SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2018
Commission File No. 001-16209
ARCH CAPITAL GROUP LTD.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
Waterloo House, Ground Floor
100 Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke HM 08, Bermuda
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Shares, $0.0011 par value per share
NASDAQ Stock Market (Common Shares)
5.25% Non-Cumulative Preferred Shares, Series E, $0.01 par value per share
NASDAQ Stock Market
5.45% Non-Cumulative Preferred Shares, Series F, $0.01 par value per share
NASDAQ Stock Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes þ No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.
Yes o No þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes þ No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes þ No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated Filer þ Accelerated Filer o Non-accelerated Filer o Smaller reporting company o Emerging Growth Company o
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the Registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o No þ
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates, computed by reference to the closing price as reported by the NASDAQ Stock Market as of the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was approximately $10.3 billion.
As of February 25, 2019, there were 402,529,670 of the registrant’s common shares outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of Part III and Part IV incorporate by reference our definitive proxy statement for the 2019 annual meeting of shareholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A before May 1, 2019.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PSLRA”) provides a “safe harbor” for forward-looking statements. This report or any other written or oral statements made by or on behalf of us may include forward-looking statements, which reflect our current views with respect to future events and financial performance. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in or incorporated by reference in this report are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements, for purposes of the PSLRA or otherwise, can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe” or “continue” and similar statements of a future or forward-looking nature or their negative or variations or similar terminology.
Forward-looking statements involve our current assessment of risks and uncertainties. Actual events and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Important factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those indicated in such statements are discussed below, elsewhere in this report and in our periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and include:
our ability to successfully implement our business strategy during “soft” as well as “hard” markets;
acceptance of our business strategy, security and financial condition by rating agencies and regulators, as well as by brokers and our insureds and reinsureds;
the integration of any businesses we have acquired or may acquire into our existing operations;
our ability to maintain or improve our ratings, which may be affected by our ability to raise additional equity or debt financings, by ratings agencies’ existing or new policies and practices, as well as other factors described herein;
general economic and market conditions (including inflation, interest rates, unemployment, housing prices, foreign currency exchange rates, prevailing credit terms and the depth and duration of a recession) and conditions specific to the reinsurance and insurance markets (including the length and magnitude of the current “soft” market) in which we operate;
competition, including increased competition, on the basis of pricing, capacity (including alternative sources of capital), coverage terms, or other factors;
developments in the world’s financial and capital markets and our access to such markets;
our ability to successfully enhance, integrate and maintain operating procedures (including information technology) to effectively support our current and new business;
the loss of key personnel;
accuracy of those estimates and judgments utilized in the preparation of our financial statements, including those related to revenue recognition, insurance and other reserves, reinsurance recoverables, investment valuations, intangible assets, bad debts, income taxes, contingencies and litigation, and any determination to use the deposit method of accounting, which for a relatively new insurance and reinsurance company, like our company, are even more difficult to make than those made in a mature company since relatively limited historical information has been reported to us through December 31, 2018;
greater than expected loss ratios on business written by us and adverse development on claim and/or claim expense liabilities related to business written by our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries;
severity and/or frequency of losses;
claims for natural or man-made catastrophic events or severe economic events in our insurance, reinsurance and mortgage businesses could cause large losses and substantial volatility in our results of operations;
the effect of climate change on our business;
acts of terrorism, political unrest and other hostilities or other unforecasted and unpredictable events;
availability to us of reinsurance to manage our gross and net exposures and the cost of such reinsurance;
the failure of reinsurers, managing general agents, third party administrators or others to meet their obligations to us;
the timing of loss payments being faster or the receipt of reinsurance recoverables being slower than anticipated by us;
our investment performance, including legislative or regulatory developments that may adversely affect the fair value of our investments;
changes in general economic conditions, including new or continued sovereign debt concerns in Eurozone countries or downgrades of U.S. securities by credit rating agencies, which could affect our business, financial condition and results of operations;
the volatility of our shareholders’ equity from foreign currency fluctuations, which could increase due to us not matching portions of our projected liabilities in foreign currencies with investments in the same currencies;
changes in accounting principles or policies or in our application of such accounting principles or policies;
changes in the political environment of certain countries in which we operate or underwrite business;
a disruption caused by cyber-attacks or other technology breaches or failures on us or our business partners and service providers, which could negatively impact our business and/or expose us to litigation;
statutory or regulatory developments, including as to tax matters and insurance and other regulatory matters such as the adoption of proposed legislation that would affect Bermuda-headquartered companies and/or Bermuda-based insurers or reinsurers and/or changes in regulations or tax laws applicable to us, our subsidiaries, brokers or customers, including the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017; and
the other matters set forth under Item 1A “Risk Factors,” Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and other sections of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as the other factors set forth in Arch Capital Group Ltd.’s other documents on file with the SEC, and management’s response to any of the aforementioned factors.
All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements. The foregoing review of important factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with other cautionary statements that are included herein or elsewhere. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
As used in this report, references to “we,” “us,” “our,” “Arch” or the “Company” refer to the consolidated operations of Arch Capital Group Ltd. (“Arch Capital”) and its subsidiaries. Tabular amounts are in U.S. Dollars in thousands, except share amounts, unless otherwise noted. We refer you to Item 1A “Risk Factors” for a discussion of risk factors relating to our business.
Arch Capital, a Bermuda public limited liability company with $11.17 billion in capital at December 31, 2018, provides insurance, reinsurance and mortgage insurance on a worldwide basis through its wholly owned subsidiaries. While we are positioned to provide a full range of property, casualty and mortgage insurance and reinsurance lines, we focus on writing specialty lines of insurance and reinsurance. For 2018, we wrote $5.35 billion of net premiums and reported net income available to Arch common shareholders of $713.6 million. Book value per share was $21.52 at December 31, 2018, compared to $20.30 per share at December 31, 2017.
Arch Capital’s registered office is located at Clarendon House, 2 Church Street, Hamilton HM 11, Bermuda (telephone number: (441) 295-1422), and its principal executive offices are located at Waterloo House, Ground Floor, 100 Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke HM 08, Bermuda (telephone number: (441) 278-9250). Arch Capital makes available free of charge through its website, located at www.archcapgroup.com, its annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC (such as Arch Capital) and the address of that site is www.sec.gov.
Arch Capital was formed in September 2000 and became the sole shareholder of Arch Capital Group (U.S.) Inc. (“Arch-U.S.”) pursuant to an internal reorganization transaction completed in November 2000. In October 2001, Arch Capital launched an underwriting initiative to meet current and future demand in the global insurance and reinsurance markets that included the recruitment of new management teams and an equity capital infusion of $763.2 million. Since that time, we
have attracted a proven management team with extensive industry experience and enhanced our existing global underwriting platform for our insurance and reinsurance businesses. It is our belief that our underwriting platform, our experienced management team and our strong capital base that is unencumbered by significant pre-2002 risks have enabled us to establish a strong presence in the global insurance and reinsurance markets.
Prior to the 2001 underwriting initiative, our insurance underwriting platform consisted of Arch Insurance (Bermuda), a division of Arch Reinsurance Ltd. (“Arch Re Bermuda”), our Bermuda-based reinsurer and insurer, and our U.S.-licensed insurers, Arch Insurance Company (“Arch Insurance”), Arch Excess & Surplus Insurance Company (“Arch E&S”), Arch Specialty Insurance Company (“Arch Specialty”) and Arch Indemnity Insurance Company (“Arch Indemnity”). We established Arch Insurance Company (Europe) Limited (“Arch Insurance Company Europe”), our United Kingdom-based subsidiary, in 2004, and we expanded our North American presence when Arch Insurance opened a branch office in Canada in 2005. In 2013, Arch Insurance Canada Ltd. (“Arch Insurance Canada”), a Canada domestic company, commenced operations and replaced the branch office. In 2009, we established a managing agent and syndicate 2012 (“Arch Syndicate 2012”) at Lloyd’s of London (“Lloyd’s”). In December 2018, we completed the acquisition of McNeil & Company, Inc. (“McNeil”), a U.S. nationwide leader in specialized risk management and program administration headquartered in Cortland, New York. In addition, we acquired U.K. commercial lines business from Ardonagh Group in January 2019. See “Operations—Insurance Operations” for further details on our insurance operations.
Prior to the 2001 underwriting initiative, our reinsurance underwriting platform consisted of Arch Re Bermuda and Arch Reinsurance Company (“Arch Re U.S.”), our U.S.-licensed reinsurer. Our reinsurance operations in Europe began in 2006 with the formation of a Swiss branch of Arch Re Bermuda, and the formation of a Danish underwriting agency in 2007. In addition to the U.S. reinsurance treaty activities of Arch Re U.S., we launched our property facultative reinsurance underwriting operations in 2007, which underwrite in the U.S., Canada and Europe. In 2008, we formed Arch Reinsurance Europe Designated Activity Company (“Arch Re Europe”), our Ireland-based reinsurance company, which replaced the Swiss branch. We launched treaty operations in Canada in 2011 and the following year we acquired the credit and surety reinsurance operations of Ariel Reinsurance Company Ltd. In 2015, we
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obtained complete ownership and effective control of Gulf Reinsurance Limited (“Gulf Re”), previously a joint venture. See “Operations—Reinsurance Operations” for further details on our reinsurance operations.
Our mortgage operations include U.S. and international mortgage insurance and reinsurance operations as well as participation in government sponsored enterprise (“GSE”) credit risk sharing transactions. Our mortgage platform was built through the acquisition of CMG Mortgage Insurance Company in 2014 (subsequently renamed Arch Mortgage Insurance Company) and further expanded through the acquisition of United Guaranty Corporation (“UGC”) (including United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company), from American International Group, Inc. (“AIG”), which closed at the end of 2016. In 2017, we completed the acquisition of AIG United Guaranty Insurance (Asia) Limited (renamed “Arch MI Asia Limited”) from AIG.
Our U.S. primary mortgage operations provide mortgage insurance products and services to the U.S. market. These operations include providers that are also approved as eligible mortgage insurers by Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”), each a GSE. Arch Mortgage Insurance Designated Activity Company (“Arch MI Europe”), provides mortgage insurance products and services to the European market. In January 2019, Arch LMI Pty Ltd (“Arch LMI”) was authorized by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (“APRA”) to write lenders’ mortgage insurance on a direct basis in Australia.
The mortgage operations also include participation in GSE credit risk-sharing transactions and direct mortgage insurance to U.S. mortgage lenders with respect to mortgages that lenders intend to retain in portfolio or include in non-agency securitizations along with mortgage reinsurance for the U.S. and Australian markets. See “Operations—Mortgage Operations” for further details on our mortgage operations.
In 2014 we acquired approximately 11% of Watford Holdings Ltd. Watford Holdings Ltd. is the parent of Watford Re Ltd., a multi-line Bermuda reinsurance company (together with Watford Holdings Ltd., “Watford Re”). In 2017, we acquired approximately 25% of Premia Holdings Ltd. Premia Holdings Ltd. is the parent of Premia Reinsurance Ltd., a multi-line Bermuda reinsurance company (together with Premia Holdings Ltd., “Premia Re”). See “Operations—Other Operations” for further details on Watford Re and Premia Re.
The board of directors of Arch Capital (the “Board”) has authorized the investment in Arch Capital’s common shares through a share repurchase program. Repurchases under the share repurchase program may be effected from time to time in open market or privately negotiated transactions through December 31, 2019. Since the inception of the share repurchase
program in February 2007 through December 31, 2018, Arch Capital has repurchased 386.2 million common shares for an aggregate purchase price of $3.97 billion. At December 31, 2018, the total remaining authorization under the share repurchase program was $163.7 million.
We classify our businesses into three underwriting segments — insurance, reinsurance and mortgage — and two other operating segments — ‘other’ and corporate (non-underwriting). For an analysis of our underwriting results by segment, see note 4, “Segment Information,” to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8 and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Results of Operations.”
Our insurance operations are conducted in Bermuda, the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia. Our insurance operations in Bermuda are conducted through Arch Insurance (Bermuda), a division of Arch Re Bermuda, and Alternative Re Limited.
In the U.S., our insurance group’s principal insurance subsidiaries are Arch Insurance, Arch Specialty, Arch Indemnity and Arch E&S. Arch Insurance is an admitted insurer in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Arch Specialty is an approved excess and surplus lines insurer in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and an authorized insurer in one state. Arch Indemnity is an admitted insurer in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Arch E&S, which is not currently writing business, is an approved excess and surplus lines insurer in 47 states and the District of Columbia and an authorized insurer in one state. The headquarters for our insurance group’s U.S. support operations (excluding underwriting units) is in Jersey City, New Jersey. The insurance group has offices throughout the U.S., including five regional offices located in Alpharetta, Georgia, Chicago, Illinois, New York, New York, San Francisco, California and Dallas, Texas and additional branch offices. In December 2018, the U.S. insurance operations acquired McNeil, based in Cortland, New York, which provides specialized risk management and program administration.
Our insurance operations in Canada are conducted through Arch Insurance Canada, a Canada domestic company which is authorized in all Canadian provinces and territories. Arch Insurance Canada is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Our insurance operations in Europe are conducted on two platforms, Arch Insurance Company Europe and Arch Syndicate 2012 (the U.K. insurance operations are collectively referred to as “Arch Insurance Europe”). Arch Insurance Europe conducts its
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operations from London, England. Arch Insurance Company Europe is eligible by virtue of the U.S. Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of 2010 (“NRRA”) as an excess and surplus lines insurer in 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. Arch Insurance Company Europe also has branches in Germany, Italy, Spain and Denmark. In January 2019, Arch Insurance Europe operations expanded to include the Arch U.K. Regional Division, which underwrites the U.K. commercial lines acquired from the Ardonaugh Group.
Arch Underwriting at Lloyd’s Ltd (“AUAL”) is the managing agent of Arch Syndicate 2012 and is responsible for the daily management of Arch Syndicate 2012. Arch Syndicate 2012 provides access to Lloyd’s extensive distribution network and worldwide licenses. Arch Underwriting at Lloyd’s (Australia) Pty Ltd, based in Sydney, Australia, is a Lloyd’s services company which underwrites exclusively for Arch Syndicate 2012. Arch Underwriting Agency (Australia) Pty. Ltd. is an Australian agency which also underwrites for Arch Syndicate 2012 and third parties.
Strategy. Our insurance group’s strategy is to operate in lines of business in which underwriting expertise can make a meaningful difference in operating results. The insurance group focuses on talent-intensive rather than labor-intensive business and seeks to operate profitably (on both a gross and net basis) across all of its product lines. To achieve these objectives, our insurance group’s operating principles are to:
Capitalize on profitable underwriting opportunities. Our insurance group believes that its experienced management and underwriting teams are positioned to locate and identify business with attractive risk/reward characteristics. As profitable underwriting opportunities are identified, our insurance group will continue to seek to make additions to its product portfolio in order to take advantage of market trends. This includes adding underwriting and other professionals with specific expertise in specialty lines of insurance.
Centralize responsibility for underwriting. Our insurance group consists of a range of product lines. The underwriting executive in charge of each product line oversees all aspects of the underwriting product development process within such product line. Our insurance group believes that centralizing the control of such product line with the respective underwriting executive allows for close management of underwriting and creates clear accountability for results. Our U.S. insurance group has four regional offices, and the executive in charge of each region is primarily responsible for all aspects of the marketing and distribution of our insurance group’s products, including the management of broker and other producer relationships in such executive’s respective region. In our non-U.S. offices, a similar philosophy is
observed, with responsibility for the management of each product line residing with the senior underwriting executive in charge of such product line.
Maintain a disciplined underwriting philosophy. Our insurance group’s underwriting philosophy is to generate an underwriting profit through prudent risk selection and proper pricing. Our insurance group believes that the key to this approach is adherence to uniform underwriting standards across all types of business. Our insurance group’s senior management closely monitors the underwriting process.
Focus on providing superior claims management. Our insurance group believes that claims handling is an integral component of credibility in the market for insurance products. Therefore, our insurance group believes that its ability to handle claims expeditiously and satisfactorily is a key to its success. Our insurance group employs experienced claims professionals and also utilizes experienced external claims managers (third party administrators) where appropriate.
Promote and utilize an efficient distribution system. Our insurance group believes that promoting and utilizing a multi-channel distribution system, provides efficient access to its broad customer base. Our insurance group works with select international, national and regional retail and wholesale brokers and leading managing general agencies, including McNeil, to distribute our insurance products.
Grow strategic partnerships in stable and niche areas. Our insurance group aims to build more integrated long-term alignment with strategic partners offering superior access to niche opportunities, quality scalable businesses, or lines with reliable defensive qualities.
Our insurance group writes business on both an admitted and non-admitted basis. Our insurance group focuses on the following areas:
Construction and national accounts: primary and excess casualty coverages to middle and large accounts in the construction industry and a wide range of products for middle and large national accounts, specializing in loss sensitive primary casualty insurance programs (including large deductible, self-insured retention and retrospectively rated programs).
Excess and surplus casualty: primary and excess casualty insurance coverages, including middle market energy business, and contract binding, which primarily provides casualty coverage through a network of appointed agents to small and medium risks.
Lenders products: collateral protection, debt cancellation and service contract reimbursement products to banks,
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credit unions, automotive dealerships and original equipment manufacturers and other specialty programs that pertain to automotive lending and leasing.
Professional lines: directors’ and officers’ liability, errors and omissions liability, employment practices liability, fiduciary liability, crime, professional indemnity and other financial related coverages for corporate, private equity, venture capital, real estate investment trust, limited partnership, financial institution and not-for-profit clients of all sizes and medical professional and general liability insurance coverages for the healthcare industry. The business is predominately written on a claims-made basis.
Programs: primarily package policies, underwriting workers’ compensation and umbrella liability business in support of desirable package programs, targeting program managers with unique expertise and niche products offering general liability, commercial automobile, inland marine and property business with minimal catastrophe exposure.
Property, energy, marine and aviation: primary and excess general property insurance coverages, including catastrophe-exposed property coverage, for commercial clients. Coverages for marine include hull, war, specie and liability. Aviation and stand-alone terrorism are also offered.
Travel, accident and health: specialty travel and accident and related insurance products for individual, group travelers, travel agents and suppliers, as well as accident and health, which provides accident, disability and medical plan insurance coverages for employer groups, medical plan members, students and other participant groups.
Other: includes alternative market risks (including captive insurance programs), excess workers’ compensation and employer’s liability insurance coverages for qualified self-insured groups, associations and trusts, statutory Defense Base Act workers compensation and employers liability, and contract and commercial surety coverages, including contract bonds (payment and performance bonds) primarily for medium and large contractors and commercial surety bonds for Fortune 1000 companies and smaller transaction business programs.
Underwriting Philosophy. Our insurance group’s underwriting philosophy is to generate an underwriting profit (on both a gross and net basis) through prudent risk selection and proper pricing across all types of business. One key to this philosophy is the adherence to uniform underwriting standards across each product line that focuses on the following:
desired attachment point;
limits and retention management;
due diligence, including financial condition, claims history, management, and product, class and territorial exposure;
underwriting authority and appropriate approvals; and
collaborative decision making.
Marketing. Our insurance group’s products are marketed principally through a group of licensed independent retail and wholesale brokers. Clients (insureds) are referred to our insurance group through a large number of international, national and regional brokers and captive managers who receive from the insured or insurer a set fee or brokerage commission usually equal to a percentage of gross premiums. In the past, our insurance group also entered into contingent commission arrangements with some brokers that provided for the payment of additional commissions based on volume or profitability of business. Currently, some of our contracts with brokers provide for additional commissions based on volume. We have also entered into service agreements with select international brokers that provide access to their proprietary industry analytics. In general, our insurance group has no implied or explicit commitments to accept business from any particular broker and neither brokers nor any other third parties have the authority to bind our insurance group, except in the case where underwriting authority may be delegated contractually to select program administrators. Such administrators are subject to a due diligence financial and operational review prior to any such delegation of authority and ongoing reviews and audits are carried out as deemed necessary by our insurance group to assure the continuing integrity of underwriting and related business operations. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Company—We could be materially adversely affected to the extent that managing general agents, general agents and other producers exceed their underwriting authorities or if our agents, our insureds or other third parties commit fraud or otherwise breach obligations owed to us.” For information on major brokers, see note 16, “Commitments and Contingencies—Concentrations of Credit Risk,” to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
Risk Management and Reinsurance. In the normal course of business, our insurance group may cede a portion of its premium on a quota share or excess of loss basis through treaty or facultative reinsurance agreements. Reinsurance arrangements do not relieve our insurance group from its primary obligations to insureds. Reinsurance recoverables are recorded as assets, predicated on the reinsurers’ ability to meet their obligations under the reinsurance agreements. If the reinsurers are unable to satisfy their obligations under the agreements, our insurance subsidiaries would be liable for such defaulted amounts. Our principal insurance subsidiaries, with oversight by a group-wide reinsurance steering committee (“RSC”), are selective with regard to reinsurers, seeking to place reinsurance with only those reinsurers which meet and maintain specific standards of established criteria for financial strength. The RSC evaluates
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the financial viability of its reinsurers through financial analysis, research and review of rating agencies’ reports and also monitors reinsurance recoverables and collateral with unauthorized reinsurers. The financial analysis includes ongoing qualitative and quantitative assessments of reinsurers, including a review of the financial stability, appropriate licensing, reputation, claims paying ability and underwriting philosophy of each reinsurer. Our insurance group will continue to evaluate its reinsurance requirements. See note 7, “Reinsurance,” to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
For catastrophe-exposed insurance business, our insurance group seeks to limit the amount of exposure to catastrophic losses it assumes through a combination of managing aggregate limits, underwriting guidelines and reinsurance. For a discussion of our risk management policies, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies, Estimates and Recent Accounting Pronouncements—Ceded Reinsurance” and “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Industry—The failure of any of the loss limitation methods we employ could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.”
Claims Management. Our insurance group’s claims management function is performed by claims professionals, as well as experienced external claims managers (third party administrators), where appropriate. In addition to investigating, evaluating and resolving claims, members of our insurance group’s claims departments work with underwriting professionals as functional teams in order to develop products and services desired by the group’s clients.
Our reinsurance operations are conducted on a worldwide basis through our reinsurance subsidiaries, Arch Re Bermuda, Arch Re U.S. and Arch Re Europe. Arch Re Bermuda is a registered Class 4 insurer and long-term insurer and is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Arch Re U.S. is licensed or is an accredited or otherwise approved reinsurer in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada with its principal U.S. offices in Morristown, New Jersey. Treaty operations in Canada are conducted through the Canadian branch of Arch Re U.S. (“Arch Re Canada”). Arch Re U.S. is also an admitted insurer in Guam. Our property facultative reinsurance operations are conducted primarily through Arch Re U.S. The property facultative reinsurance operations have offices throughout the U.S., Canada and in Europe. Arch Re Europe, licensed and authorized as a non-life reinsurer and a life reinsurer, is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland with branch offices in Zurich and London.
In February 2017, Arch Underwriters (Gulf) Limited (“Arch Underwriters Gulf”) was licensed as an Insurance Manager by
the Dubai Financial Services Authority. Arch Underwriters Gulf is based in the Dubai International Financial Centre and provides underwriting, administrative and support services to Arch Re Bermuda and certain employees and certain administrative support services to Gulf Re.
Strategy. Our reinsurance group’s strategy is to capitalize on our financial capacity, experienced management and operational flexibility to offer multiple products through our operations. The reinsurance group’s operating principles are to:
Actively select and manage risks. Our reinsurance group only underwrites business that meets certain profitability criteria, and it emphasizes disciplined underwriting over premium growth. To this end, our reinsurance group maintains centralized control over reinsurance underwriting guidelines and authorities.
Maintain flexibility and respond to changing market conditions. Our reinsurance group’s organizational structure and philosophy allows it to take advantage of increases or changes in demand or favorable pricing trends. Our reinsurance group believes that its existing platforms in Bermuda, the U.S., Europe, Dubai and Canada, broad underwriting expertise and substantial capital facilitate adjustments to its mix of business geographically and by line and type of coverage. Our reinsurance group believes that this flexibility allows it to participate in those market opportunities that provide the greatest potential for underwriting profitability.
Maintain a low cost structure. Our reinsurance group believes that maintaining tight control over its staffing level and operating primarily as a broker market reinsurer permits it to maintain low operating costs relative to its capital and premiums.
Our reinsurance group writes business on both a proportional and non-proportional basis and writes both treaty and facultative business. In a proportional reinsurance arrangement (also known as pro rata reinsurance, quota share reinsurance or participating reinsurance), the reinsurer shares a proportional part of the original premiums and losses of the reinsured. The reinsurer pays the cedent a commission which is generally based on the cedent’s cost of acquiring the business being reinsured (including commissions, premium taxes, assessments and miscellaneous administrative expenses) and may also include a profit factor. Non-proportional (or excess of loss) reinsurance indemnifies the reinsured against all or a specified portion of losses on underlying insurance policies in excess of a specified amount, which is called a “retention.” Non-proportional business is written in layers and a reinsurer or group of reinsurers accepts a band of coverage up to a specified amount. The total coverage purchased by the cedent is referred to as a “program.” Any liability exceeding the upper limit of the program reverts to the cedent.
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The reinsurance group’s treaty operations generally seek to write significant lines on less commoditized classes of coverage, such as specialty property and casualty reinsurance treaties. However, with respect to other classes of coverage, such as property catastrophe and casualty clash, the reinsurance group’s treaty operations participate in a relatively large number of treaties where they believe that they can underwrite and process the business efficiently. The reinsurance group’s property facultative operations write reinsurance on a facultative basis whereby they assume part of the risk under primarily single insurance contracts. Facultative reinsurance is typically purchased by ceding companies for individual risks not covered by their reinsurance treaties, for unusual risks or for amounts in excess of the limits on their reinsurance treaties.
Our reinsurance group focuses on the following areas:
Casualty: provides coverage to ceding company clients on third party liability and workers’ compensation exposures from ceding company clients, primarily on a treaty basis. Exposures include, among others, executive assurance, professional liability, workers’ compensation, excess and umbrella liability, excess motor and healthcare business.
Marine and aviation: provides coverage for energy, hull, cargo, specie, liability and transit, and aviation business, including airline and general aviation risks. Business written may also include space business, which includes coverages for satellite assembly, launch and operation for commercial space programs.
Other specialty: provides coverage to ceding company clients for proportional motor and other lines, including surety, accident and health, workers’ compensation catastrophe, agriculture, trade credit and political risk.
Property catastrophe: provides protection for most catastrophic losses that are covered in the underlying policies written by reinsureds, including hurricane, earthquake, flood, tornado, hail and fire, and coverage for other perils on a case-by-case basis. Property catastrophe reinsurance provides coverage on an excess of loss basis when aggregate losses and loss adjustment expense from a single occurrence or aggregation of losses from a covered peril exceed the retention specified in the contract.
Property excluding property catastrophe: provides coverage for both personal lines and commercial property exposures and principally covers buildings, structures, equipment and contents. The primary perils in this business include fire, explosion, collapse, riot, vandalism, wind, tornado, flood and earthquake. Business is assumed on both a proportional and excess of loss basis. In addition, facultative business is written which focuses on individual commercial property risks on an excess of loss basis.
Other. includes life reinsurance business on both a proportional and non-proportional basis, casualty clash
business and, in limited instances, non-traditional business which is intended to provide insurers with risk management solutions that complement traditional reinsurance.
