New insurance written growth drives MGIC's earnings

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MGIC Investment Corp. had net income of $89.8 million for the first quarter, an increase of nearly 30% over the same period last year of $69.2 million.

There was $9.3 billion of new insurance written in the quarter, up 12% over the year prior, while insurance-in-force grew 4.8% to $183.5 billion. The 12% increase in NIW was much better than $8 billion (or a 2.5% decrease) that FBR Capital Markets expected for the period, a report from analyst Randy Binner said.

MGIC's 31-cent earnings per share beat FBR's estimate of 24 cents per share. "The beat versus our model came from lower-than-forecasted losses, while premium growth was a bit light," Binner wrote.

MGIC's total revenue was $260.9 million, up from $258.6 million in the first quarter of 2016.

The first-quarter results included a $27.2 million tax provision for an anticipated settlement of litigation with the Internal Revenue Service.

Persistency, which measures the percentage of insurance that remains in force from one year prior, was 76.9% at the end of the quarter. This was the same as year-end 2016, but down from 79.9% on March 31, 2016.

MGIC's delinquent loan inventory was down 18.4% in the 12-month period to 45,349 loans.

New delinquent notices declined as the newer books of business continue to generate low levels of new delinquent notices and the legacy portfolio continues to runoff. Additionally, the anticipated claim rate on existing delinquencies declined and we maintained our traditionally low expense ratio," said MGIC CEO Patrick Sinks in a press release.

During the first quarter, MGIC notified holders of its 2% Convertible Senior Notes due in 2020 that it would redeem all of the notes on April 21.

The mortgage insurance operating unit was able to pay a $20 million dividend to the parent company, Sinks said.

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