XL Group PLC Earnings Call Nuggets: Rail Liability and Loss Ratio

XL Group PLC (NYSE:XL) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Rail Liability

Jay Cohen – Bank of America-Merrill Lynch: Mike, I know you mentioned that you can’t comment on the Canadian situation. I’m not asking you specifically about that one, but I’m wondering if you could tell us what a typical limit is for a large property placement for the Company and what you typically retain if there is a number that is typical for you?

Michael S. McGavick – CEO: First I really appreciate the sensitive way you’ve formulated your question. We have given that some thought and Greg has some information for you.

Gregory S. Hendrick – EVP and Chief Executive, Insurance Operations: Jay, on our North American rail liability portfolio, it’s underwritten in our E&S and our excess casualty businesses. We’ve got experienced rail underwriters in both those organizations. We’ve made here a strict risk aggregation limits to control our exposures. To your direct question, our average line on short line railroads across the two portfolios is $32 million gross and $19 million net. That’s really all I can give you at this point.

Loss Ratio

Jay Gelb – Barclays: For the underlying combined ratio in the Insurance segment, it’s clear that that moved up from the first quarter. I’m wondering if there are any large non-cat losses in there versus perhaps in absence in the first quarter.

Gregory S. Hendrick – EVP and Chief Executive, Insurance Operations: Yeah, Jay, it’s Greg, Jay. There is nothing – let me give you a little color on this. The movement of the loss ratio which is the main piece, the expense part of it is about 1.2 percentage; a lot of little moving pieces back and forth, generally comp-driven related to – as Pete noted about, growth in our talent. On the loss ratio side, we’ve had slightly higher loss dollars from modest losses, nothing in the large loss (side) but from modest losses. And we’ve got an earn-out going on of some previous underwriting action, which is a benefit. But the main driver is higher accident year loss ratio picks across a few lines on business. These changes are mostly based on updated views following from our kind of semi-annual reserve review and they reflect two quarters of impact. In rough numbers, this is 2% of the deterioration in the quarter and 1% deterioration on a 2013 year-to-date basis.

Jay Gelb – Barclays: So, it essentially reflects increased conservatism on the most recent accident years?

Michael S. McGavick – CEO: Yes, Jay that’s a good way to think about it. It’s reacting to more data. But I don’t think about it quite so much as one quarter going higher. What I really think about is that probably the first year, in the first quarter some of it was too optimistic and with more information we have more balanced view. I think that’s the more appropriate way to look at it. So I am very comfortable with where these loss ratios are they continue to indicate progress over where we stood last year and we believe we can continue to expand margins…

Jay Gelb – Barclays: Next question is on the unrealized investment gains. The AOCI in the quarter is half of what it was three months ago obviously reflecting the rise in rates. I am just wondering does that affect your view on excess capital position at all.

Peter R. Porrino – EVP and CFO: Hey Jay its Pete. The short answer would be no. So when we think about our capital, our excess capital as we do with a lot of things that we’ve talked about. We look at that on economic capital basis by much more than in accounting basis. We’ve talked about in the past about also looking at rating agency capital, right. And when we look at that stuff, we’ve always viewed these positive marks as potentially temporary. So we’ve never taken the benefit for them. And so when they get cut in half, there is no real adjustment to make when they come down either.

Jay Gelb – Barclays: So just accounting, not economic?

Peter R. Porrino – EVP and CFO: Yes.

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