Underwriting Philosophy. Our reinsurance group employs a disciplined, analytical approach to underwriting reinsurance risks that is designed to specify an adequate premium for a given exposure commensurate with the amount of capital it anticipates placing at risk. A number of our reinsurance group’s underwriters are also actuaries. It is our reinsurance group’s belief that employing actuaries on the front-end of the underwriting process gives it an advantage in evaluating risks and constructing a high quality book of business.
As part of the underwriting process, our reinsurance group typically assesses a variety of factors, including:
adequacy of underlying rates for a specific class of business and territory;
the reputation of the proposed cedent and the likelihood of establishing a long-term relationship with the cedent, the geographic area in which the cedent does business, together with its catastrophe exposures, and our aggregate exposures in that area;
historical loss data for the cedent and, where available, for the industry as a whole in the relevant regions, in order to compare the cedent’s historical loss experience to industry averages;
projections of future loss frequency and severity; and
the perceived financial strength of the cedent.
Marketing. Our reinsurance group generally markets its reinsurance products through brokers, except our property facultative reinsurance group, which generally deals directly with the ceding companies. Brokers do not have the authority to bind our reinsurance group with respect to reinsurance agreements, nor does our reinsurance group commit in advance to accept any portion of the business that brokers submit to them. Our reinsurance group generally pays brokerage fees to brokers based on negotiated percentages of the premiums written through such brokers. For information on major brokers, see note 16, “Commitments and Contingencies—Concentrations of Credit Risk,” to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
Risk Management and Retrocession. Our reinsurance group currently purchases a combination of per event excess of loss, per risk excess of loss, proportional retrocessional agreements and other structures that are available in the market. Such arrangements reduce the effect of individual or aggregate losses on, and in certain cases may also increase the underwriting capacity of, our reinsurance group. Our reinsurance group will continue to evaluate its retrocessional requirements based on
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For catastrophe exposed reinsurance business, our reinsurance group seeks to limit the amount of exposure it assumes from any one reinsured and the amount of the aggregate exposure to catastrophe losses from a single event in any one geographic zone. For a discussion of our risk management policies, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies, Estimates and Recent Accounting Pronouncements—Ceded Reinsurance” and “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Industry—The failure of any of the loss limitation methods we employ could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.”
Claims Management. Claims management includes the receipt of initial loss reports, creation of claim files, determination of whether further investigation is required, establishment and adjustment of case reserves and payment of claims. Additionally, audits are conducted for both specific claims and overall claims procedures at the offices of selected ceding companies. Our reinsurance group makes use of outside consultants for claims work from time to time.
Our mortgage operations provide U.S. and international mortgage insurance and reinsurance operations as well as participation in GSE credit risk-sharing transactions. Our mortgage group includes direct mortgage insurance in the U.S. primarily through Arch Mortgage Insurance Company and United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company (together, “Arch MI U.S.”); mortgage reinsurance primarily through Arch Re Bermuda to mortgage insurers on both a proportional and non-proportional basis globally; direct mortgage insurance in Europe through Arch MI Europe and in Hong Kong through Arch MI Asia Limited (“Arch MI Asia”); and participation in various GSE credit risk-sharing products primarily through Arch Re Bermuda.
In 2014 we completed the acquisition of CMG Mortgage Insurance Company from its owners, PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., (“PMI”) and CMFG Life Insurance Company (“CUNA Mutual”) and acquired PMI’s mortgage insurance platform and related assets. CMG Mortgage Insurance Company was renamed “Arch Mortgage Insurance Company” and entered the U.S. mortgage insurance marketplace. Arch Mortgage Insurance Company is licensed and operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
On December 31, 2016, we completed the acquisition of UGC and its primary operating subsidiary, United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company, which is licensed and operates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Arch Mortgage Insurance Company and United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company have each been approved as an eligible mortgage insurer by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, subject to maintaining certain ongoing requirements (“eligible mortgage insurer”). Arch Mortgage Guaranty Company offers direct mortgage insurance to U.S. mortgage lenders with respect to mortgages that lenders intend to retain in portfolio or include in non-agency securitizations. Arch Mortgage Guaranty Company, which is licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, insures mortgages that are not intended to be sold to the GSEs, and it is therefore not approved by either GSE as an eligible mortgage insurer.
Arch MI Europe was licensed and authorized by the Central Bank of Ireland (“CBOI”) in 2011 to operate on a pan-European basis under the European Freedom of Services Act. Arch MI Europe is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. Arch Underwriters Europe Limited (“Arch Underwriters Europe”), an Irish company authorized as an insurance and reinsurance intermediary by the CBOI, acts on behalf of Arch MI Europe and Arch Re Europe with branch offices in Italy, Switzerland, the U.K., and Finland. In 2017 we completed the acquisition of Arch MI Asia from AIG. On January 17, 2019, Arch LMI was authorized by APRA to write lenders’ mortgage insurance. Arch LMI is headquartered in Sydney, Australia and will focus on providing direct lenders’ mortgage insurance to the Australian market.
Strategy. The mortgage insurance market operates on a distinct underwriting cycle, with demand driven mainly by the housing market and general economic conditions. As a result, the creation of the mortgage group provides us with a more diverse revenue stream. Our mortgage group’s strategy is to capitalize on its financial capacity, mortgage insurance technology platform, operational flexibility and experienced management to offer mortgage insurance, reinsurance and other risk-sharing products in the U.S. and around the world.
Our mortgage group’s operating principles and goals are to:
Capitalize on profitable underwriting opportunities. Our mortgage group believes that its experienced management, analytics and underwriting teams are positioned to identify and evaluate business with attractive risk/reward characteristics.
Maintain a disciplined credit risk philosophy. Our mortgage group’s credit risk philosophy is to generate underwriting profit through disciplined credit risk analysis and proper pricing. Our mortgage group believes that the key to this approach is maintaining discipline across all phases of the applicable housing and mortgage lending cycles.
Provide superior and innovative mortgage products and services. Our mortgage group believes that it can leverage
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its financial capacity, experience across insurance product lines, and its analytics and technology to provide innovative products and superior service. The mortgage group believes that its delivery of tailored products that meet the specific, evolving needs of its customers will be a key to the group’s success.
Maintain our position as a leading provider of U.S. mortgage insurance business. Prior to our 2014 acquisition, Arch Mortgage Insurance Company was the leading provider of mortgage insurance products and services to credit unions in the U.S. We broadened our customer base into national and regional banks and mortgage originators while maintaining and increasing its share of the mortgage insurance credit union market. With the acquisition of UGC, a leading provider of mortgage insurance products and services to national and regional banks and mortgage originators, we are the leading provider of U.S. mortgage insurance.
Our mortgage group focuses on the following areas:
Direct mortgage insurance in the United States. Under their monoline insurance licenses, each of Arch’s eligible mortgage insurers may only offer private mortgage insurance covering first lien, one-to-four family residential mortgages. Nearly all of our mortgage insurance written provides first loss protection on loans originated by mortgage lenders and sold to the GSEs. Each GSE’s Congressional charter generally prohibits it from purchasing a mortgage where the principal balance of the mortgage is in excess of 80% of the value of the property securing the mortgage unless the excess portion of the mortgage is protected against default by lender recourse, participation or by a qualified insurer. As a result, such “high loan-to-value mortgages” purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac generally are insured with private mortgage insurance.
Mortgage insurance protects the insured lender, investor or GSE against loss in the event of a borrower’s default. If a borrower defaults on mortgage payments, private mortgage insurance reduces, and may eliminate, losses to the insured. Private mortgage insurance may also facilitate the sale of mortgage loans in the secondary mortgage market because of the credit enhancement it provides. Our primary U.S. mortgage insurance policies predominantly cover individual loans and are effective at the time the loan is originated. We also may enter into insurance transactions with lenders and investors, under which we insure a portfolio of loans at or after origination. Although not currently a significant product, we may offer mortgage insurance on a “pool” basis in the future. Under pool insurance, the mortgage insurer provides coverage on a group of specified loans, typically for 100% of all contractual or policy-defined losses on every loan in the
portfolio, subject to an agreed aggregate loss limit. Pool insurance may be in a first loss position with respect to loans that do not have primary mortgage insurance policies, or it may be in a second loss position, covering losses in excess of those covered by the primary mortgage insurance policy.
Direct mortgage insurance in Europe and other countries where we identify profitable underwriting opportunities. Since 2011, Arch MI Europe has offered mortgage insurance to European mortgage lenders. Arch MI Europe’s mortgage insurance is primarily purchased by European mortgage lenders in order to reduce lenders’ credit risk and regulatory capital requirements associated with the insured mortgages. In certain European countries, lenders purchase mortgage insurance to facilitate regulatory compliance with respect to high loan-to-value residential lending. Arch MI Europe offers mortgage insurance on both a “flow” basis to cover new originations and through structured transactions to cover one or more portfolios of previously originated residential loans. In addition, with our acquisition of Arch MI Asia in 2017 and regulatory approval of Arch LMI in January 2019, we are focused on expanding origination opportunities for lenders in Hong Kong and throughout Asia and Australia.
Reinsurance. Arch Re Bermuda provides quota share reinsurance covering U.S. and international mortgages. Such amounts include a quota share reinsurance agreement with PMI pursuant to which it agreed to provide 100% quota share indemnity reinsurance to PMI for all certificates of insurance that were issued by PMI from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2011 that were not in default as of an agreed upon effective date. Other than this quota share, no PMI legacy mortgage insurance exposures were assumed.
Other credit risk-sharing products. In addition to providing traditional mortgage insurance and reinsurance, we offer various credit risk-sharing products to government agencies and mortgage lenders. The GSEs have reduced their exposure to mortgage risk and continue to shift more of it to the private sector, creating opportunities for insurers to assume additional mortgage risk. In 2013, Arch Re Bermuda became the first (re)insurance company to participate in Freddie Mac’s program to transfer certain credit risk in its single-family portfolio to the private sector. Since that time, Arch Re Bermuda and its affiliates have regularly participated in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac risk sharing programs.
In 2017, we established Arch Mortgage Risk Transfer PCC Inc. (“Arch MRT”) a District of Columbia based protected cell captive insurer, licensed by District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking as a mortgage insurer. Arch MRT issues direct mortgage insurance to the GSEs
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through incorporated protected cells and cedes 100% of the risk to GSE approved reinsurers, including Arch Re U.S. Arch MRT entered into one pilot transaction with each of the GSEs in 2018.
In 2018 we established Arch Credit Risk Services Inc.(“ACRS”) and licensed it as a reinsurance intermediary in several states. ACRS offers mortgage credit assessment and underwriting advisory services with respect to participation in GSE credit risk transfer transactions.
Underwriting Philosophy. Our mortgage group believes in a disciplined, analytical approach to underwriting mortgage risks by utilizing proprietary and third party models, including forecasting delinquency and future home price movements with the goal of ensuring that premiums are adequate for the risk being insured. Experienced actuaries and statistical modelers are engaged in analytics to inform the underwriting process. As part of the underwriting process, our mortgage group typically assesses a variety of factors, including the:
ability and willingness of the mortgage borrower to pay its obligations under the mortgage loan being insured;
characteristics of the mortgage loan being insured and value of the collateral securing the mortgage loan;
financial strength, quality of operations and reputation of the lender originating the mortgage loan;
expected future home price movements which vary by geography;
projections of future loss frequency and severity; and
adequacy of premium rates.
Sales and Distribution. We employ a sales force located throughout the U.S. to directly sell mortgage insurance products and services to our customers, which include mortgage originators such as mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, commercial banks, savings institutions, credit unions and community banks. Our largest single mortgage insurance customer (including branches and affiliates) accounted for 6.9% of our primary new insurance written during 2018 with no other customer accounting for greater than 3.4%. The percentage of our primary new insurance written generated by our top 10 customers was 25.2% in 2018. In Europe, Asia, Bermuda and Australia, our products and services are/or will be distributed on a direct basis and through brokers. Each country represents a unique set of opportunities and challenges that require knowledge of market conditions and client needs to develop effective solutions.
Risk Management. Exposure to mortgage risk is monitored globally and managed through underwriting guidelines,pricing, reinsurance, utilization of proprietary risk models, concentration limits and limits on net probable loss resulting from a severe economic downturn in the housing market. For
a discussion of our risk management policies, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies, Estimates and Recent Accounting Pronouncements—Ceded Reinsurance” and “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Industry—The failure of any of the loss limitation methods we employ could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.”
Our mortgage group has ceded a portion of its premium on a quota share basis through certain reinsurance agreements and through aggregate excess of loss reinsurance agreements which provide reinsurance coverage for delinquencies on portfolios of in-force policies issued between certain periods. See note 7, “Reinsurance,” to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8 for further details.
Reinsurance arrangements do not relieve our mortgage group from its primary obligations to insured parties. Reinsurance recoverables are recorded as assets, predicated on the reinsurers’ ability to meet their obligations under the reinsurance agreements. If the reinsurers are unable to satisfy their obligations under the agreements, our mortgage subsidiaries would be liable for such defaulted amounts. For our U.S. mortgage insurance business, in addition to utilizing reinsurance, we have developed a proprietary risk model that simulates the maximum loss resulting from severe economic events impacting the housing market. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Catastrophic Events and Severe Economic Events.”
Claims Management. With respect to our direct mortgage insurance business, the claims process generally begins with notification by the insured or servicer to us of a default on an insured loan. The insured is generally required to notify us of a default after the borrower becomes two consecutive monthly payments in default. Borrowers default for a variety of reasons, including a reduction of income, unemployment, divorce, illness, inability to manage credit, rising interest rate levels and declining home prices. Upon notice of a default, in certain cases we may coordinate with loan servicers to facilitate and enhance retention workouts on insured loans. Retention workouts include loan modifications and other loan repayment options, which may enable borrowers to cure mortgage defaults and retain ownership of their homes. If a retention workout is not viable for a borrower, our loss on a loan may be mitigated through a liquidation workout option, including a pre-foreclosure sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.
In the U.S., our master policies generally provide that within 60 days of the perfection of a primary insurance claim, we have the option of:
paying the insurance coverage percentage specified in the certificate of insurance multiplied by the loss amount;
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in the event the property is sold pursuant to an approved prearranged sale, paying the lesser of (i) 100% of the loss amount less the proceeds of sale of the property, or (ii) the specified coverage percentage multiplied by the loss amount; or
paying 100% of the loss amount in exchange for the insured’s conveyance to us of good and marketable title to the property, with us then selling the property for our own account.
While we select the claim settlement option that best mitigates the amount of our claim payment, in the U.S. we generally pay the coverage percentage multiplied by the loss amount.
In 2014 we and HPS Investment Partners, LLC (formerly Highbridge Principal Strategies, LLC) (“HPS”), sponsored the formation of Watford Re. Arch Re Bermuda invested $100.0 million and acquired 2,500,000 common shares, approximately 11%, of Watford Re and a warrant to purchase up to 975,503 additional common shares. Watford Re’s strategy is to combine a diversified reinsurance and insurance business with a disciplined investment strategy comprised primarily of non-investment grade credit assets. Watford Re has its own management and board of directors and is responsible for the overall profitability of its results. Arch Re Bermuda has appointed two directors to serve on the nine person board of directors of Watford Re. We performed an analysis of Watford Re and concluded that Watford Re is a variable interest entity and that we are the primary beneficiary of Watford Re. As such, 100% of the results of Watford Re are included in our consolidated financial statements.
In 2017 we and Kelso & Company (“Kelso”) sponsored the formation of Premia Re. Premia Re’s strategy is to reinsure or acquire companies or reserve portfolios in the non-life property and casualty insurance and reinsurance run-off market. Arch Re Bermuda and certain Arch co-investors invested $100.0 million and acquired approximately 25% of Premia Re as well as warrants to purchase additional common equity. Affiliates of Kelso invested $300.0 million and acquired the balance of Premia Re as well as warrants to purchase additional common equity. Arch Re Bermuda is providing a 25% whole account quota share reinsurance treaty on business written by Premia Re, and subsidiaries of Arch Capital are providing certain administrative and support services to Premia Re, in each case pursuant to separate multi-year agreements. Arch Re Bermuda has appointed two directors to serve on the seven person board of directors of Premia Re.
As of February 15, 2019, Arch Capital and its subsidiaries employed approximately 3,642 full-time employees.
Reserve estimates are derived after extensive consultation with individual underwriters and claims professionals, actuarial analysis of the loss reserve development and comparison with industry benchmarks. Our reserves are established and reviewed by experienced internal actuaries. Generally, reserves are established without regard to whether we may subsequently contest the claim. We do not currently discount our loss reserves except for excess workers’ compensation and employers’ liability loss reserves in our insurance operations.
Reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses (“Loss Reserves”) represent estimates of what the insurer or reinsurer ultimately expects to pay on claims at a given time, based on facts and circumstances then known, and it is probable that the ultimate liability may exceed or be less than such estimates. Even actuarially sound methods can lead to subsequent adjustments to reserves that are both significant and irregular due to the nature of the risks written. Loss Reserves are inherently subject to uncertainty.
In establishing Loss Reserves, including loss adjustment expenses (“LAE”), we have made various assumptions relating to the pricing of our reinsurance contracts and insurance policies and have also considered available historical industry experience and current industry conditions. The timing and amounts of actual claim payments related to recorded reserves vary based on many factors including large individual losses and changes in the legal environment, as well as general market conditions. The ultimate amount of the claim payments could differ materially from our estimated amounts. Certain lines of business written by us, such as excess casualty, have loss experience characterized as low frequency and high severity. This may result in significant variability in loss payment patterns and, therefore, may impact the related asset/liability investment management process in order to be in a position, if necessary, to make these payments. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies, Estimates and Recent Accounting Pronouncements—Reserves for Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses.”
Our initial reserving method to date has to a large extent been the expected loss method, which is commonly applied when limited loss experience exists. We select the initial expected loss and loss adjustment expense ratios based on information derived by our underwriters and actuaries during the initial pricing of the business, supplemented by industry data where appropriate. These ratios consider, among other things, rate changes and changes in terms and conditions that have been observed in the market. Any estimates and assumptions made as part of the reserving process could prove to be inaccurate due to several factors, including the fact that relatively limited historical information has been reported to us through
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December 31, 2018. We employ a number of different reserving methods depending on the segment, the line of business, the availability of historical loss experience and the stability of that loss experience. Over time, we have given additional weight to our historical loss experience in our reserving process due to the continuing maturation of our reserves, and the increased availability and credibility of the historical experience.
For additional information regarding the key underlying movements in our losses and loss adjustment expenses by segment, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Results of Operations.”
The following table represents an analysis of consolidated losses and loss adjustment expenses and a reconciliation of the beginning and ending reserve for losses and loss adjustment expenses:
Year Ended December 31,
Loss Reserves at beginning of year
Unpaid losses and LAE recoverable
Net Loss Reserves at beginning of year
Net incurred losses and LAE relating to losses occurring in:
Total net incurred losses and LAE
Net Loss Reserves of acquired
Retroactive reinsurance transaction (2)
Foreign exchange losses (gains)
Net paid losses and LAE relating to losses occurring in:
Total net paid losses and LAE
Net Loss Reserves at end of year
Unpaid losses and LAE recoverable
Loss Reserves at end of year
2016 amount relates to our acquisition of UGC.
During the 2018 second quarter a subsidiary of the Company entered into a retroactive reinsurance transaction with a third party reinsurer to reinsure runoff liabilities associated with certain discontinued U.S. specialty casualty and program exposures.
Unpaid and paid losses and loss adjustment expenses recoverable were approximately $2.92 billion at December 31, 2018. We are subject to credit risk with respect to our reinsurance and retrocessions because the ceding of risk to reinsurers and retrocessionaires does not relieve us of our liability to the clients or companies we insure or reinsure. Our failure to establish adequate reinsurance or retrocessional arrangements or the failure of our existing reinsurance or retrocessional arrangements to protect us from overly
concentrated risk exposure could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Although we monitor the financial condition of our reinsurers and retrocessionaires and attempt to place coverages only with substantial, financially sound carriers, we may not be successful in doing so.
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At December 31, 2018, total investable assets held by Arch were $19.57 billion, excluding the $2.76 billion included in the ‘other’ segment (i.e., attributable to Watford Re). Our current investment guidelines and approach stress preservation of capital, market liquidity and diversification of risk. Our investments are subject to market-wide risks and fluctuations, as well as to risks inherent in particular securities. While maintaining our emphasis on preservation of capital and liquidity, we expect our portfolio to become more diversified and, as a result, we may in the future expand into areas which are not part of our current investment strategy.
The following table summarizes the fair value of investable assets held by Arch (i.e., excluding the ‘other’ segment):
Investable assets (1):
December 31, 2018
Fixed maturities (2)
Short-term investments (2)
Equity securities (2)
Other investments (2)
Investments accounted for using the equity method
Securities transactions entered into but not settled at the balance sheet date
Total investable assets held by Arch
Average effective duration (in years)
Average S&P/Moody’s credit ratings (3)
Embedded book yield (4)
December 31, 2017
Fixed maturities (2)
Short-term investments (2)
Equity securities (2)
Other investments (2)
Investments accounted for using the equity method
Securities transactions entered into but not settled at the balance sheet date
Total investable assets held by Arch
Average effective duration (in years)
Average S&P/Moody’s credit ratings (3)
Embedded book yield (4)
In securities lending transactions, we receive collateral in excess of the fair value of the securities pledged. For purposes of this table, we have excluded the collateral received under securities lending, at fair value and included the securities pledged under securities lending, at fair value.
Includes investments carried as available for sale, at fair value and at fair value under the fair value option.
Average credit ratings on our investment portfolio on securities with ratings by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (“S&P”) and Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”).
Before investment expenses.
The credit quality distribution of our fixed maturities and fixed maturities pledged under securities lending agreements are shown below:
December 31, 2018
December 31, 2017
U.S. government and government agencies (2)
Lower than B
For individual fixed maturities, S&P ratings are used. In the absence of an S&P rating, ratings from Moody’s are used, followed by ratings from Fitch Ratings.
Includes U.S. government-sponsored agency mortgage backed securities and agency commercial mortgage backed securities.
See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources—Financial Condition—Investable Assets” and note 8, “Investment Information,” to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
The following table summarizes the pre-tax total return (before investment expenses) of investment held by Arch compared to the benchmark return (both based in U.S. Dollars) against which we measured our portfolio during the periods:
Pre-tax total return (before investment expenses):
Year Ended December 31, 2018
Year Ended December 31, 2017
Year Ended December 31, 2016
Our investment expenses were approximately 0.36%, 0.30% and 0.34%, respectively, of average invested assets in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
The benchmark return index is a customized combination of indices intended to approximate a target portfolio by asset mix and average credit quality while also matching the approximate estimated duration and currency mix of our insurance and reinsurance liabilities. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—General—Financial Measures—Total Return on Investments”.
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Our ability to underwrite business is affected by the quality of our claims paying ability and financial strength ratings as evaluated by independent agencies. Such ratings from third party internationally recognized statistical rating organizations or agencies are instrumental in establishing the financial security of companies in our industry. We believe that the primary users of such ratings include commercial and investment banks, policyholders, brokers, ceding companies and investors. Insurance ratings are also used by insurance and reinsurance intermediaries as an important means of assessing the financial strength and quality of insurers and reinsurers, and are often an important factor in the decision by an insured or intermediary of whether to place business with a particular insurance or reinsurance provider. Periodically, rating agencies evaluate us to confirm that we continue to meet their criteria for the ratings assigned to us by them. A.M. Best Company (“A.M. Best”), Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”), Moody’s and S&P are ratings agencies which have assigned financial strength and/or issuer ratings to Arch Capital and/or one or more of its subsidiaries. The ratings issued on our companies by these agencies are announced publicly and are available directly from the agencies. For further information on our financial strength and/or issuer ratings, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
The worldwide reinsurance and insurance businesses are highly competitive. We compete, and will continue to compete, with major U.S. and non-U.S. insurers and reinsurers, some of which have greater financial, marketing and management resources than we have and longer-term relationships with insureds and brokers than we have had. We compete with other insurers and reinsurers primarily on the basis of overall financial strength, ratings assigned by independent rating agencies, geographic scope of business, strength of client relationships, premiums charged, contract terms and conditions, products and services offered, speed of claims payment, reputation, employee experience, and qualifications and local presence.
In our insurance business, we compete with insurers that provide specialty property and casualty lines of insurance, including Alleghany Corporation, American Financial Group, Inc., American International Group, Inc., AXA XL, AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., Chubb Limited, CNA Financial Corp., Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., Liberty Mutual Insurance, Lloyd’s, Markel Insurance Company, RLI Corp., Sompo International, Tokio Marine HCC, The Travelers Companies, W.R. Berkley Corp. and Zurich Insurance Group. In our reinsurance business, we compete with reinsurers that provide property and casualty lines of reinsurance, including
Alleghany Corporation, Argo International Holdings, Ltd., AXA XL, AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., Chubb Limited, Everest Re Group Ltd., Hannover Rückversicherung AG, Lloyd’s, Markel Global Reinsurance, Munich Re Group, PartnerRe Ltd., RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd., SCOR Global P&C, SCOR Global Life, Sompo International, Swiss Reinsurance Company and Validus Re.
In our U.S. mortgage business, we compete with five active U.S. mortgage insurers, which include the mortgage insurance subsidiaries of Essent Group Ltd., Genworth Financial Inc., MGIC Investment Corporation, NMI Holdings Inc. and Radian Group Inc. The private mortgage insurance industry is highly competitive. Private mortgage insurers generally compete on the basis of underwriting guidelines, pricing, terms and conditions, financial strength, product and service offerings, customer relationships, reputation, the strength of management, technology, and innovation in the delivery and servicing of insurance products. Arch MI U.S. and other private mortgage insurers compete with federal and state government agencies that sponsor their own mortgage insurance programs. The private mortgage insurers’ principal government competitor is the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) and, to a lesser degree, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”). Future changes to the FHA program may impact the demand for private mortgage insurance.
Arch MI U.S. and other private mortgage insurers increasingly compete with multi-line reinsurers and capital markets alternatives to private mortgage insurance. The GSEs continued their respective mortgage credit risk transfer (“CRT”) programs including the use of front and back-end transactions with multiline reinsurers. These transactions continue to create opportunities for multiline property casualty reinsurance groups and capital markets participants. The ongoing expansion of the GSEs risk transfer programs continue to attract additional reinsurers into the market with approximately 40 reinsurers now competing for business.
For other U.S. risk sharing products and non-U.S. mortgage insurance opportunities, we have also seen increased competition from well capitalized and highly rated multiline reinsurers. It is our expectation that the depth and capacity of competitors from this segment will continue to increase over the next several years as more residential mortgage credit risk is borne by private capital.
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ENTERPRISE RISK MANAGEMENT
General. Enterprise Risk Management (“ERM”) is a key element in our philosophy, strategy and culture. We employ an ERM framework that includes underwriting, reserving, investment, credit and operational risks. Risk appetite and exposure limits are set by our executive management team, reviewed with the Board and its committees and routinely discussed with business unit management. These limits are articulated in our risk appetite statement, which details risk appetite, tolerances and limits for each major risk category, and are integrated into our operating guidelines. Exposures are aggregated and monitored periodically by our corporate risk management team. The reporting, review and approval of risk management information is integrated into our annual planning process, capital modeling and allocation, reinsurance purchasing strategy and reviewed at insurance business reviews, reinsurance underwriting meetings and board level committees.
