At year end 2019 Gross Premiums Written have increased by 7.39% compared to 5.99% in 2018, 1.65% in 2017 and .15% in 2016. Underwriting profit for 2019 is the second highest in Clare Mutual financial history, topped in 2016 at $691,339. We have continued to grow our business, mostly through organic growth with upselling of existing policies, premium rate increases, additional business under existing clients and new business referred through our network of contacts such as realtors, lawyers and existing policyholders. Decreased reinsurance costs due to good loss experience and stable expenses all contributed to the underwriting profit.
Investment Income, as was also the case in 2018, is higher than the normal due to gains on sale of investments. Realized gains for 2019 are $115,000 compared to $132,000 in 2018.
Claim results for 2019 show a higher than average frequency of claims but low severity. Net claims for 2019 are approximately $474,000 lower than prior year. Claims frequency increased to 91 compared to 67 claims reported in 2018 and 62 in 2017. 2019 claims frequency increase is due to Hurricane Dorian with 31 reported claims for that weather event. One partial fire loss reported in 2019 exceeded the $100,000 reinsurance retention. Having submitted one, fairly minor, excess recovery claim to Farm Mutual Reinsurance in 2019 will continue to positively impact the reinsurance rates for 2021.
A significant number of open claims from 2019 have been concluded and I am pleased to report that all
claims opened in 2018 and prior are now practically closed. The loss prevention program continues to work very successfully. We appreciate the cooperation of our policyholders in completing their inspection requirements. We are increasing efforts to have our requirement letters sent out on a timely basis in 2020. Farm Mutual Re has changed their loss prevention program to only offer inspections on clients placed under Facultative Reinsurance coverage (over our $2 million property limit), so we will unfortunately receive fewer inspections from them in the coming years.
Education will continue to be a priority for both staff and Directors. Congratulations to those who have completed courses. I am very happy to advise that Charelle has completed all the required courses and will receive an OMIA Director Certification Program Certificate. This is the first Clare Mutual Director to complete the Program and an exciting milestone for the Company. Congratulations Charelle!
We have just finished another record year of success for Clare Mutual Insurance Company. Decisions made by the Board and management are proving to be the correct ones for our Company, and it is through the important work of our team members who are on the ‘front lines’, dealing with the day to day needs of our policyholders, that allow us to achieve these results. While there have been challenges and changes, the one consistent has been the commitment, professionalism and dedication demonstrated by the team of Staff and Directors. The commitment to the work you do and services provided is key to our success.
Over the years there have been changes to the how we do things, but what has never changed is why we do it, the commitment to quality and policyholders care has always been at the base of why we do what we do. Keeping that as your focus will bring continued progress and improvement and ensure many more years of success for the policyholder, the team and the Company.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
July 21, 2020