• Filing Date: 2014-03-12
  • Form Type: 10-K
  • Description: Annual report
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2013
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Note 2 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Basis of Presentation. The accompanying financial statements have been prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”).

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 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 primarily related to losses and loss adjustment expenses, reinsurance with retrospective provisions, deferred income taxes, and stock-based compensation expense.

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, 2013 and 2012, cash and cash equivalents consist of cash on deposit with financial institutions and securities brokerage firms and also includes a $300 statutory deposit held by the State of Florida for the benefit of all policyholders.

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 net investment 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 first-in first-out (FIFO) 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”) 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 nor is it 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 4 — “Investments”).

Other investments consist primarily of real estate and the related assets purchased for investment purposes (see Note 4 — “Investments” and Note 6 — “Business Acquisitions”). Real estate and the related depreciable assets are carried at cost, net of accumulated depreciation, which is included in net investment income and 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”) primarily represent commissions paid to outside agents at the time of collection of the policy premium and premium taxes and are amortized over the life of the related policy in relation to the amount of gross premiums earned.

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, which is included in other operating expenses. 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 annually or 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.


Long-Term Debt. Long-term debt is generally classified as a liability and carried at amortized cost, net of any discount. At issuance, a debt instrument with embedded features such as conversion and redemption options is evaluated to determine whether bifurcation and derivative accounting is applicable. If such instrument is not subject to derivative accounting, it is further evaluated to determine if the Company is required to separately account for the liability and equity components.

To determine the carrying values of the liability and equity components at issuance, the Company measures the fair value of a similar liability, including any embedded features other than the conversion option, and assigns such value to the liability component. The liability component’s fair value is then subtracted from the initial proceeds to determine the carrying value of the debt instrument’s equity component, which is included in additional paid-in capital.

Any embedded feature other than the conversion option is evaluated at issuance to determine if it is probable that such embedded feature will be exercised. If the Company concludes that the exercisability of that embedded feature is not probable, the embedded feature is considered to be nonsubstantive and would not impact the initial measurement and expected life of the debt instrument’s liability component.

Transaction costs related to issuing a debt instrument that embodies both liability and equity components are allocated to the liability and equity components in proportion to the allocation of the proceeds and accounted for as debt issuance costs and equity issuance costs, respectively. Debt issuance costs are recognized in other assets. Both debt discount and deferred debt issuance costs are amortized to interest expense over the expected life of the debt instrument using the effective interest method. Equity issuance costs are a reduction to the proceeds allocated to the equity component.

Prepaid Share Repurchase Forward Contract. A prepaid share repurchase forward contract is generally a contract that allows the Company to buy from the counterparty a specified number of common shares at a specific time at a given forward price. The Company entered into such a contract in December 2013 and evaluated the characteristics of the forward contract to determine whether it met the definition of a derivative financial instrument pursuant to U.S. GAAP. The Company determined the forward contract is an equity contract on the Company’s common shares requiring physical settlement in common shares of the Company. As such, the transaction is recognized as a component of stockholders’ equity with a charge to additional paid-in capital equal to the prepayment amount, which represents the cash paid to the counterparty. There will be no recognition in earnings for changes in fair value in subsequent periods.

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.

Advance Premiums. Premium payments received prior to the policy effective date are recorded as advance premiums. Once the policy is in force, the premiums are recorded as described under “Premium Revenue” below.

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 reinsurers to secure its annual reinsurance coverage, which generally becomes effective June 1st each year. The Company purchases reinsurance each year taking into consideration probable maximum losses and reinsurance market conditions. Amounts recoverable from reinsurers would be estimated in a manner consistent with the applicable reinsurance contract(s). 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 gross premiums earned. Prepaid reinsurance premiums represent the unexpired portion of premiums ceded to reinsurers.

Certain of the Company’s current contracts contain retrospective provisions including terms and conditions that adjust premiums, increase the amount of future coverage, or result in profit commissions based on the loss experience under the contracts. In such cases, a with-and-without method is used to estimate the asset or liability amount to be recognized at each reporting date. The amount of the estimate is the difference between the net contract costs before and after the loss experience under the contract. Estimates related to premium adjustments, profit commissions and coverage changes are recognized in ceded premiums earned. These estimates are reviewed monthly based on the loss experience to date and as adjustments become necessary. Such adjustments are reflected in the Company’s current operations.

Premium Revenue. Premium revenue is earned on a daily pro-rata basis over the term of the policies and is included in gross premiums earned. Unearned premiums represent the portion of the premium related to the unexpired policy term. The Company reviews its policy detail and establishes an allowance for any amount outstanding for more than 90 days. As of December 31, 2013 and 2012, there was no allowance required.

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. Effective October 1, 2013 on a prospective basis, policy fees are recognized ratably over the policy coverage period. Prior to October 1, 2013, the fees were recognized in income when the policy was written on the basis that the revenues were appropriately matched to the Company’s incremental direct costs related to policy underwriting.


Florida Insurance Guaranty Association Assessments. 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 other operating expenses.

Income Taxes. The Company files consolidated federal and state income tax returns and allocates taxes among its wholly-owned subsidiaries in accordance with a written tax-allocation agreement approved by the Company’s Board of Directors.

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, 2013, 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, 2013 and 2012. Fair values for securities are based on the framework for measuring fair value established by U.S. GAAP (see Note 5 — “Fair Value Measurements”).

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 generally recognized as compensation expense 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 service, market and performance conditions. As a result, restricted stock grants with market condition are expensed over the derived service period for each separately vesting tranche. For awards with performance conditions, the Company recognizes compensation expense over the requisite service period when it is probable that the performance condition will be achieved. Compensation expense related to all awards is included in other operating expense.

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, 2013 consisted of stock options, the 7.0% Series A cumulative convertible preferred stock (see Note 15 — “Stockholders’ Equity”) and the 3.875% convertible senior notes (see Note 10 — “Long-term debt”).

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