MGIC Investment Corp. reported fourth-quarter 2018 net income of $157.7 million, or 43 cents per share, up from $27.3 million, or 7 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
The S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus GAAP EPS estimate for the quarter was 39 cents.
The year-ago fourth quarter included a provision for income taxes of $218.1 million as the company reduced its net deferred tax asset as a result of the tax cuts passed near the end of 2017. The income tax provision in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $37.0 million.
Adjusted net operating income was $154.0 million, compared to $160.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Total revenue for the quarter climbed year over year to $285.6 million from $271.5 million. Net premiums written totaled $248.0 million, compared to $259.5 million in the year-ago quarter, while net premiums earned rose to $245.7 million from $237.4 million year over year.
The increase was primarily attributable to higher average insurance in force and a decrease in ceded premiums during the quarter, partially offset by the effect of lower premium rates.
New primary insurance written decreased to $12.2 billion from $12.8 billion in the prior-year period. Persistency, or the percentage of insurance remaining in force from one year prior, was 81.7% at Dec. 31, 2018, compared to 80.1% at Dec. 31, 2017.
The company's GAAP loss ratio from insurance operations was 11.3% for the fourth quarter, compared with negative 13.1% in the year-ago period. Its GAAP underwriting expense ratio from insurance operations was 19.1% for the quarter, compared with 15.9% in the prior-year quarter.
MGIC's book value per share was $10.08 at Dec. 31, 2018, up 4% during the quarter and up from $8.51 at Dec. 31, 2017. During the fourth quarter, the company repurchased 6.8 million common shares at an average cost per share of $11.06.
Full-year 2018 net income was $670.1 million, or $1.78 per share, compared to $355.8 million, or 95 cents per share, in 2017.
The S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus GAAP EPS estimate for 2018 was $1.74.