• Filing Date: 2013-03-14
  • Form Type: 10-K
  • Description: Annual report
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2012
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Note 1 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

The accompanying consolidated financial statements of Homeowners Choice, Inc. (“HCI” or the “Company”) include the accounts of HCI, Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Inc. (“HCPCI”), HCI’s property and casualty insurance company, and certain other insurance and non-insurance subsidiaries. All significant intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

Through its subsidiaries, the Company is primarily engaged in the property and casualty insurance business. HCPCI is authorized to underwrite homeowners’ property and casualty insurance in the State of Florida. HCPCI’s operations are supported by the following HCI subsidiaries:



Homeowners Choice Managers, Inc. (“HCM”) – acts as managing general agent and provides marketing, underwriting, claims settlement, accounting and financial services to HCPCI;



Southern Administration, Inc. – provides policy administration services to HCPCI; and



Claddaugh Casualty Insurance Company, Ltd. – participates in the reinsurance program to HCPCI.

In addition, while not material to the consolidated financial statements, HCI has various subsidiaries primarily engaged in the businesses of owning and leasing real estate, operating marina facilities and one restaurant and developing software.

Prior to November 2011, nearly all of the Company’s customers were obtained through participation in a “take-out program” with Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”), a Florida state supported insurer. The customers were obtained in nine separate assumption transactions which took place from July 2007 through November 2012. The Company is required to offer renewals on the policies acquired for a period of three years subsequent to the initial expiration of the assumed policies. During the first full year after assumption, such renewals are required to have rates that are equivalent to or less than the rates charged by Citizens. In November 2011, the Company completed an assumption transaction with HomeWise Insurance Company, Inc. (“HomeWise”) through which the Company assumed the Florida policies of HomeWise. Substantially all of the Company’s premium revenue since inception comes from these assumptions.

Acquisition Accounting. The Company accounts for business combinations using the acquisition method, which requires an allocation of the purchase price of an acquired entity to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their estimated fair values at the date of acquisition. Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the net tangible and intangible assets acquired. In the event the net assets acquired exceed the purchase price, the Company will recognize a gain on bargain purchase.


Use of Estimates. The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities as well as the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results may differ materially from these estimates. Material estimates that are particularly susceptible to significant change in the near term are related to losses and loss adjustment expenses.

Cash and Cash Equivalents. The Company considers all short-term highly liquid investments with original maturities of less than three months to be cash and cash equivalents. At December 31, 2012 and 2011, cash and cash equivalents consist of cash on deposit with financial institutions and securities brokerage firms.

Time Deposits. Time deposits consisted of certificates of deposit with original maturities ranging from one to five years.

Investments. Investments consist of fixed-maturity and equity securities. Fixed-maturity securities include debt securities and redeemable preferred stock. Securities may be classified as either trading, held to maturity or available-for-sale. The Company’s available-for-sale securities are carried at fair value. Temporary changes in the fair value of available-for-sale securities are excluded from income and reported in stockholders’ equity as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income, net of deferred income taxes. Realized investment gains and losses from sales are recorded on the trade date and are determined using the specific identification method. Investment income is recognized as earned and discounts or premiums arising from the purchase of debt securities are recognized in investment income using the interest method over the estimated remaining term of the security. Gains and losses from call redemptions and repayments are charged to investment income.

The Company reviews all securities for other-than-temporary impairment (“OTTI”) at least on a quarterly basis, and more frequently when economic or market conditions warrant such review. When the fair value of any investment is lower than its cost, an assessment is made to determine whether the decline is temporary or other-than-temporary. If the decline is determined to be other-than-temporary, the investment is written down to fair value and an impairment charge is recognized in income in the period in which the Company makes such determination. For a debt security that the Company does not intend to sell and it is not more likely than not that the Company will be required to sell before recovery of its amortized cost, only the credit loss component of the impairment is recognized in income, while the impairment related to all other factors is recognized in other comprehensive income. The Company considers various factors in determining whether an individual security is other-than-temporarily impaired (see Note 3 – “Investments”).