Risk Management Process and Procedures. The following narrative provides an overview of our risk management framework and our methodology for identifying, measuring, managing and reporting on the key risks affecting us. It outlines our approach to risk identification and assessment and provides an overview of our risk appetite and tolerance for each of the following major risks: underwriting (insurance) risk including pricing, reserving and catastrophe; investment including market and liquidity risks; strategic risk; group risk including governance and capital market risk; credit risk; and operational risk, including regulatory, investor relations (reputational risk), rating agency and outsourcing risks.
The framework includes details of our risk philosophy and policies to address the material risks confronting us; and compliance, approach and procedures to control and or mitigate these risks. The actions and policies implemented to meet our business management and regulatory obligations form the core of this framework. We have adopted a holistic approach to risk management by analyzing risk from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective.
Risk Identification and Assessment. The Finance, Investment and Risk Committee (“FIR Committee”), Audit Committee and Underwriting Oversight Committee of the Board oversee the top-down and bottom-up review of our risks. Given the nature and scale of our operations, these committees consider all aforementioned risks within the scope of the assessment. Arch Capital’s Chief Risk Officer (“CRO”) assists these committees in the identification and assessment of all key risks. The CRO is responsible for maintaining Arch Capital’s risk register and continually reviewing and challenging risk assessments, including the impact of emerging risks and significant business developments. Board approval is required for any new high level risks or change in inherent or residual designations.
Risk Monitoring and Control. Arch Capital’s risk management framework requires risk owners to monitor key risks on a continuous basis. The highest residual risks are actively managed by the FIR Committee. The remaining risks are managed and monitored at a process level by the risk owners and/or the CRO. Risk owners have ultimate responsibility for the day-to-day management of each designated risk, reporting to the CRO on the satisfactory management and control of the risk and timely escalation of significant issues that may arise in relation to that risk. The CRO is responsible for overseeing the monitoring of all risks across the business and for communicating to the relevant risk owners if he becomes aware of issues, or potential and actual breaches of risk appetite, relevant to the assigned risks. A key element of these monitoring activities is the evaluation of our position relative to risk tolerances and limits approved by the Board.
Risk Reporting. Quarterly, the CRO compiles the results of the key risk review process into a report to the FIR Committee for review and discussion at their quarterly meeting. The report includes an overview of selected key risks; changes in the rating of high level risks in the Arch Capital risk register; a risk dashboard that depicts the status of risk limit and tolerance metrics; a summary of largest exposures and concentration risks; and our reinsurance arrangements, including outstanding and uncollectible recoveries. If necessary, risk management matters reviewed at the FIR Committee meeting are presented for discussion by the Board. The CRO is responsible for immediately escalating any significant risk matters to executive management, the FIR Committee and/or the Board for approval of the required remediation. As part of our corporate governance, the Board and certain of its committees hold regular executive sessions with members of our management team. These sessions are intended to ensure an open and frank dialogue exists about various forms of risk across the organization.
Implementation and Integration. We believe that an integrated approach to developing, measuring and reporting our Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (“ORSA”) is an integral part of the risk management framework. The ORSA process provides the link between Arch Capital’s risk profile, its board-approved risk appetite including approved risk tolerances and limits, its business strategy and its overall solvency requirements. The ORSA is the entirety of the processes and procedures employed to identify, assess, monitor, manage, and report the short- and long-term risks we face or may face and to determine the capital necessary to ensure that our overall solvency needs are met at all times. The ORSA also makes the link between actual reported results and the capital assessment.
The ORSA is the basis for risk reporting to the Board and its committees and acts as a mechanism to embed the risk management framework within our decision making processes and operations. The Board has delegated responsibility for supervision and oversight of the ORSA to the FIR Committee.
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This oversight includes regular reviews of the ORSA process and output. An ORSA report is produced at least annually and the results of each assessment are reported to the Board. The Board actively participates in the ORSA process by steering how the assessment is performed and challenging its results. This assessment is also taken into account when formulating strategic decisions.
The ORSA process and reporting are integral parts of our business strategy, tailored specifically to fit into our organizational structure and risk management system with the appropriate techniques in place to assess our overall solvency needs, taking into consideration the nature, scale and complexity of the risks inherent in the business.
We also take the results of the ORSA into account for our system of governance, including long-term capital management, business planning and new product development. The results of the ORSA also contributes to various strategic decision-making including how best to optimize capital management, establishing the most appropriate premium levels and deciding whether to retain or transfer risks.
For further discussion of our risk management policies, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies, Estimates and Recent Accounting Pronouncements—Ceded Reinsurance” and “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Industry—The failure of any of the loss limitation methods we employ could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.”
Our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries are subject to varying degrees of regulation and supervision in the various jurisdictions in which they operate. We are subject to extensive regulation under applicable statutes in these countries and any other jurisdictions in which we operate. The current material regulations under which we operate are described below. We may become subject in the future to regulation in new jurisdictions or to additional regulations in existing jurisdictions.
General. Our Bermuda insurance operating subsidiary, Arch Re Bermuda, is a Class 4 general business insurer and a Class C long-term insurer, and is subject to the Insurance Act 1978 of Bermuda and related regulations, as amended (“Insurance Act”). The Insurance Act imposes certain solvency and liquidity standards and auditing and reporting requirements and grants the Bermuda Monetary Authority (the “BMA”) powers to supervise, investigate, require information and demand the
production of documents and intervene in the affairs of insurance companies. Significant requirements include the appointment of an independent auditor, the appointment of a loss reserve specialist, the appointment of a principal representative in Bermuda, the filing of annual Statutory Financial Returns, the filing of annual financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), the filing of an annual capital and solvency return, compliance with minimum and enhanced capital requirements, compliance with certain restrictions on reductions of capital and the payment of dividends and distributions, compliance with group solvency and supervision rules, if applicable, and compliance with the Insurance Code of Conduct (relating to corporate governance, risk management and internal controls).
Arch Re Bermuda must also comply with a minimum liquidity ratio and minimum solvency margin in respect of its general business. The minimum liquidity ratio requires that the value of relevant assets must not be less than 75% of the amount of relevant liabilities. The minimum solvency margin, which varies depending on the class of the insurer, is determined as a percentage of either net reserves for losses and LAE or premiums or pursuant to a risk-based capital measure. Arch Re Bermuda is also subject to an enhanced capital requirement (“ECR”) which is established by reference to either the Bermuda Solvency Capital Requirement model (“BSCR”) or an approved internal capital model. The BSCR model is a risk-based capital model which provides a method for determining an insurer’s capital requirements (statutory capital and surplus) by taking into account the risk characteristics of different aspects of the insurer’s business. The BMA has established a target capital level for each Class 4 insurer equal to 120% of its enhanced capital requirement. While a Class 4 insurer is not currently required to maintain its available statutory economic capital and surplus at this level, the target capital level serves as an early warning tool for the BMA, and failure to maintain statutory capital at least equal to the target capital level will likely result in increased regulatory oversight. As a Class C insurer, Arch Re Bermuda is also required to maintain available statutory economic capital and surplus in respect of its long-term business at a level equal to or in excess of its long-term enhanced capital requirement which is established by reference to either the Class C BSCR model or an approved internal capital model.
Arch Re Bermuda is prohibited from declaring or paying any dividends during any financial year if it is in breach of its general business or long-term business enhanced capital requirements, minimum solvency margins or its general business minimum liquidity ratio or if the declaration or payment of such dividends would cause such a breach. If it has failed to meet its minimum solvency margins or minimum liquidity ratio on the last day of any financial year, Arch Re Bermuda will be prohibited, without the approval of the BMA, from declaring or paying any dividends during the next financial year. In addition, Arch Re Bermuda is prohibited from declaring or paying in any financial
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year dividends of more than 25% of its total statutory capital and surplus (as shown on its previous financial year’s statutory balance sheet) unless it files (at least seven days before payment of such dividends) with the BMA an affidavit stating that it will continue to meet the required margins. Without the approval of the BMA, Arch Re Bermuda is prohibited from reducing by 15% or more its total statutory capital as set out in its previous year’s financial statements and any application for such approval must include an affidavit stating that it will continue to meet the required margins.
On July 30, 2018 the Insurance Amendment (No. 2) Act 2018 amended the Insurance Act to provide for the prior payment of policyholders’ liabilities ahead of general unsecured creditors in the event of the liquidation or winding up of an insurer. The amendments provide inter alia that,subject to certain statutorily preferred debts, the insurance debts of an insurer must be paid in priority to all other unsecured debts of the insurer. Insurance debt is defined as a debt to which an insurer is or may become liable pursuant to an insurance contract excluding debts owed to an insurer under an insurance contract where the insurer is the person insured.
Group Supervision. The BMA acts as group supervisor of our group of insurance and reinsurance companies (“Group”) and has designated Arch Re Bermuda as the designated insurer (“Designated Insurer”). As our Group supervisor, the BMA performs a number of functions including: (i) coordinating the gathering and dissemination of information for other regulatory authorities; (ii) carrying out supervisory reviews and assessments of our Group; (iii) carrying out assessments of our Group's compliance with the rules on solvency, risk concentration, intra-group transactions and good governance procedures; (iv) planning and coordinating, through regular meetings with other authorities, supervisory activities in respect of our Group; (v) coordinating any enforcement action that may need to be taken against our Group or any Group members; and (vi) coordinating meetings of colleges of supervisors in order to facilitate the carrying out of these functions. As Designated Insurer, Arch Re Bermuda is required to facilitate compliance by our Group with the group insurance solvency and supervision rules.
On an annual basis, the Group is required to file Group statutory financial statements, a Group statutory financial return, a Group capital and solvency return, audited Group financial statements, a Group Solvency Self-Assessment (“GSSA”), and a financial condition report with the BMA. The GSSA is designed to document our perspective on the capital resources necessary to achieve our business strategies and remain solvent, and to provide the BMA with insights on our risk management, governance procedures and documentation related to this process. In addition, the Designated Insurer is required to file quarterly group financial returns with the BMA. The Group is also required to maintain available Group statutory economic capital and surplus in an amount that is at least equal to the
group enhanced capital requirement (“Group ECR”) and the BMA has established a group target capital level equal to 120% of the Group ECR.
The BMA maintains supervision over the controllers of all Bermuda registered insurers, and accordingly, any person who, directly or indirectly, becomes a holder of at least 10%, 20%, 33% or 50% of our ordinary shares must notify the BMA in writing within 45 days of becoming such a holder (or ceasing to be such a holder). The BMA may object to such a person and require the holder to reduce its holding of ordinary shares and direct, among other things, that voting rights attaching to the ordinary shares shall not be exercisable
General. Our U.S. based insurance operating subsidiaries are subject to extensive governmental regulation and supervision by the states and jurisdictions in which they are domiciled, licensed and/or approved to conduct business. The insurance laws and regulations of the state of domicile have the most significant impact on operations. We currently have U.S. insurance and/or reinsurance subsidiaries domiciled in Delaware, North Carolina, Missouri,Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. State insurance regulation and supervision is designed to protect policyholders rather than investors. Generally, state regulatory authorities have broad regulatory powers over such matters as licenses, standards of solvency, premium rates, policy forms, marketing practices, claims practices, investments, methods of accounting, form and content of financial statements, certain aspects of governance, enterprise risk management, amounts we are required to hold as reserves for future payments, minimum capital and surplus requirements, annual and other report filings and transactions among affiliates. Our U.S. based subsidiaries are required to file detailed quarterly statutory financial statements with state insurance regulators. In addition, regulatory authorities conduct periodic financial, claims and market conduct examinations. Certain insurance regulatory requirements are highlighted below. In addition to regulation applicable generally to U.S. insurance and reinsurance companies, our U.S. mortgage insurance operations are affected by federal and state regulation relating to mortgage insurers, mortgage lenders, and the origination, purchase and sale of residential mortgages. Arch Insurance Company Europe is also subject to certain governmental regulation and supervision in the states where it writes excess and surplus lines insurance.
Holding Company Regulation. All states have enacted legislation that regulates insurance holding company systems. These regulations generally provide that each insurance company in the system is required to register with the insurance department of its state of domicile and furnish information concerning the operations of companies within the holding company system which may materially affect the operations, management or financial condition of the insurers within the
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system. Notice to the state insurance departments is required prior to the consummation of certain material transactions between an insurer and any entity in its holding company system and certain transactions may not be consummated without the applicable insurance department’s prior approval or non-disapproval after receiving notice. The holding company acts also prohibit any person from directly or indirectly acquiring control of a U.S. insurance or reinsurance company unless that person has filed an application with specified information with such company’s domiciliary commissioner and has obtained the commissioner’s prior approval. Under most states’ statutes acquiring 10% or more of the voting securities of an insurance company or its parent company is presumptively considered an acquisition of control of the insurance company, although such presumption may be rebutted.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”) has adopted amendments to the Insurance Holding Company System Regulatory Act and Regulation, which, among other changes, introduce the concept of “enterprise risk” within an insurance holding company system. When the amendments are adopted by a particular state, the amended Insurance Holding Company System Regulatory Act and Regulation impose more extensive informational requirements on parents and other affiliates of licensed insurers or reinsurers with the purpose of protecting them from enterprise risk, including requiring an annual enterprise risk report by the ultimate controlling person identifying the material risks within the insurance holding company system that could pose enterprise risk to the licensed companies and requiring a person divesting its controlling interest to make a confidential advance notice filing.
Regulation of Dividends and Other Payments from Insurance Subsidiaries. The ability of an insurer to pay dividends or make other distributions is subject to insurance regulatory limitations of the insurer’s state of domicile. Such laws generally limit the payment of dividends or other distributions above a specified level. Dividends or other distributions in excess of such thresholds are “extraordinary” and are subject to prior notice and approval, or non-disapproval after receiving notice.
Credit for Reinsurance. Arch Re U.S. is subject to insurance regulation and supervision that is similar to the regulation of licensed primary insurers. However, except for certain mandated provisions that must be included in order for a ceding company to obtain credit for reinsurance ceded, the terms and conditions of reinsurance agreements generally are not subject to regulation by any governmental authority.
A primary insurer ordinarily will enter into a reinsurance agreement only if it can obtain credit for the reinsurance ceded on its U.S. statutory-basis financial statements. As a result of the requirements relating to the provision of credit for reinsurance, and Arch Re U.S. and Arch Re Bermuda are
indirectly subject to certain regulatory requirements imposed by jurisdictions in which ceding companies are domiciled.
In general, credit for reinsurance is allowed if the reinsurer is licensed or “accredited” in the state in which the primary insurer is domiciled; or if none of the above applies, to the extent that the reinsurance obligations of the reinsurer are collateralized appropriately, typically through the posting of a letter of credit for the benefit of the primary insurer or the deposit of assets into a trust fund established for the benefit of the primary insurer. Most states have adopted provisions of the NAIC Credit for Reinsurance Model Law and Regulation that allow full credit to U.S. ceding insurers for reinsurance ceded to reinsurers that have been approved as “certified reinsurers” based upon less than 100% collateralization. Arch Re Bermuda is approved as a “certified reinsurer” in 33 states.
On April 4, 2018 the U.S. and the European Union (“EU”) entered into the Bilateral Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on Prudential Matters Regarding Insurance and Reinsurance (the “EU-US Covered Agreement”) that, among other things, would eliminate reinsurance collateral requirements for qualified U.S. reinsurers operating in the EU insurance market, and eliminate reinsurance collateral requirements for qualified EU reinsurers operating in the U.S. insurance market. In December 2018, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and the U.S. Trade Representative announced that they had reached agreement with the U.K. on a covered agreement (“UK Covered Agreement”) that would extend terms nearly identical to the EU Covered Agreement to insurers and reinsurers operating in the U.K. should the United Kingdom ultimately leave the EU. The NAIC is finalizing amendments to the Credit for Reinsurance Model Law and Regulation that would implement the EU-US Covered Agreement and the UK Covered Agreement and eliminate reinsurance collateral requirements for qualified reinsurers domiciled in other jurisdictions deemed “Reciprocal Jurisdictions”.
Risk Management and ORSA. In 2012, the NAIC adopted the Risk Management and Own Risk and Solvency Assessment Model Act, which requires domestic insurers to maintain a risk management framework and establishes a legal requirement for domestic insurers to conduct an ORSA in accordance with the NAIC’s ORSA Guidance Manual. The ORSA Model Act provides that domestic insurers, or their insurance group, must regularly conduct an ORSA consistent with a process comparable to the ORSA Guidance Manual process. The ORSA Model Act also provides that, no more than once a year, an insurer’s domiciliary regulator may request that an insurer submit an ORSA summary report, or any combination of reports that together contain the information described in the ORSA Guidance Manual, with respect to the insurer and/or the insurance group of which it is a member. If and when the ORSA Model Act is adopted by an individual state, the state may
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impose additional internal review and regulatory filing requirements on licensed insurers and their parent companies.
Cybersecurity. The NAIC has adopted an Insurance Data Security Model Law, which, when adopted by the states, will require insurers, insurance producers and other entities required to be licensed under state insurance laws to comply with certain requirements under state insurance laws, such as developing and maintaining a written information security program, conducting risk assessments and overseeing the data security practices of third-party vendors. In addition, certain state insurance regulators are developing or have developed regulations that may impose regulatory requirements relating to cybersecurity on insurance and reinsurance companies (potentially including insurance and reinsurance companies that are not domiciled, but are licensed, in the relevant state). For example, the New York State Department of Financial Services has adopted a regulation pertaining to cybersecurity for all banking and insurance entities under its jurisdiction, effective as of March 1, 2017, and the California legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which takes effect January 1, 2020, both of which apply to us.We cannot predict the impact these evolving laws and regulations may have on our business, financial condition or results of operations, but we could incur additional costs resulting from compliance with such laws and regulations.
Risk-Based Capital Requirements. Licensed U.S. property and casualty insurance and reinsurance companies are subject to risk-based capital requirements that are designed to assess capital adequacy and to raise the level of protection that statutory surplus provides for policyholder obligations. The risk-based capital model for property and casualty insurance companies measures three major areas of risk facing property and casualty insurers: underwriting, which encompasses the risk of adverse loss developments and inadequate pricing; declines in asset values arising from credit risk; and declines in asset values arising from investment risks. An insurer will be subject to varying degrees of regulatory action depending on how its statutory surplus compares to its risk-based capital calculation. Under the approved formula, an insurer’s total adjusted capital is compared to its authorized control level risk-based capital. If this ratio is above a minimum threshold, no company or regulatory action is necessary. Below this threshold are four distinct action levels at which an insurer’s domiciliary state regulator can intervene with increasing degrees of authority over an insurer as the ratio of surplus to risk-based capital requirement decreases. The mildest regulatory action requires an insurer to submit a plan for corrective action; the most severe requires an insurer to be rehabilitated or liquidated.
Our mortgage insurance operations are not currently subject to state risk-based capital requirements, but rather are subject to state risk to capital or minimum policyholder position requirements. The NAIC has established a Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Working Group which is engaged in developing
changes to the Mortgage Guaranty Insurers Model Act, including the development of a risk based capital model unique to mortgage guaranty insurers.
Guaranty Funds. Most states require all admitted insurance companies to participate in their respective guaranty funds which cover certain claims against insolvent insurers. Solvent insurers licensed in these states are required to cover the losses paid on behalf of insolvent insurers by the guaranty funds and are generally subject to annual assessments in the states by the guaranty funds to cover these losses. Mortgage guaranty insurance, among other lines of business, is typically exempt from participation in guaranty funds.
Federal Regulation. Although state regulation is the dominant form of regulation for insurance and reinsurance business, a number of federal laws affect and apply to the insurance industry. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”) created the Federal Insurance Office (“FIO”) within the Department of Treasury, which is not a federal regulator or supervisor of insurance, but monitors the insurance industry for systemic risk, administers the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 (“TRIPRA”), consults with the states regarding insurance matters and develops federal policy on aspects of international insurance matters. See “Risk Factors-Risks Related to Our Industry-We could face unanticipated losses from war, terrorism and political instability, and these or other unanticipated losses could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations” for more information on TRIPRA. In addition, FIO is authorized to assist the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in negotiating “covered agreements” between the U.S. and one or more foreign governments or regulatory authorities that address insurance prudential measures.
Certain other federal laws also directly or indirectly impact mortgage insurers, including the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (“RESPA”), the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 (“HOPA”), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Truth In Lending Act (“TILA”), the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (“FCRA”), and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Among other things, these laws and their implementing regulations prohibit payments for referrals of settlement service business, require fairness and non-discrimination in granting or facilitating the granting of credit, govern the circumstances under which companies may obtain and use consumer credit information, define the manner in which companies may pursue collection activities, and require disclosures of the cost of credit and provide for other consumer protections.
GSE Eligible Mortgage Insurer Requirements. GSEs impose requirements on private mortgage insurers so that they may be eligible to insure loans sold to the GSEs, known as the Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements or “PMIERs.” The
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PMIERs apply to our eligible mortgage insurers, but do not apply to Arch Mortgage Guaranty Company, which is not GSE-approved. The PMIERs impose limitations on the type of risk insured, the forms and insurance policies issued, standards for the geographic and customer diversification of risk, procedures for claims handling, acceptable underwriting practices, standards for certain reinsurance cessions and financial requirements, among other things. The financial requirements require an eligible mortgage insurer’s available assets, which generally include only the most liquid assets of an insurer, to meet or exceed “minimum required assets” as of each quarter end. Minimum required assets are calculated from PMIERs tables with several risk dimensions (including origination year, original loan-to-value and original credit score of performing loans, and the delinquency status of non-performing loans). Our eligible mortgage insurers satisfied the PMIERs’ financial requirements as of December 31, 2018.
On September 27, 2018, the GSEs released revised Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements or “revised PMIERs”. The revised PMIERs become effective on March 31, 2019 and are not expected to have a significant impact on our eligible mortgage insurers operations or have a material impact on their capital position. While not yet effective, our eligible mortgage insurers satisfied the revised PMIERs’ financial requirements as of December 31, 2018.
General. The Prudential Regulation Authority (“PRA”) and the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) regulate insurance and reinsurance companies and the FCA regulates firms carrying on insurance mediation activities operating in the U.K. both under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (the “FSMA”). In May 2004, Arch Insurance Company Europe was granted the relevant permissions for the classes of insurance business which it underwrites in the U.K. In 2009, AUAL was licensed and authorized by the relevant U.K. regulator and the Lloyd’s Franchise Board and holds the relevant permissions for the classes of insurance business which are underwritten in the U.K. by Arch Syndicate 2012. Arch Syndicate 2012 has one member, Arch Syndicate Investments Ltd. (“ASIL”). All U.K. companies are also subject to a range of statutory provisions, including the laws and regulations of the Companies Act 2006 (as amended) (the “U.K. Companies Act”).
The objectives of the PRA are to promote the safety and soundness of all firms it supervises and to secure an appropriate degree of protection for policyholders. The objectives of the FCA are to ensure customers receive financial services and products that meet their needs, to promote sound financial systems and markets and to ensure that firms are stable and resilient with transparent pricing information and which compete effectively and have the interests of their customers and the integrity of the market at the heart of how they run their business. The PRA has responsibility for the prudential
regulation of banks and insurers, while the FCA has responsibility for the conduct of business regulation in the wholesale and retail markets. The PRA and the FCA adopt separate methods of assessing regulated firms on a periodic basis. Arch Insurance Europe and AUAL are subject to periodic assessment by the PRA along with all regulated firms. Arch Insurance Company Europe and AUAL are subject to regulation by both the PRA and FCA.
Lloyd’s Supervision. The operations of AUAL and related Arch Syndicate 2012 and its corporate member, ASIL, are subject to the byelaws and regulations made by (or on behalf of) the Council of Lloyd’s, and requirements made under those byelaws. The Council of Lloyd’s, established in 1982 by Lloyd’s Act 1982, has overall responsibility and control of Lloyd’s. Those byelaws, regulations and requirements provide a framework for the regulation of the Lloyd’s market, including specifying conditions in relation to underwriting and claims operations of Lloyd’s participants. Lloyd’s is also subject to the provisions of the FSMA. Lloyd's is authorized by the PRA and regulated by the PRA and FCA. Those entities acting within the Lloyd’s market are required to comply with the requirements of the FSMA and provisions of the PRA’s or FCA's rules, although the PRA has delegated certain of its powers, including some of those relating to prudential requirements, to Lloyd’s. ASIL, as a member of Lloyd’s, is required to contribute 0.5% of Arch Syndicate 2012’s premium income limit for each year of account to the Lloyd’s central fund. The Lloyd’s central fund is available if members of Lloyd’s assets are not sufficient to meet claims for which the member is liable. As a member of Lloyd’s, ASIL may also be required to contribute to the central fund by way of a supplement to a callable layer of up to 3% of Arch Syndicate 2012’s premium income limit for the relevant year of account. In addition, AUAL, on behalf of Arch Syndicate 2012, is approved to underwrite excess and surplus lines insurance in most states in the U.S. through Lloyd’s licenses. Such activities must be in compliance with the Lloyd’s requirements.
Financial Resources. The European solvency framework and prudential regime for insurers and reinsurers, the Solvency II Directive 2009/138/EC “Solvency II”), took effect in full on January 1, 2016. See “European Union Insurance and Reinsurance Regulation—Insurance and Reinsurance Regulatory Regime” below for additional details.
Arch Insurance Company Europe and AUAL (on behalf of Syndicate 2012) are required to meet economic risk-based solvency requirements imposed under Solvency II. Solvency II, together with European Commission “delegated acts” and guidance issued by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (“EIOPA”) sets out classification and eligibility requirements, including the features which capital must display in order to qualify as regulatory capital.
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Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”) is a scheme established under FSMA to compensate eligible policyholders of insurance companies who may become insolvent. The FSCS is funded by the levies that it has the power to impose on all insurers. Arch Insurance Europe could be required to pay levies to the FSCS.
Restrictions on Acquisition of Control. Under FSMA, the prior consent of the PRA or FCA, as applicable, is required, before any person can become a controller or increase its control over any regulated company, including Arch Insurance Company Europe and AUAL, or over the parent undertaking of any regulated company. Therefore, the PRA's or FCA's prior consent, as applicable, is required before any person can become a controller of Arch Capital. Prior consent is also required from Lloyd’s before any person can become a controller or increase its control over a corporate member or a managing agent or a parent undertaking of a corporate member or managing agent. A controller is defined for these purposes as a person who holds (either alone or in concert with others) 10% or more of the shares or voting power in the relevant company or its parent undertaking.
Restrictions on Payment of Dividends. Under English law, all companies are restricted from declaring a dividend to their shareholders unless they have “profits available for distribution.” The calculation as to whether a company has sufficient profits is based on its accumulated realized profits minus its accumulated realized losses. U.K. insurance regulatory laws do not prohibit the payment of dividends, but the PRA or FCA, as applicable, requires that insurance companies and insurance intermediaries maintain certain solvency margins and may restrict the payment of a dividend by Arch Insurance Company Europe, AUAL or ASIL.
European Union Considerations. Through their respective authorizations in the U.K., a Member State of the EU, Arch Insurance Company Europe’s and AUAL’s authorizations are recognized throughout the European Economic Area (“EEA”), subject only to certain notification and application requirements. This authorization enables Arch Insurance Company Europe and AUAL to exercise “passporting” rights which allows Arch Insurance Company Europe and AUAL to establish a branch in any other Member State of the EU, where such entity will be subject to the insurance regulations of each such Member State with respect to the conduct of its business in such Member State, but remain subject only to the financial and operational supervision by the PRA or FCA (as applicable). The conditions for the establishment of branches in Member States of the EU are set out in Solvency II. Arch Insurance Company Europe currently has branches in Germany, Italy, Spain and Denmark and may establish branches in other Member States of the EU in the future. Further, through its passporting rights, Arch Insurance Company Europe and AUAL have the freedom to provide insurance services
anywhere in the EEA subject to compliance with certain rules governing such provision, including notification to the PRA or FCA, as applicable.
