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UFCS United Fire

Filed: 26 Feb 21, 11:00am
0000101199us-gaap:WorkersCompensationInsuranceMemberus-gaap:ShortDurationInsuranceContractsAccidentYear2017Member2017-12-31
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

 FORM 10-K
Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the transition period from ______ to ______
Commission File Number 001-34257
UNITED FIRE GROUP, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Iowa 45-2302834
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization) (I.R.S Employer Identification No.)
118 Second Avenue SE
Cedar RapidsIowa
52401
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (319) 399-5700
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading SymbolName of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.001 par valueUFCSThe NASDAQ Global Select Market
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer", "smaller reporting company", and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filerNon-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes No
The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2020 was approximately $0.7 billion. For purposes of this calculation, all directors and executive officers of the registrant are considered affiliates. As of February 24, 2021, 25,087,310 shares of common stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Part III of this Form 10-K incorporates by reference certain information from the registrant's definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, for its annual shareholder meeting to be held on May 19, 2021.


FORM 10-K TABLE OF CONTENTS


FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
This report may contain forward-looking statements about our operations, anticipated performance and other similar matters. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a safe harbor under the Securities Act of 1933 (the "Securities Act") and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), for forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are not historical facts and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expected and/or projected. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about United Fire Group, Inc. ("UFG," the "Registrant," the "Company," "we," "us," or "our"), the industry in which we operate, and beliefs and assumptions made by management. Words such as "expect(s)," "anticipate(s)," "intend(s)," "plan(s)," "believe(s)," "continue(s)," "seek(s)," "estimate(s)," "goal(s)," "remain(s) optimistic," "target(s)," "forecast(s)," "project(s)," "predict(s)," "should," "could," "may," "will," "might," "hope," "can" and other words and terms of similar meaning or expression in connection with a discussion of future operations, financial performance or financial condition, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. See Part I, Item 1A "Risk Factors" of this report for more information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties that may affect the actual financial condition and results of the Company include, but are not limited to, the following:
The frequency and severity of claims, including those related to catastrophe losses and the impact those claims have on our loss reserve adequacy; the occurrence of catastrophic events, including international events, significant severe weather conditions, climate change, acts of terrorism, acts of war and pandemics, including the ongoing impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;
The adequacy of our reserves for property and casualty insurance losses and loss settlement expenses;
Geographic concentration risk in our property and casualty insurance business;
The potential disruption of our operations and reputation due to unauthorized data access, cyber-attacks or cyber-terrorism and other security breaches;
Developments in general economic conditions, domestic and global financial markets, interest rates and other-than-temporary impairment losses that could affect the performance of our investment portfolio;
Litigation or regulatory actions that could require us to pay significant damages, fines or penalties or change the way we do business;
Our ability to effectively underwrite and adequately price insured risks;
Changes in industry trends, an increase in competition and significant industry developments;
Lowering of one or more of the financial strength ratings of our operating subsidiaries or our issuer credit ratings and the adverse impact such action may have on our premium writings, policy retention, profitability and liquidity;
Governmental actions, policies and regulations, including, but not limited to, domestic health care reform, financial services regulatory reform, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act") and other federal stimulus relief legislation, corporate governance, new laws or regulations or court decisions interpreting existing laws and regulations or policy provisions; changes in laws, regulations and stock exchange requirements relating to corporate governance and the cost of compliance;
Our relationship with and the financial strength of our reinsurers; and
Competitive, legal, regulatory or tax changes that affect the distribution cost or demand for our products through our independent agent/agency distribution network.
These are representative of the risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from what is expressed in forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this report or as of the date they are made. Except as required under the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations of the Securities and
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Exchange Commission ("SEC"), we do not have any intention or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
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PART I.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
GENERAL DESCRIPTION
United Fire Group, Inc. ("UFG", "United Fire", the "Registrant", the "Company", "we", "us", or "our") and its consolidated subsidiaries and affiliates are engaged in the business of writing property and casualty insurance through a network of independent agencies. Our insurance company subsidiaries are currently licensed as a property and casualty insurer in 49 states, plus the District of Columbia. United Fire & Casualty Company was incorporated in Iowa in January 1946. Our principal executive office is located at 118 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401; telephone: 319-399-5700.
United Fire Group, Inc. owns 100 percent of one subsidiary, United Fire & Casualty Company. United Fire & Casualty Company owns 100 percent of eight subsidiaries: (1) Addison Insurance Company; (2) Lafayette Insurance Company; (3) United Fire & Indemnity Company; (4) Mercer Insurance Company; (5) Financial Pacific Insurance Company; (6) UFG Specialty Insurance Company; (7) United Real Estate Holdings LLC and (8) McIntyre Cedar UK Limited. Mercer Insurance Company owns 100 percent of two subsidiaries: (1) Franklin Insurance Company; and (2) Mercer Insurance Company of New Jersey, Inc. United Fire Lloyds is an affiliate of United Fire & Indemnity Company. McIntyre Cedar UK Limited owns 100 percent of McIntyre Cedar Corporate Member LLP.
Reportable Segments and Discontinued Operations
We have historically reported our operations in two business segments: property and casualty insurance and life insurance. On September 18, 2017, the Company signed a definitive agreement to sell its subsidiary, United Life Insurance Company ("United Life"), to Kuvare US Holdings, Inc. ("Kuvare") and on March 30, 2018, the sale closed. As a result, our life insurance business, previously a separate segment, was considered held for sale and reported as discontinued operations in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income and Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows. Subsequent to the announcement of this sale, our continuing operations were reported as one business segment. For more information, refer to Note 17 "Discontinued Operations" contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data." Additionally, for a detailed discussion of our operating results by continuing operations and discontinued operations, refer to the "Results of Operations for the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018" section in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
Our property and casualty insurance business is comprised of commercial lines insurance, including surety bonds, personal lines insurance and assumed reinsurance. All of our property and casualty insurance subsidiaries and our affiliate belong to an intercompany reinsurance pooling arrangement. Pooling arrangements permit the participating companies to rely on the capacity of the entire pool's capital and surplus, rather than being limited to policy exposures of a size commensurate with each participant's own surplus level. Under such arrangements, the members share substantially all of the insurance business that is written and allocate the combined premiums, losses and expenses based on percentages defined in the arrangement.
Available Information
We provide free and timely access to all our reports filed with the SEC in the Investor Relations section of our website at www.ufginsurance.com. Under the "Investors" tab, select "Financial Documents" and then, select "SEC Filings" to view the list of our SEC filings, which includes annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements, beneficial ownership reports on Forms 3, 4 and 5 and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a), 15(d) or 16(a) of the Exchange Act. Such reports are made available as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed with or furnished to the SEC. They are also available on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov.
Our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct is also available at www.ufginsurance.com in the Investor Relations section. To view it, under the "Investors" tab, select "Overview," then "Governance Documents" and then "Code of Ethics and Business Conduct."
Free paper copies of any materials that we file with or furnish to the SEC can also be obtained by writing to Investor Relations, United Fire Group, Inc., 118 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401.
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REVENUE GENERATING ACTIVITIES
Marketing and Distribution
We market our products through our home office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and five regional offices: (1) Westminster, Colorado, a suburb of Denver; (2) Webster, Texas, a suburb of Houston; (3) Pennington, New Jersey; (4) Phoenix, Arizona; and (5) Rocklin, California. We are represented through approximately 1,000 independent property and casualty agencies.
Property and Casualty Insurance Business
We staff our regional offices with underwriting, claims and marketing representatives and administrative technicians, all of whom provide support and assistance to the independent agencies. Also, home office staff technicians and specialists provide support to our subsidiaries, regional offices and independent agencies. We use management reports to monitor subsidiary and regional offices for overall results and conformity to our business policies.
Products and Competition
The property and casualty insurance industry is highly competitive. We compete with numerous property and casualty insurance companies in the regional and national market, many of which are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial and other resources. Except for regulatory considerations, there are limited barriers to entry into the insurance industry. Our competitors may be domestic or foreign, as well as licensed or unlicensed. The exact number of competitors within the industry is not known. Insurers compete on the basis of reliability, financial strength and stability, ratings, underwriting consistency, service, business ethics, price, performance, capacity, policy terms and coverage conditions.
In addition, because our products are marketed exclusively through independent insurance agencies, most of which represent more than one company, we face competition within each agency and competition to retain qualified independent agents. Our competitors include companies that market their products through agents, as well as companies that sell insurance directly to their customers.
Because we rely solely on independent agencies, we offer a competitive commissions program and a rewarding profit-sharing plan as incentives for agents to place high-quality property and casualty insurance business with us. Property and casualty insurance agencies will receive profit-sharing payments of $15.4 million in 2021, based on profitable business produced by the agencies in 2020. In 2020 for 2019 business, agencies received $19.6 million in profit-sharing payments and in 2019 for 2018 business, agencies received $21.4 million in payments.
Our competitive advantages include our commitment to:
Strong agency relationships —
A stable workforce allows our agents to work with the same, highly-experienced personnel each day.
Our organization is relatively flat, allowing our agents to be close to the highest levels of management and ensuring that our agents will receive answers quickly to their questions.
Exceptional service — our agents and policyholders always have the option to speak with a real person.
Fair and prompt claims handling — we view claims as an opportunity to prove to our customers that they have chosen the right insurance company.
Disciplined underwriting — we empower our underwriters with the knowledge and tools needed to make good decisions for the Company.
Superior loss control services — our loss control representatives make multiple visits to businesses and job sites each year to ensure safety.
Effective and efficient use of technology — we use technology to provide enhanced service to our agents and policyholders, not to replace our personal relationships, but to reinforce them.
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REINSURANCE
Incorporated by reference from Note 4 "Reinsurance" contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
RESERVES
Property and Casualty Insurance Business
Property insurance indemnifies an insured with an interest in physical property for loss of, or damage to, such property or the loss of its income-producing abilities. Casualty insurance primarily covers liability for damage to property of, or injury to, a person or entity other than the insured. In most cases, casualty insurance also obligates the insurance company to provide a defense for the insured in litigation, arising out of events covered by the policy.
Liabilities for loss and loss settlement expenses reflect management's best estimates at a given point in time of what we expect to pay for claims that have been reported and those that have been incurred but not reported ("IBNR"), based on known facts, circumstances, and historical trends.
The determination of reserves (particularly those relating to liability lines of insurance that have relatively longer lag in claim reporting) requires significant work to reasonably project expected future claim reporting and payment patterns. If, during the course of our regular monitoring of reserves, we determine that coverages previously written are incurring higher than expected losses, we will take action that may include, among other things, increasing the related reserves. Any adjustments we make to reserves are reflected in operating results in the year in which we make those adjustments. We engage an independent actuary, Regnier Consulting Group, Inc. ("Regnier"), to render an opinion as to the reasonableness of our statutory reserves annually. The actuarial opinion is filed in those states where we are licensed.
On a quarterly basis, United Fire's internal actuary performs a detailed actuarial review of IBNR reserves. This review includes a comparison of results from the most recent analysis of reserves completed by both our internal and external actuaries. Senior management meets with our internal actuary to review, on a quarterly basis, the adequacy of carried reserves based on results from this actuarial analysis. There are two fundamental types or sources of IBNR reserves. We record IBNR reserves for "normal" types of claims and also specific IBNR reserves related to unique circumstances or events. A major hurricane is an example of an event that might necessitate establishing specific IBNR reserves because an analysis of existing historical data would not provide an appropriate estimate.
We do not discount loss reserves based on the time value of money. 
For a more detailed discussion of our loss reserves, refer to the "Critical Accounting Policies" section in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and Note 5 "Reserves for Losses and Loss Settlement Expenses" contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
INVESTMENTS
Incorporated by reference from Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," under the headings "Investments," "Market Risk" and "Critical Accounting Policies"; and Note 1 "Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" under the headings "Investments," Note 2 "Summary of Investments," and Note 3 "Fair Value of Financial Instruments," contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
COMPLIANCE WITH GOVERNMENT REGULATION
The insurance industry is subject to comprehensive and detailed regulation and supervision. Each jurisdiction in which we operate has established supervisory agencies with broad administrative powers. While we are not aware of any currently proposed or recently enacted state or federal regulation that would have a material impact on our operations, we cannot predict the effect that future regulatory changes might have on us.
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State Regulation
We are subject to extensive regulation, primarily at the state level. The method, extent and substance of such regulation varies by state, but generally has its source in National Association of Insurance Commissioners ("NAIC") model laws and regulations that establish standards and requirements for conducting the business of insurance and that delegate regulatory authority to a state regulatory agency. Moreover, the NAIC Accreditation Program requires state regulatory agencies to meet baseline standards of solvency regulation, particularly with respect to regulation of multi-state insurers. In general, such regulation is intended for the protection of those who purchase or use our insurance products, and not our shareholders. These rules have a substantial effect on our business and relate to a wide variety of matters including: insurance company licensing and examination; the licensing of insurance agents and adjusters; price setting or premium rates; trade practices; approval of policy forms; claims practices; restrictions on transactions between our subsidiaries and their affiliates, including the payment of dividends; investments; underwriting standards; advertising and marketing practices; capital adequacy; and the collection, remittance and reporting of certain taxes, licenses and fees.
The state laws and regulations that have the most significant effect on our insurance operations and financial reporting are discussed below.
Insurance Holding Company Regulation
We are regulated as an insurance holding company system in the states of domicile of our property and casualty insurance companies: Iowa (United Fire & Casualty Company, UFG Specialty Insurance Company and Addison Insurance Company), California (Financial Pacific Insurance Company), Louisiana (Lafayette Insurance Company), New Jersey (Mercer Insurance Company of New Jersey, Inc.), Pennsylvania (Mercer Insurance Company and Franklin Insurance Company) and Texas (United Fire & Indemnity Company and United Fire Lloyds). These regulations require that we annually furnish financial and other information about the operations of the individual companies within our holding company system. Generally, the insurance laws of these states provide that notice to the state insurance commissioner is required before finalizing any transaction affecting the ownership or control of an insurer and before finalizing certain material transactions between an insurer and any person or entity within its holding company system. In addition, some of those transactions cannot be finalized without the commissioner's prior approval.
Most states have now adopted the version of the Model Insurance Holding Company System Regulation Act and Regulation as amended by the NAIC in December 2010 (the "Amended Model Act") to introduce the concept of "enterprise risk" within an insurance company holding system. Enterprise risk is defined as any activity, circumstance, event or series of events involving one or more affiliates of an insurer that, if not remedied promptly, is likely to have a material adverse effect upon the financial condition or the liquidity of the insurer or its insurance holding company system as a whole. The Amended Model Act imposes more extensive informational requirements on us, including requiring us to prepare an annual enterprise risk report that identifies the material risks within our insurance company holding system that could pose enterprise risk to our licensed insurers.
Restrictions on Shareholder Dividends
As an insurance holding company with no independent operations or source of revenue, our capacity to pay dividends to our shareholders is based on the ability of our insurance company subsidiaries to pay dividends to us. The ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends to us is regulated by the laws of their state of domicile. Under these laws, insurance companies must provide advance informational notice to the domicile state insurance regulatory authority prior to payment of any dividend or distribution to its shareholders. Prior approval from the state insurance regulatory authority must be obtained before payment of an "extraordinary dividend" as defined under the state's insurance code. The amount of ordinary dividends that may be paid to us is subject to certain limitations, the amounts of which change each year. In all cases, we may pay dividends only from our earned surplus. Refer to Part II, Item 5, "Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Shareholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities" under the heading "Dividends" and Note 6 "Statutory Reporting, Capital Requirements and Dividends and Retained Earnings Restrictions," contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" for additional information about the dividends we paid during 2020.

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Price Regulation
Nearly all states have insurance laws requiring us to file rate schedules, policy or coverage forms, and other information with the state's regulatory authority. In certain states, rate schedules, policy forms, or both, must be approved prior to use. While insurance laws vary from state to state, their objectives are generally the same: an insurance rate cannot be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory. The speed with which we can change our rates in response to competition or in response to increasing costs depends, in part, on the willingness of state regulators to allow adequate rates for the business we write.
Investment Regulation
We are subject to various state regulations requiring investment portfolio diversification and limiting the concentration of investments we may maintain in certain asset categories. Failure to comply with these regulations leads to the treatment of nonconforming investments as non-admitted assets for purposes of measuring statutory surplus. Further, in some instances, state regulations require us to sell certain nonconforming investments.
Exiting Geographic Markets; Canceling and Non-renewing Policies
Most states regulate our ability to exit a market. For example, states limit, to varying degrees, our ability to cancel and non-renew insurance policies. Some states prohibit us from withdrawing one or more types of insurance business from the state, except upon prior regulatory approval. Regulations that limit policy cancellation and non-renewal may restrict our ability to exit unprofitable markets.
Insurance Guaranty Associations
Each state has insurance guaranty association laws. Membership in a state's insurance guaranty association is generally mandatory for insurers wishing to do business in that state. Under these laws, associations may assess their members for certain obligations that insolvent insurance companies have incurred with regard to their policyholders and claimants.
Typically, states assess each solvent association member with an amount related to that member's proportionate share of business written by all association members within the state. Most state guaranty associations allow solvent insurers to recoup the assessments they are charged through future rate increases, surcharges or premium tax credits. However, there is no assurance that we will ultimately recover these assessments. We cannot predict the amount and timing of any future assessments or refunds under these laws.
Shared Market and Joint Underwriting Plans
State insurance regulations often require insurers to participate in assigned risk plans, reinsurance facilities and joint underwriting associations. These are mechanisms that generally provide applicants with various types of basic insurance coverage that may not otherwise be available to them through voluntary markets. Such mechanisms are most commonly instituted for automobile and workers' compensation insurance, but many states also mandate participation in Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plans or Windstorm Plans, which provide basic property coverage. Participation is based upon the amount of a company's voluntary market share in a particular state for the classes of insurance involved. Policies written through these mechanisms may require different underwriting standards and may pose greater risk than those written through our voluntary application process.
Statutory Accounting Rules
For public reporting, insurance companies prepare financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). However, state laws require us to calculate and report certain data according to statutory accounting rules as defined in the NAIC Accounting Practices and Procedures Manual. While not a substitute for any GAAP measure of performance, statutory data frequently is used by industry analysts and other recognized reporting sources to facilitate comparisons of the performance of insurance companies.

Insurance Reserves
State insurance laws require that insurance companies analyze the adequacy of their reserves annually. Our appointed actuaries must submit an opinion that our statutory reserves are adequate to meet policy claims-paying obligations and related expenses.
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Financial Solvency Ratios
The NAIC annually calculates 13 financial ratios to assist state insurance regulators in monitoring the financial condition of insurance companies. A "usual range" of results for each of these ratios is used by insurance regulators as a benchmark. Departure from the usual range on four or more of the ratios could lead to inquiries from individual state insurance departments as to certain aspects of a company's business. In addition to the financial ratios, states also require us to calculate a minimum capital requirement for each of our insurance companies based on individual company insurance risk factors. These "risk-based capital" results are used by state insurance regulators to identify companies that require regulatory attention or the initiation of regulatory action. At December 31, 2020, all of our insurance companies had capital in excess of the required levels.
Federal Regulation
Although the federal government and its regulatory agencies generally do not directly regulate the business of insurance, federal initiatives and legislation often have an impact on our business. These initiatives and legislation include tort reform proposals, proposals addressing natural catastrophe exposures, terrorism risk mechanisms, federal financial services reforms, various tax proposals affecting insurance companies, and possible regulatory limitations, impositions and restrictions arising from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd-Frank"), and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Various legislative and regulatory efforts to reform the tort liability system have impacted and will continue to impact our industry. Although there has been some tort reform with positive impact to the insurance industry, new causes of action and theories of damages continue to be proposed in state court actions or by federal or state legislatures that continue to expand liability for insurers and their policyholders. For example, some state legislatures have from time-to-time considered legislation addressing direct actions against insurers related to bad faith claims. As a result of this unpredictability in the law, insurance underwriting is expected to continue to be difficult in commercial lines, professional liability and other specialty coverages.
Dodd-Frank expanded the federal presence in insurance oversight and may increase regulatory requirements that are applicable to us. Dodd-Frank's requirements include streamlining the state-based regulation of reinsurance and non-admitted insurance (property or casualty insurance placed with insurers that are eligible to accept insurance, but are not licensed to write insurance in a particular state). Dodd-Frank also established the Federal Insurance Office within the U.S. Department of the Treasury that is authorized to, among other things, gather data and information to monitor aspects of the insurance industry, identify issues in the regulation of insurers about insurance matters, and preempt state insurance measures under certain circumstances.
Dodd-Frank also contains a number of provisions related to corporate governance and disclosure matters. In response to Dodd-Frank, the SEC has adopted or proposed rules regarding director independence, director and officer hedging activities, executive compensation clawback policies, compensation advisor independence, pay versus performance disclosures, internal pay equity disclosures, and shareholder proxy access. We continue to monitor developments under Dodd-Frank and their impact on us, insurers of similar size and the insurance industry as a whole.
FINANCIAL STRENGTH AND ISSUER CREDIT RATING
Our financial strength, as measured by statutory accounting principles, is regularly reviewed by an independent rating agency that assigns a rating based upon criteria such as results of operations, capital resources and minimum policyholders' surplus requirements. An insurer's financial strength rating is one of the primary factors evaluated by those in the market to purchase insurance. A poor rating indicates that there is an increased likelihood that the insurer could become insolvent and therefore not able to fulfill its obligations under the insurance policies it issues. This rating can also affect an insurer's level of premium writings, the lines of business it can write and, for insurers like us that are also public registrants, the market value of its securities.
Our property and casualty insurers are rated by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ("A.M. Best") on a group basis. Our pooled property and casualty insurers have all received an "A" (Excellent) financial strength rating from A.M. Best. According to A.M. Best, companies rated "A" have "an excellent ability to meet their ongoing obligations to policyholders." A.M. Best revised the outlooks to negative from stable in December 2020.
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A.M. Best also assigns issuer credit ratings based on a company's ability to repay its debts. All of our property and casualty insurers have received an issuer credit rating of "a" from A.M. Best. Beginning in 2012, our holding company parent was also rated by A.M. Best, receiving an issuer credit rating of "bbb."

HUMAN CAPITAL RESOURCES
Organization core values
Working together as one, we are always striving to deliver on our promises of employee success, policyholder protection, agent opportunity, shareholder value and community support. That is our mission. Its unified ideology guides every aspect of the way we conduct business at UFG.
Strategy for success
Our current strategic plan, “One UFG: Boldly Forward,” when combined with our mission, guides the day-to-day decision making of our employees, designed to create a sense of purpose and possibility at the Company within every employee. Ten performance-improving initiatives anchor the plan, each directly connected to how employees work together to help the organization grow and evolve in an ever-changing industry.
Diversity and inclusion
At UFG, we strive to promote a culture where all employees feel welcome to create their own personal and professional goals. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ("DE&I") are intrinsic to UFG’s values. In 2020, leadership and advisory teams were chosen to design and implement initiatives to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment—whether working from home or in the office.
202020192018
Employee data
Workforce dataHeadcount1,1651,1851,183
Average tenure in years10.09.69.1
Percent of women in workforce55.1%56.7%57.4%
Percent of minorities in workforce12.4%11.6%10.8%
Voluntary turnover rate8.4%8.6%12.2%
Human rightsEqual employment opportunity policyYYY
Equitable pay statementNNN
Human rights statementNNN
EthicsAnti-bribery & anti-corruption policyNNN
Code of business conduct & ethicsYYY
Whistleblowing & non-retaliation policyYYY

Fulfilling careers; health, safety and wellness; compensation and benefits; talent development
At UFG, health, wellness and education are core cultural values. Employee success is part of our mission. That is why we support continuing education for employees. Our investment in employee health and well-being is built on our foundation of helping people enhance their lives. UFG is dedicated to proactively promoting work-life balance for all employees that respects a variety of values and lifestyles. Employees are encouraged to meet with their managers to develop a flexible work schedule that suits their needs outside of work.
Our commitment to advancing the mental and physical health of our people includes:
U Fit Wellness Center - located on-site at corporate headquarters. We are proud to have built our own state-of-the-art fitness center in 2017. We are also proud to have a full-time fitness and wellness coordinator on staff. The coordinator provides one-on-one coaching, customized wellness plans and group fitness and wellness classes for all skill levels.
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Empowering employees to make healthy decisions:
Fitness classes - We offer a variety of group classes including barre, yoga, resistance training, cycling (spin), high-intensity interval training (HIIT), tabata, dance, kickboxing and boot camps. To mesh our passion for community with wellness, we’ve also held multiple physical activity fundraisers.
A wellness reward system - 84% of our employees are enrolled in our third-party wellness management program designed to cultivate good lifestyle habits. This program also provides monetary incentives based on physical activity and premium credits on health insurance when employees reach certain thresholds.
Wellness to-go - Our employees have engaged with our third-party virtual fitness program for more than 30,000 minutes in the past year. It provides on-demand classes, workout plans and fitness assessments anywhere, anytime. It’s also a great way for employees to take a workout class any time that works best for them.

