Essent sees ʹreturn to pre-Covid-19 profitability’
Essent Group Ltd, the Bermudian-based mortgage re/insurer, has reported net income of $135.6 million, or $1.21 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2021.
That compares to $149.5 million or $1.52 per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31, 2020.
Essent also announced that its board of directors has authorised a $250 million share repurchase plan to be executed by the end of 2022 and declared a quarterly cash dividend of 17 cents per common share, payable on June 10 to shareholders of record on June 1.
The company said insurance in force as of March 31 was $197.1 billion, compared to $198.9 billion as of December 31, 2020 and $165.6 billion as of March 31, 2020.
New insurance written was $19.3 billion, compared to $29.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 and $13.5 billion in the first quarter of 2020.
Net premiums earned were $219.1 million, compared to $222.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 and $206.5 million in the first quarter of 2020.
The expense ratio was 19.3 per cent, compared to 16.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 and 20.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020.
The provision for losses and LAE was $32.3 million, compared to a provision of $62.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 and a provision of $8.1 million in the first quarter of 2020.
The percentage of loans in default as of March 31 was 3.7 per cent, compared to 3.93 per cent as of December 31, 2020 and 0.83 per cent as of March 31, 2020.
The combined ratio was 34 per cent, compared to 44.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 and 24.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2020.
The consolidated balance of cash and investments at March 31 was $4.9 billion, including cash and investment balances at Essent Group Ltd of $540.3 million.
The combined risk-to-capital ratio of the US mortgage insurance business, which includes statutory capital for both Essent Guaranty, Inc and Essent Guaranty of PA, Inc, was 10.6:1 as of March 31.
Mark Casale, chairman and chief executive officer of Essent, said: "We are pleased with our financial results for the first quarter which we believe demonstrate a return to pre-Covid-19 profitability, as the US economy gains momentum coming out of the pandemic and our defaults continue to normalise.
“At quarter end, our capital position remains strong as our buy, manage and distribute operating model has our franchise well positioned. As a reflection of this, we are pleased to announce our $250 million share repurchase programme and $0.01 per share increase in our quarterly dividend."