Following the referendum in June 2016 in which a majority of voting U.K. citizens voted in favor of the U.K. leaving the EU (“Brexit”), the U.K. withdrawal from the EU will lead to a loss of passporting rights for financial institutions in the U.K., except to the extent that any aspect of the regime is preserved in a separate agreement between the EU and the U.K. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Industry—The United Kingdom’s referendum vote in favor of leaving the EU could adversely affect us.”
Arch Insurance Canada and Arch Re Canada are subject to federal, as well as provincial and territorial, regulation in Canada in the provinces and territories in which they underwrite insurance/reinsurance. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (“OSFI”) is the federal regulatory body that, under the Insurance Companies Act (Canada), prudentially regulates federal Canadian and non-Canadian insurance and reinsurance companies operating in Canada. Arch Insurance Canada is licensed to carry on insurance business by OSFI and in each province and territory. Arch Re Canada is licensed to carry on reinsurance business by OSFI and in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Under the Insurance Companies Act (Canada), Arch Insurance Canada is required to maintain an adequate amount of capital in Canada, calculated in accordance with a test promulgated by OSFI called the Minimum Capital Test, and Arch Re Canada is required to maintain an adequate margin of assets over liabilities in Canada, calculated in accordance with a test promulgated by OSFI called the Branch Adequacy of Assets Test. OSFI has implemented a risk-based methodology for assessing insurance/reinsurance companies operating in Canada known as its “Supervisory Framework.” In applying the Supervisory Framework, OSFI considers the inherent risks of the business and the quality of risk management for each significant activity of each operating entity. Under the Insurance Companies Act (Canada), approval of the Minister of Finance (Canada) is required in connection with certain acquisitions of shares of, or control of, Canadian insurance companies such as Arch Insurance Canada, and notice to and/or approval of OSFI is required in connection with the payment of dividends by or redemption of shares by Canadian insurance companies such as Arch Insurance Canada.
General. The CBOI regulates insurance and reinsurance companies and intermediaries authorized in Ireland. Our three Irish operating subsidiaries are Arch Re Europe, Arch MI Europe and Arch Underwriters Europe. Arch Re Europe was
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licensed and authorized by the CBOI as a non-life reinsurer in October 2008 and as a life reinsurer in November 2009. Arch MI Europe was licensed and authorized by the CBOI as a non-life insurer in December 2011. Arch Underwriters Europe was registered by the CBOI as an insurance and reinsurance intermediary in July 2014. Arch Re Europe, Arch MI Europe and Arch Underwriters Europe are subject to the supervision of the CBOI and must comply with Irish insurance acts and regulations as well as with directions and guidance issued by the CBOI.
Arch Re Europe and Arch MI Europe are required to comply with Solvency II requirements. See “European Union Insurance and Reinsurance Regulation—Insurance and Reinsurance Regulatory Regime” below for additional details. As an intermediary, Arch Underwriters Europe is subject to a different regulatory regime and is not subject to solvency capital rules, but must comply with requirements such as to maintain professional indemnity insurance and to have directors that are fit and proper. Our Irish subsidiaries are also subject to the general body of Irish company laws and regulations including the provisions of the Companies Act 2014.
Financial Resources. Arch Re Europe and Arch MI Europe are required to meet economic risk-based solvency requirements imposed under Solvency II. Solvency II, together with European Commission “delegated acts” and guidance issued by EIOPA sets out classification and eligibility requirements, including the features which capital must display in order to qualify as regulatory capital.
Restrictions on Acquisitions. Under Irish law, the prior consent of the CBOI is required before any person can acquire or increase a qualifying holding in an Irish insurer or reinsurer, including Arch MI Europe and Arch Re Europe, or their parent undertakings. A qualifying holding is defined for these purposes as a direct or indirect holding that represents 10% or more of the capital of, or voting rights, in the undertaking or makes it possible to exercise a significant influence over the management of the undertaking.
Restrictions on Payment of Dividends. Under Irish company law, Arch Re Europe, Arch MI Europe and Arch Underwriters Europe are permitted to make distributions only out of profits available for distribution. A company’s profits available for distribution are its accumulated, realized profits, so far as not previously utilized by distribution or capitalization, less its accumulated, realized losses, so far as not previously written off in a reduction or reorganization of capital duly made. Further, the CBOI has powers to intervene if a dividend payment were to lead to a breach of regulatory capital requirements.
European Union Considerations. As Arch Re Europe, Arch MI Europe and Arch Underwriters Europe are authorized by the CBOI in Ireland, a Member State of the EU, those authorizations are recognized throughout the EEA. Subject only to certain
notification and application requirements, Arch Re Europe, Arch MI Europe and Arch Underwriters Europe can provide services, or establish a branch, in any other Member State of the EEA. Although, in doing so, they may be subject to the laws of such Member States with respect to the conduct of business in such Member State, company law registrations and other matters, they will remain subject to financial and operational supervision by the CBOI only. Arch Re Accident & Health ApS (“Arch Re Denmark”) is an underwriting agency underwriting accident and health business for Arch Re Europe in Denmark. Arch Re Europe also has a branch in the U.K., which underwrites non-life reinsurance risk for Arch Re Europe. Arch Re Europe also has a branch outside the EEA, Arch Reinsurance Europe Designated Activity Company, Dublin (Ireland), Zurich Branch (“Arch Re Europe Swiss Branch”).
As part of its application for registration, Arch Underwriters Europe requested the CBOI to make the necessary notifications to permit it to provide insurance and reinsurance intermediary services in all EEA Member States. Arch Underwriters Europe currently has branches in the following EU countries: the U.K., Italy and Finland.
Following Brexit, the U.K.'s withdrawal from the EU will lead to a loss of passporting rights for EEA financial institutions (including our Irish operating subsidiaries) into the U.K., except to the extent that any aspect of the regime is preserved in a separate agreement between the EU and the U.K. Absent such agreement, the post-Brexit status and rules applicable to U.K. branches of EEA financial institutions will be primarily driven by U.K. law and regulation. See “Risks Relating to Our Industry —The United Kingdom’s referendum vote in favor of leaving the EU could adversely affect us.”
In December 2008, Arch Re Europe opened Arch Re Europe Swiss Branch as a branch office. As Arch Re Europe is domiciled outside of Switzerland and its activities are limited to reinsurance, the Arch Re Europe Swiss Branch in Switzerland is not required to be licensed by the Swiss insurance regulatory authorities.
In August 2014, Arch Underwriters Europe opened a branch office in Zurich (“Arch Underwriters Europe Swiss Branch”) to render reinsurance advisory services to certain group companies. Arch Underwriters Europe Swiss Branch is registered with the commercial register of the Canton of Zurich. Since its activities are limited to advisory services for reinsurance matters, the Arch Underwriters Europe Swiss Branch is not required to be licensed by the Swiss insurance regulatory authorities.
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Insurance and Reinsurance Regulatory Regime. Solvency II took effect in full on January 1, 2016. Solvency II imposes economic risk-based solvency requirements across all EU Member States and consists of three pillars: Pillar I-quantitative capital requirements, based on a valuation of the entire balance sheet; Pillar II-qualitative regulatory review, which includes governance, internal controls, enterprise risk management and supervisory review process; and Pillar III-market discipline, which is accomplished through reporting of the insurer’s financial condition to regulators and the public. Solvency II is supplemented by European Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/35 (the “Delegated Regulation”), other European Commission “delegated acts” and binding technical standards, and guidelines issued by EIOPA. The Delegated Regulation sets out more detailed requirements for individual insurance and reinsurance undertakings, as well as for groups, based on the overarching provisions of Solvency II, which together make up the core of the single prudential rulebook for insurance and reinsurance undertakings in the EU.
Insurers and reinsurers established in a Member State of the EU have the freedom to establish branches in and provide services to all EEA states. Arch Insurance Company Europe and AUAL, being established in the U.K. and regulated by the PRA and FCA, are able, subject to regulatory notifications and there being no objection from the relevant U.K. regulator and the Member States concerned, to establish branches and provide insurance and reinsurance services in all EEA Member States.
Following Brexit, the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU will lead to a loss of passporting rights from U.K. financial institutions into the EU, except to the extent that any aspect of the regime is preserved in a separate agreement between the U.K. and the U.K. See “Risks Relating to Our Industry –The United Kingdom’s referendum vote in favor of leaving the EU could adversely affect us.”
Arch Re Europe and Arch MI Europe, being established in Ireland and authorized by the CBOI are able, subject to similar regulatory notifications and there being no objection from the CBOI and the Member States concerned, to establish branches and provide reinsurance services, and, in respect of Arch MI Europe, insurance services in all EEA states.
Solvency II does not prohibit EEA insurers from obtaining reinsurance from reinsurers licensed outside the EEA, such as Arch Re Bermuda. As such, and subject to the specific rules in each Member State, Arch Re Bermuda may do business from Bermuda with insurers in EEA Member States, but it may not directly operate its reinsurance business within the EEA. Article 172 of Solvency II provides that reinsurance contracts concluded by insurance undertakings in the EEA with reinsurers having their head office in a country whose solvency regime has been determined to be equivalent to Solvency II shall be
treated in the same manner as reinsurance contracts with undertakings in the EEA authorized under Solvency II. In this regard, with effect from January 1, 2016, the supervisory regime, including the solvency regime, in Bermuda has been determined to be equivalent to that laid down in Solvency II, except in relation to captives and special purpose insurers. Solvency II also includes specific measures providing for the supervision of insurance and reinsurance groups. However, as a consequence of the above determination of equivalence, pursuant to Article 260 of Solvency II, regulators within the EEA are required to rely on the worldwide group supervision exercised by the BMA. EIOPA has also indicated that, on a case by case basis, groups subject to this worldwide supervision may be exempted from any EEA sub-group supervision, where this results in more efficient supervision of the group and does not impair EEA supervisors in respect of their individual responsibilities.
The Insurance Distribution Directive ("IDD") was published in February 2016. EEA Member States were required to transpose the IDD by October 1, 2018. It replaces the existing Insurance Mediation Directive. The IDD applies to all distributors of insurance and reinsurance products (including insurers and reinsurers selling directly to customers) and strengthens the regulatory regime applicable to distribution activities through increased transparency, information and conduct requirements. The principal impact of the IDD is on the insurance market, however, requirements that apply across insurance and reinsurance include more specific conditions regarding knowledge and continuing professional development requirements for those involved in distribution of (re)insurance products. The IDD continues the existing ability for intermediaries established in a Member State of the EU to establish branches and provide services to all EEA states. Arch Underwriters Europe, being established in Ireland and authorized by the CBOI, is able, subject to regulatory notifications and there being no objection from the CBOI, to establish branches and provide services in all EEA states.
Privacy. The European General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) came into effect on May 25, 2018. The GDPR aims to introduce consistent data protection rules across the EU and EEA, and its scope extends to certain entities not established in the EEA if they process personal data or offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, EEA data subjects. The GDPR contains a number of new requirements regarding the processing of personal data about individuals, including mandatory security breach reporting, new and strengthened individual rights, evidenced data controller accountability for compliance with the GDPR principles (including fairness and transparency), maintenance of data processing activity records and the implementation of “privacy by design,” including through the completion of mandatory Data Protection Impact Assessments in connection with higher risk data processing activities.
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APRA is an independent statutory authority that supervises institutions across banking, insurance and superannuation and promotes financial stability in Australia. Arch LMI was authorized by APRA in January 2019 to conduct monoline lenders’ mortgage insurance business in Australia. Major regulatory requirements that are applicable to Arch LMI as an insurance provider in Australia include requirements on minimum capital levels and compliance with corporate governance standards, including the risk management strategy for our Australian mortgage insurance business.
The Hong Kong insurance industry is regulated by the Insurance Authority, the regulatory authority established pursuant to the Insurance Ordinance (Cap. 41), whose principal function is to regulate and supervise the insurance industry for the promotion of the general stability of the insurance industry and for the protection of existing and potential policyholders. Arch MI Asia is authorized to carry on general business Class 14 (Credit) and Class 16 (Miscellaneous Financial Loss), in or from Hong Kong.
Major regulatory requirements that are applicable to Arch MI Asia as a general business insurer include requirements on minimum paid-up capital, minimum solvency margin and maintenance of assets in Hong Kong.
The following summary of the taxation of Arch Capital and the taxation of our shareholders is based upon current law and is for general information only. Legislative, judicial or administrative changes may be forthcoming that could affect this summary.
The following legal discussion (including and subject to the matters and qualifications set forth in such summary) of certain tax considerations (a) under “—Taxation of Arch Capital—Bermuda” and “—Taxation of Shareholders—Bermuda” is based upon the advice of Conyers Dill & Pearman Limited, Hamilton, Bermuda and (b) under “—Taxation of Arch Capital-United States,” “—Taxation of Shareholders-United States Taxation,” “—Taxation of Our U.S. Shareholders” and “—United States Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders” is based upon the advice of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, New York, New York (the advice of such firms does not include accounting matters, determinations or conclusions relating to the business or activities of Arch Capital). The summary is based upon current law and is for general information only. The tax treatment of a holder of our common or preferred shares, or of a person treated as a holder of our shares for U.S. federal income, state, local or non-U.S. tax purposes, may vary depending on the holder’s particular tax situation. Legislative, judicial or
administrative changes or interpretations may be forthcoming that could be retroactive and could affect the tax consequences to us or to holders of our shares.
Taxation of Arch Capital
Bermuda. Under current Bermuda law, Arch Capital is not subject to tax on income or profits, withholding, capital gains or capital transfers. Arch Capital has obtained from the Minister of Finance under the Exempted Undertakings Tax Protection Act 1966 of Bermuda an assurance that, in the event that Bermuda enacts legislation imposing tax computed on profits, income, any capital asset, gain or appreciation, or any tax in the nature of estate duty or inheritance, the imposition of any such tax shall not be applicable to Arch Capital or to any of our operations or our shares, debentures or other obligations until March 31, 2035. We could be subject to taxes in Bermuda after that date. This assurance will be subject to the proviso that it is not to be construed so as to prevent the application of any tax or duty to such persons as are ordinarily resident in Bermuda (we are not so currently affected) or to prevent the application of any tax payable in accordance with the provisions of the Land Tax Act 1967 of Bermuda or otherwise payable in relation to any property leased to us or our insurance subsidiary. We pay annual Bermuda government fees, and our Bermuda insurance and reinsurance subsidiary pays annual insurance license fees. In addition, all entities employing individuals in Bermuda are required to pay a payroll tax and other sundry taxes payable, directly or indirectly, to the Bermuda government.
United States. Arch Capital and its non-U.S. subsidiaries intend to conduct their operations in a manner that will not cause them to be treated as engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. and, therefore, will not be required to pay U.S. federal income taxes (other than U.S. excise taxes on insurance and reinsurance premium and withholding taxes on dividends and certain other U.S. source investment income). However, because definitive identification of activities which constitute being engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. is not provided by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), or regulations or court decisions, there can be no assurance that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) will not contend successfully that Arch Capital or its non-U.S. subsidiaries are or have been engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. A foreign corporation deemed to be so engaged would be subject to U.S. income tax, as well as the branch profits tax, on its income, which is treated as effectively connected with the conduct of that trade or business unless the corporation is entitled to relief under the permanent establishment provisions of a tax treaty. Such income tax, if imposed, would be based on effectively connected income computed in a manner generally analogous to that applied to the income of a domestic corporation, except that deductions and credits generally are not permitted unless the foreign corporation has timely filed a U.S. federal income tax return in accordance with applicable regulations. Penalties may be assessed for failure to file tax returns. The 30% branch
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profits tax is imposed on net income after subtracting the regular corporate tax and making certain other adjustments.
Under the income tax treaty between Bermuda and the U.S. (the “Treaty”), Arch Capital's Bermuda insurance subsidiaries will be subject to U.S. income tax on any insurance premium income found to be effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business only if that trade or business is conducted through a permanent establishment in the U.S. No regulations interpreting the Treaty have been issued. While there can be no assurances, Arch Capital does not believe that any of its Bermuda insurance subsidiaries has a permanent establishment in the U.S. Such subsidiaries would not be entitled to the benefits of the Treaty if (i) 50% or less of Arch Capital's shares were beneficially owned, directly or indirectly, by Bermuda residents or U.S. citizens or residents, or (ii) any such subsidiary's income were used in substantial part to make disproportionate distributions to, or to meet certain liabilities to, persons who are not Bermuda residents or U.S. citizens or residents. While there can be no assurances, Arch Capital believes that its Bermuda insurance subsidiaries are eligible for Treaty benefits.
The Treaty clearly applies to premium income, but may be construed as not protecting investment income. If Arch Capital’s Bermuda insurance subsidiaries were considered to be engaged in a U.S. trade or business and were entitled to the benefits of the Treaty in general, but the Treaty were not found to protect investment income, a portion of such subsidiaries’ investment income could be subject to U.S. federal income tax.
Non-U.S. insurance companies carrying on an insurance business within the U.S. have a certain minimum amount of effectively connected net investment income, determined in accordance with a formula that depends, in part, on the amount of U.S. risk insured or reinsured by such companies. If any of Arch Capital's non-U.S. insurance subsidiaries is considered to be engaged in the conduct of an insurance business in the U.S., a significant portion of such company's investment income could be subject to U.S. income tax.
Non-U.S. corporations not engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. are nonetheless subject to U.S. income tax on certain “fixed or determinable annual or periodic gains, profits and income” derived from sources within the U.S. as enumerated in Section 881(a) of the Code (such as dividends and certain interest on investments), subject to exemption under the Code or reduction by applicable treaties.
The U.S. also imposes an excise tax on insurance and reinsurance premiums paid to non-U.S. insurers or reinsurers with respect to risks located in the U.S. The rates of tax, unless reduced by an applicable U.S. tax treaty, are 4% for non-life insurance premiums and 1% for life insurance and all reinsurance premiums.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Tax Cuts Act”) was signed into law by the President of the United States in 2017. For taxable years beginning after 2017, the Tax Cuts Act imposes a 10% minimum tax (reduced to 5% for the 2018 taxable year and increased to 12.5% for the 2026 taxable year and the subsequent taxable years) on the “modified taxable income” of a U.S. corporation (or a non-U.S. corporation engaged in a U.S. trade or business) over such corporation’s regular U.S. federal income tax, reduced by certain tax credits. The “modified taxable income” of a corporation is determined without deduction for certain payments by such corporation to its non-U.S. affiliates (including reinsurance premiums).
United Kingdom. Our U.K. subsidiaries are companies incorporated and have their central management and control in the U.K., and are therefore resident in the U.K. for corporation tax purposes. As a result, they will be subject to U.K. corporation tax on their respective profits. The U.K. branches of Arch Re Europe and Arch Underwriters Europe will be subject to U.K. corporation tax on the profits (both income profits and chargeable gains) attributable to each branch. The main rate of U.K. corporation tax for the financial year starting April 1, 2018 is 19% on profits. It has been announced that the U.K. corporation tax rate will remain at 19% on profits for the financial year starting April 1, 2019, and will reduce to 17% on profits for the financial year starting April 1, 2020.
Canada. Arch Insurance Canada, a Canadian federal insurance company, commenced underwriting in 2013. Arch Re U.S., through a branch, commenced underwriting reinsurance in Canada in January 2015. Arch Insurance Canada is taxed on its worldwide income. Arch Re U.S. is taxed on its net business income earned in Canada. The general federal corporate income tax rate in Canada is currently 15%. Provincial and territorial corporate income tax rates are added to the general federal corporate income tax rate and generally vary between 11% and 16%.
Ireland. Each of Arch Re Europe, Arch MI Europe and Arch Underwriters Europe is incorporated and resident in Ireland for corporation tax purposes and will be subject to Irish corporate tax on its worldwide profits, including the profits of the branches of Arch Re Europe and Arch Underwriters Europe. Any creditable foreign tax payable will be creditable against Arch Re Europe’s Irish corporate tax liability on the results of Arch Re Europe’s branches with the same principle applied to Arch Underwriters Europe’s branches. The current rate of Irish corporation tax applicable to such trading profits is 12.5%.
Switzerland. Arch Re Europe Swiss Branch and Arch Underwriters Europe Swiss Branch are subject to Swiss corporation tax on the profit which is allocated to the branch. The effective tax rate is approximately 21.15% for Swiss federal, cantonal and communal corporation taxes on the profit. The effective tax rate of the annual cantonal and communal capital taxes on the equity which is allocated to Arch Re Europe
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Swiss Branch and Arch Underwriters Europe Swiss Branch is approximately 0.17%.
Denmark. Arch Re Denmark, established as a subsidiary of Arch Re Bermuda, is subject to Danish corporation taxes on its profits at a rate of 22% for 2016 and onwards.
Hong Kong. Arch MI Asia is subject to Hong Kong corporate tax on its assessable profits at a rate of 16.5%. Assessable profits are the net profits for the basis period, arising in or derived from Hong Kong.
Australia. Arch LMI, an Australian incorporated and tax resident company, is subject to Australian corporate tax on its worldwide profits. The current rate of Australian corporation tax applicable to such profits is 30%.
Taxation of Shareholders
Bermuda. Currently, there is no Bermuda withholding tax on dividends paid by us.
United States—General. The following summary sets forth certain U.S. federal income tax considerations related to the purchase, ownership and disposition of our common shares and our non-cumulative preferred shares (“preferred shares”). Unless otherwise stated, this summary deals only with shareholders (“U.S. holders”) that are U.S. Persons (as defined below) who hold their common shares and preferred shares as capital assets and as beneficial owners. The following discussion is only a general summary of the U.S. federal income tax matters described herein and does not purport to address all of the U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be relevant to a particular shareholder in light of such shareholder’s specific circumstances. In addition, the following summary does not describe the U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be relevant to certain types of shareholders, such as banks, insurance companies, regulated investment companies, real estate investment trusts, financial asset securitization investment trusts, dealers in securities or traders that adopt a mark-to-market method of tax accounting, tax exempt entities, expatriates, U.S. holders that hold our common shares or preferred shares through a non-U.S. broker or other non-U.S. intermediary, persons who hold the common shares or preferred shares as part of a hedging or conversion transaction or as part of a straddle, who may be subject to special rules or treatment under the Code or persons required for U.S. federal income tax purposed to recognize income no later than such income is reported on such persons’ applicable financial statements. This discussion is based upon the Code, the Treasury regulations promulgated there under and any relevant administrative rulings or pronouncements or judicial decisions, all as in effect on the date of this annual report and as currently interpreted, and does not take into account possible changes in such tax laws or interpretations thereof, which may apply retroactively. This discussion does not include any description of the tax laws of
any state or local governments within the U.S., or of any foreign government, that may be applicable to our common shares or preferred shares or the shareholders. Persons considering making an investment in the common shares or preferred shares should consult their own tax advisors concerning the application of the U.S. federal tax laws to their particular situations as well as any tax consequences arising under the laws of any state, local or foreign taxing jurisdiction prior to making such investment.
If an entity that is treated as a partnership holds our common shares or preferred shares, the tax treatment of a partner will generally depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. If you are a partner of a partnership holding our common shares or preferred shares, you should consult your tax advisor.
For purposes of this discussion, the term “U.S. Person” means:
an individual who is a citizen or resident of the U.S.;
a corporation or entity treated as a corporation created or organized under the laws of the U.S., any state thereof, or the District of Columbia;
an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source;
a trust if either (i) a court within the U.S. is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of such trust and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all substantial decisions of such trust or (ii) the trust has a valid election in effect to be treated as a U.S. person for U.S. federal income tax purposes; or
any other person or entity that is treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as if it were one of the foregoing.
United States—Taxation of Dividends. The preferred shares should be properly classified as equity rather than debt for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Subject to the discussions below relating to the potential application of the controlled foreign corporation (“CFC”), “related person insurance income” (“RPII”) and passive foreign investment companies (“PFIC”) rules, as defined below, cash distributions, if any, made with respect to our common shares or preferred shares will constitute dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes to the extent paid out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits (as computed using U.S. tax principles). If a U.S. holder of our common shares or our preferred shares is an individual or other non-corporate holder, dividends paid, if any, to that holder that constitute qualified dividend income generally will be taxable at the rate applicable for long-term capital gains (generally up to 20%), provided that such person meets a holding period requirement. Generally in order to meet the holding period requirement, the U.S. Person must hold the common shares for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date and must hold preferred shares for more than 90 days during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before the ex-dividend date.
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Dividends paid, if any, with respect to common shares or preferred shares generally will be qualified dividend income, provided the common shares or preferred shares are readily tradable on an established securities market in the U.S. in the year in which the shareholder receives the dividend (which should be the case for shares that are listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market or the New York Stock Exchange) and Arch Capital is not considered to be a passive foreign investment company in either the year of the distribution or the preceding taxable year. No assurance can be given that the preferred shares will be considered readily tradable on an established securities market in the U.S. See “—Taxation of Our U.S. Shareholders” below.
A U.S. holder that is an individual, estate or a trust that does not fall into a special class of trusts that is exempt from such tax, will be subject to a 3.8% tax on the lesser of (1) the U.S. holder’s “net investment income” for the relevant taxable year and (2) the excess of the U.S. holder’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year over a certain threshold (which in the case of individual will be between $125,000 and $250,000, depending on the individual’s circumstances). A U.S. holder’s net investment income will generally include its dividend income and its net gains from the disposition of our common shares and preferred shares, unless such dividend income or net gains are derived in the ordinary course of the conduct of a trade or business (other than a trade or business that consists of certain passive or trading activities).
Distributions with respect to the common shares and the preferred shares will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction allowed to U.S. corporations under the Code. To the extent distributions on our common shares and preferred shares exceed our earnings and profits, they will be treated first as a return of the U.S. holder's basis in our common shares and our preferred shares to the extent thereof, and then as gain from the sale of a capital asset.
United States—Sale, Exchange or Other Disposition. Subject to the discussions below relating to the potential application of the CFC, RPII and PFIC rules, holders of common shares and preferred shares generally will recognize capital gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes on the sale, exchange or disposition of common shares or preferred shares, as applicable.
United States—Redemption of Preferred Shares. A redemption of the preferred shares will be treated under section 302 of the Code as a dividend if we have sufficient earnings and profits, unless the redemption satisfies one of the tests set forth in section 302(b) of the Code enabling the redemption to be treated as a sale or exchange, subject to the discussion herein relating to the potential application of the CFC, RPII and PFIC rules. Under the relevant Code section 302(b) tests, the redemption should be treated as a sale or exchange only if it (1) is substantially disproportionate, (2) constitutes a complete termination of the holder's stock interest in us or (3) is “not
essentially equivalent to a dividend.” In determining whether any of these tests are met, shares considered to be owned by the holder by reason of certain constructive ownership rules set forth in the Code, as well as shares actually owned, must generally be taken into account. It may be more difficult for a U.S. Person who owns, actually or constructively by operation of the attribution rules, any of our other shares to satisfy any of the above requirements. The determination as to whether any of the alternative tests of section 302(b) of the Code is satisfied with respect to a particular holder of the preference shares depends on the facts and circumstances as of the time the determination is made.