Sustainability
As UFG continues to grow, we must recognize our impact on the environment. In addition to ensuring our facilities are operating responsibly, we believe our partnerships and coverages play a role in conservation and offsetting our footprint. As a whole, we look at what we can do to engage in both sustainable and responsible business practices.
UFG is honored to have been appointed the insurance provider for members of the state Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association ("LICA") insurance program. This organization, which is known for its mission of professional conservation of soil and water, as well as best practices in the construction and protection of cities, farms, ranches and rural areas where we live and work, has worked with UFG to develop a program that is customized to this targeted group of insureds. Our program, in partnership with Prins Insurance, is specifically designed for LICA contractors and includes professional risk control services, safety group dividends based on the performance of the group, specialty pricing, and the broadened coverages needed when working to conserve our soil and water.
At the core of our business is the insurance coverage we provide. We offer a variety of basic and more advanced policies tailored for the needs of our insureds. Product innovation, especially as it relates to social responsibility, continues to play a big part in our goal to offer simple solutions for complex times.
UFG offers liability coverage for a covered job site pollution event. This coverage is also available through our business owners property endorsement with varying levels of protection.
UFG’s pollutant redefined endorsement broadens our commercial general liability policy, providing coverage for carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty workmanship.
In addition to establishing a UFG Green Team dedicated to sustainability practices, the facilities team is active in reducing our environmental footprint. Here are a few ways they’re generating less impact:
Use of low VOC paint, LED light fixtures and sustainable cleaning products.
Partner with flooring vendors that manufacture products with low environmental impact.
Utilize architectural wall systems instead of drywall.
Use of electrostatic disinfection cleaning — a cutting-edge cleaning technique — to our corporate office. This technique greatly reduces the spread of viruses in high-traffic areas.
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INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
The following table sets forth information concerning the following executive officers:
NameAgePosition
Randy A. Ramlo59President and Chief Executive Officer
Michael T. Wilkins57Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Dawn M. Jaffray54Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Robert F. Cataldo50Vice President and Chief Investment and Strategy Officer
Neal R. Scharmer64Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

A brief description of the business experience of these officers follows:
Randy A. Ramlo became our President and Chief Executive Officer in May 2007. He previously served as our Chief Operating Officer from May 2006 until May 2007, as Executive Vice President from May 2004 until May 2007, and as Vice President, Fidelity and Surety, from November 2001 until May 2004. He also worked as an underwriting manager in our Great Lakes region. Mr. Ramlo began his employment with us as an underwriter in 1984.
Michael T. Wilkins became our Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in May 2014. He served as our Executive Vice President, Corporate Administration, from May 2007 to May 2014. He was our Senior Vice President, Corporate Administration, from May 2004 until May 2007, our Vice President, Corporate Administration, from August 2002 until May 2004 and the resident Vice President in our Lincoln regional office from 1998 until 2002. Prior to 1998, Mr. Wilkins held various other positions within the Company since joining us in 1985.
Dawn M. Jaffray became our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in May 2015. In May 2019, Ms. Jaffray was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Jaffray previously served as Chief Financial Officer of Soleil Advisory Group, a consulting firm specializing in operational consulting, mergers and acquisitions, investment and strategy from 2009 to 2015. Prior to her service with Soleil Advisory Group, Ms. Jaffray held numerous positions in insurance operations and mergers/acquisition activities, primarily in the role of principal financial officer. Ms. Jaffray's business experience has been focused in particular on insurance, finance and capital management.
Robert F. Cataldo became our Vice President and Chief Investment and Strategy Officer of UFG in 2020, serving the company since 2011. Mr. Cataldo joined UFG as a Senior Portfolio Manager in 2011. In 2015, he was promoted to Assistant Vice President & Senior Portfolio Manager. In 2018, Robert was named Vice President and Strategy Officer for UFG.
Neal R. Scharmer was appointed our Vice President and General Counsel in May 2001 and Corporate Secretary in May 2006. He joined us in 1995.
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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
We provide readers with the following discussion of risks and uncertainties relevant to our business. These are factors that we believe could cause our actual results to differ materially from our historic or anticipated results. We could also be adversely affected by other factors, in addition to those listed here. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements is set forth in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
Risks Relating to Our Business
Our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity may continue to be negatively impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global emergency with respect to the COVID-19 outbreak. Several countries, including the United States, as well as several states within the United States, have initiated travel restrictions and other limitations that have impacted individuals and businesses worldwide. We are closely monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic to continually assess its impact on our business. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and have the potential to further materially impact our business, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, capital position, the value of the investments we hold in our investment portfolio, premiums and demand for our products, and our ability to collect premiums on a timely basis or the requirement to return premiums to policyholders. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our business will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time, including the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent of further resurgences, the availability, adoption and effectiveness of a vaccine, the length of time it takes for normal economic and operating conditions to resume, additional governmental actions that may be taken and/or extensions of time for restrictions that have been imposed to date, and numerous other uncertainties. Additionally, if established written contract policy exclusions of business interruption coverage for losses attributable to this COVID-19 pandemic are voided or changed through legislation, regulations or interpretations by the courts, such changes have the potential to materially increase claims, losses and legal expenses which will impact our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity. To the extent we experience adverse effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this report.
The occurrence, frequency and severity of catastrophe losses are unpredictable and may adversely affect our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.
Our property and casualty insurance operations expose us to claims arising from catastrophic events affecting multiple policyholders. Such catastrophic events consist of various natural disasters, including, but not limited to, hurricanes, tornadoes, windstorms, hailstorms, fires and wildfires, earthquakes, severe winter weather, tropical storms, volcanic eruptions and man-made disasters such as terrorist acts (including biological, chemical or radiological events), explosions, infrastructure failures and results from political instability. We have exposure to tropical storms and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, Eastern and Southeastern coasts of the United States. We have exposure to tornadoes, windstorms and hail storms throughout the United States. We have exposure to earthquakes along the West Coast and the New Madrid Fault area. Our automobile and inland marine business also exposes us to losses arising from floods and other perils.
Property damage resulting from catastrophes is the greatest risk of loss we face in the ordinary course of our business. We have exposure to catastrophe losses under both our commercial insurance policies and our personal insurance policies. The losses from catastrophic events are a function of both the extent of our exposure, the frequency and severity of the events themselves and the level of reinsurance assumed and ceded. For example, the losses experienced from a tornado will vary on whether the location of the tornado was in a highly populated or unpopulated area, the concentration of insureds in that area and the severity of the tornado. Increases in the value and geographic concentration of insured property and the effects of inflation could increase the severity of claims from a catastrophic event.
Long-term weather trends may be changing and new types of catastrophe losses may be developing due to climate change, which is a phenomenon that has been associated with extreme weather events linked to rising temperatures, including effects on global weather patterns, greenhouse gases, sea, land and air temperature, sea levels, rain and snow. Such changes in climate conditions could cause our underlying modeling data to be less accurate, limiting our ability to evaluate and manage our risk. Climate change adds to the unpredictability, frequency and severity of natural disasters and creates additional uncertainty as to future trends and exposures. We cannot predict the impact that changing climate conditions may have on our results of operations, nor can we predict how any legal, regulatory or social responses to concerns about climate change may impact our business.
In addition, as with catastrophe losses generally, it can take a long time for us to determine our ultimate losses associated with a particular catastrophic event. The inability to access portions of the impacted area, the complexity of the losses, legal and regulatory uncertainty and the nature of the information available for certain catastrophic events may affect our ability to
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estimate the claims and claim adjustment expense reserves. Such complex factors include, but are not limited to: determining the cause of the damage, evaluating general liability exposures, estimating additional living expenses, the impact of demand surge, infrastructure disruption, fraud, business interruption costs and reinsurance collectability.
The timing of a catastrophic occurrence at the end or near the end of a reporting period may also affect the information available to us when estimating claims and claim adjustment expense reserves for the reporting period. As our claims experience for a particular catastrophe develops, we may be required to adjust our reserves to reflect our revised estimates of the total cost of claims. However, because the occurrence and severity of catastrophes are inherently unpredictable and may vary significantly from year to year and region to region, historical results of operations may not be indicative of future results of operations.
Catastrophes may reduce our net income, cause substantial volatility in our financial results for any fiscal quarter or year or otherwise adversely affect our financial condition, liquidity or results of operations. Catastrophes may also negatively affect our ability to write new business.
Following catastrophes there are also sometimes legislative, administrative and judicial decisions that seek to expand insurance coverage for claims beyond the original intent of the policies or seek to prevent the application of deductibles. Our ability to manage catastrophic exposure may be limited by public policy considerations, the political environment, changes in the general economic climate and/or social responsibilities.
Our reserves for property and casualty insurance losses and loss settlement expenses are based on estimates and may be inadequate, adversely impacting our financial results.
We maintain insurance reserves to cover our estimated ultimate unpaid liability for claim and claim adjustment expenses, including the estimated cost of the claims adjustment process, for reported and unreported claims and for future policy benefits. Our reserves may prove to be inadequate, which may result in future charges to earnings and/or a downgrade of our financial strength rating or the financial strength ratings of our insurance company subsidiaries.
Insurance reserves represent our best estimate at a given point in time. They are not an exact calculation of liability but instead are complex estimates, which are a product of actuarial expertise and projection techniques from a number of assumptions and expectations about future events, many of which are highly uncertain.
The process of estimating claims and claims adjustment expense reserves involves a high degree of judgment. These estimates are based on historical data and the impact of various factors such as: (1) actuarial and statistical projections of the cost of settlement and administration of claims reflecting facts and circumstances then known; (2) historical claims information and loss emergence patterns; (3) assessments of currently available data; (4) estimates of future trends in claims severity and frequency; (5) judicial theories of liability; (6) economic factors such as inflation; (7) estimates and assumptions regarding social, judicial and legislative trends, and actions such as class action lawsuits and judicial interpretation of coverages or policy exclusions; and (8) the level of insurance fraud.
Many of these factors are not quantifiable. The inherent uncertainties of estimating reserves are greater for certain types of liabilities, particularly those in which the various considerations affecting the type of claim are subject to change and in which long periods of time may elapse before a definitive determination of liability is made. Reserve estimates are continually refined in a regular and ongoing process as experience develops and further claims are reported and settled.
Along with other insurers, we use internal and external models in assessing our exposure to catastrophe losses that assume various conditions and probability scenarios; however, these models do not necessarily accurately predict future losses or accurately measure losses currently incurred. Models for catastrophes use historical information about various catastrophes and details about our in-force business. While we use this information in our pricing and risk managements, there are limitations with respect to their usefulness in predicting losses in any reporting period. Such limitations lead to questionable predictive capability and post-event measurements that have not been well understood or proved to be sufficiently reliable. In addition, the models are not necessarily reflective of our state-specific policy language, demand surge for labor and materials or loss settlement expenses, all of which are subject to wide variation.
Actual loss and loss settlement expenses paid might exceed our reserves. If our loss reserves are insufficient, or if we believe our loss reserves are insufficient to cover our actual loss and loss settlement expenses, we will have to increase our loss reserves and incur charges to our earnings, which could indicate that premium levels were insufficient. As such, deviations from one or more of these assumptions could result in a material adverse impact on our Consolidated Financial Statements and our financial strength rating or the financial strength ratings of our insurance company subsidiaries could be downgraded.
For a detailed discussion of our reserving process and the factors we consider in estimating reserves, refer to the "Critical Accounting Policies" section in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
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Our geographic concentration ties our performance to the business, economic and regulatory conditions of certain states.
The following states provided 50.4 percent of the direct statutory premiums written for the property and casualty insurance businesses in 2020: Texas (18.1 percent), California (11.9 percent), Iowa (8.6 percent), Missouri (6.8 percent) and New Jersey (5.0 percent).
Our revenues and profitability are subject to the prevailing regulatory, legal, economic, political, demographic, competitive, weather and other conditions in the principal states in which we do business. With respect to regulatory conditions, the NAIC and state legislators continually reexamine existing laws and regulations, specifically focusing on modifications to holding company regulations, interpretations of existing laws and the development of new laws and regulations. In a time of financial uncertainty or a prolonged economic downturn, regulators may choose to adopt more restrictive insurance laws and regulations. Changes in regulatory or any other of these conditions could make it less attractive for us to do business in such states and would have a more pronounced effect on us compared to companies that are more geographically diversified. In addition, our exposure to severe losses from localized natural perils, such as hurricanes or hailstorms, is increased in those areas where we have written a significant amount of property insurance policies.
Unauthorized data access, cyber attacks and other security breaches could have an adverse impact on our business and reputation.
We rely on computer systems to conduct our business for our customer service, marketing and sales activities, customer relationship management and producing financial statements. Our business and operations rely on secure and efficient processing, storage and transmission of customer and Company data, including personally identifiable information. Our ability to effectively operate our business depends upon our ability, and the ability of certain third party vendors and business partners, to access our computer systems to perform necessary business functions, such as providing quotes and product pricing, billing and processing premiums, administering claims, and reporting our financial results.
We retain confidential information on our computer systems, including customer information and proprietary business information belonging to us and our policyholders. Our business and operations depend upon our ability to safeguard this personally identifiable information. Our systems may be vulnerable to unauthorized access and hackers, computer viruses, and other scenarios in which our data may be compromised.
Cyber attacks involving these systems, or those of our third party vendors, could be carried out remotely and from multiple sources and could interrupt, damage, or otherwise adversely affect the operations of these critical systems. Cyber attacks could result in the modification or theft of data, the distribution of false information, or the denial of service to users. Threats to data security can emerge from a variety of sources and change rapidly, resulting in the ongoing need to expend resources to secure our data in accordance with customer expectations and statutory and regulatory requirements.
Any compromise of the security of our data could expose us to liability and harm our reputation, which could affect our business and results of operations. We continually enhance our operating procedures and internal controls to effectively support our business and comply with our regulatory and financial reporting requirements, but there can be no assurances that we will be able to implement security measures adequate to prevent every security breach.
Although, to date, we do not believe we have experienced any material cyber attacks, the occurrence, scope and effect of any cyber attack may remain undetected for a period of time. We maintain cyber liability insurance coverage that provides both third-party liability and first-party insurance coverages; however, our insurance may be insufficient to cover all losses and expenses related to a cyber attack.
Federal and state policymakers have, and will likely continue to propose increased regulation of the protection of personally identifiable information and appropriate protocols after a related cybersecurity breach. The New York Department of Financial Services recently adopted a cyber protection and reporting regulation for financial services companies with which we are complying. The NAIC has created the Data Security Model Law ("DSML") based upon the New York regulation. Compliance with these regulations and efforts to address continually developing cybersecurity risks may result in a material adverse effect on our results of operations, liquidity, financial condition, and financial strength.
Conditions in the global capital markets and the economy generally may weaken materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Our results of operations, financial position and liquidity are materially affected by conditions in the global capital markets and the economy generally, both in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. As a result of such conditions, our policyholders may choose to defer paying insurance premiums or stop paying insurance premiums altogether. In addition, we may experience an elevated incidence of claims and lapses or surrenders of policies causing a change in our exposure.
Factors such as consumer spending, business investment, government spending, the volatility and strength of the capital markets, investor and consumer confidence and inflation levels all affect the business and economic environment and,
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ultimately, the amount and profitability of our business. In an economic downturn characterized by higher unemployment, lower family income, lower corporate earnings, lower business investment, negative investor sentiment and lower consumer spending, the demand for our insurance products could be adversely affected.
The effects of emerging claim and coverage issues and class action litigation on our business are uncertain.
We are subject to certain effects of emerging or potential claims and coverage issues that arise as industry practices and legal, judicial, social, economic and other environmental conditions change, including unexpected and unintended issues related to claims and coverage. These issues may adversely affect our business by either extending coverage beyond our underwriting intent or by increasing the number and/or size of claims, resulting in further increases in our reserves. The effects of these and other unforeseen emerging claim and coverage issues are extremely hard to predict. Examples of these issues include: (1) judicial expansion of policy coverage and the impact of new theories of liability; (2) an increase of plaintiffs targeting property and casualty insurers, including us, in purported class action litigation regarding claims handling and other practices; (3) medical developments that link health issues to particular causes, resulting in liability or workers' compensation (for example, cumulative trauma); (4) claims relating to unanticipated consequences of current or new technologies; (5) an increase in the variety, number and size of claims relating to liability losses, which often present complex coverage and damage valuation questions; (6) claims relating to potentially changing climate conditions, including higher frequency and severity of weather-related events; and (7) adverse changes in loss cost trends, including inflationary pressure in medical cost and auto and home repair costs.
We are subject to certain risks related to our investment portfolio that could negatively affect our profitability.
Investment income is an important component of our net income and overall profitability. We invest premiums received from policyholders and other available cash to generate investment income and capital appreciation, while also maintaining sufficient liquidity to pay covered claims, operating expenses and dividends. As discussed in detail below, general economic conditions, changes in financial markets, global events and many other factors beyond our control can adversely affect the value of our investments and the realization of investment income.
We primarily manage our investment portfolio internally under required statutory guidelines and investment guidelines approved by our Board of Directors and the boards of directors of our subsidiaries. Although these guidelines stress diversification and capital preservation, our investments are subject to a variety of risks discussed as follows.
Credit Risk - The value of our investment in marketable securities is subject to impairment as a result of deterioration in the creditworthiness of the issuer. Such impairments could reduce our net investment income and result in realized investment losses. The vast majority of our investments (99.2% at December 31, 2020) are made in investment-grade securities. Although we try to manage this risk by diversifying our portfolio and emphasizing credit quality, our investments are subject to losses as a result of a general downturn in the economy.
Interest Rate Risk - A significant portion of our investment portfolio (85.0 percent at December 31, 2020) consists of fixed income securities, primarily corporate and municipal bonds (63.2 percent at December 31, 2020). These securities are sensitive to changes in interest rates. An increase in interest rates typically reduces the fair value of fixed income securities, while a decline in interest rates reduces the investment income earned from future investments in fixed income securities. In recent periods, interest rates have been at or near historic lows. It is possible that this trend may continue for a prolonged period of time. We generally hold our fixed income securities to maturity, so our interest rate exposure does not usually result in realized losses. However, rising interest rates could result in a significant reduction of the book value of our fixed maturity investments. Low interest rates, and low investable yields, could adversely impact our net earnings as reinvested funds produce lower investment income. Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors beyond our control including general economic conditions, changes in governmental regulations and monetary policy, and national and international political conditions.
Liquidity Risk - We seek to match the maturities of our investment portfolio with the estimated payment date of our loss and loss adjustment expense reserves to ensure strong liquidity and avoid having to liquidate securities to fund claims. Risk such as inadequate loss and loss adjustment reserves or unfavorable trends in litigation could potentially result in the need to sell investments to fund these liabilities. This could result in significant realized losses depending on the conditions of the general market, interest rates and credit profile of individual securities. Further, our investment portfolio is subject to increased valuation uncertainties when investment markets are illiquid. The valuation of investments is more subjective when markets are illiquid, thereby increasing the risk that the estimated fair value (i.e., the carrying amount) of the portion of the investment portfolio that is carried at fair value as reflected in our financial statements is not reflective of prices at which actual transactions could occur.
Market Risk - Our investments are subject to risks inherent in the global financial system and capital markets. The value and risks of our investments may be adversely affected if the functioning of those markets is disrupted or otherwise affected by local, national or international events, such as: changes in regulation or tax policy; changes in legislation relating to bankruptcy
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or other proceedings; infrastructure failures; wars or terrorist attacks; the overall health of global economies; a significant change in inflation expectations; a significant devaluation of government or private sector credit and/or currency values; and other factors or events not specifically attributable to changes in interest rates, credit losses, and liquidity needs.
Credit Spread Risk - Our exposure to credit spreads primarily relates to market price variability and reinvestment risk associated with changes in credit spreads. Valuations may include assumptions or estimates that may have significant period-to-period changes from market volatility, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. Our fixed maturity investment portfolio is invested substantially in state, municipal and political subdivision bonds. Our fixed maturity investment portfolio could be subject to default or impairment, in particular:
States and local governments have been operating under deficits or projected deficits which may have an impact on the valuation of our municipal bond portfolio.
There is a risk of widespread defaults which may increase if some issuers chose to voluntarily default instead of implementing fiscal measures such as increasing tax rates or reducing spending. Such risk may also increase if there are changes in legislation permitting states, municipalities and political subdivisions to file for bankruptcy protection where they were not permitted to before. Judicial interpretations in such bankruptcy proceedings may also adversely affect the collectability of principal and interest, and/or valuation of our bonds. Changes in tax laws impacting marginal tax rates, exemptions, deductions, credits and/or the preferred tax treatment of municipal obligations could also adversely affect the market value of municipal obligations. Since a large portion of our investment portfolio (41.2 percent at December 31, 2020) is invested in tax-exempt municipal obligations, any such changes in tax law could adversely affect the value of our investment portfolio.
We exercise prudence and significant judgment in analyzing and validating fair values, which are primarily provided by third parties, for securities in our investment portfolio, including those that are not regularly traded in active markets. We also exercise prudence and significant judgment in determining whether the impairment of particular investments is temporary or other-than-temporary. Due to the inherent uncertainties involved in these judgments, we may incur unrealized losses and subsequently conclude that other-than-temporary write downs of our investments are required.
Our success depends primarily on our ability to underwrite risks effectively and adequately price the risks we underwrite.
The results of our operations and our financial condition depend on our ability to underwrite and set premium rates accurately for a wide variety of determinable and indeterminable risks based on available information. Adequate rates are necessary to generate premiums sufficient to pay losses, loss settlement expenses and underwriting expenses and to earn a profit. To price our products accurately, we must collect and properly analyze a substantial amount of data; develop, test and apply appropriate pricing techniques; closely monitor and timely recognize changes in trends; and project both severity and frequency of losses with reasonable accuracy. We could underprice risks which would adversely affect our profit margins. Conversely, we could overprice risks which could reduce our sales volume and competitiveness. Our ability to undertake these efforts successfully, and to price our products accurately, is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to: (1) the availability of sufficient reliable data and our ability to properly analyze available data; (2) market and competitive conditions; (3) changes in medical care expenses and restoration costs; (4) our selection and application of appropriate pricing techniques; and (5) changes in the regulatory market, applicable legal liability standards and in the civil litigation system generally.
The cyclical nature of the property and casualty insurance industry may affect our financial performance.
The property and casualty insurance industry is cyclical in nature and has historically been characterized by soft markets (periods of relatively high levels of price competition, less restrictive underwriting standards and generally low premium rates) followed by hard markets (periods of capital shortages resulting in a lack of insurance availability, relatively low levels of price competition, more selective underwriting of risks and relatively high premium rates). During soft markets, we may lose business to competitors offering competitive insurance at lower prices. We may reduce our premiums or limit premium increases leading to a reduction in our profit margins and revenues. We expect these cycles to continue.
The demand for property and casualty insurance can also vary significantly, rising as the overall level of economic activity increases and falling as that activity decreases. Fluctuations in demand and competition could produce underwriting results that would have a negative impact on the results of our operations and financial condition.
A downgrade or a potential downgrade in our financial strength or issuer credit ratings could result in a loss of business and could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Ratings are an important factor in establishing the competitive position of insurance companies. Third-party rating agencies assess and rate the claims-paying ability, capital strength and creditworthiness of insurers and reinsurers based on criteria established by the agencies. A.M. Best rates our property and casualty insurance companies on a group basis. Since 2012, A.M.
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Best has also given an issuer credit rating to our parent holding company. The table below shows the current ratings assigned to our companies by A.M. Best.
Financial Strength RatingIssuer Credit RatingRating Held Since
Pooled Property and Casualty CompaniesAa1994
United Fire Group, Inc.N/Abbb2012

