AMERISAFE Announces 2013 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

AMERISAFE Announces 2013 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

                        Increases Regular Dividend 50%
                Announces Special Dividend of $0.50 Per Share

DERIDDER, La., Feb. 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AMERISAFE, Inc.
(Nasdaq:AMSF), a specialty provider of hazardous workers' compensation
insurance, today announced results for the fourth quarter and year ended
December 31, 2013.

                      Three Months Ended         Twelve Months Ended
                       December 31,               December 31,
                      2013     2012     % Change 2013      2012      % Change
                      (in thousands, except per share data)
Net premiums earned    $86,695 $78,741 10.1%   $ 329,983 $ 290,689 13.5%
Net investment income  6,763   6,698   1.0%   27,029   27,018   0.0%
Net realized gains
(losses) on            710     66      NM      (1,211)  2,979    NM
investments
(pre-tax)
Net income             17,443  9,226   89.1%   43,637   29,353   48.7%
Diluted earnings per   $0.92   $0.50   84.0%   $2.32    $1.58    46.8%
share
Operating net income   16,982  9,183   84.9%   44,424   27,417   62.0%
Operating earnings per $0.90   $0.49   83.7%   $2.37    $1.48    60.1%
share
Book value per share   $22.41  $20.88  7.3%    $22.41   $20.88   7.3%
Net combined ratio     80.0%   92.6%           90.0%    97.5%    
Return on average      17.1%   9.8%            10.9%    8.0%     
equity

Commenting on fourth quarter results, Allen Bradley, AMERISAFE's Chairman and
Chief Executive Officer, stated, "During the fourth quarter of 2013 Amerisafe
continued to witness favorable trends in its business with the combination of
improved pricing, stable loss trends and expense management generating stellar
results. From an industry perspective, the workers' compensation market
continues to exhibit evidence of stressed balance sheets, a difficult
investing environment and a growing residual market, providing the ingredients
for a sustained favorable operating environment, particularly in our niche
high severity markets."

Insurance Results

                      Three Months Ended         Twelve Months Ended
                       December 31,              December 31,
                      2013     2012     % Change 2013      2012      % Change
                      (in thousands)
                                                                
Gross premiums written $ 91,102 $ 81,140 12.3%   $372,177 $328,823 13.2%
Net premiums earned    86,695  78,741  10.1%   329,983  290,689  13.5%
Loss and loss
adjustment expenses    59,113  57,489  2.8%     228,973  219,903  4.1%
incurred
Underwriting and
certain other
operating costs,       10,104  14,876  (32.1)% 67,116   61,433   9.3%
commissions and
salaries and benefits
Policyholder dividends 62       544      NM     1,042    2,203    NM
Underwriting profit    17,416   5,832    198.6%  32,852   7,150    359.5%
(pre-tax)
                                                                
Insurance Ratios:                                                
Current accident year  73.2%   76.5%           73.2%    76.5%    
loss ratio
Prior accident year    (5.0)%  (3.5)%          (3.8)%   (0.9)%   
loss ratio
Net loss ratio         68.2%   73.0%           69.4%    75.6%    
Net underwriting       11.7%    18.9%            20.3%     21.1%     
expense ratio
Net dividend ratio     0.1%     0.7%             0.3%      0.8%      
Net combined ratio     80.0%    92.6%            90.0%     97.5%     

  *Voluntary premiums written increased 19.6% in the quarter and 15.6% for
    the year ended December 31, 2013 compared to the same periods in 2012.
    Additionally, payroll audits and related premium adjustments for policies
    written in previous periods increased premiums $3.2 million in the fourth
    quarter and $13.6 million in the year ended December 31, 2013.In 2012,
    these premium adjustments increased premium $7.9 million in the fourth
    quarter and $20.9 million for the full year.
    
  *The current accident year loss ratio for the fourth quarter was
    73.2%.During the quarter the Company experienced $4.4 million of
    favorable prior year development, primarily attributable to accident years
    2009 and 2010.In total, prior accident year development for year ended
    December 31, 2013 resulted in favorable development of $12.6 million,
    compared to favorable development of $2.5 million in 2012.
    
  *For the year ended December 31, 2013, the underwriting expense ratio
    declined 80bps from the prior year to 20.3%.Growth in premium earned
    combined with flat operating expenses more than off-set increases in
    commissions and total compensation.During the fourth quarter the Company
    benefited from the following reductions in estimates: a $1.7 million
    reduction of allowance for doubtful accounts; the reversal of accrued
    retaliatory premium taxes of $1.5 million; and $2.2 million reduction of a
    guaranty fund estimate.
    