Taxation of Our U.S. Shareholders
Controlled Foreign Corporation Rules. We or any of our non-U.S. subsidiaries will be treated as a CFC with respect to any taxable year if at any time during such taxable year, one or more “10% Shareholders” (as defined below) collectively own more than 50% of us or such non-U.S. subsidiary (as applicable) by vote or value (taking into account shares actually owned by such U.S. holder as well as shares attributed to such U.S. holder under the Code or the regulations thereunder). For taxable years beginning on or before December 31, 2017, a 10% Shareholder means any shareholder who was considered to own, actually or constructively, 10% or more of the total combined voting power of our shares or those of our non-U.S. subsidiaries (as applicable). Under the Tax Cuts Act, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, a 10% Shareholder also includes any shareholder who is considered to own, actually or constructively, 10% or more of the value of our shares or those of our non-U.S. subsidiaries (as applicable). As a result, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, the voting cut-back limitation contained in our bye-laws that limits the votes conferred by the Controlled Shares (as defined in our bye-laws) of any U.S. Person to 9.9% of the total voting power of all our shares entitled to vote will not prevent any U.S. holder from being treated as a 10% Shareholder.
Status as a CFC would not cause us or any of our non-U.S. subsidiaries to be subject to U.S. federal income tax. Such status also would have no adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences for any U.S. holder that is not a 10% Shareholder with respect to us or any of such non-U.S. subsidiaries (as applicable). If we are or were a CFC with respect to any taxable year, a U.S. holder that is considered a 10% U.S. Shareholder would be subject to current U.S. federal income taxation (at ordinary income tax rates) to the extent of all or a portion of the undistributed earnings and profits of Arch Capital and our subsidiaries attributable to “subpart F income” (including certain insurance premium income and investment income) and may be taxable at ordinary income tax rates on any gain recognized on a sale or other disposition (including by way of repurchase or liquidation) of our common shares or preferred shares to the extent of the current and accumulated earnings and profits attributable to such common shares or preferred
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shares. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, a helpful limitation, which provides that a U.S. shareholder would not be subject to the current inclusion rules of Subpart F for a taxable year unless the non-U.S. corporation was a CFC for an uninterrupted period of 30 days or more during such taxable year, will no longer apply.
Related Person Insurance Income Rules. Generally, we do not expect the gross RPII of any of our non-U.S. subsidiaries to equal or exceed 20% of its gross insurance income in any taxable year for the foreseeable future (the “RPII 20% gross income exception”). Consequently, we do not expect any U.S. person owning common shares or preferred shares to be required to include in gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes RPII income, but there can be no assurance that this will be the case.
Section 953(c)(7) of the Code generally provides that Section 1248 of the Code (which generally would require a U.S. holder to treat certain gains attributable to the sale, exchange or disposition of common shares or preferred shares as a dividend) will apply to the sale or exchange by a U.S. shareholder of shares in a foreign corporation that is characterized as a CFC under the RPII rules if the foreign corporation would be taxed as an insurance company if it were a domestic corporation, regardless of whether the U.S. shareholder is a 10% U.S. Shareholder or whether the corporation qualifies for the RPII 20% gross income exception. Although existing U.S. Treasury Department (“Treasury”) regulations do not address the question, proposed Treasury regulations issued in April 1991 create some ambiguity as to whether Section 1248 and the requirement to file Form 5471 would apply when the foreign corporation has a foreign insurance subsidiary that is a CFC for RPII purposes and that would be taxed as an insurance company if it were a domestic corporation. We believe that Section 1248 and the requirement to file Form 5471 will not apply to a less than 10% U.S. Shareholder because Arch Capital is not directly engaged in the insurance business. There can be no assurance, however, that the IRS will interpret the proposed regulations in this manner or that the Treasury will not take the position that Section 1248 and the requirement to file Form 5471 will apply to dispositions of our common shares or our preferred shares.
If the IRS or Treasury were to make Section 1248 and the Form 5471 filing requirement applicable to the sale of our shares, we would notify shareholders that Section 1248 of the Code and the requirement to file Form 5471 will apply to dispositions of our shares. Thereafter, we would send a notice after the end of each calendar year to all persons who were shareholders during the year notifying them that Section 1248 and the requirement to file Form 5471 apply to dispositions of our shares by U.S. holders. We would attach to this notice a copy of Form 5471 completed with all our information and instructions for completing the shareholder information.
Tax-Exempt Shareholders. Tax-exempt entities may be required to treat certain Subpart F insurance income, including RPII, that is includible in income by the tax-exempt entity as unrelated business taxable income. Prospective investors that are tax exempt entities are urged to consult their own tax advisors as to the potential impact of the unrelated business taxable income provisions of the Code.
Passive Foreign Investment Companies. Sections 1291 through 1298 of the Code contain special rules applicable with respect to foreign corporations that are PFICs. In general, a foreign corporation will be a PFIC if 75% or more of its income constitutes “passive income” or 50% or more of its assets produce passive income. If we were to be characterized as a PFIC, U.S. holders would be subject to a penalty tax at the time of their sale of (or receipt of an “excess distribution” with respect to) their common shares or preferred shares. In general, a shareholder receives an “excess distribution” if the amount of the distribution is more than 125% of the average distribution with respect to the shares during the three preceding taxable years (or shorter period during which the taxpayer held the stock). In general, the penalty tax is equivalent to an interest charge on taxes that are deemed due during the period the shareholder owned the shares, computed by assuming that the excess distribution or gain (in the case of a sale) with respect to the shares was taxable in equal portions throughout the holder’s period of ownership. The interest charge is equal to the applicable rate imposed on underpayments of U.S. federal income tax for such period. A U.S. shareholder may avoid some of the adverse tax consequences of owning shares in a PFIC by making a qualified electing fund (“QEF”) election. A QEF election is revocable only with the consent of the IRS and has the following consequences to a shareholder:
For any year in which Arch Capital is not a PFIC, no income tax consequences would result.
For any year in which Arch Capital is a PFIC, the shareholder would include in its taxable income a proportionate share of the net ordinary income and net capital gains of Arch Capital and certain of its non-U.S. subsidiaries.
For taxable years beginning on or before December 31, 2017, the determination of whether the active insurance company exception applies to an insurance company was made on a case-by-case basis and the analysis was inherently subjective. Under the Tax Cuts Act, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, the active insurance company exception applies only if (i) the company would be taxed as an insurance company were it a U.S. corporation and (ii) either (A) loss and loss adjustment expense and certain reserves constitute more than 25% of the company’s gross assets for the relevant year or (B) loss and loss adjustment expenses and certain reserves constitute more than 10% of the company’s gross assets for the relevant year and, based on the applicable facts and circumstances, the company is predominantly engaged in an
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insurance business and the failure of the company to satisfy the preceding 25% test is due solely to run-off related or other specified circumstances involving the insurance business. The PFIC statutory provisions contain a look-through rule that states that, for purposes of determining whether a foreign corporation is a PFIC, such foreign corporation shall be treated as if it “received directly its proportionate share of the income” and as if it “held its proportionate share of the assets” of any other corporation in which it owns at least 25% of the stock. We believe that we were not a PFIC for any taxable year beginning on or before December 31, 2017 and we are not expecting to become a PFIC for any taxable year beginning after December 31, 2017 and we will use reasonable best efforts to cause us and each of our majority owned non-U.S. insurance subsidiaries not to constitute a PFIC.
In April 2015, the IRS issued proposed regulations in an attempt to define the foreign insurance company exception to the PFIC rules (the “proposed PFIC insurance regulations”). The proposed PFIC insurance regulations are likely to be revised in light of the modified active insurance company exception contained in the Tax Cuts Act (as described above).
No regulations interpreting the substantive PFIC provisions have yet been finalized. It is possible that the regulations interpreting the PFIC provisions will be issued in the future and contain rules different from those in the proposed PFIC insurance regulations. Each U.S. holder should consult its own tax advisor as to the effects of these rules.
United States Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders
Taxation of Dividends. Cash distributions, if any, made with respect to common shares or preferred shares held by shareholders who are not U.S. Persons (“Non-U.S. holders”) generally will not be subject to U.S. withholding tax.
Sale, Exchange or Other Disposition. Non-U.S. holders of common shares or preferred shares generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax with respect to gain realized upon the sale, exchange or other disposition of such shares unless such gain is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the Non-U.S. holder in the U.S. or such person is present in the U.S. for 183 days or more in the taxable year the gain is realized and certain other requirements are satisfied.
Information Reporting and Backup Withholding. Non-U.S. holders of common shares or preferred shares will not be subject to U.S. information reporting or backup withholding with respect to dispositions of common shares effected through a non-U.S. office of a broker, unless the broker has certain connections to the U.S. or is a U.S. person. No U.S. backup withholding will apply to payments of dividends, if any, on our common shares or our preferred shares.
FATCA Withholding. Sections 1471 through 1474 to the Code, known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”), impose a withholding tax of 30% on U.S.-source interest, dividends and certain other types of income, which is received by a foreign financial institution (“FFI”), unless such FFI enters into an agreement with the IRS to obtain certain information as to the identity of the direct and indirect owners of accounts in such institution. In addition, a 30% withholding tax may be imposed on the above payments to certain non-financial foreign entities which do not (i) certify to each respective withholding agent that they have no “substantial U.S. owners” (i.e., a U.S. 10% direct or indirect shareholder), or (ii) provide such withholding agent with the certain information as to the identity of such substantial U.S. owners. The U.S. has entered into intergovernmental agreements to implement FATCA (“IGAs”) with a number of jurisdictions. Bermuda has signed an IGA with the U.S. Different rules than those described above may apply under such an IGA.
Although dividends with respect to our common shares or preferred shares will generally be treated as foreign source for U.S. federal withholding tax purposes, it is unclear whether, for FATCA purposes, some or all of our dividends may be recharacterized as U.S. source dividends. Treasury regulations addressing this topic have not yet been issued.
Prospective investors are urged to consult their own tax advisors as to the filing and information requirements that may be imposed on them in respect of their ownership of our common share or preferred shares.
Other Tax Laws. Shareholders should consult their own tax advisors with respect to the applicability to them of the tax laws of other jurisdictions.
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Set forth below are risk factors relating to our business. These risks and uncertainties are not the only ones we face. There may be additional risks that we currently consider not to be material or of which we are not currently aware, and any of these risks could cause our actual results to differ materially from historical or anticipated results. You should carefully consider these risks along with the other information provided in this report, including our “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our accompanying consolidated financial statements, as well as the information under the heading “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” before investing in any of our securities. We may amend, supplement or add to the risk factors described below from time to time in future reports filed with the SEC.
Risks Relating to Our Industry
We operate in a highly competitive environment, and we may not be able to compete successfully in our industry.
The insurance and reinsurance industry is highly competitive. We compete on an international and regional basis with major U.S. and non-U.S. insurers and reinsurers, many of which have greater financial, marketing and management resources than we do. We also compete with new companies that continue to be formed to enter the insurance and reinsurance markets, as well as with other capital market participants that create alternative products intended to compete with reinsurance products. Certain new companies entering the insurance and reinsurance markets are pursuing more aggressive investment strategies than do we and other traditional reinsurers, which may result in downward pressure on premium rates. In our U.S. mortgage business, we compete with other private mortgage insurers, with the Federal Housing Administration, and, increasingly, with well capitalized multiline reinsurers and capital markets alternatives to private mortgage insurance. Competition within the private mortgage insurance industry could result in the loss of customers, lower premiums, riskier credit guidelines and other changes that could lower our revenues or increase our expenses.
In addition, there has been significant consolidation in the insurance and reinsurance sector in recent years and we may experience increased competition as a result of that consolidation, with consolidated entities having enhanced market power. These consolidated entities may use their enhanced market power and broader capital base to negotiate price reductions for products and services that compete with ours, and we may experience rate declines and possibly write less business. Any failure by us to effectively compete could
adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
The insurance and reinsurance industry is highly cyclical, and we expect to continue to experience periods characterized by excess underwriting capacity and unfavorable premium rates.
Historically, insurers and reinsurers have experienced significant fluctuations in operating results due to competition, frequency of occurrence or severity of catastrophic events, levels of capacity, general economic conditions, changes in equity, debt and other investment markets, changes in legislation, case law and prevailing concepts of liability and other factors. In particular, demand for reinsurance is influenced significantly by the underwriting results of primary insurers and prevailing general economic conditions. The supply of insurance and reinsurance is related to prevailing prices and levels of surplus capacity that, in turn, may fluctuate in response to changes in rates of return being realized in the insurance and reinsurance industry on both underwriting and investment sides. As a result, the insurance and reinsurance business historically has been a cyclical industry characterized by periods of intense price competition due to excessive underwriting capacity as well as periods when shortages of capacity permitted favorable premium levels and changes in terms and conditions. The supply of insurance and reinsurance has increased over the past several years and may increase further, either as a result of capital provided by new entrants or by the commitment of additional capital by existing insurers or reinsurers. Continued increases in the supply of insurance and reinsurance may have consequences for us, including fewer contracts written, lower premium rates, increased expenses for customer acquisition and retention, and less favorable policy terms and conditions.
Claims for catastrophic events could cause large losses and substantial volatility in our results of operations and could have a material adverse effect on our financial position and results of operations.
We have large aggregate exposures to natural and man-made catastrophic events. Catastrophes can be caused by various events, including hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, windstorms, earthquakes, hailstorms, tornadoes, explosions, severe winter weather, fires, droughts and other natural disasters. Catastrophes can also cause losses in non-property business such as workers’ compensation or general liability. In addition to the nature of the property business, we believe that economic and geographic trends affecting insured property, including inflation, property value appreciation and geographic concentration tend to generally increase the size of losses from catastrophic events over time. Actual losses from future
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catastrophic events may vary materially from estimates due to the inherent uncertainties in making such determinations resulting from several factors, including the potential inaccuracies and inadequacies in the data provided by clients, brokers and ceding companies, the modeling techniques and the application of such techniques, the contingent nature of business interruption exposures, the effects of any resultant demand surge on claims activity and attendant coverage issues.
In addition, over the past several years, changing weather patterns and climatic conditions, such as global warming, have added to the unpredictability and frequency of natural disasters in certain parts of the world and created additional uncertainty as to future trends and exposures. Although the loss experience of catastrophe insurers and reinsurers has historically been characterized as low frequency, there is a growing consensus today that climate change increases the frequency and severity of extreme weather events and, in recent years, the frequency of major catastrophes appears to have increased. Claims for catastrophic events, or an unusual frequency of smaller losses in a particular period, could expose us to large losses, cause substantial volatility in our results of operations and could have a material adverse effect on our ability to write new business.
Additionally, we cannot predict how legal, regulatory and/or social responses to concerns around global climate change may impact our business. Although we attempt to manage our exposure to such events through the use of underwriting controls, risk models, and the purchase of third-party reinsurance, catastrophic events are inherently unpredictable and the actual nature of such events when they occur could be more frequent or severe than contemplated in our pricing and risk management expectations. As a result, the occurrence of one or more catastrophic events could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
We could face unanticipated losses from war, terrorism, cyber-attacks and political instability, and these or other unanticipated losses could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We have substantial exposure to unexpected, large losses resulting from future man-made catastrophic events, such as acts of war, acts of terrorism and political instability. These risks are inherently unpredictable. It is difficult to predict the timing of such events with statistical certainty or estimate the amount of loss any given occurrence will generate. In certain instances, we specifically insure and reinsure risks resulting from acts of terrorism. We may also insure against risk related to cybersecurity and cyber-attacks. In addition, our exposure to cyber-attacks includes exposure to ‘silent cyber’ risks, meaning risks and potential losses associated with policies where cyber risk is not specifically included nor excluded in the policies. Even in cases where we attempt to exclude losses from terrorism, cybersecurity and certain other similar risks from
some coverages written by us, we may not be successful in doing so. Moreover, irrespective of the clarity and inclusiveness of policy language, there can be no assurance that a court or arbitration panel will not limit enforceability of policy language or otherwise issue a ruling adverse to us. Accordingly, while we believe our reinsurance programs, together with the coverage provided under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, as amended under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Extension Act of 2005 and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, and amended and extended again by TRIPRA, are sufficient to reasonably limit our net losses relating to potential future terrorist attacks, we can offer no assurance that our available capital will be adequate to cover losses when they materialize. To the extent that an act of terrorism is certified by the Secretary of the Treasury and aggregate industry insured losses resulting from the act of terrorism exceeds the prescribed program trigger, our U.S. insurance operations may be covered under TRIPRA for up to 81% for 2019 and 80% for 2020, in each case subject to a mandatory deductible of 20% of our prior year’s direct earned premium for covered property and liability coverages. The program trigger for calendar year 2019 is $180 million and $200 million in 2020. If an act (or acts) of terrorism result in covered losses exceeding the $100 billion annual limit, insurers with losses exceeding their deductibles will not be responsible for additional losses. It is not possible to completely eliminate our exposure to unforecasted or unpredictable events, and to the extent that losses from such risks occur, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Political, regulatory, legislative and industry initiatives could adversely affect our business.
Governmental authorities in the U.S. and worldwide have become increasingly interested in potential risks posed by the insurance industry as a whole, and to commercial and financial systems in general and there may be increased regulatory intervention in our industry in the future. For example, in the U.S., the federal government (including federal consumer protection authorities) has increased its scrutiny of the insurance regulatory framework in recent years, and various state legislators are considering or have enacted laws that will alter and likely increase state regulation of insurance and reinsurance companies and holding companies. The U.S. mortgage insurance industry has also been subject to increased federal and state regulatory scrutiny (including by state insurance regulatory authorities), which could generate new regulations, regulatory actions or investigations.
In the EU, Solvency II imposed economic risk-based solvency requirements across all EU Member States covering quantitative capital requirements, qualitative regulatory reviews and market discipline. In addition, Solvency II imposes significant requirements for our EU-based regulated companies
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which require substantial documentation and implementation effort.
The BMA has also implemented and imposed additional requirements on the commercial insurance companies it regulates, driven, in large part, by Solvency II. The European Commission has adopted a decision concluding that Bermuda meets the full equivalence criteria under Solvency II.
While we cannot predict the exact nature, timing or scope of any possible governmental initiatives, such proposals could adversely affect our business by, among other things: providing reinsurance capacity in markets and to consumers that we target; requiring our further participation in industry pools and guaranty associations; expanding the scope of coverage under existing policies (e.g., following large disasters); further regulating the terms of insurance or reinsurance contracts; or disproportionately benefiting the companies of one country over those of another.
In addition, increased scrutiny by insurance regulators of investments in or acquisitions of insurers or insurance holding companies by private equity firms or hedge funds may result in imposition of additional regulatory requirements and restrictions. We have in the past partnered with private equity firms in making investments and may do so in the future. This increased scrutiny may make it difficult to complete investments with private equity or hedge funds should we seek to do so.
Underwriting risks and reserving for losses are based on probabilities and related modeling, which are subject to inherent uncertainties.
Our success is dependent upon our ability to assess accurately the risks associated with the businesses that we insure and reinsure. We establish reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses which represent estimates involving actuarial and statistical projections, at a given point in time, of our expectations of the ultimate settlement and administration costs of losses incurred. We utilize actuarial models as well as available historical insurance industry loss ratio experience and loss development patterns to assist in the establishment of loss reserves. Most or all of these factors are not directly quantifiable, particularly on a prospective basis, and the effects of these and unforeseen factors could negatively impact our ability to accurately assess the risks of the policies that we write. Changes in the assumptions used by these models or by management could lead to an increase in our estimate of ultimate losses in the future. In addition, there may be significant reporting lags between the occurrence of the insured event and the time it is actually reported to the insurer and additional lags between the time of reporting and final settlement of claims. Unfavorable development in any of these factors could cause the level of reserves to be inadequate. In addition, the estimation of loss reserves is also more difficult during times of adverse economic and market conditions due
to unexpected changes in behavior of claimants and policyholders, including an increase in fraudulent reporting of exposures and/or losses, reduced maintenance of insured properties or increased frequency of small claims. Changes in the level of inflation also result in an increased level of uncertainty in our estimation of loss reserves. As a result, actual losses and loss adjustment expenses paid will deviate, perhaps substantially, from the reserve estimates reflected in our financial statements.
If our loss reserves are determined to be inadequate, we will be required to increase loss reserves at the time of such determination with a corresponding reduction in our net income in the period in which the deficiency becomes known. It is possible that claims in respect of events that have occurred could exceed our claim reserves and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, in a particular period, or our financial condition in general. As a compounding factor, although most insurance contracts have policy limits, the nature of property and casualty insurance and reinsurance is such that losses can exceed policy limits for a variety of reasons and could significantly exceed the premiums received on the underlying policies, thereby further adversely affecting our financial condition.
In accordance with mortgage insurance industry practice, we establish loss reserves only for loans in our existing delinquency inventory. Because our mortgage insurance reserving process does not take account of the impact of future losses from loans that are not delinquent, mortgage insurance loss reserves are not intended to be an estimate of total future losses. Our expectation of total future losses under our mortgage insurance policies in force at any period end is not reflected in our financial statements. In addition to establishing loss reserves for delinquent loans, under GAAP, we are required to establish a premium deficiency reserve for our mortgage insurance products if the amount of expected future losses for a particular product and maintenance costs for such product exceeds expected future premiums, existing reserves and the anticipated investment income. We evaluate whether a premium deficiency exists quarterly. There can be no assurance that premium deficiency reserves will not be required in future periods. If this were to occur, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
As of December 31, 2018, our consolidated reserves for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses, net of unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses recoverable, were approximately $9.04 billion. Such reserves were established in accordance with applicable insurance laws and GAAP. Loss reserves are inherently subject to uncertainty. In establishing the reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses, we have made various assumptions relating to the pricing of our reinsurance contracts and insurance policies and have also considered available historical industry experience and current industry conditions.
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Any estimates and assumptions made as part of the reserving process could prove to be inaccurate due to several factors, including the fact that relatively limited historical information has been reported to us through December 31, 2018.
The failure of any of the loss limitation methods we employ could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
We seek to limit our loss exposure by writing a number of our reinsurance contracts on an excess of loss basis, adhering to maximum limitations on reinsurance written in defined geographical zones, limiting program size for each client and prudent underwriting of each program written. In the case of proportional treaties, we may seek per occurrence limitations or loss ratio caps to limit the impact of losses from any one or series of events. In our insurance operations, we seek to limit our exposure through the purchase of reinsurance. For our U.S. mortgage insurance business, in addition to utilizing reinsurance, we have developed a proprietary risk model that simulates the maximum loss resulting from a severe economic event impacting the housing market. We cannot be certain that any of these loss limitation methods will be effective. We also seek to limit our loss exposure by geographic diversification. Geographic zone limitations involve significant underwriting judgments, including the determination of the area of the zones and the inclusion of a particular policy within a particular zone’s limits. Various provisions of our policies, negotiated to limit our risk, such as limitations or exclusions from coverage or choice of forum, may not be enforceable in the manner we intend, as it is possible that a court or regulatory authority could nullify or void an exclusion or limitation, or legislation could be enacted modifying or barring the use of these exclusions and limitations. Disputes relating to coverage and choice of legal forum may also arise. Underwriting is inherently a matter of judgment, involving important assumptions about matters that are inherently unpredictable and beyond our control, and for which historical experience and probability analysis may not provide sufficient guidance. No assurances can be made that these loss limitation methods will be effective and mitigate our loss exposure. One or more catastrophic events or severe economic events could result in claims that substantially exceed our expectations, or the protections set forth in our policies could be voided, which, in either case, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or our results of operations, possibly to the extent of eliminating our shareholders’ equity. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Catastrophic Events and Severe Economic Events.” Depending on business opportunities and the mix of business that may comprise our insurance, reinsurance and mortgage insurance portfolio, we may seek to adjust our self-imposed limitations on probable maximum pre-tax loss for catastrophe exposed business and mortgage default exposed business.
Adverse developments in the financial markets could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position and our businesses, and may also limit our access to capital; our policyholders, reinsurers and retrocessionaires may also be affected by such developments, which could adversely affect their ability to meet their obligations to us.
Adverse developments in the financial markets, such as disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the capital and credit markets, may result in realized and unrealized capital losses that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position and our businesses, and may also limit our access to capital required to operate our business. Depending on market conditions, we could incur additional realized and unrealized losses on our investment portfolio in future periods, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and business. Economic conditions could also have a material impact on the frequency and severity of claims and therefore could negatively impact our underwriting returns. In addition, our policyholders, reinsurers and retrocessionaires may be affected by developments in the financial markets, which could adversely affect their ability to meet their obligations to us. The volatility in the financial markets could continue to significantly affect our investment returns, reported results and shareholders’ equity.
The United Kingdom’s referendum vote in favor of leaving the EU could adversely affect us.
In a referendum in June 2016, a majority of voting U.K. citizens voted in favor of Brexit, whereby the U.K. will leave the EU. The U.K. government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (“Article 50”) in 2017 and will have to withdraw from the EU on March 29, 2019, unless an extension to this deadline is agreed between the U.K government and the EU. There remains considerable uncertainty as to exactly when Brexit will take effect; the extent of any transitional period allowing a continuation of passporting; and the ultimate structure of the U.K’s future relationship with the EU. During this period and beyond, the impact of the U.K.’s withdrawal on the U.K. and European economies and the broader global economy could be significant, resulting in negative consequences, such as increased volatility and illiquidity, and potentially lower economic growth in various markets in the U.K., Europe and globally and could continue to contribute to instability in global financial and foreign exchange markets. Brexit could also have the effect of disrupting the free movement of goods, services and people between the U.K. and the EU. We anticipate that Brexit may disrupt our U.K. domiciled entities, including our Lloyd’s syndicate, and their ability to “passport” within the EU. Similarly, Brexit may disrupt the ability of our EU domiciled entities to access the U.K. markets although the U.K is attempting to mitigate this by introducing a temporary permissions regime which, in the event of there being no transitional period, will allow firms that
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wish to continue carrying out regulated activities in the U.K. in the longer term to operate in the U.K for a limited period after withdrawal, while they seek authorization from the U.K. regulators. The full effects of Brexit are uncertain and will depend on any agreements the U.K. may make to retain access to EU markets.
The negative impact of these events on economic conditions and global markets could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and liquidity. For example, this crisis may cause the value of the European currencies, including the Euro and the British Pound Sterling, to further depreciate against the U.S. Dollar, which in turn could materially adversely impact assets denominated in such currencies held in our investment portfolio or results of our European book of business. In addition, the applicable legal framework and the terms of our Euro-denominated insurance policies and reinsurance agreements generally do not address withdrawal by a member state from the Eurozone or a break-up of the EU, which could create uncertainty in our payment obligations and rights under those policies and agreements in the event that such a withdrawal or break-up does occur.
Additionally, a contagion effect of a possible default of one or more EU Member States and/or their withdrawal from the Eurozone, or the failure of financial institutions, on the global economy, including other EU Member States and our counterparties located in those countries, or a break-up of the EU could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity. As a result of Brexit, other European countries may seek to conduct referenda with respect to their continuing membership with the EU. Given these possibilities and others we may not anticipate, as well as the lack of comparable precedent, the full extent to which our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected by Brexit is uncertain.
The risk associated with underwriting treaty reinsurance business could adversely affect us.
Like other reinsurers, our reinsurance group does not separately evaluate each of the individual risks assumed under reinsurance treaties. Therefore, we are largely dependent on the original underwriting decisions made by ceding companies. We are subject to the risk that the ceding companies may not have adequately evaluated the risks to be reinsured and that the premiums ceded may not adequately compensate us for the risks we assume.