Financial strength and issuer credit ratings are used by policyholders, insurers, reinsurers and insurance and reinsurance intermediaries as an important means of assessing the financial strength, creditworthiness and quality of insurers and reinsurers. These ratings are not evaluations directed to potential purchasers of our common stock and are not recommendations to buy, sell or hold our common stock. These ratings are subject to change at any time and could be revised downward or revoked at the sole discretion of the rating agency. Downgrades in our financial strength ratings could adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets or could lead to increased borrowing costs in the future. Perceptions of the Company by investors, producers, other businesses and consumers could also be significantly impaired.
We believe that the ratings assigned by A.M. Best are an important factor in marketing our products. Our ability to retain our existing business and to attract new business in our insurance operations depends on our ratings by this agency. Our failure to maintain our ratings, or any other adverse development with respect to our ratings, could cause our current and future independent agents and policyholders to choose to transact their business with more highly rated competitors. If A.M. Best downgrades our ratings or publicly indicates that our ratings are under review, it is likely that we will not be able to compete as effectively with our competitors and our ability to sell insurance policies could decline, leading to a decrease in our premium revenue and earnings. For example, many of our agencies and policyholders have guidelines that require us to have an A.M. Best financial strength rating of "A-" or higher. A reduction of our A.M. Best ratings below "A-" would prevent us from issuing policies to a portion of our current policyholders or other potential policyholders with ratings requirements.
A reduction in our issuer credit rating could limit our ability to access capital markets or significantly increase the cost to us of raising capital. The failure of our insurance company subsidiaries to maintain their current ratings could dissuade a lender or reinsurance company from conducting business with us. A ratings downgrade could also cause some of our existing liabilities to be subject to acceleration, additional collateral support, changes in terms, or creation of additional financial obligations. It might also increase our interest or reinsurance costs.
We are exposed to credit risk in certain areas of our operations.
In addition to exposure to credit risk related to our investment portfolio, we are exposed to credit risk in several other areas of our business operations, including from: (1) our reinsurers, who are obligated to us under our reinsurance agreements. See the risk factor titled "Market conditions may affect our access to and the cost of reinsurance and our reinsurers may not pay losses in a timely manner, or at all," for a discussion of the credit risk associated with our reinsurance program; (2) some of our independent agents, who collect premiums from policyholders on our behalf and are required to remit the collected premiums to us; (3) some of our policyholders, which may be significant; and (4) our surety insurance operations, where we guarantee to a third party that our bonded principal will satisfy certain performance obligations (for example, as in a construction contract) or certain financial obligations. If our policyholder defaults, we may suffer losses and be unable to be reimbursed by our policyholder.
To a large degree, the credit risk we face is a function of the economy; accordingly, we face a greater risk during periods of economic downturn. While we attempt to manage these risks through underwriting and investment guidelines, collateral requirements and other oversight mechanisms, our efforts may not be successful. For example, collateral obtained may subsequently have little or no value. As a result, our exposure to credit risk could materially and adversely affect our results of operation and financial condition.
We are subject to comprehensive laws and regulations, changes to which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Insurance is a highly regulated industry. We are subject to extensive supervision and regulation by the states in which we operate. As a public company, we are also subject to increased regulation at the federal level. Our ability to comply with these laws and regulations and obtain necessary and timely regulatory action is, and will continue to be, critical to our success and ability to earn profits. Examples of regulations that pose particular risks to our ability to earn profits are discussed as follows.
Required licensing. Our insurance company subsidiaries operate under licenses issued by various state insurance departments. If a regulatory authority were to revoke an existing license or deny or delay granting a new license, our ability to continue to sell insurance or to enter or offer new insurance products in that market would be substantially impaired.
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Regulation of insurance rates, fees and approval of policy forms. The insurance laws of most states in which we operate require insurance companies to file insurance premium rate schedules and policy forms for review and approval. When our loss ratio compares favorably to that of the industry, state regulatory authorities may resist or delay our efforts to raise premium rates, even if the property and casualty industry generally is not experiencing regulatory resistance to premium rate increases. If premium rate increases we deem necessary are not approved, we may not be able to respond to market developments and increased costs in that state. State regulatory authorities may even impose premium rate rollbacks or require us to pay premium refunds to policyholders, affecting our profitability. If insurance policy forms we seek to use are not approved by state insurance departments, our ability to offer new products and grow our business in that state could be substantially impaired.
Restrictions on cancellation, nonrenewal or withdrawal. Many states have laws and regulations restricting an insurance company's ability to cease or significantly reduce its sales of certain types of insurance in that state, except pursuant to a plan that is approved by the state insurance departments. These laws and regulations could limit our ability to exit or reduce our business in unprofitable markets or discontinue unprofitable products. Additionally, our ability to adjust terms or increase pricing requires approval of regulatory authorities in certain states.
Risk-based capital and capital adequacy requirements. Our insurance company subsidiaries and affiliate are subject to risk-based capital requirements that require us to report our results of risk-based capital calculations to state insurance departments and the NAIC. These standards apply specified risk factors to various asset, premium and reserve components of statutory capital and surplus reported in our statutory basis of accounting financial statements. Any failure to meet applicable risk-based capital requirements or minimum statutory capital requirements could subject us or our subsidiaries and affiliate to further examination or corrective action by state regulators, including limitations on our writing of additional business, state supervision or liquidation.
Transactions between insurance companies and their affiliates. Transactions between us, our insurance company subsidiaries and our affiliates generally must be disclosed to, and in some cases approved by, state insurance departments. State insurance departments may refuse to approve or delay their approval of a transaction, which may impact our ability to innovate or operate efficiently.
Required participation in guaranty funds and assigned risk pools. Certain states have enacted laws that require a property and casualty insurer conducting business in that state to participate in assigned risk plans, reinsurance facilities, and joint underwriting associations where participating insurers are required to provide coverage for assigned risks. The number of risks assigned to us by these plans is based on our share of total premiums written in the voluntary insurance market for that state. Pricing is controlled by the plan, often restricting our ability to charge the premium rate we might otherwise charge. Wherever possible, we utilize a designated servicing carrier to fulfill our obligations under these plans. Designated servicing carriers charge us fees to issue policies, adjust and settle claims and handle administrative reporting on our behalf. In these markets, we may be compelled to underwrite significant amounts of business at lower than desired premium rates, possibly leading to an unacceptable return on equity. While these facilities are generally designed so that the ultimate cost is borne by policyholders, the exposure to assessments and our ability to recoup these assessments through adequate premium rate increases may not offset each other in our financial statements. Moreover, even if they do offset each other, they may not offset each other in our financial statements for the same fiscal period, due to the ultimate timing of the assessments and recoupments or premium rate increases. Additionally, certain states require insurers to participate in guaranty funds to bear a portion of the unfunded obligations of impaired or insolvent insurance companies. These state funds periodically assess losses against all insurance companies doing business in the state. Our operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected by any of these factors.
Restrictions on the amount, type, nature, quality and concentration of investments. The various states in which we are domiciled have certain restrictions on the amount, type, nature, quality and concentration of our investments. Generally speaking, these regulations require us to be conservative in the nature and quality of our investments and restrict our ability to invest in riskier, but often higher yield investments. These restrictions may make it more difficult for us to obtain our desired investment results.
We benefit from certain tax items, including but not limited to, tax-exempt bond interest, dividends-received deductions, tax credits (such as foreign tax credits) and insurance reserve deductions. From time to time, the U.S. Congress, as well as foreign, state and local governments, considers legislation that could reduce or eliminate the benefits associated with these tax items. Recent federal tax reform may negatively impact our ability to take deductions that we made in the past.
Terrorism Risk Insurance. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 ("TRIPRA") was signed into law. TRIPRA, which extended the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program until December 31, 2020, gradually increased the coverage trigger for shared terrorism losses between the federal government and the insurance industry to $200 billion per year, and gradually increased the industry-wide retention to $37.5 billion per year. For further information about TRIPRA and its effect on our operations, refer to the information in the "Results of Operations for the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019
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and 2018" section in Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
Accounting standards. We prepare our consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP, which is periodically revised and/or expanded by recognized authoritative bodies, including the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB"). These principles are subject to interpretation by the SEC and various other bodies formed to interpret and create appropriate accounting principles and guidance. Changes in GAAP and financial reporting requirements, or the interpretation of GAAP or those requirements, may have an impact on the content and presentation of our financial results and could have adverse consequences on our financial results, including lower reported results of operations and shareholders' equity and increased volatility and decreased comparability of our reported results with our historic results and with the results of other insurers. In addition, the required adoption of new accounting standards may result in significant incremental costs associated with initial implementation of and ongoing compliance with those standards. Additional information regarding recently proposed and adopted accounting standards and their potential impact on us is set forth in Note 1 “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
Corporate Governance and Public Disclosure Regulation. Changing laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure, including Dodd-Frank, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related SEC regulations, as well as the listing standards of the Nasdaq stock market, have created and are continuing to create uncertainty for public companies. The Federal Insurance Office, established within the U.S. Department of the Treasury by Dodd Frank in 2010, has limited regulatory authority and is empowered to gather data and information regarding the insurance industry and insurers, monitor aspects of the insurance industry, identify issues with regulation of insurers that could contribute to a systemic crisis in the insurance industry or the overall financial system, coordinate federal policy on international insurance matters and preempt state insurance measures under certain circumstances. While certain details and much of the impact of Dodd-Frank are still unknown, Dodd-Frank and other federal regulation adopted in the future may impose burdens on us, including impacting the ways we conduct our business, increasing compliance costs and duplicating state regulation. Additional regulation under these laws in the area of compensation disclosure, particularly regarding internal pay equity, officer and director hedging activities and compensation clawback policies is still expected.
Information Privacy Regulation. We are required to safeguard the personal information of our customers and applicants and are subject to an increasing number of laws and regulations regarding privacy and data security, as well as in our contractual commitments with service providers. We could be subject to governmental enforcement actions and fines, penalties, litigation, or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups if personal information is not appropriately controlled. Strategic service providers may refuse to continue to do business with us if we do not meet particular standards.
Compliance with these laws and regulations requires us to incur administrative costs that decrease our profits. These laws and regulations may also prevent or limit our ability to underwrite and price risks accurately, obtain timely premium rate increases necessary to cover increased costs, discontinue unprofitable relationships or exit unprofitable markets and otherwise continue to operate our business profitably. In addition, our failure to comply with these laws and regulations could result in actions by state or federal regulators, including the imposition of fines and penalties or, in an extreme case, revocation of our ability to do business in one or more states. Finally, we could face individual, group and class action lawsuits by our policyholders and others for alleged violations of certain state laws and regulations. Each of these regulatory risks could have a negative effect on our profitability.
Market conditions may affect our access to and the cost of reinsurance and our reinsurers may not pay losses in a timely manner, or at all.
As part of our overall risk and capacity management strategy, we purchase reinsurance for significant amounts of the risk that we and our insurance company subsidiaries and affiliates underwrite, by transferring (or ceding) part of the risk we have assumed to a reinsurance company in exchange for part of the premium we receive in connection with the risk. These reinsurance arrangements diversify our business and reduce our exposure to large losses or from hazards of an unusual nature. As of December 31, 2020, we ceded premiums written of $88.3 million to our reinsurers.
Although reinsurance makes the reinsurer liable to us to the extent the risk is transferred, it does not eliminate our liability to our policyholders because we remain liable as the direct insurer on all of the reinsured risks. As a result we are subject to credit risk relating to our ability to recover amounts due from our reinsurers.
Our ability to collect reinsurance recoverables may be subject to uncertainty. Our losses must meet the qualifying conditions of the reinsurance agreement. Our reinsurance agreements are subject to specified limits and we would not have reinsurance coverage to the extent that it exceeds those limits. We are also subject to the risk that reinsurers may dispute their obligations to pay our claims. Reinsurers must have the financial capacity and willingness to make payments under the terms of a reinsurance agreement or program. Reinsurers may dispute amounts we believe are due to us. Particularly, following a major catastrophic
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event, our inability to collect a material recovery from a reinsurer on a timely basis, or at all, could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity, operating results and financial condition.
Market conditions determine the availability and cost of the reinsurance protection we purchase, which affects the level of our business profitability, as well as the level and types of risk we retain. Although we purposely work with several reinsurance intermediaries and reinsurers, we may be unable to maintain our current reinsurance facilities or obtain other reinsurance facilities in adequate amounts and at favorable premium rates. Moreover, there may be a situation in which we have more than two catastrophic events within one policy year. Because our current catastrophe reinsurance program only allows for one automatic reinstatement at an additional reinstatement premium, we would be required to obtain a new catastrophe reinsurance policy to maintain our current level of catastrophe reinsurance coverage. Such coverage may be difficult to obtain, particularly if it is necessary to do so during hurricane season following the second catastrophe. If we are unable to renew our expiring facilities or to obtain new reinsurance facilities, either our net exposure to risk will increase or, if we are unwilling to bear an increase in net risk exposures, we will have to reduce the amount of risk we underwrite.
We face significant competitive pressures in our business that could cause demand for our products to fall or hinder our ability to introduce new products or services and keep pace with advances in technology, reducing our revenue and profitability.
The insurance industry is highly competitive and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. In our property and casualty insurance business we compete, and will continue to compete, with many major U.S. and non-U.S. insurers and smaller regional companies, as well as mutual companies, specialty insurance companies, underwriting agencies, and diversified financial services companies, including banks, mutual funds, broker-dealers and asset-managers. Except for regulatory considerations, there are few barriers to entry in the insurance market. These developments may increase competition, by increasing the number, size and financial strength of competitors who may be able to offer, due to economies of scale, more competitive pricing than we can.
Our competitors may attempt to increase their market share by lowering rates. In that case, we could experience reductions in our underwriting margins or sales of insurance policies. Losing business to competitors offering similar products at lower prices or who have a competitive advantage may adversely affect the results of our operations. Additionally, economic conditions may reduce the total volume of business available to us and our competitors.
We price our insurance products based on estimated profit margins, and we may not be able to react in a timely manner to reprice our insurance products to respond to changes in the market. Some of our competitors may be larger and have far greater financial, technology and marketing resources than we do. If new or existing competitors decide to target our policyholder base by offering similar or enhanced product offerings or technologies at lower prices than we are able to offer, our premium revenue and our profitability could decline.
Our products are marketed exclusively through independent insurance agencies, most of which represent more than one company. We face competition within each agency and competition to retain qualified independent agents. Our competitors include companies that market their products through agents, as well as companies that sell insurance directly to their customers. In personal insurance, the use of comparative rating technologies has impacted our business and may continue to impact the entire industry. This has resulted in an increase in the total level of quote activity but a lower percentage of quotes have resulted in new business from customers. There is also the potential for similar technology to be used to compare rates for small business.
The successful implementation of our business model depends on our ability to adapt to evolving technologies and industry standards and introduce new products and services. There is no guarantee we will be able to introduce new or improved products, or that our products will achieve market acceptance. We may also not be successful in using new technologies effectively or adapting our proprietary technology to evolving customer requirements, causing our products or services to become obsolete.
Technology may be increasingly playing a role in our ability to be competitive. Innovations such as telematics and other usage-based methods of determining premiums may impact product design and pricing and may be an increasingly important factor in our ability to be competitive. Our competitive position may also be impacted by our ability to institute technology that collects and analyzes a wide variety of data points to make underwriting or other decisions.
Our business depends on the uninterrupted operations of our facilities, systems and business functions.
Our business depends on our employees' or vendors' ability to perform necessary business functions, such as processing new and renewal policies, providing customer service, making claims payments, facilitating collections and cancellations and performing actuarial functions necessary for pricing and product development. We increasingly rely on technology and systems to accomplish these business functions in an efficient and uninterrupted fashion. Our inability to access our facilities or a failure of technology, telecommunications or other systems could significantly impair our ability to perform such functions on a timely
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basis or affect the accuracy of transactions. If sustained or repeated, such a business interruption or system failure could result in a deterioration of our ability to write and process new and renewal business, serve our agents and policyholders or perform other necessary business functions as discussed above.
If a natural disaster or a terrorist act occurs, our company and employees could be directly adversely affected, depending on the nature of the event. We have an emergency preparedness plan that consists of the information and procedures required to enable rapid recovery from an occurrence, such as natural disaster or business disruption, which could potentially disable us for an extended period of time. This plan was successfully tested during 2016 by the Midwest flooding that affected our corporate headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 that affected our Gulf Coast regional office in Galveston, Texas. It was also tested, to a lesser extent, by Super Storm Sandy in 2012 that affected our East Coast regional office in Pennington, New Jersey.
Adverse capital and credit market conditions may significantly affect our ability to meet liquidity needs, as well as our access to and the cost of capital.
Although capital market conditions have improved, our results of operations, financial condition, cash flows and statutory capital position could be materially adversely affected by continued volatility, uncertainty and disruptions in the capital and credit markets.
We maintain a level of cash and securities which, combined with expected cash inflows from investments and operations, is believed adequate to meet anticipated short-term and long-term benefit and expense payment obligations. The availability of financing will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit, the volume of trading activities, the overall availability of credit to the financial services industry, our credit ratings and credit capacity as well as customers' or lenders' perception of our long- or short-term financial prospects. Similarly, our access to funds may be impaired if regulatory authorities or rating agencies take negative actions against us.
Disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the capital and credit markets may limit our access to capital required to operate our business. Such market conditions may limit our ability to replace, in a timely manner, maturing liabilities; satisfy statutory capital requirements; and access the capital necessary to grow our business. As such, we may be forced to delay raising capital, issue shorter term securities than we prefer, utilize available internal resources or bear an unattractive cost of capital, which could decrease our profitability and significantly reduce our financial flexibility and liquidity.
We may experience difficulty in integrating future acquisitions to our operations.
The successful integration of any newly acquired businesses into our operations will require, among other things: (1) the timely receipt of any required regulatory approvals; (2) the retention and assimilation of their key management, sales and other personnel; (3) the coordination of their lines of insurance products and services; (4) the adaptation of their technology, information systems and other processes; and (5) the retention and transition of their customers.
Unexpected difficulties in integrating any acquisition could result in increased expenses and the diversion of management time and resources. If we do not successfully integrate any acquired business into our operations, we may not realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisition, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations. Further, any potential acquisitions may require significant capital outlays and, if we issue equity or convertible debt securities to pay for an acquisition, the issuance may be dilutive to our existing shareholders.
The exclusions and limitations in our policies may not be enforceable.
Many of the policies we issue include exclusions and other conditions that define and limit coverage, which exclusions and conditions are designed to manage our exposure to certain types of risks and expanding theories of legal liability. In addition, many of our policies limit the period during which a policyholder may bring a claim under the policy, which period in many cases is shorter than the statutory period under which these claims can be brought by our policyholders. While these exclusions and limitations help us assess and control our loss exposure, it is possible that a court or regulatory authority could nullify or void an exclusion or limitation, or legislation could be enacted which modifies or bars the use of these exclusions and limitations. This could result in higher than anticipated losses by extending coverage beyond the intent of our underwriting. In some instances, these changes may not become apparent until sometime after we have issued the insurance policies that are affected by these changes. As a result, the full extent of liability under our insurance contracts may not be known for many years after a policy is issued.
The determination of the amount of impairments taken on our investments requires estimates and assumptions which are subject to differing interpretations and could materially impact our results of operations or financial position.
The determination of the amount of impairments varies by investment type and is based upon our periodic evaluation and assessment of known and inherent risks associated with the respective asset class. Such evaluations and assessments are revised
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as conditions change and new information becomes available. There can be no assurance that our management has accurately assessed the level of impairments taken in our financial statements. Furthermore, additional impairments may need to be taken in the future. Historical trends may not be indicative of future impairments.
Additionally, our management considers a wide range of factors about the instrument issuer and uses its best judgment in evaluating the cause of the decline in the estimated fair value of the instrument and in assessing the prospects for recovery. Inherent in management's evaluation of the security are assumptions and estimates about the operations of the issuer and its future earnings potential.
Risks Relating to Our Common Stock
Certain provisions of our organizational documents, as well as applicable insurance laws, could impede an attempt to replace or remove our management or members of our Board of Directors, prevent the sale of the Company or prevent or frustrate any attempt by shareholders to change the direction of the Company, each of which could diminish the value of our common stock.
Our articles of incorporation and bylaws, as well as applicable laws governing corporations and insurance companies, contain provisions that could impede an attempt to replace or remove our management or prevent the sale of the Company that, in either case, shareholders might consider being in their best interests.
Our Board of Directors is divided into three classes. At any annual meeting of our shareholders, our shareholders have the right to appoint approximately one-third of the directors on our Board of Directors. Consequently, it will take at least two annual shareholder meetings to effect a change in control of our Board of Directors.
Our articles of incorporation limit the rights of shareholders to call special shareholder meetings.
Our articles of incorporation set the minimum number of directors constituting the entire Board of Directors at nine and the maximum at 15, and they require approval of holders of 60.0 percent of all outstanding shares to amend these provisions. Within the range, the Board of Directors may increase by one each year the number of directors serving on the Board of Directors.
Our articles of incorporation require the affirmative vote of 60.0 percent of all outstanding shares to approve any plan of merger, consolidation, or sale or exchange of all, or substantially all, of our assets.
Our Board of Directors may fill vacancies on the Board of Directors.
Our Board of Directors has the authority, without further approval of our shareholders, to issue shares of preferred stock having such rights, preferences and privileges as the Board of Directors may determine.
Section 490.1110 of the Iowa Business Corporation Act imposes restrictions on mergers and other business combinations between us and any holder of 10.0 percent or more of our common stock.
Section 490.624A of the Iowa Business Corporation Act authorizes the terms and conditions of stock rights or options issued by us to include restrictions or conditions that preclude or limit the exercise, transfer, or receipt of such rights or options by a person, or group of persons, owning or offering to acquire a specified number or percentage of the outstanding common shares or other securities of the corporation.
Further, the insurance laws of Iowa and the states in which our insurance company subsidiaries are domiciled prohibit any person from acquiring direct or indirect control of us or our insurance company subsidiaries, generally defined as owning or having the power to vote 10.0 percent or more of our outstanding voting stock, without the prior written approval of state regulators.
These provisions of our articles of incorporation and bylaws, and these state laws governing corporations and insurance companies, may discourage potential acquisition proposals. These provisions and state laws may also delay, deter or prevent a change of control of the Company, in particular through unsolicited transactions that some or all of our shareholders might consider to be desirable. As a result, efforts by our shareholders to change the direction or the Company's management may be unsuccessful, and the existence of such provisions may adversely affect market prices for our common stock if they are viewed as discouraging takeover attempts.
The ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends may affect our liquidity and ability to meet our obligations.
As a holding company, we have no significant independent operations of our own. Our principal sources of funds are dividends and other payments received from our subsidiaries. We rely on those dividends for our liquidity and to meet our obligations to pay dividends to shareholders and make share repurchases. Dividends from those subsidiaries depend on their statutory surplus, earnings and regulatory restrictions.
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State insurance laws limit the ability of insurance subsidiaries to pay dividends and require our insurance subsidiaries to maintain specified minimum levels of statutory capital and surplus. The actual ability to pay dividends may further be constrained by business and regulatory considerations, such as the impact of dividends on surplus, by our competitive position and by the amount of premiums that we can write. Ordinary dividend payments, or dividends that do not require prior approval by the insurance subsidiaries' domiciliary state insurance regulator are generally limited to amounts determined by a formula which varies by jurisdiction. Extraordinary dividends, on the other hand, require prior regulatory approval by the insurance subsidiaries' domiciliary state insurance regulator before they can be made.
In addition, competitive pressures generally require insurance companies to maintain insurance financial strength ratings. These restrictions and other regulatory requirements affect the ability of our insurance subsidiaries to make dividend payments to us. At times we may not be able to pay dividends on our common stock, or we may be required to seek prior approval from the applicable regulatory authority before we can pay any such dividends. In addition, the payment of dividends by us is within the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on numerous factors, including our financial condition, our capital requirements and other factors that our Board of Directors considers relevant.
General Risk Factors
Our internal controls are not fail-safe.
As a result of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no system of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control objectives have been or will be met, and that every instance of error or fraud has been or will be detected. A control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system will be met. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty and that breakdowns can occur because of a simple error or mistake.
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ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our headquarters are located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where we own approximately 269,000 square feet of office and building space. In addition, we own and lease office and building space, including underwriting and claims offices, throughout the U.S. We believe our existing facilities, both owned and leased, are in good condition and suitable for the conduct of our business.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
In the normal course of its business, the Company is a party to a variety of legal proceedings. While the final outcome of these legal proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty, management believes all of the proceedings pending as of December 31, 2020 to be ordinary and routine and does not expect these legal proceedings to have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial position or results of operations.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.

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PART II.

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED SHAREHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Common Shareholders
United Fire Group, Inc.'s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbol "UFCS." On February 24, 2021, there were 710 holders of record of United Fire Group, Inc. common stock. The number of record holders does not reflect shareholders who beneficially own common stock in nominee or street name, but does include participants in our employee stock purchase plan.
Dividends
Our practice has been to pay quarterly cash dividends, which we have paid every quarter since March 1968.
As a holding company with no independent operations of its own, United Fire Group, Inc. relies on dividends received from its insurance company subsidiaries in order to pay dividends to its common shareholders. Dividends payable by our insurance subsidiaries are governed by the laws in the states in which they are domiciled. In all cases, these state laws permit the payment of dividends only from earned surplus arising from business operations. For example, under Iowa law, the maximum dividend or distribution that may be paid within a 12-month period without prior approval of the Iowa Insurance Commissioner is generally restricted to the greater of 10 percent of statutory surplus as of the preceding December 31, or net income of the preceding calendar year on a statutory basis, not greater than earned statutory surplus. Other states in which our insurance company subsidiaries are domiciled may impose similar restrictions on dividends and distributions. Based on these restrictions, at December 31, 2020, our insurance company subsidiary, United Fire & Casualty, is able to make a maximum of $66.8 million in dividend payments without prior regulatory approval.
Payments of any future dividends and the amounts of such dividends will depend upon factors such as net income, financial condition, capital requirements, and general business conditions. We will only pay dividends if declared by our Board of Directors out of legally available funds and there can be no assurance that we will continue to pay such dividends or the amount of such dividends.
Additional information about these restrictions is incorporated by reference from Note 6 "Statutory Reporting, Capital Requirements and Dividends and Retained Earnings Restrictions" contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Under our share repurchase program, we may purchase our common stock from time to time on the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. The amount and timing of any purchases will be at our discretion and will depend upon a number of factors, including the share price, general economic and market conditions, and corporate and regulatory requirements. Our share repurchase program may be modified or discontinued at any time.

The following table provides information with respect to purchases of shares of common stock made by or on our behalf or by any "affiliated purchaser," as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Exchange Act, during the year ended December 31, 2020:
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Period
Total
Number of
Shares Purchased (1)
Average Price
Paid per Share
Total Number of Shares
Purchased as a Part of
Publicly Announced
Plans or Programs
Maximum Number of
Shares that may yet be
Purchased Under the
Plans or Programs
1/1/20 - 1/31/20— $— — 1,857,444 
2/1/20 - 2/28/2030,248 40.93 30,248 1,827,196 
3/1/20 - 3/31/2040,219 37.38 40,219 1,786,977 
4/1/20 - 4/30/20— — — 1,786,977 
5/1/20 - 5/31/20— — — 1,786,977 
6/1/20 - 6/30/20— — — 1,786,977 
7/1/20 - 7/31/20— — — 1,786,977 
8/1/20 - 8/31/20— — — 1,786,977 
9/1/20 - 9/30/20— — — 1,786,977 
10/1/20 - 10/31/20— — — 1,786,977 
11/1/20 - 11/30/20— — — 1,786,977 
12/1/20 - 12/31/20— — — 1,786,977 
Total70,467 70,467 
(1) Our share repurchase program was originally announced in August 2007. In August 2016, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to an additional 1,500,000 shares of common stock through the end of August 2018. This is in addition to the 1,528,886 shares of common stock remaining under its previous authorizations. In August 2018, our Board of Directors extended our share repurchase program through the end of August 2020. In August 2020, our Board of Directors extended our share repurchase program through the end of August 2022. As of December 31, 2020, we remained authorized to repurchase 1,786,977 shares of common stock.
United Fire Group, Inc. Common Stock Performance Graph
The following graph compares the performance of an investment in United Fire Group Inc.'s common stock from December 31, 2015 through December 31, 2020, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ("S&P 500 Index"), and the Standard & Poor's 600 Property and Casualty Index ("S&P 600 P&C Index"). The graph assumes $100 was invested on December 31, 2015 in our common stock and each of the below listed indices and that all dividends were reinvested on the date of payment without payment of any commissions. Dollar amounts in the graph are rounded to the nearest whole dollar. The performance shown in the graph represents past performance and should not be considered an indication of future performance.

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ufcs-20201231_g1.jpg
The following table shows the data used in the total return performance graph above.
 Period Ended
Index12/31/1512/31/1612/31/1712/31/1812/31/1912/31/20
United Fire Group, Inc.$100.00 $131.28 $124.77 $163.51 $132.64 $79.26 
S&P 500 Index100.00 111.96 136.40 130.42 171.49 203.04 
S&P 600 P&C Index100.00 125.18 136.58 146.19 160.79 162.22 
The foregoing performance graph is being furnished as part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K solely in accordance with the requirement under Rule 14a-3(b)(9) to furnish our shareholders with such information, and therefore, shall not be deemed to be filed or incorporated by reference into any filings by the Company under the Securities Act or Exchange Act.

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The following table sets forth certain selected financial data derived from the Consolidated Financial Statements of United Fire Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. The data should be read in conjunction with Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
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(In Thousands, Except Per Share Data)     
As of and for the years Ended December 3120202019201820172016
Balance Sheet Data:
Total cash and investments - continuing operations$2,237,165 $2,275,821 $2,138,577 $1,984,495 $1,860,978 
Total assets
Continuing operations3,069,678 3,013,472 2,816,698 2,597,297 2,449,140 
Assets held for sale — — 1,586,134 1,605,618 
Total assets3,069,678 3,013,472 2,816,698 4,183,431 4,054,758 
Losses and loss settlement expenses1,578,131 1,421,754 1,312,483 1,224,183 1,123,896 
Unearned premiums - continuing operations464,845 505,162 492,918 465,391 443,802 
Total liabilities
Continuing operations2,244,529 2,103,000 1,928,323 1,862,923 1,722,651 
Liabilities held for sale — — 1,347,135 1,390,223 
Total liabilities2,244,529 2,103,000 1,928,323 3,210,058 3,112,874 
Net unrealized investment gains (loss), after tax83,070 47,279 (9,323)214,865 133,892 
Repurchase of United Fire Group, Inc. common stock(2,741)(11,700)(5,404)(29,784)(3,746)
Total stockholders' equity825,149 910,472 888,375 973,373 941,884 
Book value per share32.93 36.40 35.40 39.06 37.04 
Income Statement Data from Continuing Operations:
Revenues
Net premiums earned$1,055,082 $1,086,972 $1,037,451 $997,492 $936,131 
Investment income, net of investment expenses39,670 60,414 52,894 51,190 55,284 
Net realized investment gains (losses)(32,395)53,779 (20,179)4,055 4,947 
Other income6,270 — — — 
Revenues1,068,627 1,201,165 1,070,166 1,052,737 996,362 
Losses and loss settlement expenses869,467 830,172 731,611 725,713 652,433 
Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs210,252 216,699 206,232 207,746 202,892 
Other underwriting expenses143,332 137,415 141,473 103,628 83,540 
Goodwill Impairment15,091 — — — — 
Net income (loss)(112,706)14,820 2,255 44,870 49,918 
Combined ratio(1)
115.9 %109.0 %104.0 %104.0 %100.3 %
Income Statement Data from Discontinued Operations:
Net premiums earned$ $— $13,003 $61,368 $87,270 
Investment income — 12,663 49,720 51,538 
Revenues — 24,755 115,713 140,585 
Losses and loss settlement expenses — 10,823 40,451 31,365 
Increase in liability for future policy benefits — 5,023 27,632 59,969 
Other underwriting expenses — 3,864 13,281 19,881 
Interest on policyholders' accounts — 4,499 18,525 20,079 
Net income (loss) — (1,912)6,153 786 
Earnings Per Share Data:
Continuing operations:
Basic earnings (loss) per common share$(4.50)$0.59 $0.09 $1.79 $1.94 
Diluted earnings (loss) per common share(4.50)0.58 0.09 1.75 1.90 
Discontinued operations:
Basic earnings (loss) per common share — (0.08)0.24 0.03 
Diluted earnings (loss) per common share — (0.07)0.24 0.03 
Other Supplemental Data:
Cash dividends declared per common share(2)
$1.14 $1.30 $4.21 $1.09 $0.97 
(1)The combined ratio is a commonly used financial measure of property and casualty underwriting performance. A combined ratio below 100.0 percent generally indicates a profitable book of business.
(2)On August 20, 2018, a special dividend of $3.00 per share was paid to shareholders.

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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation should be read in conjunction with Part II, Item 6, "Selected Financial Data" and Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data." Amounts (except per share amounts) are presented in thousands, unless otherwise noted.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

It is important to note that our actual results could differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements in this Form 10-K. Please refer to "Forward-Looking Information" and Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" of this report for information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this Form 10-K.

BUSINESS OVERVIEW
Originally founded in 1946 as United Fire & Casualty Company, United Fire Group, Inc. and its consolidated insurance company subsidiaries provide insurance protection for individuals and businesses through several regional companies. Our property and casualty insurance company subsidiaries are licensed in 49 states plus the District of Columbia and are represented by approximately 1,000 independent agencies.
Discontinued Operations
On September 18, 2017, the Company signed a definitive agreement to sell its subsidiary, United Life, to Kuvare and on March 30, 2018, the sale closed. As a result, our life insurance business, previously a separate segment, was considered held for sale and reported as discontinued operations in the Consolidated Financial Statements. All periods presented have been revised to show results from continuing and discontinued operations, unless otherwise noted. For more information, refer to Part II, Item 8, Note 17 "Discontinued Operations."

