane Matthew led to a $6.6 million net decrease to underwriting income for the quarter. This was offset by a $12.2 million net increase to underwriting income from favorable development in prior-year loss reserves.

For the full year 2016, RLI reported operating earnings of $92.4 million, or $2.08 per share, down from $111.7 million, or $2.53 per share, in 2015.

Net earnings for 2016 were $114.9 million, or $2.59 per share, compared with $137.5 million, or $3.12 per share, in 2015.

The year's combined ratio was 89.5%, up from 84.5% in 2015. Total underwriting income for 2016 was $76.1 million, down from $108.6 million in 2015.