The availability of reinsurance, retrocessional coverage and capital market transactions to limit our exposure to risks may be limited, and counterparty credit and other risks associated with our reinsurance arrangements may result in losses which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
For the purposes of managing risk, we use reinsurance, retrocessional coverage and capital markets transactions. In the normal course of business, our insurance subsidiaries cede a portion of their premiums through pro rata, excess of loss and facultative reinsurance agreements. Our reinsurance subsidiaries purchase a limited amount of retrocessional coverage as part of their aggregate risk management program. In addition, our reinsurance subsidiaries participate in “common account” retrocessional arrangements for certain pro rata treaties. Such arrangements reduce the effect of individual or aggregate losses to all companies participating on such treaties, including the reinsurers, such as our reinsurance subsidiaries, and the ceding company. Economic conditions could also have a material impact on our ability to manage our risk aggregations through reinsurance or capital markets transactions. The availability and cost of reinsurance and retrocessional protection is subject to market conditions, which are beyond our control. As a result of such market conditions and other factors, we may not be able to successfully mitigate risk through reinsurance and retrocessional arrangements.
Further, we are subject to credit risk with respect to our reinsurance and retrocessions because the ceding of risk to reinsurers and retrocessionaires does not relieve us of our liability to the clients or companies we insure or reinsure. We monitor the financial condition of our reinsurers and attempt to place coverages only with carriers we view as substantial and financially sound. Although we have not experienced any material credit losses to date, an inability of our reinsurers or retrocessionaires to meet their obligations to us could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Our losses for a given event or occurrence may increase if our reinsurers or retrocessionaires dispute or fail to meet their obligations to us or the reinsurance or retrocessional protections purchased by us are exhausted or are otherwise unavailable for any reason. Our failure to establish adequate reinsurance or retrocessional arrangements or the failure of our existing reinsurance or retrocessional arrangements to protect us from overly concentrated risk exposure could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our reliance on brokers subjects us to their credit risk.
In accordance with industry practice, we generally pay amounts owed on claims under our insurance and reinsurance contracts to brokers, and these brokers, in turn, pay these amounts to the clients that have purchased insurance or reinsurance from us. In some jurisdictions, if a broker fails to make such payment, we may remain liable to the insured or ceding insurer for the
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deficiency. Likewise, in certain jurisdictions, when the insured or ceding company pays the premiums for these contracts to brokers for payment to us, these premiums are considered to have been paid and the insured or ceding company will no longer be liable to us for those amounts, whether or not we have actually received the premiums from the broker. Consequently, we assume a degree of credit risk associated with our brokers. To date, we have not experienced any losses related to this credit risk.
Emerging claim and coverage issues may adversely affect our business.
As industry practices and legal, judicial, social and other environmental conditions change, unexpected and unintended issues related to claims and coverage may emerge, including new or expanded theories of liability. These or other changes could impose new financial obligations on us by extending coverage beyond our underwriting intent or otherwise require us to make unplanned modifications to the products and services that we provide, or cause the delay or cancellation of products and services that we provide. In some instances, these changes may not become apparent until sometime after we have issued insurance or reinsurance contracts that are affected by the changes. As a result, the full extent of liability under our insurance or reinsurance contracts may not be known for many years after a contract is issued. The effects of unforeseen developments or substantial government intervention could adversely impact our ability to achieve our goals.
Changes in current accounting principles and practices and financial reporting requirements may materially affect our reported financial results and our reported financial condition.
Our financial statements are prepared in accordance with GAAP, which is periodically revised by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”), and they are subject to the accounting-related rules and interpretations of the SEC. We are required to adopt new and revised accounting standards implemented by the FASB. Unanticipated developments in accounting practices may require us to incur considerable additional expenses to comply with such developments, particularly if we are required to prepare information relating to prior periods for comparative purposes or to apply the new requirements retroactively. The impact of changes in accounting principles, practices and standards, particularly those that apply to insurance companies, cannot be predicted but may affect the calculation of net earnings, shareholders' equity and other relevant financial statement line items. In addition, such changes may cause additional volatility in reported earnings, decrease the understandability of our financial results and affect the comparability of our reported results with the results of others.
Risks Relating to Our Company
Acquisitions, the addition of new lines of insurance or reinsurance business, expansion into new geographic regions and/or entering into joint ventures or partnerships expose us to risks.
We may seek, from time to time, to acquire other companies, acquire selected blocks of business, expand our business lines, expand into new geographic regions and/or enter into joint ventures or partnerships. Such activities expose us to challenges and risks, including: integrating financial and operational reporting systems; establishing satisfactory budgetary and other financial controls; funding increased capital needs, overhead expenses or cash flow shortages that may occur if anticipated sales and revenues are not realized or are delayed, whether by general economic or market conditions or unforeseen internal difficulties; obtaining management personnel required for expanded operations; obtaining necessary regulatory permissions; and establishing adequate reserves for any acquired book of business. In addition, the value of assets acquired may be lower than expected or may diminish due to credit defaults or changes in interest rates; the liabilities assumed may be greater than expected; and assets and liabilities acquired may be subject to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuation. We may also be subject to financial exposures in the event that the sellers of the entities or business we acquire are unable or unwilling to meet their indemnification, reinsurance and other contractual obligations to us.
Our failure to manage successfully any of the foregoing challenges and risks may adversely impact our results of operations.
The ultimate performance of the Arch MI U.S. mortgage insurance portfolio remains uncertain.
Arch MI U.S. had risk in force of approximately $71.0 billion, before external reinsurance, as of December 31, 2018, including $4.7 billion of risk in force originated in 2008 and prior. The presence of multiple higher-risk characteristics in a loan materially increases the likelihood of a claim on such a loan unless there are other characteristics to mitigate the risk. The mix of business in our insured loan portfolio may affect losses and remain uncertain.
The frequency and severity of claims we incur will be uncertain and will depend largely on general economic factors outside of our control, including, among others, changes in unemployment, home prices and interest rates in the U.S. Deteriorating economic conditions in the U.S. could adversely affect the performance of our acquired U.S. mortgage insurance portfolio and could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Generally, we cannot cancel mortgage insurance coverage or adjust renewal premiums during the life of a mortgage insurance
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policy. As a result, higher than anticipated claims generally cannot be offset by premium increases on policies in force or mitigated by our non-renewal or cancellation of insurance coverage. The premiums charged on the acquired UGC insured loan portfolio, and the associated investment income, may not be adequate to compensate us for the risks and costs associated with the insurance coverage provided to customers.
A downgrade in our ratings or our inability to obtain a rating for our operating insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries may adversely affect our relationships with clients and brokers and negatively impact sales of our products.
Third-party rating agencies, such as A.M. Best, assess and rate the financial strength of insurers and reinsurers based upon criteria established by the rating agencies, which criteria are subject to change. Ratings are an important factor in establishing the competitive position of insurance and reinsurance companies. Insureds, ceding insurers, brokers and reinsurance intermediaries use these ratings as one measure by which to assess the financial strength and quality of insurers and reinsurers. These ratings are often an important factor in the decision by an insured, ceding insurer, broker or intermediary of whether to place business with a particular insurance or reinsurance provider.
The financial strength ratings of our operating insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries are subject to periodic review as rating agencies evaluate us to confirm that we continue to meet their criteria for ratings assigned to us by them. Such ratings may be revised downward or revoked at the sole discretion of such ratings agencies in response to a variety of factors, including a minimum capital adequacy ratio, management, earnings, capitalization and risk profile. For further information on our financial strength and/or issuer ratings, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.” We can offer no assurances that our ratings will remain at their current levels or that any of our ratings which under review or watch by ratings agencies will remain unchanged. We believe it is possible that rating agencies may heighten the level of scrutiny they apply when analyzing companies in our industry, may increase the frequency and scope of their reviews, may request additional information from the companies that they rate (including additional information regarding the valuation of investment securities held), and may adjust upward the capital and other requirements employed in their models for maintenance of certain rating levels.
A ratings downgrade or the potential for such a downgrade, or failure to obtain a necessary rating, could adversely affect our relationships with agents, brokers, wholesalers, intermediaries, clients and other distributors of our existing products and services, as well as new sales of our products and services. In addition, under certain of the reinsurance agreements assumed by our reinsurance operations, upon the occurrence of a ratings
downgrade or other specified triggering event with respect to our reinsurance operations, such as a reduction in surplus by specified amounts during specified periods, our ceding company clients may be provided with certain rights, including, among other things, the right to terminate the subject reinsurance agreement and/or to require that our reinsurance operations post additional collateral. Any ratings downgrade or failure to obtain a necessary rating could adversely affect our ability to compete in our markets, could cause our premiums and earnings to decrease and could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, a downgrade in ratings of certain of our operating subsidiaries would in certain cases constitute an event of default under our credit facilities. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Contractual Obligations and Commercial Commitments—Letter of Credit and Revolving Credit Facilities” for a discussion of our credit facilities.
We can offer no assurances that our ratings will remain at their current levels or that any of our ratings under review or watch by rating agencies will remain unchanged.
Our success will depend on our ability to maintain and enhance effective operating procedures and internal controls and our enterprise risk management (“ERM”) program.
Operational risk and losses can result from, among other things, fraud, errors, failure to document transactions properly or to obtain proper internal authorization, failure to comply with regulatory requirements, information technology failures, failure to appropriately transition new hires or external events. We continue to enhance our operating procedures and internal controls (including information technology initiatives and controls over financial reporting) to effectively support our business and our regulatory and reporting requirements. Our management does not expect that our disclosure controls or our internal controls will prevent all errors and all fraud. A control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. Further, the design of a control system must reflect the fact that there are resource constraints, and the benefits of controls must be considered relative to their costs. As a result of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, within the company have been detected. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons or by collusion of two or more people. The design of any system of controls also is based in part upon certain assumptions about the likelihood of future events, and there can be no assurance that any design will succeed in achieving its stated goals under all potential future conditions; over time, controls may become
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inadequate because of changes in conditions, or the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate. As a result of the inherent limitations in a cost-effective control system, misstatement due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected. Accordingly, our disclosure controls and procedures are designed to provide reasonable, not absolute, assurance that our goals are met. Any ineffectiveness in our controls or procedures could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We operate within an ERM framework designed to assess and monitor our risks. However, there can be no assurance that we can effectively review and monitor all risks or that all of our employees will operate within the ERM framework. There can be no assurance that our ERM framework will result in us accurately identifying all risks and accurately limiting our exposures based on our assessments.
Our business is dependent upon insurance and reinsurance brokers and intermediaries, and the loss of important broker relationships could materially adversely affect our ability to market our products and services.
We market our insurance and reinsurance products primarily through brokers and intermediaries. We derive a significant portion of our business from a limited number of brokers. During 2018, approximately 11.4% and 9.3% of our gross premiums written were generated from or placed by Aon Corporation and its subsidiaries and Marsh & McLennan Companies and its subsidiaries, respectively. No other broker and no one insured or reinsured accounted for more than 10% of gross premiums written for 2018. Some of our competitors have higher financial strength ratings, offer a larger variety of products, set lower prices for insurance coverage, offer higher commissions and/or have had longer term relationships with the brokers we use than we have. This may adversely impact our ability to attract and retain brokers to sell our insurance products or brokers may increasingly promote products offered by other companies. The failure or inability of brokers to market our insurance products successfully, or loss of all or a substantial portion of the business provided by these brokers could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We could be materially adversely affected to the extent that managing general agents, general agents and other producers exceed their underwriting authorities or if our agents, our insureds or other third parties commit fraud or otherwise breach obligations owed to us.
For certain business conducted by our insurance group, following our underwriting, financial, claims and information technology due diligence reviews, we authorize managing general agents, general agents and other producers to write business on our behalf within underwriting authorities prescribed by us. In addition, our mortgage group delegates the
underwriting of a significant percentage of its primary new insurance written to certain mortgage lenders. Under this delegated underwriting program, the approved customer may determine whether mortgage loans meet our mortgage insurance program guidelines and commit us to issue mortgage insurance. We rely on the underwriting controls of these agents to write business within the underwriting authorities provided by us. Although we have contractual protections in some instances and we monitor such business on an ongoing basis, our monitoring efforts may not be adequate or our agents may exceed their underwriting authorities or otherwise breach obligations owed to us. In addition, our agents, our insureds or other third parties may commit fraud or otherwise breach their obligations to us. To the extent that our agents, our insureds or other third parties exceed their underwriting authorities, commit fraud or otherwise breach obligations owed to us in the future, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
We are exposed to credit risk in certain of our business operations.
In addition to exposure to credit risk related to our investment portfolio, reinsurance recoverables and reliance on brokers and other agents (each discussed elsewhere in this section), we are exposed to credit risk in other areas of our business related to policyholders. We are exposed to credit risk in our insurance group’s surety unit where we guarantee to a third party that our policyholder will satisfy certain performance or financial obligations. If our policyholder defaults, we may suffer losses and be unable to be reimbursed by our policyholder. We are exposed to credit risk in our insurance group’s construction and national accounts units where we write large deductible insurance policies. Under these policies, we are typically obligated to pay the claimant the full amount of the claim (shown as “contractholder payables” on our consolidated balance sheets). We are subsequently reimbursed by the policyholder for the deductible amount (shown as “contractholder receivables” on our consolidated balance sheets), which can be a set amount per claim and/or an aggregate amount for all covered claims. As such, we are exposed to credit risk from the policyholder. We are also exposed to credit risk from policyholders on smaller deductibles in other insurance group lines, such as healthcare and excess and surplus casualty. Additionally, we write retrospectively rated policies (i.e., policies in which premiums are adjusted after the policy period based on the actual loss experience of the policyholder during the policy period). In this instance, we are exposed to credit risk to the extent the adjusted premium is greater than the original premium. While we generally seek to mitigate this risk through collateral agreements that require the posting of collateral in such forms as cash and letters of credit from banks, our efforts to mitigate the credit risk that we have to our policyholders may not be successful. Although we have not experienced any material credit losses to date, an increased inability of our policyholders to meet their obligations to us could have a
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material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our investment performance may affect our financial results and ability to conduct business.
Our operating results depend in part on the performance of our investment portfolio. A significant portion of cash and invested assets held by Arch consists of fixed maturities (76.1% as of December 31, 2018). Although our current investment guidelines and approach stress preservation of capital, market liquidity and diversification of risk, our investments are subject to market-wide risks and fluctuations. In addition, we are subject to risks inherent in particular securities or types of securities, as well as sector concentrations. Changing market conditions could materially affect the future valuation of securities in our investment portfolio, which could cause us to impair some portion of those securities. We may not be able to realize our investment objectives, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial results. In the event that we are unsuccessful in correlating our investment portfolio with our expected insurance and reinsurance liabilities, we may be forced to liquidate our investments at times and prices that are not optimal, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial results and ability to conduct our business.
Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuation may adversely affect our financial results.
We write business on a worldwide basis, and our results of operations may be affected by fluctuations in the value of currencies other than the U.S. Dollar. The primary foreign currencies in which we operate are the Euro, the British Pound Sterling, the Australian Dollar and the Canadian Dollar. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates can reduce our revenues, increase our liabilities and costs and cause fluctuations in the valuation of our investment portfolio. We may therefore suffer losses solely as a result of exchange rate fluctuations. In order to mitigate our exposure to foreign currency fluctuations in our net insurance liabilities, we have invested and expect to continue to invest in securities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar. In addition, we may replicate investment positions in foreign currencies using derivative financial instruments. Net foreign exchange gains, excluding amounts reflected in the ‘other’ segment, were $58.7 million for 2018, compared to losses of $113.3 million for 2017 and gains of $31.4 million for 2016. Changes in the value of investments due to foreign currency rate movements are reflected as a direct increase or decrease to shareholders' equity and are not included in the statement of income. We have chosen not to hedge certain currency risks on capital contributed to certain subsidiaries, including to Arch Insurance Europe held in British Pound Sterling, and may continue to choose not to hedge our currency risks. There can be no assurances that arrangements to match projected liabilities in foreign currencies with investments in the same
currencies or derivative financial instruments will mitigate the negative impact of exchange rate fluctuations, and we may suffer losses solely as a result of exchange rate fluctuations.
We may be adversely affected by changes in economic conditions, including interest rate changes.
Our operating results are affected by, and we are exposed to, significant financial and capital markets risk, including changes in interest rates, real estate values, foreign currency exchange rates, market volatility, the performance of the economy in general, the performance of our investment portfolio and other factors outside our control. Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors, including the fiscal and monetary policies of the U.S. and other major economies, inflation, economic and political conditions and other factors beyond our control. Although we attempt to take measures to manage the risks of investing in changing interest rate environments, we may not be able to mitigate interest rate sensitivity effectively. Despite our mitigation efforts, an increase in interest rates could have a material adverse effect on our book value.
Our investment portfolio includes residential mortgage backed securities (“RMBS”). As of December 31, 2018, RMBS constituted approximately 2.7% of cash and invested assets held by Arch. As with other fixed income investments, the fair value of these securities fluctuates depending on market and other general economic conditions and interest rate trends. In periods of declining interest rates, mortgage prepayments generally increase and RMBS are prepaid more quickly, requiring us to reinvest the proceeds at the then current market rates. Conversely, in periods of rising rates, mortgage prepayments generally fall, preventing us from taking full advantage of the higher level of rates. The residential mortgage market in the U.S has experienced a variety of difficulties in certain underwriting periods. A decline or an extended flattening in residential property values may result in additional increases in delinquencies and losses on residential mortgage loans generally, especially with respect to any residential mortgage loans where the aggregate loan amounts (including any subordinate loans) are close to or greater than the related property values. These developments may have a significant adverse effect on the prices of loans and securities, including those in our investment portfolio and may have other wide ranging consequences, including downward pressure on economic growth and the potential for increased insurance and reinsurance exposures, which could have an adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition, business and operations.
Mortgage insurance losses result when a borrower becomes unable to continue to make mortgage payments and the home of such borrower cannot be sold for an amount that covers unpaid principal and interest and the expenses of the sale. Deteriorating economic conditions increase the likelihood that borrowers will have insufficient income to pay their mortgages
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and can adversely affect housing values. In addition, natural disasters or other catastrophic events could result in increased claims if such events adversely affected the employment and income of borrowers and the value of homes. Any of these events or deteriorating economic conditions could cause our mortgage insurance losses to increase and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Catastrophic Events and Severe Economic Events.”
Our portfolio includes commercial mortgage backed securities (“CMBS”). At December 31, 2018, CMBS constituted approximately 3.7% of cash and invested assets held by Arch. The commercial real estate market may experience price deterioration, which could lead to delinquencies and losses on commercial real estate mortgages.
In addition, in each year, a significant portion of our mortgage insurance premiums will be from mortgage insurance written in prior years. The length of time insurance remains in force, referred to as persistency, is a significant driver of mortgage insurance revenues. Factors affecting persistency include: current mortgage interest rates compared to those rates on mortgages in our insurance in force, which affects the likelihood of the insurance in force to be subject to cancellation due to borrower refinancing; the amount of home equity, as homeowners with more equity in their homes can generally more readily move to a new residence or refinance their existing mortgage; and mortgage insurance cancellation policies and practices of mortgage investors and mortgage services and the cancellation of borrower-paid mortgage insurance, either upon request of the borrower or as required by law based upon the amortization of the loan. In 2018, the GSEs announced changes to various mortgage insurance termination requirements that are intended to further simplify the process of evaluating borrower-initiated requests for mortgage insurance termination. Among other things, these changes update evidence of value requirements for borrower requested cancellation based on the original value of the property and the current value of the property, raise Fannie Mae’s loan-to-value ratio for cancellation based on substantial improvements from 75% or less to 80% or less, provide clarification regarding what constitutes substantial improvements to the property, allow servicers to respond to either verbal or written requests for mortgage insurance cancellation by a borrower, and provide servicers flexibility in evaluating the payment history of borrowers that have been impacted by certain disaster events. Fannie Mae’s changes in this area must be implemented by March 1, 2019, although certain requirements have been implemented as early as January 1, 2019. Freddie Mac’s new requirements became effective October 1, 2018. If these or other factors cause the length of time our mortgage insurance policies remain in force to decline, our mortgage insurance revenues could be adversely affected.
Significant, continued volatility in financial markets, changes in interest rates, a lack of pricing transparency, decreased market liquidity, declines in equity prices and the strengthening or weakening of foreign currencies against the U.S. Dollar, individually or in tandem, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or cash flows through realized losses, impairments and changes in unrealized positions.
Uncertainty Relating to the Determination of LIBOR and the Potential Phasing out of LIBOR after 2021 may Adversely Affect our Cost of Capital, Net Investment Income and Mortgage Reinsurance Costs.
On July 27, 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. Accordingly, it is uncertain whether ICE, the entity responsible for administering LIBOR, will continue to quote LIBOR after 2021. In addition, in early 2018, the ICE stated its intention to continue to administer and quote LIBOR after 2021, possibly employing an alternative methodology. Therefore, no assurance can be given that LIBOR on any date accurately represents the London interbank rate or the rate applicable to actual loans in U.S. dollars for the relevant period between leading European banks, or that the underlying methodology for LIBOR will not change. Efforts to identify a set of alternative U.S. dollar reference interest rates include proposals by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. There is currently no definitive information regarding the future of LIBOR or of any particular replacement rate that may be established or any other reforms to LIBOR that may be adopted in the United Kingdom, in the U.S. or elsewhere.
Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential changes, alternative reference rates or other reforms may adversely affect the value of and trading market for LIBOR-based securities. Moreover, any future reform, replacement or disappearance of LIBOR may adversely affect the value of and return of our investment portfolio, our cost of capital and our cost of issuing Bellemeade mortgage risk transfer securities.
The determination of the amount of allowances and impairments taken on our investments is highly subjective and could materially impact our results of operations or financial position.
On a quarterly basis, we perform reviews of our investments to determine whether declines in fair value below the cost basis are considered other-than-temporary in accordance with applicable accounting guidance regarding the recognition and presentation of other-than-temporary impairments. The process of determining whether a security is other-than-temporarily impaired requires judgment and involves analyzing many factors. These factors include: an analysis of the liquidity, business prospects and overall financial condition of the issuer;
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the time period in which there was a significant decline in value; the significance of the decline; and the analysis of specific credit events. There can be no assurance that our management has accurately assessed the level of impairments taken and allowances reflected in our financial statements. Furthermore, additional impairments may need to be taken or allowances provided for in the future. Historical trends may not be indicative of future impairments or allowances. Further, rapidly changing and unpredictable credit and equity market conditions could materially affect the valuation of securities carried at fair value as reported within our consolidated financial statements and the period-to-period changes in value could vary significantly. Decreases in value could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Certain of our investments are illiquid and are difficult to sell, or to sell in significant amounts at acceptable prices, to generate cash to meet our needs.
Our investments in certain securities, including certain fixed income and structured securities, investments in funds accounted for using the equity method, other alternative investments and strategic investments in joint ventures such as Watford Re, Premia Re and others, may be illiquid due to contractual provisions or investment market conditions. If we require significant amounts of cash on short notice in excess of anticipated cash requirements, then we may have difficulty selling these investments in a timely manner or may be forced to sell or terminate them at unfavorable values.
We may require additional capital or credit in the future, which may not be available or may only be available on unfavorable terms.
The capital requirements of our businesses depend on many factors, including regulatory and rating agency requirements, the performance of our investment portfolio, our ability to write new business successfully, the frequency and severity of catastrophe events and our ability to establish premium rates and reserves at levels sufficient to cover losses. We may need to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings. Any equity or debt financing, if available at all, may be on terms that are unfavorable to us. Equity financings could be dilutive to our existing shareholders and could result in the issuance of securities that have rights, preferences and privileges that are senior to those of our outstanding securities. If we are not able to obtain adequate capital, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
The loss of our key employees or our inability to retain them could negatively impact our business.
Our success has been, and will continue to be, dependent on our ability to retain the services of our existing key executive officers and to attract and retain additional qualified personnel in the future. The pool of talent from which we actively recruit is limited. Although, to date, we have not experienced difficulties in attracting and retaining key personnel, the inability to attract and retain qualified personnel could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, our underwriting staff is critical to our success in the production of business. While we do not consider any of our key executive officers or underwriters to be irreplaceable, the loss of the services of our key executive officers or underwriters or the inability to hire and retain other highly qualified personnel in the future could delay or prevent us from fully implementing our business strategy which could affect our financial performance.
Our information technology systems may be unable to meet the demands of customers.
Our information technology systems service our insurance portfolios. Accordingly, we are highly dependent on the effective operation of these systems. While we believe that the systems are adequate to service our insurance portfolios, there can be no assurance that they will operate in all manners in which we intend or possess all of the functionality required by customers currently or in the future.
Our customers, especially our mortgage insurance customers, require that we conduct our business in a secure manner, electronically via the Internet or via electronic data transmission. We must continually invest significant resources in establishing and maintaining electronic connectivity with customers. In order to integrate electronically with customers in the mortgage insurance industry, we require electronic connections between our systems and those of the industry's largest mortgage servicing systems and leading loan origination systems. Our mortgage group currently possesses connectivity with certain of these external systems, but there is no assurance that such connectivity is sufficient and we are continually undertaking new electronic integration efforts with third-party loan servicing and origination systems. Our business, financial condition and operating results may be adversely affected if we do not possess or timely acquire the requisite set of electronic integrations necessary to keep pace with the technological demands of customers.
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Technology breaches or failures, including, but not limited to, those resulting from a malicious cyber attack on us or our business partners and service providers, could disrupt or otherwise negatively impact our business and/or expose us to litigation.
We rely on information technology systems to process, transmit, store and protect the electronic information, financial data and proprietary models that are critical to our business. Furthermore, a significant portion of the communications between our employees and our business partners and service providers depends on information technology and electronic information exchange. Like all companies, our information technology systems are vulnerable to data breaches, interruptions or failures due to events that may be beyond our control, including, but not limited to, natural disasters, power outages, theft, terrorist attacks, computer viruses, hackers, errors in usage and general technology failures. Additionally, our employees and vendors may use portable computers or mobile devices which may contain duplicate or similar information to that in our computer systems, and these devices can be stolen, lost or damaged. Security breaches could expose us to the loss or misuse of our information, litigation and potential liability. In addition, cyber incidents that impact the availability, reliability, speed, accuracy or other proper functioning of these systems could have a significant negative impact on our operations and possibly our results. A cyber incident could also result in a violation of applicable privacy and other laws, damage our reputation, cause a loss of customers, adversely affect our stock price, cause us to incur remediation costs, increased cybersecurity protection costs and/or increased insurance premiums, and/or give rise to monetary fines and other penalties, any of which could be significant and could adversely affect our business.
We have outsourced certain technology and business process functions to third parties and may continue do so in the future. Our outsourcing of certain technology and business process functions to third parties may expose us to increased risk related to data security, service disruptions or the effectiveness of our control system, which could result in monetary and reputational damage or harm to competitive position. These risks could increase as vendors increasingly offer cloud-based software services rather than software services which can be run within our data centers.
We believe that we have established and implemented appropriate security measures to provide reasonable assurance that our information technology systems are secure and appropriate controls and procedures to enable us to identify and respond to unauthorized access to such systems. We regularly engage third parties to evaluate and test the adequacy of our most critical security measures, controls and procedures. Despite these security measures, controls and procedures, disruptions to and breaches of our information technology
systems are possible. Because we rely on our technology systems for many critical functions, including connecting with our customers, if such systems were to fail or be attacked or breached, we may experience a significant disruption in our operations and in the business we receive and process, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
In addition, the regulatory environment surrounding information security and privacy is increasingly changing. We are subject to EU, U.S. federal, state and other foreign laws and regulations regarding the protection of personal data and information. These laws and regulations are complex and sometimes conflict. We could be subject to fines, penalties and/or regulatory enforcement actions in one or more jurisdictions if any person, including any employee, disregards or breaches, whether intentionally or negligently, controls intended to protect the confidential information of our employees or clients. As an example, the New York State Department of Financial Services adopted a regulation pertaining to cybersecurity for all banking and insurance entities under its jurisdiction that came into effect March 1, 2017. Additionally, GDPR came into effect on May 25, 2018, and requires businesses offering goods and services to, or monitoring the behavior of, customers in the EU to comply with onerous accountability obligations and significantly enhanced conditions to processing personal data. Non-compliance with the GDPR could result in a fine of up to 4% of a firm’s global annual revenue per violation. As a result, our ability to conduct our business and our results of operations might be materially and adversely affected.