Reportable Segments

Prior to the announcement of the sale of our life insurance business, we have historically reported our operations in two business segments, each with a wide range of products:

property and casualty insurance, which includes commercial lines insurance, personal lines insurance and assumed reinsurance; and

life insurance, which includes deferred and immediate annuities, universal life products and traditional life (primarily single premium whole life) insurance products.

We managed these businesses separately, as they generally do not share the same customer base, and each has different products, pricing, and expense structures.

Subsequent to the announcement of the sale of our life insurance business on September 19, 2017, we operate and report one business segment, which contains our continuing operations. Our life insurance business was considered held for sale and reported as discontinued operations throughout this Form 10-K, unless otherwise noted. For more information, refer to Part II, Item 8, Note 10 "Segment Information" and Note 17 "Discontinued Operations."
Pooling Arrangement

All of our property and casualty insurance subsidiaries are members of an intercompany reinsurance pooling arrangement. The Company's pooling arrangement permits the participating companies to rely on the capacity of the entire pool's capital and surplus, rather than being limited to policy exposures of a size commensurate with each participant’s own surplus level.
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Geographic Concentration
Continuing Operations - Property and Casualty Insurance Business
For 2020, approximately 50.4 percent of our property and casualty premiums were written in Texas, California, Iowa, Missouri and New Jersey.
In 2020, 2019 and 2018 the direct statutory premiums written by our property and casualty insurance operations were distributed as follows:
Years Ended December 31,% of Total
(In Thousands)202020192018202020192018
Texas$192,841 $205,420 $193,953 18.1 %18.0 %17.4 %
California127,168 129,850 124,473 11.9 11.4 11.2 
Iowa91,176 96,052 98,128 8.6 8.4 8.8 
Missouri72,527 73,735 70,646 6.8 6.4 6.4 
New Jersey53,406 51,539 52,037 5.0 4.5 4.7 
Colorado46,394 54,907 56,152 4.4 4.8 5.1 
Louisiana45,168 46,827 44,007 4.2 4.1 4.0 
Illinois39,562 40,443 40,431 3.7 3.5 3.6 
Minnesota39,501 47,890 49,491 3.7 4.2 4.4 
All Other States357,575 396,709 382,385 33.6 34.7 34.4 
Direct Statutory Premiums Written$1,065,318 $1,143,372 $1,111,703 100.0 %100.0 %100.0 %

Discontinued Operations - Life Insurance Business
Our life insurance subsidiary marketed its products primarily in the Midwest, East Coast and West. In 2020, 2019 and 2018 the direct statutory premiums written by our life insurance operations were distributed as follows:
Years Ended December 31,% of Total
(In Thousands)202020192018202020192018
Iowa$ $— $9,951  %— %31.3 %
Wisconsin — 3,578  — 11.3 
Illinois — 3,227  — 10.2 
Nebraska — 2,572  — 8.1 
Minnesota — 2,003  — 6.3 
All Other States — 10,432  — 32.8 
Direct Statutory Premiums Written$ $— $31,763  %— %100.0 %
Sources of Revenue and Expense
We evaluate profit or loss based upon operating and investment results. Profit or loss described in the following sections of this Management's Discussion and Analysis is reported on a pre-tax basis. Our primary sources of revenue are premiums and investment income. Major categories of expenses include losses and loss settlement expenses, underwriting and other operating expenses.
Profit Factors
Our profitability is influenced by many factors, including price, competition, economic conditions, investment returns, interest rates, catastrophic events and other natural disasters, man-made disasters, state regulations, court decisions, and changes in the law. To manage these risks and uncertainties, we seek to achieve consistent profitability through strong agency relationships, exceptional customer service, fair and prompt claims handling,
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disciplined underwriting, superior loss control services, prudent management of our investments, appropriate matching of assets and liabilities, effective use of ceded reinsurance and effective and efficient use of technology.

COVID-19

The spread of the COVID-19 virus, beginning in mid-March 2020, caused significant financial market volatility, economic uncertainty and interruptions to normal business activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on day-to-day life, financial markets and the economy in the United States. The Company, in response to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, activated its pre-existing business continuity plans to respond to a pandemic in mid-March 2020. With the exception of our essential services employees, UFG has dispatched its staff to work remotely for the safety, health and well-being of our employees. We are fully operational, but have limited some non-essential travel. Our essential services employees are following recommended health and safety policies. We are and will continue to monitor the state and federal responses to the pandemic and, when appropriate, will adjust our operations in response. We have a return to workplace plan for our employees. The plan will be implemented at the appropriate time and in a way that is designed to ensure the health and safety of our employees.

The implementation of our business continuity plans did not have a material effect on our internal control environment. We believe our operational processes, internal controls over financial reporting and disclosures, and financial reporting systems are operating effectively in the present environment. Our business teams are working remotely and continue to support our customers, agents and claimants as they did when we were in the office.

Nearly all of the policies we have issued contain contract language that specifically excludes business interruption coverage for losses due to viruses such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but we continue to carefully scrutinize each claim and will afford coverage when appropriate. At this time, we expect the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on claims currently under our coverages to be manageable, based on the information presently available. However, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and we cannot predict the extent to which our business, results of operations, financial condition or liquidity will ultimately be impacted. Additionally, if established written contract policy exclusions of business interruption coverage for losses attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic are voided or changed through legislation, regulations or interpretations by the courts, such changes have the potential to materially increase claims, losses and legal expenses which could impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity.

We anticipate that the larger impact on our financial condition and results of operations will likely result from developments in the economy as a whole and the effect on financial markets and the investments we hold in our investment portfolio, premiums and demand for our products, and our ability to collect premiums or any requirement to return premiums to policyholders. We believe our current liquidity position is sufficient to maintain our current operations and we have the ability to draw on our credit facility if needed. See "Credit Facilities" in Part II, Item 8, Note 14 "Debt" for more information. We implemented state-mandated and optional payment leniency programs for our policyholders, all of which have expired as of December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2020, we did not see a significant impact to cash flows or allowance for doubtful accounts as a result of these programs. During the fourth quarter of 2020, management did not repurchase any shares of stock, and the share repurchase program has been suspended since mid-March 2020. Also, the Company maintained the payment of quarterly cash dividends during 2020, with fourth quarter of 2020 marking the 211th consecutive quarter of paying dividends since March 1968.

Stockholders' equity decreased to $825.1 million at December 31, 2020, from $910.5 million at December 31, 2019. This decrease was primarily attributed to a net loss of $112.7 million, shareholder dividends of $28.5 million and share repurchases of $2.7 million, partially offset by an increase in net unrealized investment gains on fixed maturity securities of $35.8 million, net of tax, during 2020 and a decrease in our pension and post-retirement liabilities of $17.9 million, net of tax.

We evaluate goodwill and other intangible assets for impairment at least on an annual basis or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that it is more likely than not that the carrying amount of goodwill and other intangible assets may exceed their implied fair value. Goodwill is evaluated at the reporting unit level, for which we have one reporting unit level. Any impairment is charged to operations in the period that the impairment is
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identified. During the third quarter of 2020, we completed our annual quantitative analysis of goodwill. As a result of the quantitative analysis, we impaired the remaining balance of our goodwill of $15.1 million as of September 30, 2020 based on the following factors: (i) disruptions in the equity markets, specifically for property and casualty insurance companies, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and due to recent weather related catastrophes; (ii) recent elevated commercial auto loss ratios; and (iii) the fair value of our stock trading significantly below book value. The Company used a weighting of the income and market approaches to determine the fair value of the reporting unit.

As of December 31, 2020, we intend to keep all assets currently leased and honor the terms of the contracts. Also, we have four lease contracts where we are the lessor which we evaluated for impairment. As of December 31, 2020, all payments on these contracts had been received and we fully expect to receive all future payments on time. In the event that we receive any lease-related relief provided to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we elect not to evaluate whether or not the relief represents a lease modification.

The decline in certain sectors of the equity markets in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic did have a material impact on the fair value of our investments in equity securities and limited liability partnerships. The Company's investment philosophy, objectives, approach and program have not changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 the decrease in the fair value of equity securities from December 31, 2019 was $6.9 million.

The Company has a highly rated fixed maturity portfolio, with low credit risk. The Company recognized an unrealized gain of $35.8 million, net of tax, in 2020 on its available-for-sale fixed maturity portfolio.

MEASUREMENT OF RESULTS
Our consolidated financial statements are prepared on the basis of GAAP. We also prepare financial statements for each of our insurance company subsidiaries based on statutory accounting principles and file them with insurance regulatory authorities in the states where they do business.
Management evaluates our operations by monitoring key measures of growth and profitability. We believe that disclosure of certain non-GAAP financial measures enhances investor understanding of our financial performance. The following provides further explanation of the key measures management uses to evaluate our results:
Catastrophe losses is a commonly used non-GAAP financial measure which utilizes the designations of the Insurance Services Office ("ISO") and are reported with losses and loss settlement expense amounts net of reinsurance recoverables, unless specified otherwise. According to the ISO, a catastrophe loss is defined as a single unpredictable incident or series of closely related incidents that result in $25.0 million or more in U.S. industry-wide direct insured losses to property and that affect a significant number of insureds and insurers ("ISO catastrophe"). In addition to ISO catastrophes, we also include as catastrophes those events ("non-ISO catastrophes"), which may include U.S. or international losses, that we believe are, or will be, material to our operations, either in amount or in number of claims made. Management, at times, may determine for comparison purposes of our financial results that it is more meaningful to exclude extraordinary catastrophe losses and resulting litigation. The frequency and severity of catastrophic losses we experience in any year affect our results of operations and financial position. In analyzing the underwriting performance of our property and casualty insurance business, we evaluate performance both including and excluding catastrophe losses. Portions of our catastrophe losses may be recoverable under our catastrophe reinsurance agreements. We include a discussion of the impact of catastrophes because we believe it is meaningful for investors to understand the variability in our periodic earnings.
Years Ended December 31,
(In Thousands)2020 20192018
ISO catastrophes$141,425 $56,357 $46,757 
Non-ISO catastrophes (1)
579 8,011 (64)
Total catastrophes$142,004 $64,368 $46,693 
(1) Includes international assumed losses.
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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS FOR THE YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020, 2019 AND 2018

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
Years Ended December 31,% Change
20202019
(In Thousands)202020192018vs. 2019vs. 2018
Revenues
Net premiums earned$1,055,082 $1,086,972 $1,037,451 (2.9)%4.8 %
Investment income, net of investment expenses39,670 60,414 52,894 (34.3)14.2 
Net realized investment gains (losses)(32,395)53,779 (20,179)NMNM
Other income6,270 — — NM— 
Total revenues$1,068,627 $1,201,165 $1,070,166 (11.0)%12.2 %
  
Benefits, losses and expenses 
Losses and loss settlement expenses$869,467 $830,172 $731,611 4.7 %13.5 %
Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs210,252 216,699 206,232 (3.0)5.1 
Other underwriting expenses143,332 137,415 141,473 4.3 (2.9)
Goodwill impairment15,091 — — NM— 
Total benefits, losses and expenses$1,238,142 $1,184,286 $1,079,316 4.5 %9.7 %
Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes$(169,515)$16,879 $(9,150)NMNM
Federal income tax expense (benefit)(56,809)2,059 (11,405)NM(118.1)%
Net income (loss) from continuing operations$(112,706)$14,820 $2,255 NMNM
Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax — (1,912)NM(100.0)%
Gain on sale of discontinued operations, net of tax — 27,307 NM(100.0)%
Net income (loss)$(112,706)$14,820 $27,650 NM(46.4)%
GAAP Ratios:
Net loss ratio (without catastrophes)68.9 %70.5 %66.0 %(2.3)%6.8 %
Catastrophes - effect on net loss ratio13.5 %5.9 %4.5 %128.8 %31.1 %
Net loss ratio(1)
82.4 %76.4 %70.5 %7.9 %8.4 %
Expense ratio(2)
33.5 %32.6 %33.5 %2.8 %(2.7)%
Combined ratio(3)
115.9 %109.0 %104.0 %6.3 %4.8 %
NM = not meaningful
(1) The net loss ratio is calculated by dividing the sum of losses and loss settlement expenses by net premiums earned. We use the net loss ratio as a measure of the overall underwriting profitability of the insurance business we write and to assess the adequacy of our pricing. Our net loss ratio is meaningful in evaluating our financial results as reported in our Consolidated Financial Statements.
(2) The expense ratio is calculated by dividing non-deferred underwriting expenses and amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs by net premiums earned. The expense ratio measures a company's operational efficiency in producing, underwriting and administering its insurance business.
(3) The combined ratio is a commonly used financial measure of property and casualty underwriting performance. A combined ratio below 100.0 percent generally indicates a profitable book of business. The combined ratio is the sum of the net loss ratio and the underwriting expense ratio.

In 2020, the decrease in net income from continuing operations compared to 2019 was primarily due to a decrease in the fair value of equity securities, realized losses on sales of equity securities, increases in losses and loss settlement expenses, namely from catastrophe losses and an increase in severity of losses, decrease in net premiums earned, a decrease in net investment income and goodwill impairment.

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In 2019, the increase in net income from continuing operations compared to 2018 was primarily due to an increase in the value of our investments in equity securities from strong increases in equity markets and an increase in net premiums earned, from rate increases, offset by an increase in losses and loss settlement expenses from an increase in severity of commercial auto and auto liability losses, reserve strengthening in our Gulf Coast Region and an increase in catastrophe losses.
Premiums from continuing operations
The following table shows our premiums written and earned from continuing operations for 2020, 2019 and 2018:
    % Change
(In Thousands)   20202019
Years ended December 31,202020192018vs. 2019vs. 2018
Direct premiums written$1,065,318 $1,143,372 $1,111,703 (6.8)%2.8 %
Assumed premiums written34,371 27,869 16,761 23.3 66.3 
Ceded premiums written(88,339)(74,511)(66,800)18.6 11.5 
Net premiums written(1)
$1,011,350 $1,096,730 $1,061,664 (7.8)%3.3 %
Less: change in unearned premiums40,317 (12,244)(27,527)NM55.5 
Less: change in prepaid reinsurance premiums3,415 2,486 3,314 37.4 (25.0)
Net premiums earned$1,055,082 $1,086,972 $1,037,451 (2.9)%4.8 %
NM = not meaningful
(1) Net premiums written: Net premiums written is a non-GAAP measure. While not a substitute for any GAAP measure of performance, net premiums written is frequently used by industry analysts and other recognized reporting sources to facilitate comparisons of the performance of insurance companies. Net premiums written are the amount charged for insurance policy contracts issued and recognized on an annualized basis at the effective date of the policy. Management believes net premiums written are a meaningful measure for evaluating insurance company sales performance and geographical expansion efforts. Net premiums written for an insurance company consists of direct premiums written and reinsurance assumed, less reinsurance ceded. Net premiums earned is calculated on a pro rata basis over the terms of the respective policies. Unearned premium reserves are established for the portion of premiums written applicable to the unexpired term of insurance policy in force. The difference between net premiums earned and net premiums written is the change in unearned premiums and change in prepaid reinsurance premiums.
Net Premiums Written
Net premiums written comprise direct and assumed premiums written, less ceded premiums written. Direct premiums written are the total policy premiums, net of cancellations, associated with policies issued and underwritten by our property and casualty insurance business. Assumed premiums written are the total premiums associated with the insurance risk transferred to us by other insurance and reinsurance companies pursuant to reinsurance contracts. Ceded premiums written is the portion of direct premiums written that we cede to our reinsurers under our reinsurance contracts. Net premiums earned are recognized ratably over the life of a policy and differ from net premiums written, which are recognized on the effective date of the policy.
Direct Premiums Written
Direct premiums written from continuing operations decreased $78.1 million in 2020 as compared to 2019 primarily due to our focus on improving profitability through non-renewal of underperforming accounts in our commercial auto line of business, sale of the renewal rights of our personal lines business to Nationwide and, to a lesser extent, a reduction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct premiums written from continuing operations increased $31.7 million in 2019 as compared to 2018 primarily due to rate increases, premium audits and endorsements.
Assumed Premiums Written

Assumed premiums written increased $6.5 million in 2020 as compared to 2019 due to growth of our assumed book by the addition of new programs and cedant premium growth.
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Assumed premiums written increased $11.1 million in 2019 as compared to 2018 due to an increase in cedant premium growth and additional program placements.
Ceded Premiums Written
Direct and assumed premiums written are reduced by the ceded premiums that we pay to reinsurers. For 2020, we ceded 18.6 percent more premiums to reinsurers as a result of increased placement of facultative reinsurance, continued growth in managing general agency contracts and ceded reinstatement paid. For 2019, we ceded 11.5 percent more premiums to reinsurers as a result of continued growth in direct premiums written, facultative reinsurance and addition of new managing general agency contracts.
Losses and Loss Settlement Expenses from continuing operations
Catastrophe Exposures
Catastrophe losses are inherent risks of the property and casualty insurance business. Catastrophic events include, without limitation, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, hailstorms, wildfires, high winds, winter storms and other natural disasters, along with man-made exposures to losses resulting from, without limitation, acts of war, acts of terrorism and political instability. Such events result in insured losses that can be, and may continue to be, a material factor in our results of operations and financial position, as the extent of losses from a catastrophe is a function of both the total amount of insured exposure in an area affected by the event and the severity of the event. Because the level of insured losses that may occur in any one year cannot be accurately predicted, these losses contribute to fluctuations in our year-to-year results of operations and financial position. Some types of catastrophes are more likely to occur at certain times within the year than others, which adds an element of seasonality to our property and casualty insurance claims. Our property and casualty insurance business experiences some seasonality with regard to premiums written, which are generally highest in January and July and lowest during the fourth quarter. Losses and loss settlement expenses incurred tend to remain consistent throughout the year, with the exception of catastrophe losses, which generally are highest in the second and third quarters. The frequency and severity of catastrophic events are difficult to accurately predict in any year. However, some geographic locations are more susceptible to these events than others.
We control our direct insurance exposures in regions that are prone to naturally occurring catastrophic events through a combination of geographic diversification, restrictions on the amount and location of new business production in such regions, and reinsurance. We regularly assess our concentration of risk exposures in natural catastrophe exposed areas. We have strategies and underwriting standards to manage these exposures through individual risk selection, subject to regulatory constraints, and through the purchase of catastrophe reinsurance coverage. We use catastrophe modeling and a risk concentration management tool to monitor and control our accumulations of potential losses in natural catastrophe exposed areas of the United States, such as the Gulf and East Coasts, as well as in areas of exposure in other countries where we are exposed to a portion of an insurer's underwriting risk under our assumed reinsurance contracts.
Overall, the models indicate increased risk estimates for our exposure to hurricanes in the U.S., but the impact of the models on our book of business varies significantly among the regions that we model for hurricanes. Based on our analysis, we have implemented more targeted underwriting and rate initiatives in some regions. We will continue to take underwriting actions and/or purchase additional reinsurance as necessary to reduce our exposure.
Catastrophe modeling generally relies on multiple inputs based on experience, science, engineering and history, and the selection of those inputs requires a significant amount of judgment. The modeling results may also fail to account for risks that are outside the range of normal probability or are otherwise unforeseen. Because of this, actual results may differ materially from those derived from our modeling assumptions.
Despite our efforts to manage our catastrophe exposure, the occurrence of one or more severe natural catastrophic events in heavily populated areas could have a material effect on our results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.
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The process of estimating and establishing reserves for losses incurred from catastrophic events is inherently uncertain and the actual ultimate cost of a claim, net of reinsurance recoveries, may vary materially from the estimated amount reserved. Although we reinsure a portion of our exposure, reinsurance may prove to be inadequate if a major catastrophic event exceeds our reinsurance limits or if we experience a number of small catastrophic events that individually fall below our reinsurance retention level.
Catastrophe Losses
In 2020, our pre-tax catastrophe losses were $142.0 million, an increase of $77.6 million compared to $64.4 million in 2019 and an increase of $95.3 million as compared to $46.7 million in 2018. In 2020, our catastrophe losses included 60 catastrophes with the largest event being the August Midwest derecho. Catastrophe losses in 2020 added 13.5 percentage points to the combined ratio, which is above our historical 10-year average of 7.4 percentage points.
In 2019, our catastrophe losses included 54 catastrophes with no one event more than $5.0 million. Catastrophe losses in 2019 added 5.9 percentage points to the combined ratio, which is below our historical 10-year average of 6.4 percentage points. In 2018, catastrophe losses included 46 catastrophes with our largest pre-tax catastrophe losses coming from the California wildfires, which totaled $9.2 million. Catastrophe losses in 2018 added 4.5 percentage points to the combined ratio, which is below our historical 10-year average of 6.4 percentage points.
Catastrophe Reinsurance
In 2020, we exceeded our catastrophe reinsurance retention level of $20.0 million with the August Midwest derecho, causing widespread storms and high winds. The August Midwest derecho was a full retention loss, with losses in excess of our stated reinsurance retention of $20.0 million. Total losses from this storm were $101.8 million with $81.8 million of reinsurance recoveries. In 2019 and 2018, we did not exceed our catastrophe reinsurance retention level of $20.0 million per event.
We use many reinsurers, both domestic and foreign, which helps us to avoid concentrations of credit risk associated with our reinsurance. All reinsurers we do business with must meet the following minimum criteria: capital and surplus of at least $300.0 million and an A.M. Best rating or an S&P rating of at least "A-." If a reinsurer is rated by both rating agencies, then both ratings must be at least an "A-."
The following table represents the primary reinsurers we utilize and their financial strength ratings as of December 31, 2020:
Name of ReinsurerA.M. BestS&P Rating
Everest Reinsurance Company(2)
A+A+
General Reinsurance Corporation(2)
A++AA+
Hannover Rueckversicherung AG (1) (2)
A+AA-
Lloyd'sAA+
Munich Re(2)
A+A-
Odyssey Re(2)
AA-
Partner Re(1)(2)
A+A+
QBE Reinsurance Corporation(1)
AA+
SCOR Reinsurance Company(1)(2)
A+AA-
Toa Re(1)
AA+
Transatlantic Re(1)
A+A+
(1)Primary reinsurers participating in the property and casualty excess of loss programs.
(2)Primary reinsurers participating in the surety excess of loss program.
Refer to Part II, Item 8, Note 4 "Reinsurance" for further discussion of our reinsurance programs.

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Terrorism Coverage
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019 ("TRIPRA") is the fourth reauthorization of the law, which was previously reauthorized in 2005, 2007, and 2015. TRIRPA coverage is effective through December 31, 2027 and preserves the current industry loss trigger of $200 million per year, and gradually increased the industry-wide retention to $37.5 billion per year. TRIPRA coverage includes most direct commercial lines of business, including coverage for losses from nuclear, biological and chemical exposures if coverage was afforded by an insurer, with exclusions for commercial automobile insurance, burglary and theft insurance, surety, professional liability insurance and farm owners multiple peril insurance. Under TRIPRA, each insurer has a deductible amount, which is 20.0 percent of the prior year's direct commercial lines earned premiums for the applicable lines of business, and retention of 15.0 percent above the deductible. No insurer that has met its deductible shall be liable for the payment of any portion of that amount that exceeds the annual aggregate loss cap specified in TRIPRA. TRIPRA provides marketplace stability. As a result, coverage for terrorist events in both the insurance and reinsurance markets is often available. The amount of aggregate losses necessary for an act of terrorism to be certified by the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General was $200.0 million for 2020 and remains the same for 2021. Our TRIPRA deductible was $140.4 million for 2020 and our TRIPRA deductible is expected to be $139.8 million for 2021. Our catastrophe and non-catastrophe reinsurance programs provide limited coverage for terrorism exposure excluding nuclear, biological and chemical-related claims.
2020 Results
In 2020, our losses and loss settlement expenses were 4.7 percent higher than 2019 and our net loss ratio increased 6.0 points. The increase was primarily driven by an increase in the severity of losses from social inflation, an increase in catastrophe losses and prior accident year reserve strengthening. With the continued escalation of losses from social inflation, especially with commercial auto and auto liability losses industry wide we are focusing on continuing our strategic plan to reduce the size of our commercial auto book in 2021. By reducing commercial auto exposure units in underperforming accounts and growing more profitable lines of business such as excess and surplus, surety and assumed reinsurance, we intend to achieve a better balance in our portfolio. Catastrophe losses increased to $142.0 million in both our direct business and assumed reinsurance business as compared to $64.4 million in 2019.
2019 Results
In 2019, our losses and loss settlement expenses were 13.5 percent higher than 2018 and our net loss ratio increased
5.9 points. The increase was primarily driven by an increase in the severity of losses in commercial auto line of
business, an increase in catastrophe losses and prior accident year reserve strengthening in our Gulf Coast region. Catastrophe losses increased to $64.4 million in both our direct business and assumed reinsurance business as compared to $46.7 million in 2018.
Reserve Development

For many liability claims, significant periods of time, ranging up to several years, and for certain construction defect claims, more than a decade, may elapse between the occurrence of the loss, the reporting of the loss to us and the settlement or other disposition of the claim. As a result, loss experience in the more recent accident years for the long-tail liability coverages has limited statistical credibility in our reserving process because a relatively small proportion of losses in these accident years are reported claims and an even smaller proportion are paid losses. In addition, long-tail liability claims are more susceptible to litigation and can be significantly affected by changing contract interpretations and the legal environment. Consequently, the estimation of loss reserves for long-tail coverages is more complex and subject to a higher degree of variability. Reserves for these long-tail coverages represent a significant portion of our overall carried reserves.

When establishing reserves and monitoring reserve adequacy, we analyze historical data and consider the potential impact of various loss development factors and trends including historical loss experience, legislative enactments, judicial decisions, legal developments in imposition of damages, experience with alternative dispute resolution, results of our medical bill review process and changes and trends in general economic
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conditions, including the effects of inflation. All of these factors influence our estimates of required reserves and for long-tail lines these factors can change over the course of the settlement of the claim. However, there is no precise method for evaluating the specific dollar impact of any individual factor on the development of reserves.

Our reserving philosophy is to reserve claims to their ultimate expected loss amount as soon as practicable after information about a claim becomes available. This approach tends to produce, on average, cautiously pessimistic case reserves, which we expect to result in some level of favorable development over the course of settlement.

2020 Development

The property and casualty insurance business experienced $17.7 million of favorable development in our net reserves for prior accident years for the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2020. Four lines contributed the majority of favorable development with the largest contribution coming from workers' compensation which had $25.4 million favorable development followed by commercial fire and allied lines which had $10.7 million favorable development. The two other lines which experienced favorable development were fidelity and surety with $2.1 million favorable development and personal automobile with $1.9 million favorable development. The favorable development for workers' compensation was primarily from reductions in reserves for reported claims which were more than sufficient to offset paid loss. Reductions in reserves for IBNR claims also contributed favorable development in addition to loss adjustment expense ("LAE") where reductions in reserves more than sufficient to offset payments. Commercial fire and allied lines developed favorably because reductions in reserves for reported claims combined with reductions in reserves for IBNR claims were more than sufficient to offset paid loss; LAE also contributed favorable development with reductions in reserves more than sufficient to offset payments. Fidelity and surety loss developed favorably because a reduction in reserves for IBNR claims was more than sufficient to offset both paid loss and increases in reserves for reported claims. The personal automobile line of business developed favorably because reductions of reserves for reported claims combined with reductions of reserves for IBNR claims were more than sufficient to offset paid loss; LAE also contributed favorable development with reductions in reserves more than sufficient to offset payments. Much of the favorable development was offset by unfavorable development from three lines with the largest contribution coming from commercial liability which experienced $12.8 million unfavorable development. The two other lines which experienced unfavorable development were reinsurance assumed with $6.4 million unfavorable development and commercial automobile with $4.0 million unfavorable development. The commercial liability line of business experienced unfavorable development due to paid loss which was greater than reductions in reserves for unpaid loss; LAE developed favorably and partially offset the unfavorable loss development. The unfavorable development for the reinsurance assumed line of business was due to paid loss which was greater than reductions in reserves for unpaid loss. The commercial automobile line of business experienced unfavorable development because paid loss was greater than reductions in reserves for unpaid loss, but a portion of the unfavorable loss development was offset by favorable development from LAE where payments were more than offset by reductions of reserves for unpaid loss adjustment expense. On an all lines combined basis, favorable development is attributable to LAE which continues to benefit from additional litigation management efforts. The lines of business not mentioned individually above contributed an additional combined total of $0.8 million of favorable development.

