DeRidder, LA – AMERISAFE, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMSF) recently announced results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2022.
G. Janelle Frost, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, “AMERISAFE’s financial results this quarter are reflective of our focus on underwriting margins and sustainability in providing long-term returns to our shareholders. Despite industrywide pressure as competition increases and rates decrease, our focus on risk selection, appropriate product pricing and claims handling resulted in combined ratios of 82.0% this quarter and 83.6% for the year. Based on these results and our capital strength, AMERISAFE has demonstrated it is well-positioned for solid performance in the current market and to create long-term shareholder value into the future.”
Voluntary premiums on policies written in the quarter were 4.5% lower than the fourth quarter of 2021, primarily due to continued declines in approved loss costs in the states in which we write business partially offset by an increase in payrolls. For the full year, voluntary premiums decreased by 5.9%.
Payroll audits and related premium adjustments increased premiums written by $2.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to an increase of $0.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. For the full year 2022, audits and related premium adjustments increased premiums by $14.0 million, compared to a decrease in premiums of $1.2 million in 2021.
The loss ratio for the fourth quarter was 55.3% and 56.1% for the full year. During the quarter, the Company experienced favorable net loss reserve development for prior accident years, which reduced loss and loss adjustment expenses by $10.4 million, primarily from accident years 2017 through 2020. For the full year, the company experienced favorable development on prior accident years of $40.6 million, compared with $61.9 million in 2021. The Company attributes its lower claim severities for prior years to active claims handling.
For the quarter ended December 31, 2022, the underwriting expense ratio was 26.4% compared with 24.7% in the same quarter in 2021, as a result of lower earned premium and increased guaranty fund assessments. For the year ended December 31, 2022, the underwriting expense ratio was 26.5%, compared with 26.1% in 2021, largely due to lower earned premium as underwriting and other expenses for the full year were largely unchanged.
The effective tax rate for the full year 2022 was 17.8% compared with 17.2% for 2021. The rate was slightly higher than last year due to a decrease in the proportion of tax-exempt interest income relative to underwriting profit.
The complete results release is available here: AMERISAFE 2022 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results