  *The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2013 rose to 26.3%
    compared to 21.0% in the same period in 2012.The increase resulted from
    continued improvement in our underwriting margins which created a higher
    proportion of underwriting income relative to tax-exempt investment income
    in 2013.

Janelle Frost, President and Chief Operating Officer, noted, "We are pleased
with the operating results in the quarter.We maintained our pricing
discipline, experienced favorable prior year loss development and benefited
from our focus on expense management, resulting in an 80.0% combined ratio for
the quarter and 90.0% for the full year.The operating results were supported
by the emphasis on our core disciplines in a competitive environment.Those
same disciplines have the company well-positioned for the future."

Investment Results

                                Three Months Ended     Twelve Months Ended
                                 December 31,          December 31,
                                2013    2012    %      2013     2012     %
                                                 Change                   Change
                                (in thousands)
Net investment income            $6,763 $6,698 1.0%   $27,029 $27,018 0.0%
Net realized gains (losses) on   710     66      NM     (1,211)  2,979    NM
investments (pre-tax)
Pre-tax investment yield         2.7%    3.0%          2.8%     3.1%     
Tax equivalent yield (1)         3.9%    4.3%          3.9%     4.3%     
________________________________                                     
(1) The tax equivalent yield is calculated using the effective interest rate and
a 35% marginal tax rate.

  *As of December 31, 2013, the carrying value of AMERISAFE's investment
    portfolio, including cash and cash equivalents, was $1.0 billion.The fair
    value of the portfolio was $1.0 billion.

Capital Management

The Company's Board of Directors increased the regular quarterly dividend from
$0.08 per share to $0.12 per share, a 50.0% increase, payable on March 28,
2014 to shareholders of record as of March 14, 2014. The Board also approved
an extraordinary dividend of $0.50 per share payable on March 28, 2014 to
shareholders of record as of March 14, 2014.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Allen Bradley, commented, "In light of
our strong financial performance, Amerisafe continues to generate significant
capital. The Board's actions of increasing the regular dividend and paying
shareholders an extraordinary cash dividend is a reflection of our solid
operating results as well as a commitment to our shareholders."

During the quarter, no shares were repurchased under the share repurchase
plan.Since the beginning of this plan, the Company has repurchased a total of
1,258,250 shares for $22.4 million, or an average per share price of $17.78,
including commissions.

Non-GAAP Financials

                                 Three Months Ended     Twelve Months Ended
                                  December 31,          December 31,
                                 2013        2012       2013       2012
                                 (in thousands, except share and per share
                                  data)
Net income                        $17,443    $9,226    $43,637   $29,353
Less: Net realized capital        710         66         (1,211)    2,979
gains/(losses)
 Tax effect of (gains)/losses    (249)      (23)      424     (1,043)
(1)
Operating net income (2)          16,982     9,183     44,424    27,417
                                                                
Average shareholders' equity (3)  $408,763   $376,681  $399,018  $365,330
Less: Average other comprehensive (3,483)    3,547     (658)     2,597
income.
Adjusted average shareholders'    412,246     373,134    399,676   362,733
equity
Diluted weighted average common   18,796,566  18,592,164 18,748,809 18,575,191
shares
                                                                
Return on average equity (4)      17.1%      9.8%      10.9%     8.0%
Operating return on average       16.5%      9.8%      11.1%     7.6%
equity (2)
Diluted earnings per common share $0.92     $0.50    $2.32     $1.58
Operating earnings percommon     $0.90     $0.49    $2.37     $1.48
share (2)
______________________________                                   
(1) The tax effect of net realized capital gains is calculated assuming an
annual tax rate of 35%.
(2) Operating net income, operating return on average adjusted equity and
operating earnings per share are each non-GAAP financial measures.Management
believes that investor's understanding of core operating performance is
enhanced by AMERISAFE's disclosure of these financial measures.
(3) Average shareholders' equity is calculated by taking the average of the
beginning and ending shareholders' equity.
(4) Return on average equity is calculated by dividing the annualized net
income by the average shareholders' equity.

Conference Call Information

AMERISAFE has scheduled a conference call for February 27, 2014, at 10:30 a.m.
Eastern Time, to discuss the fourth quarter results and the outlook for future
periods.To participate in the conference call dial 720-545-0027 at least 10
minutes before the call begins and ask for the AMERISAFE conference call.A
replay of the call will be available approximately two hours after the live
broadcast ends and will be accessible through March 6, 2014.To access the
replay, dial 855-859-2056 or 404-537-3406 and use the pass code 31770996.

Investors, analysts and the general public will also have the opportunity to
listen to the conference call over the Internet by visiting
http://www.amerisafe.com.To listen to the live call on the web, please visit
the website at least fifteen minutes before the call begins to register,
download and install any necessary audio software.For those who cannot listen
to the live webcast, an archive will be available shortly after the call and
will remain available for approximately 60 days at http://www.amerisafe.com.