2019 Development

The property and casualty insurance business experienced $5.3 million of favorable development in our net reserves for prior accident years for the year ended December 31, 2019. Four lines contributed favorable development with the largest contribution coming from workers' compensation, which had $37.3 million favorable development. The three other lines that experienced favorable development were fidelity and surety with $3.1 million favorable development, commercial fire and allied lines with $2.3 million favorable development, and personal automobile with $1.2 million favorable development. The favorable development for workers' compensation was primarily from reductions in reserves for reported claims which were more than sufficient to offset paid loss; LAE also contributed favorable development with reductions in reserves more than sufficient to offset payments. Fidelity and surety loss developed favorably because reductions in claim reserves and salvage recoveries were more than sufficient to offset loss payments. Commercial fire and allied lines developed favorably due to paid LAE where reductions in reserves
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for unpaid LAE were more than sufficient to offset payments. Personal automobile developed favorably primarily due to paid LAE where reductions in reserves for unpaid LAE were more than sufficient to offset payments. Much of the favorable development was offset by unfavorable development from two lines with the largest contribution coming from commercial liability which experienced $35.0 million unfavorable development. The other line which experienced unfavorable development was commercial automobile with $3.4 million unfavorable development. Commercial liability experienced unfavorable development primarily due to paid loss which was greater than reductions in reserves for unpaid loss. Paid LAE also contributed to the unfavorable result in commercial liability. Commercial automobile experienced unfavorable development because paid loss was greater than reductions in reserves for unpaid loss, but a portion of the unfavorable loss development was offset by favorable development from LAE. On an all lines combined basis, favorable development is attributable to LAE which continues to benefit from additional litigation management efforts. The lines of business not mentioned individually above contributed an additional total of $0.2 million of unfavorable development in the aggregate.

2018 Development

The property and casualty insurance business experienced $54.2 million of favorable development in our net reserves for prior accident years for the year ended December 31, 2018. The majority of favorable development came from four lines, workers' compensation with $27.0 million favorable development, reinsurance assumed with $15.6 million favorable development, commercial automobile with $9.5 million favorable development, and fidelity and surety with $2.8 million favorable development. The only individual line with unfavorable development was commercial liability with $3.7 million of unfavorable development. Workers' compensation favorable development was primarily from reserve reductions for both reported claims and loss IBNR which were more than sufficient to offset paid loss with additional favorable development coming from LAE where the LAE IBNR reduction was more than sufficient to offset paid LAE which continues to benefit from additional litigation management efforts when compared to prior years. Reinsurance assumed favorable development is attributable reductions in reserves for both reported claims and loss IBNR as we reviewed our book of business and released excess reserves during 2018. Commercial automobile favorable development was driven by LAE where LAE IBNR reductions were more than sufficient to offset paid LAE. Fidelity and surety favorable development is attributable to reductions in reserves for both reported claims and loss IBNR which were more than sufficient to offset paid loss. Commercial liability adverse development is attributable to reserve strengthening for both reported claims and loss IBNR primarily in response to an increase in umbrella auto related claims while LAE developed favorably with reductions of LAE IBNR more than sufficient to offset paid LAE.

Reserve development amounts can vary significantly from year-to-year depending on a number of factors, including the number of claims settled and the settlement terms, and are subject to reallocation between accident years and lines of business.

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Net Loss Ratios by Line
The following table depicts our net loss ratios for 2020, 2019 and 2018:
Years ended December 31,202020192018
(In Thousands)Net Premiums EarnedNet Losses and Loss Settlement Expenses IncurredNet Loss RatioNet Premiums EarnedNet Losses and Loss Settlement Expenses IncurredNet Loss RatioNet Premiums EarnedNet Losses and Loss Settlement Expenses IncurredNet Loss Ratio
Commercial lines         
Other liability$316,098 $200,280 63.4 %$318,412 $205,695 64.6 %$311,931 $183,692 58.9 %
Fire and allied lines245,454 228,305 93.0 244,010 185,033 75.8 234,612 165,097 70.4 
Automobile296,444 290,891 98.1 314,755 332,740 105.7 284,274 271,248 95.4 
Workers' compensation75,953 29,463 38.8 87,376 25,784 29.5 95,203 57,601 60.5 
Fidelity and surety28,001 707 2.5 25,539 240 0.9 24,437 1,878 7.7 
Other1,530 261 17.1 1,710 105 6.1 1,728 449 26.0 
Total commercial lines$963,480 $749,907 77.8 %$991,802 $749,597 75.6 %$952,185 $679,965 71.4 %
Personal lines
Fire and allied lines$32,061 $66,815 208.4 %$41,195 $40,783 99.0 %$41,581 $32,959 79.3 %
Automobile27,976 21,535 77.0 30,882 26,920 87.2 29,247 25,016 85.5 
Other1,148 3,741 325.9 1,232 132 10.7 1,210 (213)(17.6)
Total personal lines$61,185 $92,091 150.5 %$73,309 $67,835 92.5 %$72,038 $57,762 80.2 %
Reinsurance assumed$30,417 $27,469 90.3 %$21,861 $12,740 58.3 %$13,228 $(6,116)(46.2)%
Total$1,055,082 $869,467 82.4 %$1,086,972 $830,172 76.4 %$1,037,451 $731,611 70.5 %





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Commercial Lines
The net loss ratio in our commercial lines of business, excluding assumed reinsurance, was 77.8 percent in 2020 compared to 75.6 percent in 2019 and 71.4 percent in 2018. The net loss ratio in 2020 increased compared to 2019 primarily due to an increase in catastrophe losses. The net loss ratio in 2019 increased compared to 2018 with a deterioration in commercial auto and other liability lines of business from an increase in severity of commercial auto losses and auto related bodily injury claims. Also contributing to the deterioration in 2019 compared to 2018, was an increase in commercial fire and allied lines of business due to an increase in catastrophe losses.
Other Liability
Other liability is business insurance covering bodily injury and property damage arising from general business operations, accidents on the insured's premises and products manufactured or sold. Because of the long-tail nature of liability claims, significant periods of time, ranging up to several years, may elapse between the occurrence of the loss, the reporting of the loss to us and the settlement of the claim.
In recent years, we began to use our loss control department more extensively in an attempt to return this line of business to a higher level of profitability. For example, our loss control department has representatives who make multiple visits each year to businesses and job sites to ensure safety. We also do not renew accounts that no longer meet our underwriting or pricing guidelines. We avoid accounts that have become too underpriced for the risk.
Construction Defect Losses
Incurred losses from construction defect claims were $14.8 million in 2020 compared to $19.4 million and $15.9 million in 2019 and 2018, respectively. At December 31, 2020, we had $73.6 million in construction defect loss and loss settlement expense reserves (excluding IBNR reserves which are calculated at the overall other liability commercial line), which consisted of 3,983 claims. In comparison, at December 31, 2019, we had reserves of $60.4 million, excluding IBNR reserves, consisting of 3,439 claims. Our West Coast region continue to be the origin of the majority of the construction defect claim activity.
Construction defect claims generally relate to allegedly defective work performed in the construction of structures such as apartments, condominiums, single family dwellings or other housing, as well as the sale of defective building materials. Such claims seek recovery due to damage caused by alleged deficient construction techniques or workmanship. The reporting of such claims can be quite delayed due to an extended statute of limitations, sometimes up to ten years. Court decisions have expanded insurers' exposure to construction defect claims as well. Defense costs are also a part of the insured expenses covered by liability policies and can be significant, sometimes greater than the cost of the actual paid claims.

We have exposure to construction defect liabilities in Colorado and surrounding states. We have historically insured small- to medium-sized contractors in this geographic area. In an effort to limit the number of future claims from multi-unit buildings, we implemented policy exclusions in 2009, later revised in 2010, that exclude liability coverage for contractors performing "residential structural" operations on any building project with more than 12 units or on single family homes in any subdivision where the contractor is working on more than 15 homes. The exclusions do not apply to remodeling or repair of an existing structure. We also changed our underwriting guidelines to add a professional liability exclusion when contractors prepare their own design work or blueprints and implemented the multi-family exclusion and tract home building limitation form for the state of Colorado and our other western states as a means to reduce our exposure in future years. When offering commercial umbrella coverage for structural residential contractors, limits of liability are typically limited to a maximum of $2.0 million per occurrence. Requests to provide additional insured status for "developers" are declined.

As a result of our acquisition of Mercer Insurance Group, Inc. in 2011, we added construction defect exposure in the states of California, Nevada and Arizona. Mercer Insurance Group, Inc. has been writing in these states for more than 20 years. In order to minimize our exposure to construction defect claims in this region, we continually review the coverage we offer and our pricing models. In an effort to limit our exposure from residential multi-unit buildings, we started including condominium and townhouse construction policy exclusions in 2012 for our
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contracting policies in this region. For the majority of our residential contractors we limit the size of any tracts the contractor is working on to 25 homes or less and do not include a continuous trigger with our designated work exclusion. In a majority of the policies in our small service, repair and remodel contractors program, we have a favorable new residential construction exclusion. We also apply strict guidelines when additional insured forms are required and changed our underwriting guidelines to limit our exposure to large, multi-party construction defect claims. 
Commercial Fire and Allied Lines
Commercial fire and allied lines include fire, allied lines, commercial multiple peril and inland marine. The insurance covers losses to an insured's property, including its contents, from weather, fire, theft or other causes. We provide this coverage through a variety of business policies.

The net loss ratio deteriorated 17.2 percentage points in 2020 compared to 2019. The deterioration was primarily due to an increase in catastrophe losses.
Commercial Automobile
Our commercial automobile insurance covers physical damage to an insured's vehicle, as well as liabilities to third parties. Automobile physical damage insurance covers loss or damage to vehicles from collision, vandalism, fire, theft, flood or other causes. Automobile liability insurance covers bodily injury, damage to property resulting from automobile accidents caused by the insured, uninsured or underinsured motorists and the legal costs of defending the insured against lawsuits.
The net loss ratio improved 7.6 percentage points in 2020 compared to 2019. In both years, the loss ratio was at an elevated level due to the severity of losses from social inflation of bodily injury claims from prior accident years. In 2020, the improvement was from less prior accident year reserve strengthening than in 2019.
Workers' Compensation

We consider our workers' compensation business to be a companion product; we rarely write stand-alone workers' compensation policies. Our workers' compensation insurance covers primarily small- to mid-size accounts. The net loss ratio deteriorated 9.3 percentage points in 2020 compared to 2019. The deterioration is attributable to a few large claims in 2020. The current year loss ratios are more in line with an average year as compared to 2019 which had less than average losses.
Competitive market conditions continue in 2020 for workers' compensation business, putting downward pressure on rates. The challenges faced by workers' compensation insurance providers to attain profitability include the regulatory climates in some states that make it difficult to obtain appropriate premium rate increases and inflationary medical costs. Consequently, we have increased the utilization of our loss control unit in the analysis of current risks, with the intention of increasing the quality of our workers' compensation book of business. We are currently using these modeling analytics to assist us in risk selection, and we will continue to evaluate the model results.
Fidelity and Surety
Our surety products guarantee performance and payment by our bonded principals. Our contract bonds protect owners from failure to perform on the part of our principals. In addition, our surety bonds protect material suppliers and subcontractors from nonpayment by our contractors. When surety losses occur, our loss is determined by estimating the cost to complete the remaining work and to pay the contractor's unpaid bills, offset by contract funds due to the contractor, reinsurance, and the value of any collateral to which we may have access.

The net loss ratio deteriorated 1.6 percentage points in 2020 compared to 2019, however the loss ratio remained at a low level and is immaterial to overall losses.


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Personal Lines
Our personal lines consist primarily of fire and allied lines (including homeowners) and automobile lines. The net loss ratio deteriorated 58.0 percentage points in 2020 compared to 2019. The deterioration is primarily attributable to our personal fire and allied line of business due to an increase in catastrophe losses. Also, net premiums earned decreased due to the renewal rights agreement for our personal lines business we entered into in May 2020, providing our independent insurance agents with the opportunity to transfer their personal lines policies to Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company beginning in the third quarter of 2020.
Assumed Reinsurance
Our assumed reinsurance is the business we choose to write by participating in programs insuring insurance companies. The net loss ratio deteriorated 32.0 percentage points in 2020 compared to 2019. The deterioration is attributable to strengthening reserves for incurred but not reported claim events.
Other Underwriting Expenses
Our underwriting expense ratio, which is a percentage of other underwriting expenses over net premiums earned, was 33.5 percent, 32.6 percent and 33.5 percent for 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. The increase in the expense ratio in 2020 as compared to 2019 was primarily due to our continued investment in technology, including our multi-year Oasis project, an upgrade to our technology platform designed to enhance core underwriting decisions, selection of risks and productivity. The decrease in the expense ratio during in 2019 as compared to 2018 was primarily due to lower employee benefit accruals and expenses caused by post-retirement benefit plan amendments made at the end of 2018.












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Discontinued Operations Results
 Years Ended December 31,% Change
20202019
(In Thousands)202020192018vs. 2019vs. 2018
Revenues
Net premiums earned$ $— $13,003  %(100.0)%
Investment income, net — 12,663  %(100.0)%
Net realized investment gains (losses) — (1,057) %(100.0)%
Other income — 146  %(100.0)%
Total revenues$ $— $24,755  %(100.0)%
 
Benefits, Losses and Expenses
Losses and loss settlement expenses$ $— $10,823  %(100.0)%
Increase in liability for future policy benefits — 5,023  %(100.0)%
Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs — 1,895  %(100.0)%
Other underwriting expenses — 3,864  %(100.0)%
Interest on policyholders' accounts — 4,499  %(100.0)%
Total benefits, losses and expenses$ $— $26,104  %(100.0)%
 
Income (loss) before income taxes$ $— $(1,349) %(100.0)%

The sale of our discontinued operations closed on March 30, 2018, and therefore income was only earned in the first quarter of 2018. For the year ended December 31, 2018, our discontinued operations had a loss before income taxes of $1.3 million.
Federal Income Taxes
We reported a federal income tax benefit on a consolidated basis of $56.8 million or 33.5 percent of pre-tax loss in 2020. In 2019, federal income tax expense on a consolidated basis was $2.1 million or 12.2 percent of pre-tax income and federal income tax benefit on a consolidated basis of $3.3 million or 13.5 percent of pre-tax income in 2018.
On March 27, 2020, the CARES Act was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act, among other things, permits net operating loss ("NOL") carryovers and carrybacks to offset 100 percent of taxable income for taxable years beginning before 2021. In addition, the CARES Act allows NOLs incurred in 2018, 2019, and 2020 to be carried back to each of the five preceding taxable years to generate a refund of previously paid income taxes. The Company has considered the implications of the CARES Act on its tax provision and has included an income tax benefit of $18.6 million as the result of this Act.
Our effective tax rate was impacted by the The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the "Tax Act"), which was enacted on December 22, 2017. The Tax Act significantly revised the U.S. corporate income tax laws including lowering the U.S. federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent effective January 1, 2018. Our effective federal tax rate varied from the statutory federal income tax expense rate in each year, due primarily to the impact of the provisions of the CARES Act.
In December 2017, the SEC staff issued Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118, which addresses how a company recognizes provisional amounts when a company does not have the necessary information available, prepared or analyzed in reasonable detail to complete its accounting for the effect of the changes in the Tax Act. The measurement period ends when a company has obtained, prepared and analyzed the information necessary to finalize its accounting, but cannot extend beyond one year. As of December 31, 2018 we had completed accounting for the tax effects of enactment of the Tax Act, and no adjustment was made during the measurement period.

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Due to our determination that we may not be able to fully realize the benefits of the net operating loss ("NOL") acquired in the purchase of American Indemnity Financial Corporation in 1999, which are only available to offset the future taxable income of our property and casualty insurance operations and are further limited as to the amount that can be utilized in any given year, we have recorded a valuation allowance against these NOLs. Based on a yearly review, we determine whether the benefit of the NOLs can be realized, and, if so, the decrease in the valuation allowance is recorded as a reduction to current federal income tax expense. If NOLs expire during the year, the decrease in the valuation allowance is offset with a corresponding decrease to the deferred income tax asset. The valuation allowance was reduced by $0.7 million in 2018 due to the realization of $3.1 million in NOLs, therefore reducing the valuation allowance to zero. During 2018, the remaining NOL from the purchase of American Indemnity Financial Corporation was fully realized.
As of December 31, 2020, we had no alternative minimum tax credit carryforwards.
INVESTMENTS
Investment Environment

Domestic and global capital markets weathered truly unprecedented adversity in 2020. The year began with projections for steady GDP growth and expectations of continued strength in labor and housing markets. In response, risk investors were rewarded as financial assets priced higher into February. By late February, however, the global economy could no longer ignore the health and economic risks posed by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
The ensuing sell-off was sharp. Over the past 30 years the S&P 500 Index has only produced double-digit negative weekly returns five times. Two of these weeks occurred during a four-week span from February through March of 2020. The week ended March 20, 2020 was the third worst weekly performance for the S&P 500 Index since its inception. Over the same period, the spread on investment grade corporate bonds more than tripled while interest rates plummeted. The selling became so widespread that even Treasuries began to lose stability. The price on the 10-year note surged in late February as rates dropped 70 basis points. Less than 10 days later, prices collapsed as rates reversed course and surged 70 basis points. Rates dropped precipitously again and began to stabilize after historic and decisive action taken by the Federal Reserve ("The Fed"). The Fed entered the market boldly in mid-March, activating multiple funding facilities, some for the first time ever, and pledging to buy certain financial assets with no limit, including corporate and municipal debt in either primary or secondary markets.
The Fed’s intervention, along with historic fiscal stimulus provided by the U.S. Treasury, proved powerful enough to restore confidence in the market. Risk asset prices stabilized and then retraced their March losses. The S&P 500 Index gained 11.7 percent in the fourth quarter to close the year up 16.3 percent. The UFG equity security portfolio, which is weighted more heavily in the financial sector, also partially recovered in the fourth quarter, recovering a portion of the losses recognized in the first three quarters of 2020. U.S. fixed income markets closed the year near all-time strength in nearly any dimension that can be measured. Treasury yields finished well inside of last year’s levels with short-term rates anchored close to zero.
Overall, the current investment environment is challenging with the U.S. equity market seeing stretched valuations only encountered a handful of times in history. Fixed income markets face a near zero-rate environment with no sign of relief on the horizon. We believe the global economy is in the process of recovering from recession. While successful vaccine developments have given us a line of sight to what many are predicting to be a strong second half of 2021, the long-term economic damage caused by COVID-19 has yet to be fully understood. With an increase in debt during the pandemic, companies around the globe are relying on an imminent recovery so as to avoid an avalanche of defaults. Our investment program is defensive in nature and designed to outperform during periods of market uncertainty.
Investment Philosophy

The Company's assets are invested to preserve capital and maximize after-tax returns while maintaining an appropriate balance of risk. The return on our portfolio is an important component of overall financial results, but
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quality and safety of principal is the highest priority of our investment program. Our general investment philosophy is to purchase financial instruments with the expectation that we will hold them to their maturity. However, active management of our portfolio is considered necessary to appropriately manage risk, achieve portfolio objectives and maximize investment income as market conditions change. 
Each of our insurance company subsidiaries develops an appropriate investment strategy that aligns with its business needs and supports United Fire's strategic plan and risk appetite.  The portfolio is structured so as to be in compliance with state insurance laws that prescribe the quality, concentration and type of investments that may be made by insurance companies.
Investment Portfolio
Our invested assets from continuing operations at December 31, 2020 totaled $2.1 billion, compared to $2.2 billion at December 31, 2019, a decrease of $5.9 million. At December 31, 2020, fixed maturity securities and equity securities comprised 85.0 percent and 9.6 percent of our investment portfolio, respectively. Because the primary purpose of the investment portfolio is to fund future claims payments, we utilize a conservative investment philosophy, investing in a diversified portfolio of high-quality, intermediate-term taxable corporate bonds, taxable U.S. government and government agency bonds and tax-exempt U.S. municipal bonds. Our overall investment strategy is to stay fully invested (i.e., minimize cash balances). If additional cash is needed we have an ability to borrow funds available under our revolving credit facility.
Composition
We develop our investment strategies based on a number of factors, including estimated duration of reserve liabilities, short- and long-term liquidity needs, projected tax status, general economic conditions, expected rates of inflation and regulatory requirements. We administer our investment portfolio based on investment guidelines approved by management and the investment committee of our Board of Directors that comply with applicable statutory regulations.

The composition of our investment portfolio at December 31, 2020 is presented at carrying value in the following table:
   Percent
(In Thousands)  of Total
Fixed maturities: 
Available-for-sale$1,825,438 85.0 
Equity securities206,685 9.6 
Mortgage loans47,614  2.2 
Other long-term investments69,305  3.2 
Short-term investments175  — 
Total$2,149,217  100.0 %

At December 31, 2020, we classified $1.8 billion, or 100.0 percent, of our fixed maturities portfolio as available-for-sale, compared to $1.7 billion, or 99.1 percent, at December 31, 2019. Available-for-sale fixed maturity securities are carried at fair value, with changes in fair value recognized as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income in stockholders' equity. We record fixed maturity trading securities, primarily convertible redeemable preferred debt securities, and equity securities at fair value, with any changes in fair value recognized in earnings.

As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, we did not have direct exposure to investments in subprime mortgages or other credit enhancement vehicles.

Credit Quality

The following table shows the composition of fixed maturity securities held in our available-for-sale and trading security portfolios by credit rating at December 31, 2020 and 2019. Information contained in the table is generally
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based upon the issue credit ratings provided by Moody's, unless the rating is unavailable, in which case we obtain it from Standard & Poor's.
(In Thousands)December 31, 2020 December 31, 2019
RatingCarrying Value % of Total Carrying Value % of Total
AAA$817,142  44.8 % $721,446  41.6 %
AA639,011  35.0  664,238  38.3 
A182,011  10.0  179,553  10.3 
Baa/BBB172,078  9.4  157,350  9.1 
Other/Not Rated15,196  0.8  12,276  0.7 
 $1,825,438  100.0 % $1,734,863  100.0 %

Duration
Our investment portfolio is invested primarily in fixed maturity securities whose fair value is susceptible to market risk, specifically interest rate changes. Duration is a measurement used to quantify our inherent interest rate risk and analyze our ability to match our invested assets to our reserve liabilities. If our invested assets and reserve liabilities have similar durations, then any change in interest rates will have an equal effect on these accounts. The primary purpose for matching invested assets and reserve liabilities is liquidity. With appropriate matching, our investments will mature when cash is needed, preventing the need to liquidate other assets prematurely. Mismatches in the duration of assets and liabilities can cause significant fluctuations in our results of operations.

The weighted average effective duration of our portfolio of fixed maturity securities was 3.4 years at December 31, 2020 compared to 4.2 years at December 31, 2019.
The amortized cost and fair value of available-for-sale and trading fixed maturity securities at December 31, 2020, by contractual maturity, are shown in the following table. Actual maturities may differ from contractual maturities because borrowers may have the right to call or prepay obligations with or without call or prepayment penalties. Asset-backed securities, mortgage-backed securities and collateralized mortgage obligations may be subject to prepayment risk and are therefore not categorized by contractual maturity.
(In Thousands)Available-For-Sale
AmortizedFair
December 31, 2020CostValue
Due in one year or less$32,214 $32,467 
Due after one year through five years476,667 502,699 
Due after five years through 10 years400,277 431,271 
Due after 10 years475,442 515,226 
Asset-backed securities314 926 
Mortgage-backed securities20,305 20,577 
Collateralized mortgage obligations315,072 322,277 
 $1,720,291 $1,825,443 

Investment Results
We invest the premiums received from our policyholders in order to generate investment income, which is an important component of our revenues and profitability. The amount of investment income that we are able to generate is affected by many factors, some of which are beyond our control. Some of these factors are volatility in the financial markets, economic growth, inflation, changes in interest rates, world political conditions, terrorist attacks or threats of terrorism, adverse events affecting other companies in our industry or the industries in which we invest and other unpredictable national or world events. Net investment income decreased 34.3 percent in 2020, compared with the same period of 2019 and was primarily due to the change in the fair value of our investments in
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limited liability partnerships with an increase in the fourth quarter but a decrease for the full year 2020. The valuation of our investments in limited liability partnerships varies from period to period due to current equity market conditions. We expect to maintain our investment philosophy of purchasing quality investments rated investment grade or better.
An allowance for credit losses is recorded based on a number of factors including the current economic conditions, management's expectations of future economic conditions and performance indicators, such as market value vs. amortized cost, investment spreads widening or contracting, rating actions, payment and default history. The following table contains a rollforward of the allowance for credit losses for available-for-sale fixed maturity securities at December 31, 2020:
Rollforward of allowance for credit losses for available-for-sale fixed maturity securities:
As of
December 31, 2020
Beginning balance, January 1, 2020$— 
Additions to the allowance for credit losses for which credit losses were not previously recorded5
Reductions for securities sold during the period (realized)— 
Writeoffs charged against the allowance— 
Recoveries of amounts previously written off— 
Ending balance, December 31, 2020$
Changes in unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale fixed maturity securities do not affect net income and earnings per share but do impact comprehensive income, stockholders' equity and book value per share. We believe that any unrealized losses on our available-for-sale fixed-maturity securities at December 31, 2020 are temporary based upon our current analysis of the issuers of the securities that we hold and current market conditions. We invest in high quality assets to provide protection from future credit quality issues. Non-credit related unrealized gains and losses are recognized as a component of other comprehensive income and represent other market movements that are not credit related, for example interest rate changes. We have no intent to sell, and it is more likely than not that we will not be required to sell, these securities until the fair value recovers to at least equal our cost basis or the securities mature.
Net Investment Income
In 2020, our investment income, net of investment expenses, decreased $20.7 million to $39.7 million as compared to 2019, primarily due to the change in the fair value of our investments in limited liability partnerships, a decrease in interest on fixed maturities and interest on cash and cash equivalents due to declining interest rates.
In 2019, our investment income for continuing operations, net of investment expenses, increased $7.5 million to $60.4 million as compared to 2018, primarily due to an increase in the value of our investments in limited liability partnerships resulting from the increase in the equity markets and an increase in invested assets in 2019 compared to 2018.