Other investments consist primarily of real estate and the related assets purchased during 2011 and 2012 (see Note 3 – “Investments” and Note 5 – “Business Acquisitions”). Real estate and the related depreciable assets are carried at cost, net of accumulated depreciation, which is allocated over the estimated useful life of the asset using the straight-line method of depreciation. Real estate is evaluated for impairment when events or circumstances indicate the carrying value of the real estate may not be recoverable.

Deferred policy acquisition costs. Deferred policy acquisition costs (“DAC”) for the year ended December 31, 2012 primarily represent commissions paid to outside agents at the time of collection of the policy premium, premium taxes, and commissions with respect to assumed reinsurance and are amortized over the life of the related policy in relation to the amount of gross premiums earned.

In addition to the foregoing expenses, DAC for the year ended December 31, 2011 included certain salaries and other policy acquisition expenses, which were deferred pursuant to the accounting standard then in effect (see Accounting Standards Update No. 2010-26 under Note 2 – “Recent Accounting Pronouncements” to the consolidated financial statements). The method followed in computing DAC limits the amount of such deferred costs to their estimated realizable value, which gives effect to the gross premium earned, related investment income, unpaid losses and LAE and certain other costs expected to be incurred as the premium is earned.

DAC is reviewed to determine if it is recoverable from future income, including investment income. If such costs are determined to be unrecoverable, they are expensed at the time of determination. The amount of DAC considered recoverable could be reduced in the near term if the estimates of total revenues discussed above are reduced or permanently impaired as a result of the disposition of a line of business. The amount of amortization of DAC could be revised in the near term if any of the estimates discussed above are revised.

Property and Equipment. Property and equipment is stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and amortization. Depreciation is calculated on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives as follows: building 39 years; computer hardware and software 3 years; office and furniture equipment 3 to 7 years. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of the lease term or the asset’s useful life. Expenditures for improvements are capitalized to the property accounts. Replacements and maintenance and repairs that do not improve or extend the life of the respective assets are expensed as incurred.

Impairment of Long-Lived Assets. Long-lived assets, such as property and equipment, are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the assets may not be recoverable. The Company assesses the recoverability of long-lived assets by determining whether the assets can be recovered from undiscounted future cash flows. Recoverability of long-lived assets is dependent upon, among other things, the Company’s ability to maintain profitability, so as to be able to meet its obligations when they become due. In the opinion of management, based upon current information and projections, long-lived assets will be recovered over the period of benefit.


Losses and Loss Adjustment Expenses. Reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses (“LAE”) are determined by establishing liabilities in amounts estimated to cover incurred losses and LAE. Such reserves are determined based on the assessment of claims reported and the development of pending claims. These reserves are based on individual case estimates for the reported losses and LAE and estimates of such amounts that are incurred but not reported. Changes in the estimated liability are charged or credited to income as the losses and LAE are settled.

The estimates of unpaid losses and LAE are subject to trends in claim severity and frequency and are continually reviewed. As part of the process, the Company reviews historical data and considers various factors, including known and anticipated regulatory and legal developments, changes in social attitudes, inflation and economic conditions. As experience develops and other data becomes available, these estimates are revised, as required, resulting in increases or decreases to the existing unpaid losses and LAE. Adjustments are reflected in the results of operations in the period in which they are made and the liabilities may deviate substantially from prior estimates.

Reinsurance. In the normal course of business, the Company seeks to reduce the loss that may arise from catastrophes or other events that cause unfavorable underwriting results by reinsuring certain levels of risk in various areas of exposure with other insurance enterprises or reinsurers. The Company contracts with a number of well-known and rated reinsurers to secure its annual reinsurance coverage, which becomes effective June 1 st each year. We purchase reinsurance each year taking into consideration maximum projected losses and reinsurance market conditions. Amounts recoverable from reinsurers are estimated in a manner consistent with the reinsured policy. Reinsurance premiums and reserves related to reinsured business are accounted for on a basis consistent with those used in accounting for the original policies issued and the terms of the reinsurance contracts. Premiums ceded to other companies have been reported as a reduction of premium income. Prepaid reinsurance premiums represent the unexpired portion of premiums ceded to reinsurers.

Premium Revenue. Premium revenue is earned on a daily pro-rata basis over the term of the policies. Unearned premiums represent the portion of the premium related to the unexpired policy term.

