Agents succeed with SECURA

We released our 2010 Annual Report with sincere thanks to our agents for helping make the year both exciting and profitable. Highlights are below, and the full report is available at

• Following our successful launch last year, we partnered with our agents to write nearly $4.5 million in Specialty Lines direct written premium (DWP).

• Despite the persistent soft market, we grew our Commercial Lines DWP by 3.4 percent.

• Personal and Farm-Ag Lines both posted double-digit growth.

In addition to helping agents drive revenue, we invested in our agency force by:

• Developing Personal Lines and Claims automation upgrades.

• Offering convenient, effective training at agencies, our home office, and online.

• Creating new sales opportunities through our association and group programs.

• Helping our agents hunt for quality business.

Industrywide, challenges persist in Workers' Compensation. Medical and indemnity costs continue rising, and while our large-loss frequency declined slightly in 2010, severity was 11 percent worse than expected. Claims volume also went up 7 percent.

Weather-wise, the first half of the year was fairly typical. Then the storms came, driving property claims up 15 percent and causing losses that outdistanced predictions by $10 million.

Combined, rising claims costs and high volume contributed to our net loss ratio of 56.7 percent and our combined ratio of 101.4 percent.

In the end, our strategy to grow incrementally across all our lines yielded 8 percent top-line growth, 6 percent growth in policyholders' surplus, and further proof that we will provide our agents a stable market under any economic conditions.