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The following table summarizes the components of net investment income:
(In Thousands)
Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
Investment income from continuing operations:
Interest on fixed maturities$46,478 $50,274 $51,356 
Dividends on equity securities6,368 7,842 7,731 
Income on other long-term investments
Interest1,890 3,115 8,383 
Change in value (1)
(9,633)1,114 (10,116)
Interest on mortgage loans1,949 1,595 412 
Interest on short-term investments107 522 606 
Interest on cash and cash equivalents763 2,681 1,875 
Other205 252 307 
Total investment income from continuing operations$48,127 $67,395 $60,554 
Less investment expenses8,457 6,981 7,660 
Net investment income from continuing operations$39,670 $60,414 $52,894 
Net investment income from discontinued operations — 12,663 
Net investment income$39,670 $60,414 $65,557 
(1)Represents the change in value of our interests in limited liability partnerships that are recorded on the equity method of accounting.

In 2020, 96.6 percent of our gross investment income from continuing operations originated from interest on fixed maturities, compared to 74.6 percent and 84.8 percent in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
The following table details our annualized yield on average invested assets from continuing operations for 2020 and 2019, and both continuing and discontinued operations for 2018, which is based on our invested assets (including money market accounts) at the beginning and end of the year divided by net investment income:
(In Thousands)

Years ended December 31,
Average
Invested Assets
Investment
Income, Net
Annualized Yield on
Average Invested Assets
2020$2,169,220 $39,670 1.8 %
20192,120,916 60,414 2.8 %
20181,986,239 52,894 2.7 %








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Net Realized Investment Gains and Losses
The following table summarizes the components of our net realized investment gains or losses:
(In Thousands)
Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
Net realized investment gains (losses) from continuing operations:
Net realized gains (losses):
Fixed maturities:
Available-for-sale$1,787 $655 $(254)
Allowance for credit losses(5)— — 
Trading securities
Change in fair value(3,314)1,351 (296)
Sales2,950 1,993 1,226 
Equity securities
Change in fair value(6,875)51,231 (21,994)
Sales(26,906)725 1,702 
Mortgage loans(4)(26)(46)
   Real Estate(28)(2,150)$(517)
Total net realized investment gains (losses) from continuing operations$(32,395)$53,779 $(20,179)
Total net realized investment gains (losses) from discontinued operations — (1,057)
Total net realized investment gains (losses)$(32,395)$53,779 $(21,236)
Net Unrealized Investment Gains and Losses
As of December 31, 2020, net unrealized investment gains, after tax, totaled $83.1 million compared to unrealized gains of $47.3 million and unrealized losses of $9.3 million as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The increase in net unrealized investment gains in 2020 was primarily the result of an increase in the value of the fixed maturity portfolio due to lower interest rates during 2020.
The increase in net unrealized investment gains in 2019 was primarily the result of an increase in the value of the fixed maturity portfolio due to lower interest rates during 2019. The decrease in net unrealized investment gains in 2018 was primarily the result of the cumulative change in accounting principles on recognizing the change in the value of equity securities in the income statement. The change in accounting principles required unrealized gains on equity securities of $191.2 million, after-tax, as of January 1, 2018, to be reclassified to retained earnings from accumulated other comprehensive income, both within shareholders equity. The remaining decrease is due to a decrease in the value of the fixed maturity portfolio due to rising interest rates.
The following table summarizes the change in our net unrealized investment gains (losses):
(In Thousands)
Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
Changes in net unrealized investment gains (losses):
Available-for-sale fixed maturity securities$45,305 $71,648 $(57,475)
Deferred policy acquisition costs — 7,274 
Income tax effect(9,514)(15,046)10,543 
Cumulative change in accounting principles — (191,244)
Net unrealized investment depreciation of discontinued operations, sold — 6,714 
Total change in net unrealized investment gains (losses), net of tax$35,791 $56,602 $(224,188)


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MARKET RISK
Our Consolidated Balance Sheets include financial instruments whose fair values are subject to market risk. The active management of market risk is integral to our operations. Market risk is the potential for loss due to a decrease in the fair value of securities resulting from uncontrollable fluctuations, such as: interest rate risk, equity price risk, foreign exchange risk, credit risk, inflation, or geopolitical conditions. Our primary market risk exposures are: changes in interest rates, deterioration of credit quality in specific issuers, sectors or the economy as a whole, and an unforeseen decrease in the liquidity of securities we hold. We have no foreign exchange risk.
Interest Rate Risk

Interest rate risk is the price sensitivity of a fixed income maturity security or portfolio of securities to changes in level of interest rates. Generally, there is an inverse relationship between changes in interest rates and changes in the price of a fixed income/maturity security. Plainly stated, if interest rates go up (down), bond prices go down (up). A vast majority of our holdings are fixed income maturity and other interest rate sensitive securities that will decrease (increase) in value as interest rates increase (decrease). While it is generally our intent to hold our investments in fixed maturity securities to maturity, we have classified a majority of our fixed maturity portfolio as available-for-sale. Available-for-sale fixed income maturity securities are carried at fair value on the Consolidated Balance Sheets with unrealized gains or losses reported net of tax in Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income. A change in the prevailing interest rates generally translates into a change in the fair value of our fixed income/maturity securities, and by extension, our overall book value.
Market Risk and Duration

We analyze potential changes in the value of our investment portfolio due to the market risk factors noted above within the overall context of asset and liability management. A technique we use in the management of our investment portfolio is the calculation of duration. Our actuaries estimate the payout pattern of our reserve liabilities to determine their duration, which is the present value of the weighted average payments expressed in years. We then establish a target duration for our investment portfolio so that at any given time the estimated cash generated by the investment portfolio will closely match the estimated cash required for the payment of the related reserves. We structure the investment portfolio to meet the target duration to achieve the required cash flow, based on liquidity and market risk factors.
Impact of Interest Rate Changes
The amounts set forth in the following table detail the impact of hypothetical interest rate changes on the fair value of fixed maturity securities held at December 31, 2020. The sensitivity analysis measures the change in fair values arising from immediate changes in selected interest rate scenarios. We employed hypothetical parallel shifts in the yield curve of plus or minus 100 and 200 basis points in the simulations. Additionally, based upon the yield curve shifts, we employ estimates of prepayment speeds for mortgage-related products and the likelihood of call or put options being exercised within the simulations.
The selection of a 100-basis-point and 200-basis-point increase or decrease in interest rates should not be construed as a prediction by our management of future market events, but rather as an illustration of the potential impact of an event.
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December 31, 2020-200 Basis-100 Basis+100 Basis+ 200 Basis
(In Thousands)PointsPointsBasePoints Points
AVAILABLE-FOR-SALE
Fixed maturities
Bonds
U.S. Treasury$160,104 $154,907 $149,938 $145,176 $140,617 
U.S. government agency67,283 65,881 64,518 62,848 60,815 
States, municipalities and political subdivisions
  General obligations:
     Midwest86,254 84,076 81,980 79,949 77,515 
     Northeast31,860 31,142 30,450 29,779 28,980 
     South116,530 113,171 109,970 106,913 103,231 
     West118,101 113,967 110,021 106,220 101,935 
   Special revenue:
     Midwest135,100 129,969 125,098 120,436 115,021 
     Northeast67,178 64,041 61,076 58,251 54,975 
     South247,779 236,949 226,706 216,790 205,165 
     West151,929 145,491 139,399 133,572 126,357 
Foreign bonds31,382 30,500 29,602 28,707 27,850 
Public utilities91,622 87,431 83,502 79,802 76,299 
Corporate bonds
Energy27,749 26,507 25,336 24,227 23,172 
Industrials46,719 44,903 43,257 41,726 40,273 
Consumer goods and services54,210 52,338 50,567 48,883 47,278 
Health care8,329 7,941 7,576 7,230 6,902 
Technology, media and telecommunications47,761 44,503 41,636 39,092 36,817 
Financial services108,041 104,453 101,031 97,325 93,652 
Mortgage backed securities21,487 21,010 20,577 20,010 19,158 
Collateralized mortgage obligations
Government national mortgage association90,716 88,371 86,152 83,378 79,311 
Federal home loan mortgage corporation157,446 154,977 152,843 163,900 156,603 
Federal national mortgage association84,977 83,887 83,282 82,440 79,125 
Asset-backed securities926 926 926 926 926 
Total Available-For-Sale Fixed Maturities$1,953,483 $1,887,341 $1,825,443 $1,777,580 $1,701,977 
Total Fixed Maturity Securities$1,953,483 $1,887,341 $1,825,443 $1,777,580 $1,701,977 
To the extent actual results differ from the assumptions utilized, our duration and interest rate measures could be significantly affected. As a result, these calculations may not fully capture the impact of nonparallel changes in the relationship between short-term and long-term interest rates.
Equity Price Risk

Equity price risk is the potential loss arising from changes in the fair value (i.e., market price) of equity securities held in our portfolio. Changes in the price of an equity security may be due to a change in the future earnings capacity or strategic outlook of the security issuer, and what investors are willing to pay for those future earnings and related strategy. The carrying values of our equity securities are based on quoted market prices, from an independent source, as of the balance sheet date. Market prices of equity securities, in general, are subject to fluctuations that could cause the amount to be realized upon the future sale of the securities to differ significantly from the current reported value. The fluctuations may result from perceived changes in the underlying economic characteristics of the security issuer, the relative price of alternative investments, general market conditions, and supply/demand factors related to a particular security.
Impact of Price Change
The following table details the effect on the fair value of our investments in equity securities for a positive and negative 10 percent price change at December 31, 2020:
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(In Thousands)-10%Base+10%
Estimated fair value of equity securities$186,017 $206,685 $227,354 
Foreign Currency Exchange Rate Risk
Foreign currency exchange rate risk arises from the possibility that changes in foreign exchange rates will impact our transactions with foreign reinsurers relating to the settlement of amounts due to or from foreign reinsurers in the normal course of business. We consider this risk to be immaterial to our operations.
Credit Risk
Credit risk is the willingness and ability of a borrower to repay on time and in full any principal and interest due to the lender. Losses related to credit risk are realized through the income statement and have a direct impact on the earnings of UFG. Given the vast majority of our holdings are fixed income maturity securities, we view credit risk as our primary investment risk. Our internal Investment Department has developed and maintains a rigorous underwriting process to analyze and measure the expected frequency and severity of loss (i.e., credit quality) for government, agency, municipal, structured security, and corporate bond issuers. The objective is to maintain the appropriate balance of risk in our portfolio, consistent with our Investment Policy Statement and conservative investment style, and ensure the portfolio is compensated appropriately for the credit risk it holds. We do have within our municipal bond holdings a small number of securities whose ratings were enhanced by third-party insurance for the payment of principal and interest in the event of an issuer default. Of the insured municipal securities in our investment portfolio, 99.5 percent and 99.6 percent were rated "A" or above, and 95.8 percent and 95.6 percent were rated "AA" or above at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively, without the benefit of insurance. Due to the underlying financial strength of the issuers of the securities, we believe that the loss of insurance would not have a material impact on our operations, financial position, or liquidity.
We have no direct exposure in any of the guarantors of our investments. Our largest indirect exposure with a single guarantor totaled $9.7 million or 21.0 percent of our insured municipal securities at December 31, 2020, as compared to $11.7 million or 24.2 percent at December 31, 2019. Our five largest indirect exposures to financial guarantors accounted for 81.5 percent and 81.2 percent of our insured municipal securities at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
Liquidity measures our ability to generate sufficient cash flows to meet our short- and long-term cash obligations. Our cash inflows are primarily a result of the receipt of premiums, reinsurance recoveries, sales or maturities of investments, and investment income. Cash provided from these sources is used to fund the payment of losses and loss settlement expenses, the purchase of investments, operating expenses, dividends, pension plan contributions, and in recent years, common stock repurchases.
We monitor our capital adequacy to support our business on a regular basis. The future capital requirements of our business will depend on many factors, including our ability to write new business successfully and to establish premium rates and reserves at levels sufficient to cover losses. Our ability to underwrite is largely dependent upon the quality of our claims paying and financial strength ratings as evaluated by independent rating agencies. In particular, we require (1) sufficient capital to maintain our financial strength ratings, as issued by various rating agencies, at a level considered necessary by management to enable our insurance company subsidiaries to compete and (2) sufficient capital to enable our insurance company subsidiaries to meet the capital adequacy tests performed by regulatory agencies in the United States.
Cash outflows may be variable because of the uncertainty regarding settlement dates for losses. In addition, the timing and amount of individual catastrophe losses are inherently unpredictable and could increase our liquidity requirements. The timing and amount of reinsurance recoveries may be affected by reinsurer solvency and reinsurance coverage disputes.
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Historically, we have generated substantial cash inflows from operations. It is our policy to invest the cash generated from operations in securities with maturities that, in the aggregate, correlate to the anticipated timing of payments for losses and loss settlement expenses. The majority of our assets are invested in available-for-sale fixed maturity securities.

The following table displays a summary of cash sources and uses in 2020, 2019 and 2018 from continuing and discontinued operations:
Cash Flow SummaryYears Ended December 31,
(In Thousands)2020 20192018
Cash provided by (used in)   
Operating activities$41,435  $93,752 $110,104 
Investing activities(92,871) 4,501 (19,204)
Financing activities18,662  (41,985)(115,188)
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents$(32,774) $56,268 $(24,288)

In the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows, cash flows from discontinued operations are shown in separate lines in each of the operating, investing and financing sections of the Cash Flow Statement. Our cash flows from continuing operations were sufficient to meet our current liquidity needs for the full-year periods ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and we anticipate they will be sufficient to meet our future liquidity needs. We also have the ability to draw on our credit facility if needed. See Note 14 "Debt" for more information. During 2020, the Company implemented state-mandated and optional payment leniency programs for our policyholders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of December 31, 2020, we did not see a significant impact to cash flows or an increase in our allowance for doubtful accounts as a result of these programs. These payment modifications did not have a material impact on our financial condition, liquidity or capital position.
Operating Activities
Net cash flows provided by operating activities totaled $41.4 million, $93.8 million and $110.1 million in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Our cash flows from operating activities were sufficient to meet our liquidity needs for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Investing Activities
Cash in excess of operating requirements is generally invested in fixed maturity securities and equity securities. Fixed maturity securities provide regular interest payments and allow us to match the duration of our liabilities. Equity securities provide dividend income, potential dividend income growth and potential appreciation. For further discussion of our investments, including our philosophy and portfolio, see the "Investment Portfolio" section contained in this Item.
In addition to investment income, possible sales of investments and proceeds from calls or maturities of fixed maturity securities also can provide liquidity. During the next five years, $0.5 billion, or 26.6 percent of our fixed maturity portfolio will mature.
We invest funds required for short-term cash needs primarily in money market accounts, which are classified as cash equivalents. At December 31, 2020, our cash and cash equivalents included $24.8 million related to these money market accounts, compared to $9.3 million at December 31, 2019.
Net cash flows used by investing activities totaled $92.9 million in 2020 and provided in investing activities totaled $4.5 million and used by investing activities totaled $19.2 million in 2019 and 2018, respectively. In 2020, we had cash inflows from scheduled and unscheduled investment maturities, redemptions, prepayments, and sales of investments from continuing operations that totaled $376.2 million compared to $311.7 million and $263.8 million for the same period in 2019 and 2018, respectively. Our cash inflows from scheduled and unscheduled investment maturities, redemptions, prepayments, and sales of investments from discontinued operations totaled $29.7 million in 2018.
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Our cash outflows for investment purchases from continuing operations totaled $450.2 million in 2020, compared to $274.7 million and $540.4 million for the same period in 2019 and 2018, respectively. Our cash outflows for investment purchases from discontinued operations totaled $15.4 million in 2018.
Financing Activities
Net cash flows provided in financing activities totaled $18.7 million in 2020 and net cash flows used in financing activities from continuing operations totaled $42.0 million and $103.6 million in 2019 and 2018, respectively. The net cash flows provided in financing activities in 2020 is primarily from borrowings of long term debt of $50.0 million offset by the payment of cash dividends of $28.5 million. The higher net cash flows used in financing activities in 2018 was primarily due to the special cash dividend of $3.00 per share paid on August 20, 2018. Net cash flows used in financing activities from discontinued operations totaled $11.5 million in 2018 primarily due to net annuity withdrawals.
Dividends
Dividends paid to shareholders totaled $28.5 million, $32.7 million and $105.4 million in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The increase in dividends paid to shareholders in 2018 was primarily due to a special cash dividend of $3.00 per share paid to shareholders on August 20, 2018. Our practice has been to pay quarterly cash dividends, which we have paid every quarter since March 1968.
Payments of any future dividends and the amounts of such dividends, however, will depend upon factors such as net income, financial condition, capital requirements, and general business conditions. We will only pay dividends if declared by our Board of Directors out of legally available funds.
As a holding company with no independent operations of its own, United Fire Group, Inc. relies on dividends received from its insurance company subsidiaries in order to pay dividends to its common shareholders. Dividends payable by our insurance subsidiaries are governed by the laws in the states in which they are domiciled. In all cases, these state laws permit the payment of dividends only from earned surplus arising from business operations. For example, under Iowa law, the maximum dividend or distribution that may be paid within a 12-month period without prior approval of the Iowa Insurance Commissioner is generally restricted to the greater of 10 percent of statutory surplus as of the preceding December 31, or net income of the preceding calendar year on a statutory basis, not greater than earned statutory surplus. Other states in which our insurance company subsidiaries are domiciled may impose similar restrictions on dividends and distributions. Based on these restrictions, at December 31, 2020, our insurance company subsidiary, United Fire & Casualty, is able to make a maximum of $66.8 million in dividend payments without prior regulatory approval. These restrictions are not expected to have a material impact in meeting our cash obligations.
Share Repurchases
Under our share repurchase program, first announced in August 2007, we may purchase our common stock from time to time on the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. The amount and timing of any purchases will be at our discretion and will depend upon a number of factors, including the share price, economic and general market conditions, and corporate and regulatory requirements. Our share repurchase program may be modified or discontinued at any time.
During 2020, 2019 and 2018, pursuant to authorization by our Board of Directors, we repurchased 70,467, 258,756, and 120,372 shares of our common stock, respectively, which used cash totaling $2.7 million in 2020, $11.7 million in 2019 and $5.4 million in 2018. At December 31, 2020, we were authorized to purchase an additional 1,786,977 shares of our common stock under our share repurchase program, which expires in August 2022.
Credit Facilities
Information specific to our credit facilities is incorporated by reference from Note 14 "Debt" contained in Part II, Item 8. As of December 31, 2020, we were in compliance with two of three financial covenants of the Credit Agreement (the “Credit Agreement”) with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association ("Wells Fargo"), as
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administrative agent (the "Administrative Agent"), issuing lender, swing-line lender and lender, and the other lenders from time to time party thereto (collectively with Wells Fargo, the "Lenders"). We have received a waiver from the Lenders on the third financial covenant. We have the ability to draw on our credit facility if needed.
Stockholders' Equity
Stockholders' equity decreased 9.4 percent to $825.1 million at December 31, 2020, from $910.5 million at December 31, 2019. The decrease is primarily attributed to the net loss of $112.7 million, stockholder dividends of $28.5 million, share repurchases of $2.7 million, all offset by increase in net unrealized investment gains net of tax of $35.8 million and change in liability for employee benefit plans of $18.0 million. As of December 31, 2020, the book value per share of our common stock was $32.93, compared to $36.40 at December 31, 2019.
Risk-Based Capital
The NAIC adopted risk-based capital requirements, which requires us to calculate a minimum capital requirement for each of our insurance companies based on individual company insurance risk factors. These "risk-based capital" results are used by state insurance regulators to identify companies that require regulatory attention or the initiation of regulatory action. At December 31, 2020, all of our insurance companies had capital well in excess of required levels.
Contractual Obligations and Commitments
The following table shows our contractual obligations and commitments, including our estimated payments due by period at December 31, 2020:
(In Thousands)Payments Due By Period

Contractual Obligations
TotalLess Than
One Year
One to
Three Years
Three to
Five Years
More Than
Five Years
Loss and loss settlement expense reserves$1,578,131 $592,393 $545,167 $210,612 $229,959 
Long term debt113,753 3,188 6,376 6,376 97,813 
Operating leases20,619 6,889 8,237 3,033 2,460 
Profit-sharing commissions15,365 15,365 
Pension plan contributions10,000 10,000 
Total$1,737,868 $627,835 $559,780 $220,021 $330,232 
Loss and Loss Settlement Expense Reserves
The amounts presented are estimates of the dollar amounts and time periods in which we expect to pay out our gross loss and loss settlement expense reserves. Because the timing of future payments may vary from the stated contractual obligation, these amounts are estimates based upon historical payment patterns and may not represent actual future payments. Refer to "Critical Accounting Policies — Losses and Loss Settlement Expenses" in this section for further discussion.
Long term debt
The Company executed a private placement debt transaction on December 15, 2020 between United Fire & Casualty Company, Federated Mutual Insurance Company, a mutual insurance company domiciled in Minnesota ("Federated Mutual"), and Federated Life Insurance Company, an insurance company domiciled in Minnesota ("Federated Life and together with Federated Mutual, the "Note Purchasers").

UFG sold an aggregate $50.0 million of notes due 2040 to the Note Purchasers. One note with a principal amount of $35.0 million was issued to Federated Mutual and one note with a principal amount of $15.0 million was issued to Federated Life.

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Interest payments will be paid quarterly on March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15 of each year (each such date, an “Interest Payment Date”). The interest rate will equal the rate that corresponds to the A.M. Best Co. (or its successor’s) financial strength rating for members of the United Fire & Casualty Pooled Group as of the applicable Interest Payment Date. As of December 31, 2020, interest expense totaled $133. Payment of interest is subject to approval by the Iowa Insurance Division.
Operating Leases
Our operating lease obligations are for the rental of office space, vehicles, computer equipment and office equipment. For further discussion of our operating leases, refer to Part II, Item 8, Note 13 "Lease Commitments."
Profit-Sharing Commissions
We offer our agents a profit-sharing plan as an incentive for them to place high-quality property and casualty insurance business with us. Based on business produced by the agencies in 2020, property and casualty agencies expect to receive profit-sharing payments of $15.4 million in 2021.
Pension Plan Payments
We estimate the pension contribution for 2021 in accordance with the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (the "Act"). Contributions for future years are dependent on a number of factors, including actual performance versus assumptions made at the time of the actuarial valuations and maintaining certain funding levels relative to regulatory requirements. Contributions in 2021, and in future years, are expected to be at least equal to the IRS minimum required contribution in accordance with the Act.

OFF BALANCE SHEET ARRANGEMENTS
Funding Commitments
We hold investments in limited liability partnerships as part of our investment strategy. Pursuant to agreements with our limited liability partnership investments, we are contractually committed through July 10, 2030 to make capital contributions upon request of the partnerships. Our remaining potential contractual obligation was $8.5 at December 31, 2020.
In addition, the Company invested $25.0 million in December 2019 in a limited liability partnership investment fund which is subject to a 3-year lockup with a 60 day minimum notice, with 4 possible repurchase dates per year, after the 3-year lockup period is met. The fair value of the investment at December 31, 2020 was $24.9 million and there are no remaining capital contributions with this investment.
These partnerships are included in our other long term investments on the Consolidated Balance Sheets with a current fair value of $69.3 million, or 3.2% of our total invested assets, at December 31, 2020.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Critical accounting policies are defined as those that are representative of significant judgments and uncertainties and that may potentially result in materially different results under different assumptions and conditions. We base our discussion and analysis of our results of operations and financial condition on the amounts reported in our Consolidated Financial Statements, which we have prepared in accordance with GAAP. As we prepare these Consolidated Financial Statements, we must make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements, and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses for the reporting period. We evaluate our estimates on an ongoing basis. We base our estimates on historical experience and on other assumptions we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results could differ from those estimates. We believe our most critical accounting policies are as follows.

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Investment Valuation
Upon acquisition, we classify investments in marketable securities as held-to-maturity, available-for-sale, or trading. We record investments in available-for-sale and trading fixed maturity securities and equity securities at fair value. Other long-term investments consist primarily of our interests in limited liability partnerships that are recorded on the equity method of accounting. We record mortgage loans at their amortized cost less any valuation allowance.
In general, investment securities are exposed to various risks, such as interest rate risk, credit risk, and overall market volatility risk. Therefore, it is reasonably possible that changes in the fair value of our investment securities that are reported at fair value will occur in the near term and such changes could materially affect the amounts reported in the Consolidated Financial Statements. Also, it is reasonably possible that changes in the value of our investments in trading securities and limited liability partnerships could occur in the future and such changes could materially affect our results of operations as reported in our Consolidated Financial Statements.
Fair Value Measurement
Information specific to the fair value measurement of our financial instruments and disclosures is incorporated by reference from Note 3 "Fair Value of Financial Instruments" contained in Part II, Item 8.
Deferred Policy Acquisition Costs ("DAC")
We record an asset for certain costs of underwriting new business, primarily commissions, premium taxes and variable underwriting and policy issue expenses that have been deferred. The amount of underwriting compensation expense eligible for deferral is based on time studies and a ratio of success in policy placement. At December 31, 2020 and 2019, our DAC asset was $87.1 million and $94.3 million, respectively.
The DAC asset is amortized over the life of the policies written, generally one year. We assess the recoverability of DAC on a quarterly basis by line of business. This assessment is performed by comparing recorded unearned premium to the sum of unamortized DAC and estimates of expected losses and loss settlement expenses. If the sum of these costs exceeds the amount of recorded unearned premium (i.e., the line of business is expected to generate an operating loss), the excess is recognized in current period other underwriting expenses as an offset against the established DAC asset. We refer to this offset as a premium deficiency charge.
To calculate the premium deficiency charge by line of business, we estimate an expected loss and loss settlement expense ratio which is based on our best estimate of future losses for each line of business. This calculation is performed on a quarterly basis and developed in conjunction with our quarterly reserving process. The expected loss and loss settlement expense ratios are the only assumptions we utilize in our premium deficiency calculation. Changes in these assumptions can have a significant impact on the amount of premium deficiency charge recognized for a line of business. The premium deficiency calculation is aggregated by line of business in a manner consistent with how the policies are currently being marketed and managed.
The following table illustrates the hypothetical impact on the premium deficiency charge recorded for the quarter ended December 31, 2020, of reasonably likely changes in the assumed loss and loss settlement expense ratios utilized for purposes of this calculation. The entire impact of these changes would be recognized through income as other underwriting expenses. The following table illustrates the impact of potential changes in the expected loss and loss settlement expense ratios for all lines of business on the premium deficiency charge. The base amount indicated below is the actual premium deficiency charge recorded as an offset against the DAC asset established as of the quarter ended December 31, 2020:
Sensitivity Analysis — Impact of Changes in Projected Loss and Loss Settlement Expense Ratios
(In Thousands)-10%-5%Base+5%+10%
Premium deficiency charge estimated$— $— $1,453 $8,235 $16,530 
Actual future results could differ materially from our assumptions used to calculate the recorded DAC asset. Changes in our assumed loss and loss settlement expense ratios in the future would impact the amount of deferred
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costs in the period such changes in assumptions are made. The premium deficiency charge calculated for the quarter ended December 31, 2020 was $1.5 million compared to the premium deficiency charge of $4.6 million calculated for the same period of 2019.
Losses and Loss Settlement Expenses
Reserves for losses and loss settlement expenses are reported using our best estimate of ultimate liability for claims that occurred prior to the end of any given reporting period, but have not yet been paid. Before credit for reinsurance recoverables, these reserves were $1,578.1 million and $1,421.8 million at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. We purchase reinsurance to mitigate the impact of large losses and catastrophic events. Loss and loss settlement expense reserves ceded to reinsurers were $131.8 million for 2020 and $68.5 million for 2019. Our reserves, before credit for reinsurance recoverables, by line of business as of December 31, 2020, were as follows:
(In Thousands)Case BasisIBNRLoss
Settlement
Expense
Total Reserves
Commercial lines    
Fire and allied lines$128,979 $20,736 $32,751 $182,466 
Other liability342,899 117,530 191,834 652,263 
Automobile304,962 85,745 82,734 473,441 
Workers' compensation145,132 4,000 24,425 173,557 
Fidelity and surety2,788 2,520 108 5,416 
Miscellaneous289 553 105 947 
Total commercial lines$925,049 $231,084 $331,957 $1,488,090 
Personal lines
Automobile$12,631 $1,095 $2,146 $15,872 
Fire and allied lines23,232 5,071 3,056 31,359 
Miscellaneous3,166 270 820 4,256 
Total personal lines$39,029 $6,436 $6,022 $51,487 
Reinsurance assumed15,504 22,920 130 38,554 
Total$979,582 $260,440 $338,109 $1,578,131 
Case-Basis Reserves

For each of our lines of business, with respect to reported claims, we establish reserves on a case-by-case basis. Our experienced claims personnel estimate these case-basis reserves using adjusting guidelines established by management. Our goal is to set the case-basis reserves at the ultimate expected loss amount as soon as possible after information about the claim becomes available.