Policy Fees. Policy fees represent nonrefundable fees for insurance coverage, which are intended to reimburse a portion of the costs incurred to underwrite the policy. The fees and related costs are recognized when the policy is written.


Premium-Based Assessments. From time to time, the Company may be assessed by the state guaranty association. The assessments are intended to be used for the payment of covered claims of insolvent insurance entities. The assessments are generally based on a percentage of premiums written during or following the year of insolvency. Liabilities are recognized when the assessments are probable to be imposed on the premiums on which they are expected to be based and the amounts can be reasonably estimated. The Company is permitted by Florida statutes to recover the entire amount of assessments from in-force and future policyholders through policy surcharges. U.S. GAAP provides that the Company should record an asset based on the amount of written or obligated-to-write premiums and limited to the amounts recoverable over the life of the in-force policies.

Foreign Currency. The functional currency of the Company’s Indian subsidiary is the U.S. dollar. As such, the monetary assets and liabilities of this subsidiary are remeasured into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate in effect on the balance sheet date. Non-monetary assets and liabilities are remeasured using historical rates. Expenses recorded in the local currency are remeasured at the prevailing exchange rate. Exchange gains and losses resulting from these remeasurements are included in the results of operations.

Income Taxes. The Company accounts for income taxes in accordance with U.S. GAAP, resulting in two components of income tax expense: current and deferred. Current income tax expense reflects taxes to be paid or refunded for the current period by applying the provisions of the enacted tax law to the taxable income or excess of deductions over revenues. The Company determines deferred income taxes using the liability (or balance sheet) method. Under this method, the net deferred tax asset or liability is based on the tax effects of the differences between the book and tax bases of assets and liabilities, and enacted changes in tax rates and laws are recognized in the period in which they occur.

Deferred income tax expense results from changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities between periods. Deferred tax assets are recognized if it is more likely than not, based on the technical merits, that the tax position will be realized or sustained upon examination. The term “more likely than not” means a likelihood of more than fifty percent; the terms “examined” and “upon examination” also include resolution of the related appeals or litigation processes, if any. A tax position that meets the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold is initially and subsequently measured as the largest amount of tax benefit that has a greater than fifty percent likelihood of being realized upon settlement with a taxing authority that has full knowledge of all relevant information. The determination of whether or not a tax position has met the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold considers the facts, circumstances, and information available at the reporting date and is subject to management’s judgment. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance if, based on the weight of evidence available, it is more likely than not that some portion or all of a deferred tax asset will not be realized. As of December 31, 2012, management is not aware of any uncertain tax positions that would have a material effect on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.


Fair Value of Financial Instruments. The carrying amounts for the Company’s cash and cash equivalents approximate their fair values at December 31, 2012 and 2011. Fair value for securities are based on the framework for measuring fair value established by U.S. GAAP (see Note 3 – “Investments”).

Stock-Based Compensation. The Company accounts for stock-based compensation under the fair value recognition provisions of U.S. GAAP which requires the measurement and recognition of compensation for all stock-based awards made to employees and directors including stock options and restricted stock issuances based on estimated fair values. In accordance with U.S. GAAP, the fair value of stock-based awards is amortized over the requisite service period, which is defined as the period during which an employee is required to provide service in exchange for an award. The Company uses a straight-line attribution method for all grants that include only a service condition. The Company’s restricted stock awards include both service and market conditions. As a result, certain restricted stock grants are expensed over the derived service period for each separately vesting tranche.

Basic and diluted earnings per common share. Basic earnings per common share is computed by dividing net income attributable to common stockholders by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding for the period. U.S. GAAP requires the inclusion of restricted stock as participating securities since holders of the Company’s restricted stock have the right to share in dividends, if declared, equally with common stockholders. During periods of net income, participating securities are allocated a proportional share of net income determined by dividing total weighted-average participating securities by the sum of total weighted-average common shares and participating securities (the “two-class method”). Diluted earnings per common share reflect the potential dilution that could occur if securities or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised or converted as well as participating equities. Potentially dilutive securities at December 31, 2012 consisted of stock options and the 7.0% Series A cumulative convertible preferred stock issued March 25, 2011 (see Note 11 – Stockholders’ Equity).

Reclassifications. Certain reclassifications of prior year amounts have been made to conform to the current year presentation.