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Why Is RLI Corp. (RLI) Up 3.8% Since Last Earnings Report?

It has been about a month since the last earnings report for RLI Corp. (RLI). Shares have added about 3.8% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is RLI Corp. due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

RLI’s Q3 Earnings and Revenues Surpass Estimates, Rise Y/Y

RLI Corp. reported third-quarter 2021 operating earnings of 65 cents per share, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 58.5%. The bottom line increased 54.8% from the prior-year quarter.

RLI witnessed improved premiums from Casualty, Surety and Property segments along with improving combined ratio in the reported quarter.

Operational Performance

Operating revenues in the reported quarter were $271 million, up 16.3% year over year. This upside can be attributed to higher net premiums earned and higher net investment income. The top line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.5%.

Gross premiums written increased 18% year over year to $356.2 million. This uptick can be attributed to solid performance of the Casualty, Surety and Property segments. Net premiums written of $278.6 million increased 18.6% on a year-over-year basis, primarily due to higher premiums written in the Casualty, Surety and Property segments.

Net investment income increased 7.9% year over year to $17.8 million. Total expenses increased 10.9% year over year to $224 million, primarily due to higher loss and settlement expenses, policy acquisition costs and interest expense on debt.

The company reported underwriting income of $13.7 million, which increased more than 11-fold from the year-ago period, primarily due to solid performance of the Casualty and Surety segments, partially offset by weak performance at the Property segment. Combined ratio improved 490 basis points (bps) year over year to 94.6%.

Financial Update

The company exited the third quarter with total investments and cash of $3.1 billion, up 9.3% from 2020 end. Book value was $27.63 per share as of Sep 30, 2021, up 9.8% from the figure as of Dec 31, 2020.

Long-term debt was $149.6 million, which inched up 0.1% from 2020 end. Statutory surplus increased 8.8% to $1.2 billion as of Sep 30, 2021 from the figure as of Dec 31, 2020.

Return on equity was 19.7%, reflecting expansion of 280 bps year over year.
Net cash flow provided by operations was $115.9 million in the quarter under review, up 45.9% from the year-ago period.

Dividend Update

On Sep 20, the company paid out a cash dividend of 25 cents per share, the same amount as the prior quarter. Dividends totaled more than $500 million in the last five years.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates revision have trended upward during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted 10.71% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

At this time, RLI Corp. has an average Growth Score of C, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a D. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated a grade of D on the value side, putting it in the bottom 40% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of this revision looks promising. It comes with little surprise RLI Corp. has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.


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