Establishing the case reserve for an individual claim is subjective and complex, requiring us to estimate future payments and values that will be sufficient to settle an individual claim. Setting a reserve for an individual claim is an inherently uncertain process. When we establish and adjust individual claim reserves, we do so based on our knowledge of the circumstances and facts of the claim. Upon notice of a claim, we establish a preliminary (average claim cost) reserve based on the limited claim information initially reported. Subsequently, we conduct an investigation of each reported claim, which allows us to more fully understand the factors contributing to the loss and our potential exposure. This investigation may extend over a long period of time. As our claim investigation progresses, and as our claims personnel identify trends in claims activity, we may refine and adjust our estimates of case reserves. To evaluate and refine our overall reserving process, we track and monitor all claims until they are settled and paid in full, with all salvage and subrogation claims being resolved.
Most of our insurance policies are written on an occurrence basis that provides coverage if a loss occurs during the policy period, even if the insured reports the loss many years later. For example, some liability claims for
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construction defect coverage are reported 10 years or more after the policy period, and the workers' compensation coverage provided by our policies pays unlimited medical benefits for the duration of the claimant's injury up to the lifetime of the claimant. In addition, final settlement of certain claims can be delayed for years due to litigation or other reasons. Reserves for these claims require us to estimate future costs, including the effect of judicial actions, litigation trends and medical cost inflation, among others. Reserve development can occur over time as conditions and circumstances change many years after the policy was issued and/or the loss occurred.
Our loss reserves include amounts related to both short-tail and long-tail lines of business. "Tail" refers to the time period between the occurrence of a loss and the ultimate settlement of the claim. A short-tail insurance product is one where ultimate losses are known and settled comparatively quickly. Ultimate losses under a long-tail insurance product are sometimes not known and settled for many years. The longer the time span between the incidence of a loss and the settlement of the claim, the more the ultimate settlement amount can vary from the reserves initially established. Accordingly, long-tail insurance products can have significant implications on the reserving process.
Our short-tail lines of business include fire and allied lines, homeowners, commercial property, auto physical damage and inland marine. The amounts of the case-based reserves that we establish for claims in these lines depend upon various factors, such as individual claim facts (including type of coverage and severity of loss), our historical loss experience and trends in general economic conditions (including changes in replacement costs, medical costs and inflation).
For short-tail lines of business, the estimation of case-basis loss reserves is less complex than for long-tail lines because the claims relate to tangible property. Because of the relatively short time from claim occurrence to settlement, actual losses typically do not vary significantly from reserve estimates.
Our long-tail lines of business include workers' compensation and other liability. In addition, certain product lines such as personal and commercial auto, commercial multi-peril and surety include both long-tail coverages and short-tail coverages. For many long-tail liability claims, significant periods of time, ranging up to several years, may elapse between the occurrence of the loss, the reporting of the loss to us and the settlement of the claim. As a result, loss experience in the more recent accident years for the long-tail liability coverages has limited statistical credibility in our reserving process because a relatively small proportion of losses in these accident years are reported claims and an even smaller proportion are paid losses. In addition, long-tail liability claims are more susceptible to litigation and can be significantly affected by changing contract interpretations and the legal environment. Consequently, the estimation of loss reserves for long-tail coverages is more complex and subject to a higher degree of variability than for short-tail coverages.
The amounts of the case-basis loss reserves that we establish for claims in long-tail lines of business depends upon various factors, including individual claim facts (including type of coverage, severity of loss and underlying policy limits), company historical loss experience, changes in underwriting practice, legislative enactments, judicial decisions, legal developments in the awarding of damages, changes in political attitudes and trends in general economic conditions, including inflation. As with our short-tail lines of business, we review and make changes to long-tail case-based reserves based on our review of continually evolving facts as they become available to us during the claims settlement process. Our adjustments to case-based reserves are reported in the financial statements in the period that new information arises about the claim. Examples of facts that become known that could cause us to change our case-based reserves include, but are not limited to: evidence that loss severity is different than previously assessed; new claimants who have presented claims; and the assessment that no coverage exists.
Incurred But Not Reported Reserves

On a quarterly basis, the Company's internal actuary performs a detailed analysis of IBNR reserves. This analysis uses various loss projection methods to provide several estimates of ultimate loss (or loss adjustment expense (LAE)) for each individual year and line of business. The loss projection methods include paid loss development; reported loss development; expected loss emergence based on paid losses; and expected loss emergence based on reported losses. The two methods utilized by our internal actuary to project loss settlement expenses are paid expenses development and development of the ratio of paid expense versus paid loss. Results of the projection methods are compared and a point estimate of ultimate loss (or LAE) is established for each individual year and line
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of business. The specific projection methods used to establish point estimates vary depending on what is deemed most appropriate for a particular line of business and year. Results of these methods are usually averaged together to provide a final point estimate. Given that there are several inputs depending on the line of business, the methods may be averaged and modified based on changes known to management or trends in the market. IBNR estimates are derived by subtracting reported loss from the final point estimate loss.

Senior management meets with our internal actuary and controller quarterly to review the adequacy of carried IBNR reserves based on results from this actuarial analysis and makes adjustments for changes in business and other factors not completely captured by the data within the actuarial analysis. There are two fundamental types or sources of IBNR reserves. We record IBNR for "normal" types of claims and also specific IBNR reserves related to unique circumstances or events. A major hurricane is an example of an event that might necessitate specific IBNR reserves because an analysis of existing historical data would not provide an appropriate estimate. This method of establishing our IBNR reserves has consistently resulted in aggregate reserve levels that management believes are reasonable in comparison to the reserve estimates indicated by the actuarial analysis.

For our short-tail lines of business, IBNR reserves constitute a small portion of the overall reserves. These claims are generally reported and settled shortly after the loss occurs. In our long-tail lines of business, IBNR reserves constitute a relatively higher proportion of total reserves, because, for many liability claims, significant periods of time may elapse between the initial occurrence of the loss, the reporting of the loss to us, and the ultimate settlement of the claim.
Loss Settlement Expense Reserves
Loss settlement expense reserves include amounts ultimately allocable to individual claims, as well as amounts required for the general overhead of the claims handling operation that are not specifically allocable to individual claims. We do not establish loss settlement expense reserves on a claim-by-claim basis. Instead, on a quarterly basis, our internal actuary performs a detailed statistical analysis (using historical data) to estimate the required reserve for unpaid loss settlement expenses. On a monthly basis, the required reserve estimate is adjusted to reflect additional earned exposure and expense payments that have occurred subsequent to completion of the quarterly analysis.
LAE is composed of two distinct kinds of expenses which are allocated LAE ("ALAE") and unallocated LAE ("ULAE"). These two expense types have different purposes and characteristics which necessitates different estimation methods in order to provide a valid quarterly estimate of the required reserve for unpaid expense which is generally referred to as an LAE IBNR reserve.

Reserves for unpaid ALAE are estimated quarterly by line of business for each individual accident year using three methods: (1) Paid development, (2) Expected emergence of ALAE, and (3) Development of the ratio of paid ALAE to paid loss. Each of the three methods produces an estimate of the ultimate ALAE cost for an individual accident year and the final estimate is generally a weighted average of the various methods. Inception to date paid ALAE is subtracted from the final ultimate ALAE estimate to provide the estimated ALAE IBNR reserve for each individual accident year.

Reserves for unpaid ULAE are estimated quarterly by line of business for each individual accident year using a single method. This method consists of applying a percentage factor to unpaid loss reserves. The percentage factor used differs by line of business and is evaluated and established on an annual basis using year-end data. The percentage factor is evaluated and selected after reviewing the ratio of paid ULAE to paid loss using calendar year data for the most recent five years.
Generally, the loss settlement expense reserves for long-tail lines of business are a greater portion of the overall reserves, as there are often substantial legal fees and other costs associated with the complex liability claims that are associated with long-tail coverages. Because short-tail lines of business settle much more quickly and the costs are easier to determine, loss settlement expense reserves for such claims constitute a smaller portion of the total reserves.
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Reinsurance Reserves
The estimation of assumed and ceded reinsurance loss and loss settlement expense reserves is subject to the same factors as the estimation of loss and loss settlement expense reserves. In addition to those factors, which give rise to inherent uncertainties in establishing loss and loss settlement expense reserves, there exists a delay in our receipt of reported claims for assumed business due to the procedure of having claims first reported through one or more intermediary insurers or reinsurers.
Reserves for assumed reinsurance are established using methods and techniques identical to those used for direct lines of business. The additional delay inherent in assumed reinsurance reporting is considered in our reserving process and payment is not problematic. Assumed reinsurance, like every independent line of business, has unique reporting and payment patterns that are reviewed as part of the reserve estimation process.

There are three distinct types of reserves ceded to reinsurers: (1) reported claim reserves, (2) loss IBNR, and (3) LAE IBNR. Ceded reserves for reported claims are calculated by subtracting the primary retention from the claim value established by our claim adjuster. Ceded loss IBNR originates from our boiler and machinery business which is 100 percent reinsured and from the Midwest August derecho catastrophe. For this business ceded loss IBNR is equal to direct loss IBNR. Boiler and machinery business is included in our commercial fire and allied line of business. We will cede some LAE expenses when we cede loss. Our ceded LAE IBNR is estimated based on our ceded unpaid loss reserves and the general relation, by line of business, between LAE and loss. Our primary retention was $2.0 million for 2012 through 2015 and increased to $2.5 million for 2016 through 2020.
Key Assumptions

Our internal and external actuaries and management use a number of key assumptions in establishing an estimate of loss and loss settlement expense reserves, including the following assumptions: future loss settlement expenses can be estimated based on the Company's historical ratios of loss settlement expenses paid to losses; the Company's case-basis reserves reflect the most up-to-date information available about the unique circumstances of each individual claim; no new judicial decisions or regulatory actions will increase our case-basis obligations; historical aggregate claim reporting and payment patterns will continue into the future consistent with the observable past; significant unique and unusual claim events have been identified and appropriate adjustments have been made; and, to the best of our knowledge, there are no new latent trends that would impact our case-basis reserves.

Our key assumptions are subject to change as actual claims occur and as we gain additional information about the variables that underlie our assumptions. Accordingly, management reviews and updates these assumptions periodically to ensure that the assumptions continue to be valid. If necessary, management makes changes not only in the estimates derived from the use of these assumptions, but also in the assumptions themselves. Due to the inherent uncertainty in the loss reserving process, management believes that there is a reasonable chance that modification to key assumptions could individually, or in aggregate, result in reserve levels that are either significantly above or below the actual amount for which the related claims will eventually settle.
As an example, if our loss and loss settlement expense reserves of $1,578.1 million as of December 31, 2020, is 10.0 percent inadequate, we would experience a reduction in future pre-tax earnings of up to $157.8 million. This reduction could be recorded in one year or multiple years, depending on when we identify the deficiency. The deficiency would also affect our financial position in that our equity would be reduced by an amount equivalent to the reduction in net income. Any deficiency that would be recognized in our loss and loss settlement expense reserves usually does not have a material effect on our liquidity because the claims have not been paid. Conversely, if our estimates of ultimate unpaid loss and loss settlement expense reserves prove to be redundant, our future earnings and financial position would be improved. We believe our reserving philosophy, coupled with what we believe to be aggressive and successful claims management and loss settlement practices, has resulted in year-to-year redundancies in reserves. We believe our approach produces recorded reserves that are reasonable as to their relative position within a range of reasonable reserves from year-to-year.

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We are unable to reasonably quantify the impact of changes in our key assumptions utilized to establish individual case-basis reserves on our total reported reserves because the impact of these changes would be unique to each specific case-basis reserve established. However, based on historical experience, we believe that aggregate case-basis reserve volatility levels of 5.0 percent and 10.0 percent can be attributed to the ultimate development of our net case-basis reserves. The impact to pre-tax earnings would be a decrease if the reserves were to be adjusted upwards and an increase if the reserves were to be adjusted downwards. The table below details the impact of this development volatility on our reported net case-basis reserves at December 31, 2020:
(In Thousands)  
Change in level of net case-basis reserve development5%10%
Impact on reported net case-basis reserves$43,118 $86,236 

Due to the formula-based nature of our IBNR and loss settlement expense reserve calculations, changes in the key assumptions utilized to generate these reserves can impact our reported results. It is not possible to isolate and measure the potential impact of just one of these factors, and future loss trends could be partially impacted by all factors concurrently. Nevertheless, it is meaningful to view the sensitivity of the reserves to potential changes in these variables such as claim frequency and severity. To demonstrate the sensitivity of reserves to changes in significant assumptions, the following example is presented. The amounts reflect the pre-tax impact on earnings from a hypothetical percentage change in the calculation of IBNR and loss settlement expense reserves at December 31, 2020. The impact to pre-tax earnings would be a decrease if the reserves were to be adjusted upwards and an increase if the reserves were to be adjusted downwards. We believe that the changes presented are reasonably likely based upon an analysis of our historical IBNR and loss settlement expense reserve experience.
(In Thousands)  
Change in claim frequency and claim severity assumptions5%10%
Impact due to change in IBNR reserving assumptions$12,874 $25,748 

(In Thousands)  
Change in LAE paid to losses paid ratio1%2%
Impact due to change in LAE reserving assumptions$3,264 $6,529 
In 2020, we did not change the key method through which we develop our assumptions on which we based our reserving calculations. In estimating our 2020 loss and loss settlement expense reserves, we did not anticipate future events or conditions that were inconsistent with past development patterns.
Certain of our lines of business are subject to the potential for greater loss and loss settlement expense development than others, which are discussed below:
Other Liability Reserves
Other liability is considered a long-tail line of business, as it can take a relatively long period of time to settle claims from prior accident years. This is partly due to the lag time between the date a loss or event occurs that triggers coverage and the date when the claim is actually reported. Defense costs are also a part of the insured expenses covered by liability policies and can be significant, sometimes greater than the cost of the actual paid claims. For the majority of our products, defense costs are outside of the policy limit, meaning that the amounts paid for defense costs are not subtracted from the available policy limit.
Factors that can cause reserve uncertainty in estimating reserves in this line include: reporting time lags; the number of parties involved in the underlying tort action; whether the "event" triggering coverage is confined to only one time period or is spread over multiple time periods; the potential dollars involved in the individual claim actions; whether such claims were reasonably foreseeable and intended to be covered at the time the contracts were written (i.e., coverage disputes); and the potential for mass claim actions.
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Claims with longer reporting time lags may result in greater inherent risk. This is especially true for alleged claims with a latency feature, particularly where courts have ruled that coverage is spread over multiple policy years, hence involving multiple defendants (and their insurers and reinsurers) and multiple policies (thereby increasing the potential dollars involved and the underlying settlement complexity). Claims with long latencies also increase the potential time lag between writing a policy in a certain market and the recognition that such policy has potential mass tort and/or latent claim exposure.
Our reserve for other liability claims at December 31, 2020, was $652.3 million and consisted of 5,895 claims, compared with $600.0 million, consisting of 6,461 claims at December 31, 2019. Of the $652.3 million total reserve for other liability claims, $154.9 million is identified as defense costs and $37.0 million is identified as general overhead required in the settlement of claims.
Included in the other liability line of business are gross reserves for construction defect losses and loss settlement expenses. Construction defect is a liability allegation relating to defective work performed in the construction of structures such as commercial buildings, apartments, condominiums, single family dwellings or other housing, as well as the sale of defective building materials. These claims seek recovery due to damage caused by alleged deficient construction techniques or workmanship. At December 31, 2020, we had $73.6 million in construction defect loss and loss settlement expense reserves, excluding IBNR reserves that are calculated for the overall other liability commercial line, which consisted of 3,983 claims. At December 31, 2019, our reserves, excluding IBNR reserves, totaled $60.4 million, which consisted of 3,439 claims. The reporting of such claims can be delayed, as the statute of limitations can be up to 10 years. Court decisions in recent years have expanded insurers' exposure to construction defect claims. As a result, claims may be reported more than 10 years after a project has been completed, as litigation can proceed for several years before an insurance company is identified as a potential contributor. Claims have also emerged from parties claiming additional insured status on policies issued to other parties, such as contractors seeking coverage from a subcontractor's policy.
In addition to these issues, other variables also contribute to a high degree of uncertainty in establishing reserves for construction defect claims. These variables include: whether coverage exists; when losses occur; the size of each loss; expectations for future interpretive rulings concerning contract provisions; and the extent to which the assertion of these claims will expand geographically. In recent years, we have implemented various underwriting measures that we anticipate will mitigate the amount of construction defect losses experienced. These initiatives include increased care regarding additional insured endorsements; stricter underwriting guidelines on the writing of residential contractors; and an increased utilization of loss control.
Asbestos and Environmental Reserves
Included in the other liability and assumed reinsurance lines of business are reserves for asbestos and other environmental losses and loss settlement expenses. At December 31, 2020 and 2019, we had $2.5 million and $3.1 million, respectively, in direct and assumed asbestos and environmental loss reserves. The estimation of loss reserves for environmental claims and claims related to long-term exposure to asbestos and other substances is one of the most difficult aspects of establishing reserves, especially given the inherent uncertainties surrounding such claims. Although we record our best estimate of loss and loss settlement expense reserves, the ultimate amounts paid upon settlement of such claims may be more or less than the amount of the reserves, because of the significant uncertainties involved and the likelihood that these uncertainties will not be resolved for many years.
Commercial Auto Reserves
Commercial auto claim reserves are established at exposure based on information either known and provided or obtained through the investigation, with some pessimism built in. Incorporated are the perspective and experience the claims staff has acquired, which may include assumptions as to how the claim will develop over time, and with a slightly pessimistic view. Exposures are identified and reserves established within 30 to 60 days depending on the complexity of the case.

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Workers' Compensation Reserves
Like the other liability line of business, workers' compensation losses and loss settlement expense reserves are based upon variables that create imprecision in estimating the ultimate reserve. Estimates for workers' compensation are particularly sensitive to assumptions about medical cost inflation, which has been steadily increasing over the past few years. Other variables that we consider and that contribute to the uncertainty in establishing reserves for workers' compensation claims include: state legislative and regulatory environments; trends in jury awards; and mortality rates. Because of these variables, the process of reserving for the ultimate loss and loss settlement expense to be incurred requires the use of informed judgment and is inherently uncertain. Consequently, actual loss and loss settlement expense reserves may deviate from our estimates. Such deviations may be significant. Our reserve for workers' compensation claims at December 31, 2020 was $173.6 million and consisted of 3,192 claims, compared with $182.5 million, consisting of 3,869 claims, at December 31, 2019.
Reserve Development

The following reserve development section should be read in conjunction with the "Results of Operations for the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018" section of this Item 7.

In 2020, 2019 and 2018, we recognized a favorable development in our net reserves for prior accident years totaling $17.7 million, $5.3 million and $54.2 million, respectively.
The factors contributing to our year-to-year redundancy include: establishing reserves at their ultimate expected loss amount as soon as practicable after information becomes available, which produces, on average, cautiously pessimistic case reserves; using claims negotiation to control the size of settlements; assuming that we have liability for all claims, even though the issue of liability may, in some cases, be resolved in our favor; promoting claims management services to encourage return-to-work programs; case management by nurses for serious injuries and management of medical provider services and billings; and using programs and services to help prevent fraud and to assist in favorably resolving cases.
Based upon our comparison of carried reserves to actual claims experience over the last several years, we believe that using our Company's historical premium and claims data to establish reserves for losses and loss settlement expenses results in adequate and reasonable reserves. Reserve development is discussed in more detail under the heading "Reserve Development" in the "Results of Operations for the Years Ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018" section in this Item 7.

The following table details the pre-tax impact on our property and casualty insurance business' financial results and financial condition of reasonably likely reserve development. Our lines of business that have historically been most susceptible to significant volatility in reserve development have been shown separately and utilize hypothetical levels of volatility of 5.0 percent and 10.0 percent. Our other, less volatile, lines of business have been aggregated and utilize hypothetical levels of volatility of 3.0 percent and 5.0 percent.
(In Thousands)    
Hypothetical Reserve Development Volatility Levels-10%-5%+5%+10%
Impact on loss and loss settlement expenses    
Other liability$(65,226)$(32,613)$32,613 $65,226 
Workers' compensation(17,356)(8,678)8,678 17,356 
Automobile(48,931)(24,466)24,466 48,931 
Hypothetical Reserve Development Volatility Levels-5%-3%+3%+5%
Impact on loss and loss settlement expenses
All other lines$(13,150)$(7,890)$7,890 $13,150 

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Independent Actuary
We engage an independent actuarial firm to render an opinion as to the reasonableness of the statutory reserves internal management establishes. During 2020 and 2019, we engaged the services of Regnier as our independent actuarial firm for the property and casualty insurance business. We anticipate that this engagement will continue in 2021.
It is management's policy to utilize staff adjusters to develop our estimate of case-basis loss reserves. IBNR and loss settlement expense reserves are established through various formulae that utilize pertinent, recent Company historical data. The calculations are supplemented with knowledge of current trends and events that could result in adjustments to the level of IBNR and loss settlement expense reserves. On a quarterly basis, we compare our estimate of total reserves to the estimates prepared by Regnier by line of business to ensure that our estimates are within the actuary's acceptable range. Regnier performs a review of loss and loss settlement expense reserves at each year end using generally accepted actuarial guidelines to ensure that the recorded reserves appear reasonable. Our net reserves for losses and loss settlement expenses as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 were $1,446.3 million and $1,353.2 million, respectively. In 2020 and 2019, after considering the independent actuary's range of reasonable estimates, management believes that carried reserves were reasonable and therefore did not adjust the recorded amount.
Regnier uses four projection methods in its actuarial analysis of our loss reserves and uses two projection methods in its actuarial analysis of our loss settlement expense reserves. Based on the results of the projection methods, the actuaries select an actuarial point estimate of the reserves, which is compared to our carried reserves to evaluate the reasonableness of the carried reserves. The four methods utilized by Regnier to project losses are: paid loss development; reported loss development; expected loss emergence based on paid losses; and expected loss emergence based on reported losses. The two methods utilized by Regnier to project loss expenses are: paid expenses-to-paid loss and paid expense-to-ultimate loss.
Pension and Post-Retirement Benefit Obligations
The process of estimating our pension and post-retirement benefit obligations and related benefit expense is inherently uncertain, and the actual cost of benefits may vary materially from the estimates recorded. These liabilities are particularly volatile due to their long-term nature and are based on several assumptions. The main assumptions used in the valuation of our benefit obligations are: estimated mortality of the employees and retirees eligible for benefits; estimated expected long-term rates of return on investments; estimated compensation increases; estimated employee turnover; estimated medical expense trend rate; and estimated rate used to discount the ultimate estimated liability to a present value. We engage a consulting actuary from Principal Financial Group, an independent firm, to assist in evaluating and establishing assumptions used in the valuation of our benefit obligations.
A change in any one or more of these assumptions is likely to result in an ultimate liability different from the original actuarial estimate. Such changes in estimates may be material. For example, a 100 basis point decrease in our estimated discount rate would increase the pension and post-retirement benefit obligation at December 31, 2020, by $51.1 million and $5.9 million, respectively, while a 100 basis point increase in the rate would decrease the benefit obligation at December 31, 2020, by $39.8 million and $4.6 million, respectively.
In addition, for the post-retirement benefit plan, a 100 basis point decrease in the medical trend rate would decrease the post-retirement benefit obligation at December 31, 2020, by $4.5 million, while a 100 basis point increase in the medical trend rate would increase the benefit obligation at December 31, 2020, by $5.5 million.
A 100 basis point decrease in our estimated long-term rate of return on pension plan assets would increase the benefit expense for the year ended December 31, 2020, by $2.5 million, while a 100 basis point increase in the rate would decrease benefit expense by $2.5 million, for the same period.
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For the post-retirement benefit plan, a 100 basis point increase in our estimated medical trend rate would increase the benefit expense for the year ended December 31, 2020, by $0.6 million, while a 100 basis point decrease in the rate would decrease benefit expense by $0.5 million, for the same period.
Goodwill
As described in Part II, Item 8, Note 15 "Intangible Assets," the Company performed a quantitative impairment analysis on its one reporting unit and recognized an impairment charge of $15.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The Company tests goodwill for impairment annually, during the third quarter, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that goodwill might be impaired. An impairment charge is recognized for the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value. The Company used a weighting of the income and market approaches to determine the fair value of the reporting unit. The impairment was based on the following factors: (i) disruptions in the equity markets, specifically for property and casualty insurance companies, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and due to the current year weather related catastrophes; and (ii) the fair value of our stock trading significantly below book value.

The Company's quantitative goodwill impairment test involved estimating the fair value of the Company, which was sensitive to significant assumptions, such as forecasted revenues and loss and loss settlement expenses, discount rate, and terminal growth rate which are used in the income approach and comparable publicly traded companies and estimated valuation multiples which are used in the market approach.
Recently Issued Accounting Standards
Information specific to accounting standards that we adopted in 2020 or pending accounting standards that we expect to adopt in the future is incorporated by reference from Note 1 "Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" contained in Part II, Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."

ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

Information required by this Item 7A is incorporated by reference from Part II, Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" under the headings "Investments" and "Market Risk."