If the volume of low down payment mortgage originations declines, the amount of mortgage insurance we write in the U.S. could decline, which would reduce our mortgage insurance revenues.
The size of the U.S. mortgage insurance market depends in large part upon the volume of low down payment home mortgage originations. Factors affecting the volume of low down payment mortgage originations include, among others: restrictions on mortgage credit due to stringent underwriting standards and liquidity issues affecting lenders; changes in mortgage interest rates and home prices, and other economic conditions in the U.S. and regional economies; population trends, including the rate of household formation; and U.S. government housing policy. A decline in the volume of low down payment home mortgage originations could decrease demand for mortgage insurance, decrease our U.S. new insurance written and reduce mortgage insurance revenues.
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If the role of the GSEs in the U.S. housing market changes, or if the GSEs change other policies or practices, the amount of mortgage insurance that we write could decline, which would reduce our mortgage insurance revenues.
The GSEs are the beneficiaries of the significant majority of the insurance policies we issue as a result of their purchases, statutorily required or otherwise, of qualifying mortgage loans from lenders or investors. The charters of the GSEs require credit enhancement for low down payment mortgages in order for such loans to be eligible for purchase or guarantee by the GSEs. If the charters of the GSEs were amended to change or eliminate the acceptability of private mortgage insurance, our mortgage insurance business could decline significantly.
The premiums we charge for mortgage insurance on insured loans and the associated investment income may not be adequate to compensate for future losses from these loans.
We set premiums at the time a policy is issued based upon our expectations regarding likely performance over the life of insurance coverage. We generally cannot cancel mortgage insurance coverage or adjust renewal premiums during the life of a mortgage insurance policy. As a result, losses from higher than anticipated claims generally cannot be offset by premium increases on policies in force or mitigated by non-renewal or cancellation of insurance coverage. The premiums we charge on our insurance in force and the associated investment income may not be adequate to compensate us for the risks and costs associated with the insurance coverage provided to customers. An increase in the number or size of claims, compared to what we anticipate, could adversely affect Arch MI U.S.’s results of operations and financial condition.
New GSE eligibility requirements for mortgage insurers could require us to contribute additional capital to Arch MI U.S. in the future, and could negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition, or reduce our operating flexibility.
Substantially all of Arch MI U.S.’s insurance written has been for loans sold to the GSEs. The PMIERs apply to Arch Mortgage Insurance Company and United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company, which are GSE-approved mortgage insurers (“eligible mortgage insurers”). The PMIERs impose limitations on the type of risk insured, the forms and insurance policies issued, standards for the geographic and customer diversification of risk, procedures for claims handling, acceptable underwriting practices, standards for certain reinsurance cessions and financial requirements, among other things. The financial requirements require a mortgage insurer’s available assets, which generally include only the most liquid assets of an insurer, to meet or exceed “minimum required assets” as of each quarter end. Our eligible mortgage insurers each satisfied the PMIERs’ financial requirements as of December 31, 2018.
The revised PMIERs also impose additional operational requirements in areas such as claim processing, loss mitigation, underwriting, quality control, and reporting. The revised requirements have caused us to make changes to our business practices and incur additional costs in order to achieve and maintain compliance with the PMIERs. While we do not expect the revised PMIERs to have a significant impact on our operations or a material impact on our capital position the increase in capital required to satisfy the revised PMIERs may decrease our return on capital.
While we intend to continue to comply with these requirements, there can be no assurance that the GSEs will continue to treat Arch Mortgage Insurance Company or United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company as eligible mortgage insurers. If either or both of the GSEs were to cease to consider Arch Mortgage Insurance Company or United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company as eligible mortgage insurers and, therefore, cease accepting our mortgage insurance products, our results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.
The mix of business we write affects Arch MI U.S.’s losses and will affect the minimum required assets Arch MI U.S. is required to maintain in order to comply with PMIERs financial requirements.
Our mortgage insurance portfolio includes loans with loan-to-value ratios exceeding 95%, loans with FICO scores below 620, adjustable rate mortgages, (“ARMs”), and less-than A quality loans. Even when housing values are stable or rising, we expect higher default and claim rates for high loan-to-value loans, loans with lower FICO scores, ARMs and less-than A quality loans. Although we attempt to incorporate the higher default and claim rates associated with these loans into our underwriting and pricing models, there can be no assurance that the premiums earned and the associated investment income will adequately compensate us for future losses from these loans. From time to time, we change the types of loans that we insure and the requirements under which we insure them. In 2017 and 2018, we modestly expanded our underwriting guidelines and we may further expand such guidelines in the future.
The geographic mix of Arch MI U.S.’s business could increase losses and harm our financial performance. We are affected by economic downturns and other events in specific regions of the United States where a large portion of our U.S. mortgage insurance business is concentrated. As of December 31, 2018, 7.7% of Arch MI U.S.’s primary risk-in-force was located in Texas, 6.3% was located in California and 5.0% was located in Florida. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies, Estimates and Recent Accounting Pronouncements—Mortgage Operations Supplemental Information.”
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Arch MI U.S.’s minimum required assets under the PMIERs will be determined, in part, by the particular risk profiles of the loans it insures. If, absent other changes, Arch MI U.S.’s mix of business changes to include more loans with higher loan-to-value ratios or lower credit scores, it will have a higher minimum required asset amount under the PMIERs and, accordingly, be required to hold more capital in order to maintain GSE eligibility.
Potential changes to state mortgage insurance regulations could reduce Arch MI U.S.’s profitability and its ability to compete with credit enhancement alternatives to mortgage insurance.
The NAIC, which reviews state insurance laws and regulations, has established a Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Working Group (“Working Group”) to make recommendations to the NAIC's Financial Condition Committee regarding changes to the NAIC’s Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Model Act. The Working Group has released a drafts of the Model Act which includes proposed changes to minimum statutory capital requirements.
If the NAIC revises the Model Act, some state legislatures are likely to enact and implement part or all of the revised provisions. While we cannot predict the effect that any NAIC recommendations or future legislation may have on Arch MI U.S., such changes could reduce Arch MI U.S.’s profitability and its ability to compete with credit enhancement alternatives to mortgage insurance, which could adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.
If servicers fail to adhere to appropriate servicing standards or experience disruptions to their businesses, our mortgage insurance operations could be adversely affected.
We depend on reliable, consistent third-party servicing of the loans that we insure. Among other things, our mortgage insurance policies require our customers and their servicers to timely submit premium and reports and utilize commercially reasonable efforts to limit and mitigate loss when a loan is in default. Without reliable, consistent third-party servicing, our insurance subsidiaries may be unable to correctly record new loans as they are underwritten, receive and process payments on insured loans and/or properly recognize and establish reserves on loans when a default exists or occurs but is not reported to us. In addition, if these servicers fail to limit and mitigate losses when appropriate, our losses may unexpectedly increase. If one or more servicers failed to adhere to these requirements, our financial results could be adversely affected.
The implementation of the Basel III Capital Accord may adversely affect the use of mortgage insurance by certain banks.
With certain exceptions, the Basel III Rules became effective on January 1, 2014. If further implementation of the Basel III
Rules increases the capital requirements of banking organizations with respect to the residential mortgages we insure or does not provide sufficiently favorable treatment for the use of mortgage insurance, it could adversely affect the demand for mortgage insurance. In December 2017, the Basel Committee published final revisions to the Basel Capital Accord that will be implemented by each participating country by January 1, 2022. Under these revised rules, banks using the standardized approach for credit risk management will determine the risk-weight for residential mortgages based on the loan-to-value ratio at loan origination, without consideration of mortgage insurance. Under the standardized approach, after the appropriate risk-weight is determined, the existence of mortgage insurance could be considered, but only if the company issuing the insurance has a lower risk-weight than the underlying exposure. Mortgage insurance issued by private companies would not meet this test. Therefore, under the latest Basel Capital Accord, mortgage insurance could not mitigate credit and lower the capital charge under the standardized approach. If the Basel Capital Accord is implemented in the United States in this form, mortgage insurance would not lower the loan-to-value ratio of residential loans for capital purposes, and therefore may decrease the demand for this product. It is possible that the U.S. regulatory agencies could determine that their current capital rules are at least as stringent as the Basel Committee’s 2017 revisions, in which case no change would be mandated. However, if the U.S. agencies decide to implement the new standards as specifically drafted by the Basel Committee, mortgage insurance would not lower the loan-to-value ratio of residential loans for capital purposes, and therefore may decrease the demand for this product.
Further, it is possible (but not mandated by the Basel Capital Accord) that the banking agencies and the GSEs might likewise discontinue taking mortgage insurance into account when determining a mortgage’s loan-to-value ratio for prudential (non-capital) purposes. Additionally, a new riskbased capital proposal for the GSEs was published for comment by the FHFA in 2018. Under this proposal the capital requirements of these GSEs would take into account the existence of credit mitigants, such as mortgage insurance. However, as proposed, mortgage insurance issued by monoline companies would result in less capital relief than the capital relief afforded by other forms of credit mitigation, such as the issuance of credit-linked notes. The final form ofthe rule is likely to change based on comments received from industry participants and the views of the new director of the FHFA. However, if adopted as proposed, these capital regulations might incent the GSEs to favor these forms of credit risk mitigation when they have the option to use these instruments.If these developments should occur, they would adversely affect the demand for mortgage insurance in the U.S. which would adversely affect our U.S. mortgage insurance operations.
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Some of the provisions of our bye-laws and our shareholders agreement may have the effect of hindering, delaying or preventing third party takeovers or changes in management initiated by shareholders. These provisions may also prevent our shareholders from receiving premium prices for their shares in an unsolicited takeover.
Some provisions of our bye-laws could have the effect of discouraging unsolicited takeover bids from third parties or changes in management initiated by shareholders. These provisions may encourage companies interested in acquiring us to negotiate in advance with our board of directors, since the board has the authority to overrule the operation of several of the limitations.
Among other things, our bye-laws provide: for a classified board of directors, in which the directors of the class elected at each annual general meeting holds office for a term of three years, with the term of each class expiring at successive annual general meetings of shareholders; that the number of directors is determined by the board from time to time by a vote of the majority of our board; that directors may only be removed for cause, and cause removal shall be deemed to exist only if the director whose removal is proposed has been convicted of a felony or been found by a court to be liable for gross negligence or misconduct in the performance of his or her duties; that our board has the right to fill vacancies, including vacancies created by an expansion of the board; and for limitations on a shareholder’s right to raise proposals or nominate directors at general meetings. Our bye-laws provide that certain provisions which may have anti-takeover effects may be repealed or altered only with prior board approval and upon the affirmative vote of holders of shares representing at least 65% of the total voting power of our shares entitled generally to vote at an election of directors.
The bye-laws also contain a provision limiting the rights of any U.S. person (as defined in section 7701(a)(30) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”)) that owns shares of Arch Capital, directly, indirectly or constructively (within the meaning of section 958 of the Code), representing more than 9.9% of the voting power of all shares entitled to vote generally at an election of directors. The votes conferred by such shares of such U.S. person will be reduced by whatever amount is necessary so that after any such reduction the votes conferred by the shares of such person will constitute 9.9% of the total voting power of all shares entitled to vote generally at an election of directors. Notwithstanding this provision, the board may make such final adjustments to the aggregate number of votes conferred by the shares of any U.S. person that the board considers fair and reasonable in all circumstances to ensure that such votes represent 9.9% of the aggregate voting power of the votes conferred by all shares of Arch Capital entitled to vote generally at an election of directors. Arch Capital will assume that all shareholders (other than specified persons)
are U.S. persons unless we receive assurance satisfactory to us that they are not U.S. persons.
The bye-laws also provide that the affirmative vote of at least 66 2/3% of the outstanding voting power of our shares (excluding shares owned by any person (and such person’s affiliates and associates) that is the owner of 15% or more (a “15% Holder”) of our outstanding voting shares) shall be required for various corporate actions, including: merger or consolidation of the company into a 15% Holder; sale of any or all of our assets to a 15% Holder; the issuance of voting securities to a 15% Holder; or amendment of these provisions; provided, however, the supermajority vote will not apply to any transaction approved by the board.
The provisions described above may have the effect of making more difficult or discouraging unsolicited takeover bids from third parties. To the extent that these effects occur, shareholders could be deprived of opportunities to realize takeover premiums for their shares and the market price of their shares could be depressed. In addition, these provisions could also result in the entrenchment of incumbent management.
There are regulatory limitations on the ownership and transfer of our common shares.
The jurisdictions in which our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries operate have laws and regulations that require regulatory approval of a change in control of an insurer or an insurer's holding company. Where such laws apply to us and our subsidiaries, there can be no effective change in our control unless the person seeking to acquire control has filed a statement with the regulators and has obtained prior approval for the proposed change from such regulators. The usual measure for a presumptive change in control pursuant to these laws is the acquisition of 10% or more of the voting power of the insurance company or its parent, although this presumption is rebuttable. Consequently, a person may not acquire 10% or more of our common shares without the prior approval of the applicable insurance regulators. These laws may discourage potential acquisition proposals and may delay, deter or prevent a change in control of us, including transactions that some shareholders might consider to be desirable.
Our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries are subject to regulation in various jurisdictions, and failure to comply with existing regulations or material changes in the regulation of their operations, or any investigations, inquiries or demands by government authorities, could adversely affect us.
Our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries are subject to the laws and regulations of a number of jurisdictions worldwide, including Bermuda, the states in the U.S. in which such subsidiaries conduct business, the U.K., certain EU Member States, Canada, Switzerland, Australia and Hong Kong. Existing laws and regulations, among other things, limit the
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amount of dividends that can be paid to us by our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries, prescribe solvency and capital adequacy standards, impose restrictions on the amount and type of investments that can be held to meet solvency and capital adequacy requirements, require the maintenance of reserve liabilities, and require pre-approval of acquisitions and certain affiliate transactions. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations or to maintain appropriate authorizations, licenses, and/or exemptions under applicable laws and regulations may cause governmental authorities to preclude or suspend our insurance or reinsurance subsidiaries from carrying on some or all of their activities, place one or more of them into rehabilitation or liquidation proceedings, impose monetary penalties or other sanctions on them or our affiliates, or commence insurance company delinquency proceedings against our insurance or reinsurance subsidiaries. The application of these laws and regulations by various governmental authorities, including authorities outside the U.S., may affect our liquidity and restrict our ability to expand our business operations through acquisitions or to pay dividends on our ordinary shares. Furthermore, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements may result in significant expenses, which could have a negative impact on our profitability.
In addition to legal and regulatory requirements, the insurance and reinsurance industry has experienced substantial volatility as a result of investigations, litigation and regulatory activity by various insurance, governmental and enforcement authorities, including the SEC, concerning certain practices within the insurance and reinsurance industry. Our involvement in any investigations, litigations or regulatory activity, including any related lawsuits, would cause us to incur legal costs and, if we or any of our insurance or reinsurance subsidiaries were found to have violated any laws or regulations, we could be required to pay fines and damages and incur other sanctions, perhaps in material amounts, which could have a material negative impact on our profitability.
Any such litigation or failure to comply with applicable laws could result in the imposition of significant restrictions on our ability to do business, and could also result in suspensions, injunctions, monetary damages, fines or other sanctions, any or all of which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our reinsurance subsidiaries may be required to provide collateral to ceding companies, by applicable regulators, their contracts or other commercial considerations. Their ability to conduct business could be significantly and negatively affected if they are unable to do so.
Arch Re Bermuda is a registered Bermuda insurance company and is not licensed or admitted as an insurer in any jurisdiction in the U.S., although Arch Re Bermuda has been approved as a “certified reinsurer” in certain U.S. states that allow reduced collateral for reinsurance ceded to such reinsurers. Arch Re
Bermuda's contracts generally require it to post a letter of credit or provide other security, even in U.S. states where it has been approved for reduced collateral. State credit for reinsurance rules also generally provide that certified reinsurers such as Arch Re Bermuda must provide 100% collateral in the event their certified status is “terminated” or upon the entry of an order of rehabilitation, liquidation or conservation against a ceding insurer.
Although, to date, Arch Re Bermuda has not experienced any difficulties in providing collateral when required, if we are unable to post security in the form of letters of credit or trust funds when required, the operations of Arch Re Bermuda could be significantly and negatively affected.
Arch Capital is a holding company and is dependent on dividends and other distributions from its operating subsidiaries.
Arch Capital is a holding company whose assets primarily consist of the shares in our subsidiaries. Generally, Arch Capital depends on its available cash resources, liquid investments and dividends or other distributions from subsidiaries to make payments, including the payment of debt service obligations and operating expenses it may incur and any payments of dividends, redemption amounts or liquidation amounts with respect to our preferred shares and common shares, and to fund the share repurchase program. The ability of our regulated insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries to pay dividends or make distributions is dependent on their ability to meet applicable regulatory standards. In addition, the ability of our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries to pay dividends to Arch Capital and to intermediate parent companies owned by Arch Capital could be constrained by our dependence on financial strength ratings from independent rating agencies. Our ratings from these agencies depend to a large extent on the capitalization levels of our insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries. We believe that Arch Capital has sufficient cash resources and available dividend capacity to service its indebtedness and other current outstanding obligations. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
The service of process and enforcement of judgments against us or our directors or officers may be difficult.
We are a Bermuda company and some of our officers and directors are residents of various jurisdictions outside the U.S. All or a substantial portion of our assets and the assets of those persons may be located outside the U.S. As a result, it may be difficult for investors to effect service of process within the U.S. upon those persons or to recover against us or those persons on judgments of U.S. courts based on civil liabilities provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws even though we have appointed National Registered Agents, Inc., New York, New York, as our
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agent for service of process with respect to actions based on offers and sales of securities made in the U.S. Because there is no treaty in effect between the U.S. and Bermuda providing for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments of U.S. courts in civil and commercial matters, a final judgment for the payment of money rendered by a court in the U.S. based on civil liability, whether or not predicated solely upon the U.S. federal securities laws, would not be automatically enforceable in Bermuda, and there are grounds upon which Bermuda courts may not enforce judgments of U.S. courts. Further, no claim may be brought in Bermuda against us or our directors and officers for violation of U.S. federal securities laws, as such laws do not have force of law in Bermuda. A Bermuda court may, however, impose civil liability on us or our directors and officers in a suit brought in the Supreme Court of Bermuda if the facts alleged in the complaint constitute or give rise to a cause of action under Bermuda law.
Our international business is subject to applicable laws and regulations relating to sanctions and foreign corrupt practices, the violation of which could adversely affect our operations.
We must comply with all applicable economic sanctions and anti-bribery laws and regulations of the U.S. and other foreign jurisdictions where we operate, including the U.K. and the European Community. U.S. laws and regulations applicable to us include the economic trade sanctions laws and regulations administered by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control as well as certain laws administered by the U.S. Department of State. New sanction regimes may be initiated, or existing sanctions expanded, at any time, which can immediately impact our business activities. In addition, we are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other anti-bribery laws such as the U.K. Bribery Act that generally bar corrupt payments or unreasonable gifts to foreign governments or officials. Although we have policies and controls in place that are designed to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations, it is possible that an employee or intermediary could fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations. In such event, we could be exposed to civil penalties, criminal penalties and other sanctions, including fines or other punitive actions. In addition, such violations could damage our business and/or our reputation. Such criminal or civil sanctions, penalties, other sanctions, and damage to our business and/or reputation could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Risk Relating to Our Shares
The market price of our common shares may experience volatility, thereby causing a potential loss of value to our investors.
The market price for our common shares may fluctuate substantially and could cause investment losses. The price of our common shares may not remain at or exceed current levels.
In addition to the risk factors described herein, the following factors may have an adverse impact on the market price for our common shares: announcements by us or our competitors of acquisitions, investments or strategic alliances; changes in the value of our assets; our actual or anticipated quarterly and annual operating results; changes in expectations of future financial performance or changes in estimates of securities analysts; issuances by us of shares or other securities; sales, or the possibility or perception of future sales, by our existing shareholders; our share repurchase program; changes in general conditions in the economy, the insurance industry or the financial markets; changes in market valuation of companies in the insurance and reinsurance industry; fluctuations in stock market processes and volumes; the addition or departure of key personnel; changes in tax law; and adverse press or news announcements affecting us or the industry.
General market conditions and unpredictable factors could adversely affect market prices for our outstanding preferred shares.
There can be no assurance about the market prices for our series of preferred shares that are traded publicly. Several factors, many of which are beyond our control, will influence the fair value of our preferred shares, including, but not limited to:
whether dividends have been declared and are likely to be declared on any series of our preferred shares from time to time;
our creditworthiness, financial condition, performance and prospects;
whether the ratings on any series of our preferred shares provided by any ratings agency have changed;
the market for similar securities; and
economic, financial, geopolitical, regulatory or judicial events that affect us and/or the insurance or financial markets generally.
Dividends on our preferred shares are non-cumulative.
Dividends on our preferred shares are non-cumulative and payable only out of lawfully available funds of Arch Capital under Bermuda law. Consequently, if Arch Capital's board of directors (or a duly authorized committee of the board) does not authorize and declare a dividend for any dividend period with respect to any series of our preferred shares, holders of such preferred shares would not be entitled to receive any such dividend, and such unpaid dividend will not accrue and will never be payable. Arch Capital will have no obligation to pay dividends for a dividend period on or after the dividend payment date for such period if its board of directors (or a duly authorized committee of the board) has not declared such dividend before the related dividend payment date; if dividends on our series E or series F preferred shares are authorized and declared with respect to any subsequent dividend period, Arch Capital will be
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free to pay dividends on any other series of preferred shares and/or our common shares. In the past, we have not paid dividends on our common shares.
Our preferred shares are equity and are subordinate to our existing and future indebtedness.
Our preferred shares are equity interests and do not constitute indebtedness. As such, these preferred shares will rank junior to all of our indebtedness and other non-equity claims with respect to assets available to satisfy our claims, including in our liquidation. As of December 31, 2018, our total long-term debt was $1.73 billion, excluding the ‘other’ segment. We may incur additional debt in the future. Our existing and future indebtedness may restrict payments of dividends on our preferred shares. Additionally, unlike indebtedness, where principal and interest would customarily be payable on specified due dates, in the case of preferred shares, (1) dividends are payable only if declared by the board of directors of Arch Capital (or a duly authorized committee of the board) and (2) as described under “Risks Relating to Our Company—Arch Capital is a holding company and is dependent on dividends and other distributions from its operating subsidiaries,” we are subject to certain regulatory and other constraints affecting our ability to pay dividends and make other payments.
The voting rights of holders of our preferred shares are limited.
Holders of our preferred shares have no voting rights with respect to matters that generally require the approval of voting shareholders. The limited voting rights of holders of our preferred shares include the right to vote as a class on certain fundamental matters that affect the preference or special rights of our preferred shares as set forth in the certificate of designations relating to each series of preferred shares. In addition, if dividends on our series E or series F preferred shares have not been declared or paid for the equivalent of six dividend payments, whether or not for consecutive dividend periods, holders of the outstanding series E or series F preferred shares will be entitled to vote for the election of two additional directors to our board of directors subject to the terms and to the limited extent as set forth in the certificate of designations relating to such series of preferred shares.
There is no limitation on our issuance of securities that rank equally with or senior to our preferred shares.
We may issue additional securities that rank equally with or senior to our series E and series F preferred shares without limitation. The issuance of securities ranking equally with or senior to our preferred shares may reduce the amount available for dividends and the amount recoverable by holders of such series in the event of a liquidation, dissolution or winding-up of Arch Capital.
Risks Relating to Taxation
We and our non-U.S. subsidiaries may become subject to U.S. federal income taxation and/or the U.S. federal income tax liabilities of our U.S. subsidiaries may increase, including as a result of changes in tax law.
Arch Capital and its non-U.S. subsidiaries intend to operate their business in a manner that will not cause them to be treated as engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. and, thus, will not be required to pay U.S. federal income taxes (other than U.S. excise taxes on insurance and reinsurance premium and withholding taxes on certain U.S. source investment income) on their income. However, because there is uncertainty as to the activities which constitute being engaged in a trade or business in the U.S., there can be no assurances that the IRS will not contend successfully that Arch Capital or its non-U.S. subsidiaries are engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. If Arch Capital or any of its non-U.S. subsidiaries were subject to U.S. income tax, our shareholders' equity and earnings could be adversely affected.
Congress has been considering several legislative proposals intended to eliminate certain perceived tax advantages of Bermuda and other non-U.S. insurance companies. There is no assurance that any such legislative proposal will not be enacted into law and any such enacted law would not adversely affect income tax liabilities of us or any of our subsidiaries.
The newly enacted U.S. tax law and its implementation may have a material and adverse impact on our operations and financial condition.
The Tax Cuts Act includes significant changes to the taxation of business entities. These changes include, among others, a permanent reduction to the corporate income tax rate. Notwithstanding the reduction in the corporate income tax rate, the overall impact of this tax reform is uncertain, and our business and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.
Certain provisions in the Tax Cuts Act could have a material and adverse impact on our financial condition and business operation. One such provision imposes a 10% minimum tax (reduced to 5% for the 2018 taxable year and increased to 12.5% for the 2026 taxable year and the subsequent taxable years) on the “modified taxable income” of a U.S. corporation (or a non-U.S. corporation engaged in a U.S. trade or business) over such corporation’s regular U.S. federal income tax, reduced by certain tax credits. The “modified taxable income” of a corporation is determined without deduction for certain payments by such corporation to its non-U.S. affiliates (including reinsurance premiums). The reinsurance agreements between our U.S.-based property casualty insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries and Arch Re Bermuda were canceled on a cutoff basis as of January 1, 2018. As such, the level of
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subject business ceded to Arch Re Bermuda was substantially lower in 2018 than in prior periods. Other provisions of the Tax Cuts Act that could have a material and adverse impact on us include a provision that defers or disallows a U.S. corporation’s deduction of interest expense to the extent such interest expense exceeds a specified percentage of such U.S. corporation’s “adjusted taxable income” and a provision that adjusts the manner in which a U.S. property and casualty insurance company computes its loss reserve. There is no assurance that subsequent change in tax laws will materially and adversely affect our operations and financial condition.
