Baldwin & Lyons’ earnings rise on record premiums

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Carmel-based Baldwin & Lyons Inc. saw both its revenue and its earnings increase during the second quarter, the company reported on Thursday.

Baldwin & Lyons, which specializes in insurance for the trucking industry, said premiums written during the quarter were a record $100 million, up 7.8 percent from the prior-year period.

The earnings report was the first since Baldwin & Lyons experienced a massive overhaul of senior management.

In May, three of the company’s three top executives left the company after spending a combined 124 years with the firm. The company said in a public filing that the executives "retired" because of "their disagreement with respect to the company’s recent leadership changes, overall strategy and other matters.”

The departing executives were CEO Joseph DeVito, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Corydon and Deputy Chairman and former CEO Gary Miller.

In his resignation letter, DeVito blasted the leadership of Executive Chairman Steve Shapiro, whose family is Baldwin & Lyons’ largest shareholder.

Baldwin & Lyons promoted Randall Birchfield, the company’s former vice president of sales and underwriting, to the CEO spot. It also filled the other vacancies.

Birchfield briefly addressed the topic during Thursday’s earnings call with analysts—his first one as the company’s CEO.

“The leadership transition has been seamless in every material respect,” Birchfield said.

Michael Case, general counsel and secretary, was given the additional position of chief operating officer. Douglas Collins, the company’s director of accounting and finance, was appointed interim CFO. Michael Edwards was named treasurer and chief accounting officer.

Those promoted had been “previously identified for succession” and had been groomed for their new positions by the company’s previous leadership and its board, Birchfield said.

Birchfield also said the leadership team now in place had an instrumental role in developing the company’s current business plan.

The company said quarterly revenue growth “was driven by the continued strong performance of the company’s core Fleet Transportation products.”

Profit for the quarter was $6 million, or 40 cents per share, compared with $5.7 million, or 38 cents per share, during the same period a year earlier.

Earnings, adjusted for investment gains, came to 39 cents per share last quarter, compared with 43 cents per share a year ago.

The company had net after-tax investment gains of $200,000 in the quarter, compared with losses of $800,000 during the same period last year.

Baldwin & Lyons’ Class B shares were trading at $26.76 Thursday morning, up 1.2 percent on the day. The shares have traded in the range of $21.27 and $27.25 over the past year.

The shares have increased 10 percent since the beginning of the year and 13 percent in the last 12 months.


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