About AMERISAFE

AMERISAFE, Inc. is a specialty provider of workers' compensation insurance
focused on small to mid-sized employers engaged in hazardous industries,
principally construction, trucking and agriculture.AMERISAFE actively markets
workers' compensation insurance in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

Forward Looking Statements

Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts, including
statements accompanied by words such as "will," "believe," "anticipate,"
"expect," "estimate," or similar words are forward-looking statements within
the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding
AMERISAFE's plans and performance. These statements are based on management's
estimates and assumptions as of the date of this release and are not
guarantees of future performance and include statements regarding management's
views and expectations of the workers' compensation market, the Company's
growth opportunities, underwriting margins and actions by competitors.Actual
results may differ materially from the results expressed or implied in these
statements as the results of risks, uncertainties and other factors including
the factors set forth in the Company's filings with the Securities and
Exchange Commission, including AMERISAFE's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the
year ended December 31, 2012.AMERISAFE cautions you not to place undue
reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this
release.AMERISAFE does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or
revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events, information or
circumstances that arise after the date of this release.

AMERISAFE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Income
(in thousands)
                                                      
                                 Three Months Ended    Twelve Months Ended
                                  December 31,          December 31,
                                 2013        2012      2013        2012
                                 (unaudited)          (unaudited) 
Revenues:                                                        
Gross premiums written            $ 91,102   $ 81,140 $ 372,177  $ 328,823
Ceded premiums written            (4,849)    (4,398)  (18,425)  (16,305)
Net premiums written             $ 86,253   $ 76,742 $353,752   $312,518
                                                                
Net premiums earned               $ 86,695   $ 78,741 $ 329,983  $ 290,689
Net investment income             6,763      6,698    27,029     27,018
Net realized gains (losses) on    710        66       (1,211)    2,979
investments
Fee and other income              141        78       534        562
Total revenues                   94,309     85,583   356,335    321,248
                                                                
Expenses:                                                        
Loss and loss adjustment expenses 59,113     57,489   228,973    219,903
incurred
Underwriting and other operating  10,104     14,876   67,116     61,433
costs
Interest expense                  —          —        —         566
Policyholder dividends            62         544      1,042      2,203
Total expenses                   69,279     72,909   297,131    284,105
                                                                
Income before taxes               25,030     12,674   59,204     37,143
Income tax expense                7,587      3,448    15,567     7,790
Net income                       $ 17,443   $9,226  $ 43,637   $ 29,353
                                                                



AMERISAFE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Income (cont.)
(in thousands, except share and per share amounts)
                                                       
                                  Three Months Ended    Twelve Months Ended
                                   December 31,          December 31,
                                  2013       2012       2013       2012
                                  
Basic EPS:                                                       
Net income, as reported            $17,443    $9,226     $43,637    $29,353
Less allocated income to unvested  79        10       142       22
shares
Net income available to common    $17,364   $9,216  $43,495   $29,331
                                                                
Basic weighted average common      18,459,486 18,200,503 18,373,033 18,166,261
shares
Basic earnings per common share    $0.94      $0.51      $2.37      $1.62
                                                                
Diluted EPS:                                                     
Net income available to common–   $17,364   $9,216    $43,495   $29,331
diluted
Diluted weighted average common                                  
shares:
Weighted average common shares     18,459,486 18,200,503 18,373,033 18,166,261
Stock options and performance      337,080   391,661   375,776   408,930
shares
Diluted weighted average common    18,796,566 18,592,164 18,748,809 18,575,191
shares
Diluted earnings per common share  $0.92      $0.50      $2.32      $1.58



AMERISAFE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(in thousands)
                                                           
                                              December 31,  December 31,
                                              2013          2012
                                              (unaudited)   
Assets                                                      
Investments                                    $878,775   $ 808,116
Cash and cash equivalents                      123,077      92,676
Amounts recoverable from reinsurers            75,326      101,352
Premiums receivable, net                       171,579      141,950
Deferred income taxes                          33,645       29,521
Deferred policy acquisition costs              19,171       18,419
Other assets                                   27,428       28,912
                                              $1,329,001 $1,220,946
                                                           
Liabilities and shareholders' equity                        
Liabilities:                                                
Reserves for loss and loss adjustment expenses $614,557   $ 570,450
Unearned premiums                              164,296      140,528
Insurance-related assessments                  25,428       22,244
Other liabilities                              107,906      106,502
                                                           
Total shareholders' equity                     416,814      381,222
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity     $1,329,001 $1,220,946

CONTACT: Michael Grasher, EVP & CFO
         AMERISAFE, Inc.
         337-463-9052

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