Our non-U.K. companies may be subject to U.K. tax that may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
We intend to operate in such a manner so that none of our companies, other than our U.K. subsidiaries and branch operations (the “U.K. Group”), should be resident in the U.K. for tax purposes or carry on a trade, whether or not through a permanent establishment, in the U.K. Accordingly, we do not expect that any of our other subsidiaries, other than the U.K. Group, should be subject to U.K. tax. Case law has held that whether or not a trade is being carried on in the U.K. is a matter of fact and emphasis is placed on where the operations take place from which the profits in substance arise. HM Revenue and Customs might contend successfully that one or more of our subsidiaries, in addition to the U.K. Group, is carrying on a trade in the U.K. For U.K. tax purposes, a non-U.K. tax resident company will be subject to U.K. corporation tax only if it carries on a trade through a permanent establishment in the U.K. However, that subsidiary may still be subject to U.K. income tax if it carries on a trade in the U.K., without a permanent establishment, unless it is entitled to the protection afforded by a double tax treaty between the U.K. and the jurisdiction in which that company is resident. If any of our subsidiaries is treated as resident, or carrying on a trade, in the U.K., whether or not through a permanent establishment, and, therefore, subject to U.K. tax, our results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
We may become subject to taxes in Bermuda after March 31, 2035, which may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
Under current Bermuda law, we are not subject to tax on income, profits, withholding, capital gains or capital transfers. Furthermore, we have obtained from the Minister of Finance of Bermuda under the Exempted Undertakings Tax Protection Act 1966 of Bermuda, an assurance that, in the event that Bermuda enacts legislation imposing tax computed on profits, income, any capital asset, gain or appreciation, or any tax in the nature of estate duty or inheritance tax, then the imposition of the tax will not be applicable to us or our operations until March 31, 2035. We could be subject to taxes in Bermuda after that date. This assurance does not, however, prevent the imposition of taxes on any person ordinarily resident in
Bermuda or any company in respect of its ownership of real property or leasehold interests in Bermuda.
The impact of Bermuda's letter of commitment to the OECD to eliminate harmful tax practices is uncertain and could adversely affect our tax status in Bermuda.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) has published reports and launched a global initiative among member and non-member countries on measures to limit harmful tax competition. These measures are largely directed at counteracting the effects of tax havens and preferential tax regimes in countries around the world. Bermuda was not listed in the most recent report as an uncooperative tax haven jurisdiction because it had previously committed to eliminate harmful tax practices, to embrace international tax standards for transparency, to exchange information and to eliminate an environment that attracts business with no substantial domestic activity. We are not able predict what changes will arise from the commitment or whether such changes will subject us to additional taxes.
The impact of commitments made by the government of Bermuda in order to avoid being named on the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions is uncertain and could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
Following a year-long screening process, on December 5, 2017 the Council of the European Union published its list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes (the “EU Blacklist”). Bermuda was not named on the EU Blacklist due to commitments made by its government to improve certain “substance requirement” deficiencies that were identified by the EU during the screening process. This commitment led to
the passing of the Economic Substance Act 2018 (the “Substance Act”) in December 2018. The Substance Act requires certain entities resident in Bermuda to demonstrate that they have adequate economic substance in Bermuda. Broadly, this is expected to be the case where an entity can demonstrate it has adequate income generating activities, employees, premises, and expenditure incurred in Bermuda, although the meaning of "adequate" in this context remains unclear. Further, the speed with which the Substance Act was implemented, and the uncertainties in its interpretation, make it difficult to predict its future impact. Any entity found to be lacking adequate economic substance may be fined or ordered by a court to take action to remedy such failure (or face being struck off the companies register). The EU is expected to announce whether the Substance Act is sufficient to keep Bermuda off the EU Blacklist in February 2018. The nature and scope of the sanctions that may be applied as a result of Bermuda being included in the EU Blacklist is still being considered. Sanctions that the EU has recommended Member States adopt include, inter alia, increased auditing of taxpayers using structures or arrangements involving listed jurisdictions and the imposition
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of withholding taxes on payments made to such jurisdictions. As a result, there is a risk that both the adoption of the Substance Act, possible further legislative changes, and the imposition of sanctions in circumstances where Bermuda is ultimately included on the EU Blacklist, could result in increased tax liabilities and/or compliance costs for Arch.
We may become subject to increased taxation in Bermuda and other countries as a result of the OECD's plan on “Base erosion and profit shifting.”
The OECD, with the support of the G20, initiated the “base erosion and profit shifting” (“BEPS”) project in 2013 in response to concerns that international tax standards have not kept pace with changes in global business practices and that changes are needed to international tax laws to address situations where multinationals may pay little or no tax in certain jurisdictions by shifting profits away from jurisdictions where the activities creating those profits may take place. In October 2015, the OECD issued “final reports” in connection with the BEPS project. The final reports were approved for adoption by the G20 finance ministers in November 2015. The final reports provide the basis for international standards for corporate taxation that are designed to prevent, among other things, the artificial shifting of income to tax havens and low-tax jurisdictions, the erosion of the tax base through interest deductions on intercompany debt and the artificial avoidance of permanent establishments (i.e., tax nexus with a jurisdiction).
Legislation to adopt these standards has been enacted or is currently under consideration in a number of jurisdictions to implement these standards, including country by country reporting. As a result, our income may be taxed in jurisdictions where it is not currently taxed and at higher rates of tax than currently taxed, which may substantially increase our effective tax rate. Also, the adoption of these standards may increase the complexity and costs associated with tax compliance and adversely affect our financial position and results of operations.
The EU’s review of harmful tax competition could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
During 2017, the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council (“ECOFIN”) released a list of noncooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The stated aim of this list, and accompanying report, was to promote good governance worldwide in order to maximize efforts to prevent tax fraud and tax evasion. Bermuda was not on the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, but did feature in the report (along with approximately 40 other jurisdictions) as having committed to address concerns relating to economic substance by December 31, 2018. In accordance with that commitment, Bermuda has enacted legislation that requires certain entities in Bermuda engaged in “relevant activities” to maintain a substantial economic presence in Bermuda and to satisfy economic substance requirements. The list of “relevant activities” includes carrying on as a business any one or more of: banking, insurance, fund management, financing, leasing, headquarters, shipping, distribution and service center, intellectual property and holding entities. Any entity that must satisfy economic substance requirements but fails to do so could face automatic disclosure to competent authorities in the EU of the information filed by the entity with the Bermuda Registrar of Companies in connection with the economic substance requirements and may also face financial penalties, restriction or regulation of its business activities and/or may be struck off as a registered entity in Bermuda.
At present, the impact of these new economic substance requirements is unclear, and it is impossible to predict the nature and effect of these requirements on us. The new economic substance requirements may increase the complexity and costs of carrying on our business and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
We lease office space in Bermuda where our principal offices are located. Our insurance group leases space for offices in the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, Europe and Australia. Our reinsurance group leases space for offices in the U.S., Bermuda, Europe, Canada and Dubai. Our mortgage group leases space for offices
in the U.S., Hong Kong and Australia. We believe that the above described office space is adequate for our needs. However, as we continue to develop our business, we may open additional office locations in 2019.
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We, in common with the insurance industry in general, are subject to litigation and arbitration in the normal course of our business. As of December 31, 2018, we were not a party to any
litigation or arbitration which is expected by management to have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition and liquidity.
MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
As of February 20, 2019, and based on information provided to us by our transfer agent and proxy solicitor, there were 860 holders of record of our common shares (NASDAQ: ACGL) and approximately 43,000 beneficial holders of our common shares.
ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
The following table summarizes our purchases of common shares for the 2018 fourth quarter:
Issuer Purchases of Common Shares
Total Number of Shares Purchased (1)
Average Price Paid per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Plan or Programs (2)
Includes repurchases by Arch Capital of shares, from time to time, from employees in order to facilitate the payment of withholding taxes on restricted shares granted and the exercise of stock appreciation rights. We purchased these shares at their fair market value, as determined by reference to the closing price of our common shares on the day the restricted shares vested or the stock appreciation rights were exercised.
Remaining amount available at December 31, 2018 under Arch Capital’s share repurchase authorization, under which repurchases may be effected from time to time in open market or privately negotiated transactions through December 31, 2019.
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The following graph compares the cumulative total shareholder return on our common shares for each of the last five years through December 31, 2018 to the cumulative total return, assuming reinvestment of dividends, of (1) S&P 500 Composite Stock Index (“S&P 500 Index”) and (2) the S&P 500 Property & Casualty Insurance Index. The share price performance presented below is not necessarily indicative of future results.
CUMULATIVE TOTAL SHAREHOLDER RETURN (1)(2)(3)
Arch Capital Group Ltd.
S&P 500 Index
S&P 500 Property & Casualty Insurance Index
Stock price appreciation plus dividends.
The above graph assumes that the value of the investment was $100 on December 31, 2013.
This graph is not “soliciting material,” is not deemed filed with the SEC and is not to be incorporated by reference in any filing by us under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, whether made before or after the date hereof and irrespective of any general incorporation language in any such filing.
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SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The following tables set forth summary historical consolidated financial and operating data (including the results of the ‘other’ segment) and should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our financial statements and the related notes.
(U.S. dollars in thousands except share data)
Year Ended December 31,
Statement of Income Data:
Net premiums written
Net premiums earned
Net investment income
Equity in net income (loss) of investments accounted for using the equity method
Net realized gains (losses)
Income before income taxes
Net (income) loss attributable to noncontrolling interests
Net income available to Arch
Loss on redemption of preferred shares
Net income available to Arch common shareholders
Diluted net income per share
Cash dividends per share
After-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders (1)
After-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders per share — diluted (1)
After-tax return on average common equity (2)
After-tax operating return on average common equity (2)
Weighted average common shares and common share equivalents outstanding — diluted (2)
After-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders is defined as net income available to Arch common shareholders, excluding net realized gains or losses, net impairment losses included in earnings, equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method, net foreign exchange gains or losses, transaction costs and other and loss on redemption of preferred shares, net of income taxes. The presentation of after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders is a “non-GAAP financial measure” as defined in Regulation G. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—General—Comment on Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for further details.
Equals after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders divided by the average of beginning and ending common shareholders’ equity for each period presented. For the 2016 period, the return on average common shareholders’ equity reflects the weighted impact of the $1.10 billion of convertible non-voting common equivalent preferred shares, which were issued on December 31, 2016 as part of the UGC acquisition.
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(U.S. dollars in thousands except share data)
Balance Sheet Data:
Total investable assets (1)
Reinsurance recoverables on unpaid and paid losses and loss adjustment expenses
Reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses:
Before unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses recoverable
Net of unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses recoverable
Before ceded unearned premiums
Net of ceded unearned premiums
Revolving credit agreement borrowings
Total shareholders’ equity
Total shareholders' equity available to Arch
Preferred shareholders' equity
Common shareholders' equity available to Arch
Common shares and common share equivalents outstanding, net of treasury shares (2)
Book value per share (2) (3)
This table excludes the collateral received and reinvested and includes the securities pledged under securities lending agreements, at fair value.
Reflects the impact of outstanding convertible non-voting common equivalent preferred shares which were issued on December 31, 2016 as part of the UGC acquisition.
Excludes the effects of stock options and restricted stock units.
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MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements which involve inherent risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on our current assessment of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements and, therefore, undue reliance should not be placed on them. Important factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those indicated in such statements are discussed in this report, including the sections entitled “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” and “Risk Factors.”
This discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto presented under Item 8. Tabular amounts are in U.S. Dollars in thousands, except share amounts, unless otherwise noted.
Arch Capital Group Ltd. (“Arch Capital” and, together with its subsidiaries, “we” or “us”) is a Bermuda public limited liability company with approximately $11.17 billion in capital at December 31, 2018 and, through operations in Bermuda, the United States, Europe and Canada, writes specialty lines of property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, as well as mortgage insurance and reinsurance, on a worldwide basis. It is our belief that our underwriting platform, our experienced management team and our strong capital base have enabled us to establish a strong presence in the insurance and reinsurance markets.
The worldwide property casualty insurance and reinsurance industry is highly competitive and has traditionally been subject to an underwriting cycle in which a hard market (high premium rates, restrictive underwriting standards, as well as terms and conditions, and underwriting gains) is eventually followed by a soft market (low premium rates, relaxed underwriting standards, as well as broader terms and conditions, and underwriting losses). Property casualty market conditions may affect, among other things, the demand for our products, our ability to increase premium rates, the terms and conditions of the insurance policies we write, changes in the products offered by us or changes in our business strategy.
The financial results of the property casualty insurance and reinsurance industry are influenced by factors such as the frequency and/or severity of claims and losses, including natural disasters or other catastrophic events, variations in
interest rates and financial markets, changes in the legal, regulatory and judicial environments, inflationary pressures and general economic conditions. These factors influence, among other things, the demand for insurance or reinsurance, the supply of which is generally related to the total capital of competitors in the market.
Mortgage insurance and reinsurance is subject to similar cycles to property casualty except that they have historically been more dependent on macroeconomic conditions.
Our objective is to achieve an average operating return on average equity of 15% or greater over the insurance cycle, which we believe to be an attractive return to our common shareholders given the risks we assume. We continue to look for opportunities to find acceptable books of business to underwrite without sacrificing underwriting discipline and continue to write a portion of our overall book in catastrophe-exposed business which has the potential to increase the volatility of our operating results.
The broad property casualty insurance market environment continues to be competitive, with only a few specialty areas providing opportunities to deploy capital at returns which meet our risk-adjusted return requirements. In most of our insurance lines of business, rate increases appear to be in excess of loss cost trends. However, the spread between rate changes and loss trend is a key variable in assessing expected returns and, in specialty lines, is volatile by nature. Our underwriting teams continue to execute a disciplined strategy by emphasizing small and medium-sized accounts over large accounts, shrinking premiums in more commoditized lines such as general liability and directors and officers, and by utilizing reinsurance purchases to reduce volatility on large account, high capacity business. Writings in property catastrophe-exposed business continued to remain low in 2018.
Our mortgage segment continues to experience generally favorable market conditions, with pricing in the U.S. stabilizing in the third quarter following the rate changes announced in the first half of 2018. Our results continue to reflect our success in making high quality credit underwriting risk decisions and building customer relationships.
Arch remains committed to providing solutions across many offerings as the marketplace evolves, including new mortgage credit risk transfer programs initiated by government sponsored enterprises, or “GSEs,” in 2018. Such programs have begun generating business with banks developing new systems to handle the programs and momentum beginning to build. In
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addition, we completed multiple Bellemeade risk transfers to the capital markets throughout 2018, increasing our protection for mortgage tail risk.
Management uses the following three key financial indicators in evaluating our performance and measuring the overall growth in value generated for Arch Capital’s common shareholders:
Book Value per Share
Book value per share represents total common shareholders’ equity available to Arch divided by the number of common shares and common share equivalents outstanding. Management uses growth in book value per share as a key measure of the value generated for our common shareholders each period and believes that book value per share is the key driver of Arch Capital’s share price over time. Book value per share is impacted by, among other factors, our underwriting results, investment returns and share repurchase activity, which has an accretive or dilutive impact on book value per share depending on the purchase price. Book value per share was $21.52 at December 31, 2018, a 6.0% increase from $20.30 at December 31, 2017. The growth in 2018 reflected strong underwriting results, partially offset by the impact of an increase in interest rates on our fixed income securities.
Operating Return on Average Common Equity
Operating return on average common equity (“Operating ROAE”) represents annualized after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders divided by average common shareholders’ equity available to Arch during the period. After-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders, a “non-GAAP measure” as defined in the SEC rules, represents net income available to Arch common shareholders, excluding net realized gains or losses, net impairment losses recognized in earnings, equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method, net foreign exchange gains or losses and transaction costs and other, net of income taxes. Management uses Operating ROAE as a key measure of the return generated to Arch common shareholders. See “Comment on Non-GAAP Financial Measures.” Our Operating ROAE was 10.7% for 2018, compared to 5.7% for 2017 and 9.4% for 2016. The higher Operating ROAE for 2018 reflected strong mortgage insurance underwriting performance, while 2017 returns reflected a higher level of catastrophic loss activity.
Total Return on Investments
Total return on investments includes investment income, equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method, net realized gains and losses and the change in
unrealized gains and losses generated by Arch’s investment portfolio. Total return is calculated on a pre-tax basis and before investment expenses excluding amounts reflected in the ‘other’ segment, and reflects the effect of financial market conditions along with foreign currency fluctuations. Management uses total return on investments as a key measure of the return generated to Arch common shareholders on the capital held in the business, and compares the return generated by our investment portfolio against benchmark returns which we measured our portfolio against during the periods.
The following table summarizes the pre-tax total return (before investment expenses) of investment held by Arch compared to the benchmark return (both based in U.S. Dollars) against which we measured our portfolio during the periods:
Pre-tax total return (before investment expenses):
Year Ended December 31, 2018
Year Ended December 31, 2017
Year Ended December 31, 2016
Our investment expenses were approximately 0.36%, 0.30% and 0.34%, respectively, of average invested assets in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Total return for our investment portfolio outperformed that of the benchmark return index in 2018, reflecting strong performance from our alternative investments. Excluding foreign exchange, total return was 1.13% for 2018, compared to 4.98% for 2017 and 2.35% for 2016. Total return for 2018 reflected the impact of rising interest rates and widening credit spreads, which dampened the total return on our investment grade fixed income portfolio, and negative returns on equities.
The benchmark return index is a customized combination of indices intended to approximate a target portfolio by asset mix and average credit quality while also matching the approximate estimated duration and currency mix of our insurance and reinsurance liabilities. Although the estimated duration and average credit quality of this index will move as the duration and rating of its constituent securities change, generally we do not adjust the composition of the benchmark return index except to incorporate changes to the mix of liability currencies and durations noted above. The benchmark return index should not be interpreted as expressing a preference for or aversion to any particular sector or sector weight. The index is intended solely to provide, unlike many master indices that change based on the size of their constituent indices, a relatively stable basket of investable indices. At December 31, 2018, the benchmark return index had an average credit quality of “Aa2” by Moody’s, an estimated duration of 3.23 years.
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The benchmark return index included weightings to the following indices:
ICE BoAML 1-10 Year U.S. Corporate & All Yankees, A - AAA Rated Index
ICE BoAML 1-5 Year U.S. Treasury Index
ICE BoAML 1-10 Year U.S. Municipal Securities Index
ICE BoAML 3-5 Year Fixed Rate Asset Backed Securities Index
Bloomberg Barclays CMBS Invest Grade Aaa Total Return Index
MSCI ACWI Net Total Return USD Index
ICE BoAML German Government 1-10 Year Index
ICE BoAML U.S. Mortgage Backed Securities Index
Hedge Fund Research HFRX Fixed Income Credit Index
Hedge Fund Research HFRX Equal Weighted Strategies
ICE BoAML 5-10 Year U.S. Treasury Index
ICE BoAML 1-5 Year U.K. Gilt Index
ICE BoAML U.S. High Yield Constrained Index
ICE BoAML 1-5 Year Australian Governments Index
S&P Leveraged Loan Total Return Index
ICE BoAML 0-3 Month U.S. Treasury Bill Index
ICE BoAML 1-5 Year Canada Government Index
ICE BoAML 20+ Year Canada Government Index
COMMENT ON NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
Throughout this filing, we present our operations in the way we believe will be the most meaningful and useful to investors, analysts, rating agencies and others who use our financial information in evaluating the performance of our company. This presentation includes the use of after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders, which is defined as net income available to Arch common shareholders, excluding net realized gains or losses, net impairment losses recognized in earnings, equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method, net foreign exchange gains or losses, transaction costs and other, loss on redemption of preferred shares and income taxes, and the use of annualized operating return on average common equity. The presentation of after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders and annualized operating return on average common equity are non-GAAP financial measures as defined in Regulation G. The reconciliation of such measures to net income available to Arch common shareholders and annualized return on average common equity (the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures) in accordance with Regulation G is included under “Results of Operations” below.
We believe that net realized gains or losses, net impairment losses recognized in earnings, equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method, net foreign
exchange gains or losses, transaction costs and other and loss on redemption of preferred shares in any particular period are not indicative of the performance of, or trends in, our business. Although net realized gains or losses, net impairment losses recognized in earnings, equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method and net foreign exchange gains or losses are an integral part of our operations, the decision to realize investment gains or losses, the recognition of the change in the carrying value of investments accounted for using the fair value option in net realized gains or losses, the recognition of net impairment losses, the recognition of equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method and the recognition of foreign exchange gains or losses are independent of the insurance underwriting process and result, in large part, from general economic and financial market conditions. Furthermore, certain users of our financial information believe that, for many companies, the timing of the realization of investment gains or losses is largely opportunistic. In addition, net impairment losses recognized in earnings on our investments represent other-than-temporary declines in expected recovery values on securities without actual realization. The use of the equity method on certain of our investments in certain funds that invest in fixed maturity securities is driven by the ownership structure of such funds (either limited partnerships or limited liability companies). In applying the equity method, these investments are initially recorded at cost and are subsequently adjusted based on our proportionate share of the net income or loss of the funds (which include changes in the market value of the underlying securities in the funds). This method of accounting is different from the way we account for our other fixed maturity securities and the timing of the recognition of equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method may differ from gains or losses in the future upon sale or maturity of such investments. Transaction costs and other include advisory, financing, legal, severance, incentive compensation and other transaction costs related to acquisitions, including UGC. During the 2016 fourth quarter, transaction costs and other included non-recurring expenses related to a change in the our approach on the deferral of certain internal underwriting costs which are no longer being deferred. We believe that transaction costs and other, due to their non-recurring nature, are not indicative of the performance of, or trends in, our business performance. The loss on redemption of preferred shares related to the redemption of our Series C preferred shares in September 2017 and January 2018 and had no impact on shareholders' equity or cash flows. Due to these reasons, we exclude net realized gains or losses, net impairment losses recognized in earnings, equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method, net foreign exchange gains or losses, transaction costs and other and loss on redemption of preferred shares from the calculation of after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders. In addition, income tax expense for 2017 included a $21.5 million charge
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due to the revaluation of the Company’s net deferred tax asset resulting from the reduction in the U.S. corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018. Due to the non-recurring nature of this item, we excluded it from after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders.
We believe that showing net income available to Arch common shareholders exclusive of the items referred to above reflects the underlying fundamentals of our business since we evaluate the performance of and manage our business to produce an underwriting profit. In addition to presenting net income available to Arch common shareholders, we believe that this presentation enables investors and other users of our financial information to analyze our performance in a manner similar to how management analyzes performance. We also believe that this measure follows industry practice and, therefore, allows the users of financial information to compare our performance with our industry peer group. We believe that the equity analysts and certain rating agencies which follow us and the insurance industry as a whole generally exclude these items from their analyses for the same reasons.
Our segment information includes the presentation of consolidated underwriting income or loss and a subtotal of underwriting income or loss before the contribution from the ‘other’ segment. Such measures represent the pre-tax profitability of our underwriting operations and include net premiums earned plus other underwriting income, less losses and loss adjustment expenses, acquisition expenses and other operating expenses. Other operating expenses include those operating expenses that are incremental and/or directly attributable to our individual underwriting operations. Underwriting income or loss does not incorporate items included in our corporate (non-underwriting) segment. While these measures are presented in note 4, “Segment Information,” to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8, they are considered non-GAAP financial measures when presented elsewhere on a consolidated basis. The reconciliations of underwriting income or loss to income before income taxes (the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure) on a consolidated basis and a subtotal before the contribution from the ‘other’ segment, in accordance with Regulation G, is shown in note 4, “Segment Information,” to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8.
We measure segment performance for our three underwriting segments based on underwriting income or loss. We do not manage our assets by underwriting segment, with the exception of goodwill and intangible assets, and, accordingly, investment income and other non-underwriting related items are not allocated to each underwriting segment. For the ‘other’ segment, performance is measured based on net income or loss.
Along with consolidated underwriting income, we provide a subtotal of underwriting income or loss before the contribution from the ‘other’ segment. Pursuant to generally accepted accounting principles, Watford Re is considered a variable interest entity and we concluded that we are the primary beneficiary of Watford Re. As such, we consolidate the results of Watford Re in our consolidated financial statements, although we only own approximately 11% of Watford Re’s common equity. Watford Re has its own management and board of directors that is responsible for its overall profitability. In addition, we do not guarantee or provide credit support for Watford Re. Since Watford Re is an independent company, the assets of Watford Re can be used only to settle obligations of Watford Re and Watford Re is solely responsible for its own liabilities and commitments. Our financial exposure to Watford Re is limited to our investment in Watford Re’s common and preferred shares and counterparty credit risk (mitigated by collateral) arising from the reinsurance transactions. We believe that presenting certain information excluding the ‘other’ segment enables investors and other users of our financial information to analyze our performance in a manner similar to how our management analyzes performance.
Our presentation of segment information includes the use of a current year loss ratio which excludes favorable or adverse development in prior year loss reserves. This ratio is a non-GAAP financial measure as defined in Regulation G. The reconciliation of such measure to the loss ratio (the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure) in accordance with Regulation G is shown on the individual segment pages. Management utilizes the current year loss ratio in its analysis of the underwriting performance of each of our underwriting segments.
Total return on investments includes investment income, equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method, net realized gains and losses and the change in unrealized gains and losses generated by Arch’s investment portfolio. Total return is calculated on a pre-tax basis and before investment expenses, excludes amounts reflected in the ‘other’ segment, and reflects the effect of financial market conditions along with foreign currency fluctuations. In addition, total return incorporates the timing of investment returns during the periods. There is no directly comparable GAAP financial measure for total return. Management uses total return on investments as a key measure of the return generated to Arch common shareholders on the capital held in the business, and compares the return generated by our investment portfolio against benchmark returns which we measured our portfolio against during the periods.
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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following table summarizes our consolidated financial data, including a reconciliation of net income available to Arch common shareholders to after-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders. Each line item reflects the impact of our approximate 11% ownership of Watford Re’s common equity.
Year Ended December 31,
Net income available to Arch common shareholders
Net realized (gains) losses
Net impairment losses recognized in earnings
Equity in net (income) loss of investments accounted for using the equity method
Net foreign exchange (gains) losses
Transaction costs and other
Loss on redemption of preferred shares
Income tax expense (benefit) (1)
After-tax operating income available to Arch common shareholders
Beginning common shareholders’ equity
Average common shareholders’ equity (2)
Annualized return on average common equity % (2)
Annualized operating return on average common equity % (2)
Income tax on net realized gains or losses, net impairment losses recognized in earnings, equity in net income or loss of investments accounted for using the equity method, net foreign exchange gains or losses, transaction costs and other and loss on redemption of preferred shares reflects the relative mix reported by jurisdiction and the varying tax rates in each jurisdiction.
2016 period reflects the weighted impact of the $1.10 billion of convertible non-voting common equivalent preferred shares issued on December 31, 2016 as part of the UGC acquisition.
Results in all periods presented reflected the impact of current insurance and reinsurance market conditions and the impact of low interest yields on our investment portfolio.
We classify our businesses into three underwriting segments — insurance, reinsurance and mortgage — and two other operating segments — corporate (non-underwriting) and ‘other.’ Our insurance, reinsurance and mortgage segments each have managers who are responsible for the overall profitability of
their respective segments and who are directly accountable to our chief operating decision makers, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Arch Capital and the Chief Financial Officer of Arch Capital. The chief operating decision makers do not assess performance, measure return on equity or make resource allocation decisions on a line of business basis. Management measures segment performance for our three underwriting segments based on underwriting income or loss. We do not manage our assets by underwriting segment, with the exception of goodwill and intangible assets, and, accordingly, investment income is not allocated to each underwriting segment.
We determined our reportable segments using the management approach described in accounting guidance regarding disclosures about segments of an enterprise and related information. The accounting policies of the segments are the same as those used for the preparation of our consolidated financial statements. Intersegment business is allocated to the segment accountable for the underwriting results.
The following tables set forth our insurance segment’s underwriting results:
Year Ended December 31,
Gross premiums written
Net premiums written
Change in unearned premiums
Net premiums earned
Losses and loss adjustment expenses
Other operating expenses
Underwriting income (loss)
% Point Change
Acquisition expense ratio
Other operating expense ratio
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Year Ended December 31,
Gross premiums written