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ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA


United Fire Group, Inc.
Consolidated Balance Sheets
December 31,
(In Thousands, Except Share Data)2020 2019
   
Assets   
Investments   
Fixed maturities   
Available-for-sale, at fair value (amortized cost $1,720,291 in 2020 and $1,659,760 in 2019; allowance for credit losses $5 in 2020 and $0 in 2019)$1,825,438  $1,719,607 
Trading securities, at fair value (amortized cost $0 in 2020 and $11,941 in 2019)0 15,256 
Equity securities, at fair value (cost $49,085 in 2020 and $67,529 in 2019)206,685  299,203 
Mortgage loans47,690 42,520 
Less: allowance for mortgage loan losses76 72 
Mortgage loans, net47,614  42,448 
Other long-term investments69,305  78,410 
Short-term investments175  175 
2,149,217  2,155,099 
Cash and cash equivalents87,948  120,722 
Accrued investment income14,615  15,182 
Premiums receivable (net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $687 in 2020 and $1,239 in 2019)317,292  357,632 
Deferred policy acquisition costs87,094  94,292 
Property and equipment (primarily land and buildings, at cost, less accumulated depreciation of $55,141 in 2020 and $50,183 in 2019)129,874  116,989 
Reinsurance receivables and recoverables (net of allowance for credit losses of $190 in 2020 and $0 in 2019)160,540  72,369 
Prepaid reinsurance premiums12,965  9,550 
Income taxes receivable66,194 19,190 
Goodwill and net intangible assets6,743 22,542 
Other assets37,196  29,905 
Total assets$3,069,678  $3,013,472 
Liabilities and stockholders' equity   
Liabilities   
Losses and loss settlement expenses$1,578,131  $1,421,754 
Unearned premiums464,845  505,162 
Accrued expenses and other liabilities126,624  155,498 
Deferred tax liability24,929  20,586 
Long term debt50,000 
Total liabilities$2,244,529  $2,103,000 
Stockholders' equity   
Common stock, $0.001 par value; authorized 75,000,000 shares; 25,055,479 and 25,015,963 shares issued and outstanding in 2020 and 2019, respectively$25  $25 
Additional paid-in capital202,359  200,179 
Retained earnings555,854  697,116 
Accumulated other comprehensive income, net of tax66,911  13,152 
Total stockholders' equity$825,149  $910,472 
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity$3,069,678  $3,013,472 
The Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
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United Fire Group, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income
For the Years Ended December 31,
(In Thousands, Except Share Data)2020 20192018
 
Revenues   
Net premiums earned$1,055,082  $1,086,972 $1,037,451 
Investment income, net of investment expenses39,670  60,414 52,894 
Net realized investment gains (losses) (includes reclassifications for net unrealized gains on available-for-sale securities of $1,750 in 2020; $(1,521) in 2019; and $(784) in 2018 previously included in accumulated other comprehensive income)(32,395) 53,779 (20,179)
Other income6,270  
Total revenues$1,068,627  $1,201,165 $1,070,166 
   
Benefits, losses and expenses  
Losses and loss settlement expenses$869,467  $830,172 $731,611 
Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs210,252  216,699 206,232 
Other underwriting expenses (includes reclassifications for employee benefit costs of $(4,289) in 2020; $(4,497) in 2019; and $(6,642) in 2018 previously included in accumulated other comprehensive income)143,332  137,415 141,473 
Goodwill impairment15,091  
Total benefits, losses and expenses$1,238,142  $1,184,286 $1,079,316 
Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes$(169,515) $16,879 $(9,150)
Federal income tax expense (benefit) (includes reclassifications of $534 in 2020; $1,263 in 2019; and $1,559 in 2018 previously included in accumulated other comprehensive income)(56,809) 2,059 (11,405)
Net income (loss) from continuing operations$(112,706) $14,820 $2,255 
Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of taxes0 (1,912)
Gain on sale of discontinued operations, net of taxes0 27,307 
Net income (loss)$(112,706)$14,820 $27,650 
Other comprehensive income (loss)
Change in net unrealized appreciation on investments$47,054  $70,127 $(50,985)
Change in liability for underfunded employee benefit plans18,456 (20,924)25,513 
Other comprehensive income (loss), before tax and reclassification adjustments65,510 49,203 (25,472)
Income tax effect(13,757)(10,334)5,349 
Other comprehensive income (loss), after tax, before reclassification adjustments51,753 38,869 (20,123)
Reclassification adjustment for net realized (gains) losses included in income(1,750) 1,521 784 
Reclassification adjustment for employee benefit costs included in expense4,289 4,497 6,642 
Total reclassification adjustments, before tax2,539  6,018 7,426 
Income tax effect(534) (1,263)(1,559)
Total reclassification adjustments, after tax2,005  4,755 5,867 
Comprehensive income (loss)$(58,948) $58,444 $13,394 
Weighted average common shares outstanding25,027,358  25,138,039 25,006,211 
Earnings (loss) per common share from continuing operations:
Basic$(4.50)$0.59 $0.09 
Diluted(4.50)0.58 0.09 
Earnings (loss) per common share:
Basic$(4.50) $0.59 $1.11 
Diluted(4.50) 0.58 1.08 

The Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
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United Fire Group, Inc.
Consolidated Statement of Stockholders' Equity
Common Stock
(In Thousands, Except Share Data)Shares outstandingCommon stockAdditional paid-in capitalRetaining earningsAccumulated other comprehensive incomeTotal
Balance, January 1, 201824,916,806 $25 $196,334 $608,700 $168,314 $973,373 
Net income— — — 27,650 — 27,650 
Shares repurchased(120,372)— (5,404)— — (5,404)
Stock based compensation300,974 — 7,171 — — 7,171 
Dividends on common stock ($4.21 per share)— — — (105,408)— (105,408)
Change in net unrealized investment appreciation(1)
— — — — (32,944)(32,944)
Net unrealized investment depreciation of discontinued operations, sold(6,714)(6,714)
Change in liability for underfunded employee benefit plans(2)
— — — — 25,402 25,402 
Cumulative effect of change in accounting principle— — — 191,244 (191,244)
Compensation expense and related tax benefit for stock-based award grants— — 5,249 — — 5,249 
Balance, January 1, 201925,097,408 $25 $203,350 $715,472 $(30,472)$888,375 
Net income— $— $— $14,820 $— $14,820 
Shares repurchased(258,756)— (11,700)— — (11,700)
Stock based compensation177,311 — 2,377 — — 2,377 
Dividends on common stock ($1.30 per share)— — (32,662)— (32,662)
Change in net unrealized investment appreciation(1)
— — — — 56,602 56,602 
Change in liability for underfunded employee benefit plans(2)
— — — — (12,978)(12,978)
Cumulative effect of change in accounting principle— — — (514)— (514)
Compensation expense and related tax benefit for stock-based award grants— — 6,152 — — 6,152 
Balance, January 1, 202025,015,963 $25 $200,179 $697,116 $13,152 $910,472 
Net loss $ $ $(112,706)$ $(112,706)
Shares repurchased(70,467) (2,741)  (2,741)
Stock based compensation109,983  (71)  (71)
Dividends on common stock ($1.14 per share)   (28,526) (28,526)
Change in net unrealized investment appreciation(1)
    35,791 35,791 
Change in liability for underfunded employee benefit plans(2)
    17,968 17,968 
Cumulative effect of change in accounting principle   (30) (30)
Compensation expense and related tax benefit for stock-based award grants  4,992   4,992 
Balance, December 31, 202025,055,479 $25 $202,359 $555,854 $66,911 $825,149 
(1)The change in net unrealized appreciation is net of reclassification adjustments and income taxes.
(2)The change in liability for underfunded employee benefit plans is net of income taxes.
The Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
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United Fire Group, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
For the Years Ended December 31,
(In Thousands)2020 20192018
Cash Flows From Operating Activities   
Net income (loss)$(112,706) $14,820 $27,650 
Less net income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of taxes0 (1,912)
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities 
Net accretion of bond premium10,444  9,372 8,788 
Depreciation and amortization6,656  11,191 5,174 
Goodwill impairment15,091 
Stock-based compensation expense4,992  6,152 5,249 
Net realized investment (gains) losses32,395  (53,779)20,179 
Net cash flows from trading investments72,753  1,415 22,514 
Deferred income tax benefit(17,468) 10,148 (16,220)
Changes in: 
Accrued investment income567  592 (1,933)
Premiums receivable40,340  (10,807)(18,312)
Deferred policy acquisition costs7,198  (1,496)(4,694)
Reinsurance receivables(88,171) (11,032)1,857 
Prepaid reinsurance premiums(3,415) (2,487)(3,314)
Income taxes receivable(47,004) (4,155)(9,004)
Other assets(7,291) (11,972)(1,524)
Losses, claims and loss settlement expenses156,377  109,271 88,300 
Unearned premiums(40,317) 12,244 27,527 
Accrued expenses and other liabilities(6,129) 15,659 (12,319)
Deferred income taxes7,521  (110)(10,746)
Other, net9,602  (1,274)9,847 
Cash from operating activities - continuing operations154,141 78,932 111,369 
Cash from operating activities - discontinued operations0 4,024 
Cash from operating activities - gain on sale of discontinued operations0 (34,851)
Total adjustments$154,141  $78,932 $80,542 
Net cash provided by operating activities$41,435  $93,752 $110,104 
Cash Flows From Investing Activities   
Proceeds from sale of available-for-sale investments$50,744  $41,760 $132,250 
Proceeds from call and maturity of available-for-sale investments318,981  265,515 122,250 
Proceeds from short-term and other investments6,494  4,397 9,303 
Proceeds from sale of discontinued operations0 276,055 
Purchase of available-for-sale investments(438,035) (213,437)(507,380)
Purchase of mortgage loans(5,564)(16,933)(25,853)
Purchase of short-term and other investments(6,629) (44,375)(7,119)
Net purchases and sales of property and equipment(18,862) (32,426)(33,053)
Cash from investing activities - continuing operations(92,871)4,501 (33,547)
Cash from investing activities - discontinued operations0 14,343 
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities$(92,871) $4,501 $(19,204)
Cash Flows From Financing Activities   
Borrowings of long-term debt$50,000 $$
Payment of cash dividends(28,526) (32,662)(105,408)
Repurchase of common stock(2,741) (11,700)(5,404)
Issuance of common stock(71) 2,377 7,171 
Cash from financing activities - continued operations18,662 (41,985)(103,641)
Cash from financing activities - discontinued operations0 (11,547)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities$18,662  $(41,985)$(115,188)
Net Change in Cash and Cash Equivalents$(32,774) $56,268 $(24,288)
Less: decrease in cash and cash equivalents - discontinued operations0 (6,820)
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents - continuing operations(32,774)56,268 (31,108)
Cash and Cash Equivalents at Beginning of Year - Continuing Operations120,722  64,454 95,562 
Cash and Cash Equivalents at End of Year - Continuing Operations$87,948  $120,722 $64,454 
The Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
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72

UNITED FIRE GROUP, INC.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
(Amounts in thousands, except share data unless otherwise noted)

NOTE 1. SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Nature of Business
United Fire Group, Inc. ("UFG", "United Fire", the "Registrant", the "Company", "we", "us", or "our") and its consolidated subsidiaries and affiliates are engaged in the business of writing property and casualty insurance through a network of independent agencies. Our insurance company subsidiaries are licensed as a property and casualty insurer in 49 states, plus the District of Columbia.
Discontinued Operations
On September 18, 2017, the Company signed a definitive agreement to sell its subsidiary, United Life Insurance Company ("United Life"), to Kuvare US Holdings, Inc. ("Kuvare") and on March 30, 2018, the sale closed. As a result, our life insurance business, previously a separate segment, has been reported as discontinued operations in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income and Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the twelve month period ended December 31, 2018 in this Form 10-K. Subsequent to the announcement of this sale, our continuing operations were reported as 1 business segment. All current and prior periods reflected in this Form 10-K have been presented as continuing and discontinued operations, unless otherwise noted. For more information, refer to Note 17 "Discontinued Operations."
Principles of Consolidation
The accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements include United Fire and its wholly owned subsidiaries: United Fire & Casualty Company, United Real Estate Holdings, LLC, Addison Insurance Company, Lafayette Insurance Company, United Fire & Indemnity Company, United Fire Lloyds, UFG Specialty Insurance Company, Financial Pacific Insurance Company, Franklin Insurance Company, Mercer Insurance Company, Mercer Insurance Company of New Jersey, Inc, McIntyre Cedar UK Limited. Mercer Insurance Company and McIntyre Cedar Corporate Member LLP.
United Fire Lloyds, an affiliate of United Fire & Indemnity Company, is organized as a Texas Lloyds plan, which is an aggregation of underwriters who, under a common name, engage in the business of insurance through a corporate attorney-in-fact. United Fire Lloyds is financially and operationally controlled by United Fire & Indemnity Company, its corporate attorney-in-fact, pursuant to three types of agreements: trust agreements between United Fire & Indemnity Company and certain individuals who agree to serve as trustees; articles of agreement among the trustees who agree to act as underwriters to establish how the Lloyds plan will be operated; and powers of attorney from each of the underwriters appointing a corporate attorney-in-fact, who is authorized to operate the Lloyds plan. Because United Fire & Indemnity Company can name the trustees, the Lloyds plan is perpetual, subject only to United Fire & Indemnity Company's desire to terminate it.
United Fire & Indemnity Company provides all of the statutory capital necessary for the formation of the Lloyds plan by contributing capital to each of the trustees. The trust agreements require the trustees to become underwriters of the Lloyds plan, to contribute the capital to the Lloyds plan, to sign the articles of agreement and to appoint the attorney-in-fact. The trust agreements also require the trustees to pay to United Fire & Indemnity Company all of the profits and benefits received by the trustees as underwriters of the Lloyds plan, which means that United Fire & Indemnity Company has the right to receive 100 percent of the gains and profits from the Lloyds plan. The trustees serve at the pleasure of United Fire & Indemnity Company, which may remove a trustee and replace that trustee at any time. Termination of a trustee must be accompanied by the resignation of the trustee as an underwriter, so that the trustee can obtain the capital contribution from the Lloyds plan to reimburse United Fire & Indemnity Company. By retaining the ability to terminate trustees, United Fire & Indemnity Company possesses the ability to name and remove the underwriters.
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United Real Estate Holdings, LLC, formed in 2013, is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Fire & Casualty Company and is organized as an Iowa limited liability corporation, an unincorporated association formed for the purpose of holding United Fire & Casualty Company's ownership in commercial real estate.
Basis of Presentation

The accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared on the basis of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), which differ in some respects from those followed in preparing our statutory reports to insurance regulatory authorities. Our stand-alone subsidiary financial statements submitted to insurance regulatory authorities are presented on the basis of accounting practices prescribed or permitted by the insurance departments of the states in which we are domiciled ("statutory accounting principles").
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates. The financial statement categories that are most dependent on management estimates and assumptions include: investments; deferred policy acquisition costs; reinsurance receivables and recoverables; goodwill impairment; losses and loss settlement expenses; and pension and post-retirement benefit obligations.
Continuing Operations - Property and Casualty Insurance Business
Premiums written are deferred and recorded as earned premium on a daily pro rata basis over the terms of the respective policies. Unearned premium reserves are established for the portion of premiums written applicable to the unexpired term of insurance policies in force. Premiums receivable are presented net of an estimated allowance for doubtful accounts, which is based on a periodic evaluation of the aging and collectability of amounts due from agents and policyholders.
To establish loss and loss settlement expense reserves, we make estimates and assumptions about the future development of claims. Actual results could differ materially from those estimates, which are subjective, complex and inherently uncertain. When we establish and adjust reserves, we do so given our knowledge at the time of the circumstances and facts of known claims. To the extent that we have overestimated or underestimated our loss and loss settlement expense reserves, we adjust the reserves in the period in which such adjustment is determined.
We record our best estimate of reserves for claim litigation that arises in the ordinary course of business. We consider all of our pending litigation as of December 31, 2020 to be ordinary, routine and incidental to our business.
Discontinued Operations - Life Insurance Business
Our whole life and term insurance (i.e., traditional business) premiums are reported as earned when due and benefits and expenses are associated with premium income in order to result in the recognition of profits over the lives of the related contracts. Income annuities with life contingencies (single premium immediate annuities and supplementary contracts) have premium recorded and any related expense charge fees recorded as income and expense when the contract is issued. On universal life and deferred annuity policies (i.e., non-traditional business), income and expenses are reported when charged and credited to policyholder account balances in order to result in recognition of profits over the lives of the related contracts. We accomplish this by means of a provision for future policy benefits and the deferral and subsequent amortization of policy acquisition costs.
Reinsurance
Premiums earned and losses and loss settlement expenses incurred are reported net of reinsurance ceded. Ceded insurance business is accounted for on a basis consistent with the original policies issued and the terms of the reinsurance contracts. Refer to Note 4 "Reinsurance" for a discussion of our reinsurance activities.
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Investments
Investments in fixed maturities include bonds and redeemable preferred stocks. Our investments in available-for-sale fixed maturities and trading securities are recorded at fair value.
Investments in equity securities, which include common and non-redeemable preferred stocks are recorded at fair value with changes in value recorded as a component of income. Changes in unrealized appreciation and depreciation, with respect to available-for-sale fixed maturities are reported as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income, net of applicable deferred income taxes, in stockholders' equity. Changes in unrealized appreciation and depreciation, with respect to trading securities, are reported as a component of income.
Other long-term investments consist primarily of our interests in limited liability partnerships that are recorded on the equity method of accounting. Included in investments at December 31, 2020 and 2019, are securities on deposit with, or available to, various regulatory authorities as required by law, with fair values of $21,628 and $20,816 respectively.
We review all of our investment holdings for appropriate valuation on an ongoing basis. Refer to Note 2 "Summary of Investments" for a discussion of our accounting policy for impairment recognition.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
For purposes of reporting cash flows, cash and cash equivalents include cash, money market accounts, and non-negotiable certificates of deposit with original maturities of three months or less.
In 2020, 2019, and 2018, we made cash payments for income taxes of $138, $1,575 and $29,071, respectively. In 2020, we did 0t receive a federal tax refund. We received federal tax refunds of $5,401 and $1,503 in 2019 and 2018, respectively, which resulted from the utilization of our net operating losses and net capital loss carryforwards and carrybacks. We made 0 interest payments in 2020, 2019 and 2018. These payments exclude interest credited to policyholders' accounts.
Deferred Policy Acquisition Costs ("DAC")

Certain costs associated with underwriting new business (primarily commissions, premium taxes and variable underwriting and policy issue expenses associated with successful acquisition efforts) are deferred. The following table is a summary of the components of DAC that are reported in the accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements.
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Continuing Operations - Property and Casualty Insurance202020192018
Recorded asset at beginning of year$94,292 $92,796 $88,102 
Underwriting costs deferred203,054 218,195 210,926 
Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs(210,252)(216,699)(206,232)
Recorded asset at end of year$87,094 $94,292 $92,796 
Discontinued Operations - Life Insurance
Recorded asset at beginning of year$0 $$71,151 
Underwriting costs deferred0 1,376 
Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs0 (1,895)
$0 $$70,632 
Change in "shadow" deferred policy acquisition costs0 7,274 
Sale of discontinued operations0 (77,906)
Recorded asset at end of year$0 $$
Total
Recorded asset at beginning of year$94,292 $92,796 $159,253 
Underwriting costs deferred203,054 218,195 212,302 
Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs(210,252)(216,699)(208,127)
$87,094 $94,292 $163,428 
Change in "shadow" deferred policy acquisition costs0 7,274 
Sale of discontinued operations0 (77,906)
Recorded asset at end of year$87,094 $94,292 $92,796 

Our continuing operations property and casualty insurance DAC is amortized as premium revenue is recognized. The method followed in computing DAC limits the amount of such deferred costs to their estimated realizable value. This takes into account the premium to be earned, losses and loss settlement expenses expected to be incurred and certain other costs expected to be incurred as the premium is earned. This calculation is performed by line of business in a manner consistent with how the policies are currently being marketed and managed.

For the discontinued operations traditional life insurance policies, DAC was amortized to income over the premium-paying period in proportion to the ratio of the expected annual premium revenue to the expected total premium revenue. Expected premium revenue and gross profits are based on the same mortality and withdrawal assumptions used in determining future policy benefits. These assumptions are not revised after policy issuance unless the recorded DAC asset is deemed to be unrecoverable from future expected profits.

For the discontinued operations non-traditional life insurance policies, DAC is amortized over the anticipated terms in proportion to the ratio of the expected annual gross profits to the total expected gross profits. Changes in the amount or timing of expected gross profits result in adjustments to the cumulative amortization of these costs. The effect on amortization of DAC for revisions to estimated gross profits is reported in earnings in the period the estimated gross profits are revised.
Property, Equipment and Depreciation
Property and equipment is presented at cost less accumulated depreciation. The following table is a summary of the components of the property and equipment that are reported in the accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements.
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20202019
Real estate:
Land$2,974 $2,982 
Buildings85,776 83,360 
Furniture and fixtures6,058 7,253 
Computer equipment and software35,066 23,394 
Airplane0 
Total property and equipment$129,874 $116,989 
Expenditures for maintenance and repairs on property and equipment are generally expensed as incurred. We periodically review these assets for impairment whenever events or changes in business circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the underlying asset may not be recoverable. A loss would be recognized if the estimated fair value of the asset were less than its carrying value.
Depreciation is computed primarily by the straight-line method over the following estimated useful lives:
Useful Life
Computer equipment and softwareThree years
Furniture and fixturesSeven years
Leasehold improvementsShorter of the lease term or useful life of the asset
Real estateSeven years to thirty-nine years
AirplaneFive years
Depreciation expense totaled $5,947, $10,482 and $4,455 for 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets
Goodwill assets arise as a result of business combinations and consist of the excess of the fair value of consideration paid over the tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed. All of our goodwill assets relate to the acquisition of Mercer Insurance Group, Inc. on March 28, 2011. We evaluate goodwill assets for impairment at least on an annual basis or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that it is more likely than not that the carrying amount of goodwill assets may exceed their implied fair value. Any impairment is recognized in the period that the impairment is identified. During the third quarter of 2020, we completed our annual quantitative analysis of goodwill. As a result of the quantitative analysis, we impaired the remaining balance of our goodwill of $15,091 as of September 30, 2020, based on the following factors: (i) disruptions in the equity markets, specifically for property and casualty insurance companies, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and due to recent weather related catastrophes; (ii) recent elevated commercial auto loss ratios and (iii) the fair value of our stock trading significantly below book value. The Company used a weighting of the income and market approaches to determine the fair value of the reporting unit.
Our other intangible assets, which consist primarily of agency relationships, trade names, state insurance licenses, and software, are being amortized by the straight-line method over periods ranging from 2 years to 15 years, with the exception of state insurance licenses, which are indefinite-lived and not amortized. In 2020, 2019 and 2018 we performed a qualitative impairment assessment of our indefinite lived intangible assets. As a result of these assessments, we did not recognize an impairment charge on our intangible assets in 2020, 2019 and 2018. Amortization expense totaled $709, $709 and $719 in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.



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Long term debt
The Company executed a private placement debt transaction on December 15, 2020 between United Fire & Casualty Company ("UF&C"), and Federated Mutual Insurance Company, a mutual insurance company domiciled in Minnesota ("Federated Mutual"), and Federated Life Insurance Company, an insurance company domiciled in Minnesota ("Federated Life” and, together with Federated Mutual, the "Note Purchasers").

UFG sold an aggregate $50,000 of notes due 2040 to the Note Purchasers. One note with a principal amount of $35,000 was issued to Federated Mutual and one note with a principal amount of $15,000 was issued to Federated Life subject to the terms of their respective notes. The notes are presented as a Long term debt liability in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and as a financing activity in the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows. The Company incurred $24 in debt issuance costs associated with this debt transaction in 2020 which are included in other underwriting expenses in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income.

Interest payments under the surplus notes will be paid quarterly on March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15 of each year (each such date, an "Interest Payment Date"). The interest rate will equal the rate that corresponds to the A.M. Best Co. (or its successor’s) financial strength rating for members of the United Fire & Casualty Pooled Group as of the applicable Interest Payment Date. As of December 31, 2020, interest totaled $133 and is included in accrued expenses and other liabilities in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and as an expense in other underwriting expenses in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income. Payment of interest is subject to approval by the Iowa Insurance Division.
Income Taxes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the "Tax Act") was enacted on December 22, 2017. The Tax Act significantly revised the U.S. corporate income tax laws including lowering the U.S. federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, effective January 1, 2018.

In December 2017, the SEC staff issued Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118, which addresses how a company recognizes provisional amounts when a company does not have the necessary information available, prepared or analyzed in reasonable detail to complete its accounting for the effect of the changes in the Tax Act. The measurement period ends when a company has obtained, prepared and analyzed the information necessary to finalize its accounting, but cannot extend beyond one year. As of December 31, 2018 we had completed accounting for the tax effects of enactment of the Tax Act and no adjustments were made during the measurement period.
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act") was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act, among other things, permits net operating loss ("NOL") carryovers and carrybacks to offset 100 percent of taxable income for taxable years beginning before 2021. In addition, the CARES Act allows NOLs incurred in 2020, 2019 and 2018 to be carried back to each of the five preceding taxable years to generate a refund of previously paid income taxes. The Company has considered the implications of the CARES Act on its tax provision and has included an income tax benefit of $18.6 million as the result of this Act.
Deferred tax assets and liabilities are established based on differences between the financial statement bases of assets and liabilities and the tax bases of those same assets and liabilities, using the currently enacted statutory tax rates. Deferred income tax expense is measured by the year-to-year change in the net deferred tax asset or liability, except for certain changes in deferred tax amounts that affect stockholders' equity and do not impact federal income tax expense.

The Company performs a quarterly review of its tax positions and makes a determination whether it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained upon examination. If, based on this review, it appears not more likely than not that the position will be sustained, the Company will calculate any unrecognized tax benefits and calculate any interest and penalties. At December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018 the Company did 0t recognize any liability for unrecognized tax benefits. In addition, we have not accrued for interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax
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benefits. However, if interest and penalties would need to be accrued related to unrecognized tax benefits, such amounts would be recognized as a component of federal income tax expense.
We file a consolidated federal income tax return. We also file income tax returns in various state jurisdictions. We are no longer subject to federal or state income tax examination for years before 2017.
Leases

The Company determines if a contract contains a lease at inception of the contract. The Company's inventory of leases consists of operating leases which are recorded as a lease obligation liability disclosed in the "Accrued expenses and other liabilities" line on the Consolidated Balance Sheets and as a lease right-of-use asset disclosed in the "Other assets" line on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. The Company's operating leases consist of office space, vehicles, computer equipment and office equipment. The lease right-of-use asset represents the Company's right to use each underlying asset for the lease term and the lease obligation liability represents the Company's obligation over the lease term. The Company's lease obligation is recorded at the present value of the lease payments based on the term of the applied lease. Short-term leases of 12 months or less are recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheets and lease payments are recognized on the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income. For more information on leases refer to Note 13 "Lease Commitments."
Variable Interest Entities
The Company and certain related parties are equity investors in one investment in which the Company determined is a variable interest entity ("VIE") as a result of participation in the risks and rewards of the VIE based on the objectives and strategies of the VIE. The VIE is a limited liability company that primarily invests in commercial real estate. The Company and certain related parties are not the primary beneficiary largely due to their inability to influence management or direct the activities that most significantly impact the VIE's economic performance. Based on these facts and circumstances, the Company has a variable interest in the VIE, but has not consolidated the VIE's financial results as it is not the primary beneficiary. The Company's investment is reported in other long-term investments in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and accounted for under the equity method of accounting. The fair value of the VIE at December 31, 2020 was $3.3 million and there are no future funding commitments.
Stock-Based Compensation
We currently have 2 equity compensation plans. One plan allows us to grant restricted and unrestricted stock, stock appreciation rights, incentive stock options, and non-qualified stock options to employees. The other plan allows us to grant restricted and non-qualified stock options to non-employee directors.
We utilize the Black-Scholes option pricing method to establish the fair value of non-qualified stock options granted under our equity compensation plans. Our determination of the fair value of stock options on the date of grant using this option-pricing model is affected by our stock price, as well as assumptions regarding a number of complex and subjective variables, which include the expected volatility in our stock price, the expected term of the award, the expected dividends to be paid over the term of the award and the expected risk-free interest rate. Any changes in these assumptions may materially affect the estimated fair value of the award. For our restricted and unrestricted stock awards, we utilize the fair value of our common stock on the date of grant to establish the fair value of the award. Refer to Note 9 "Stock-Based Compensation" for further discussion.
Credit Losses

The Company recognizes credit losses for its available-for-sale fixed-maturity portfolio, reinsurance receivables, mortgage loans and premium receivables by setting up allowances which are remeasured each reporting period and recorded in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income.

For our available-for-sale fixed-maturity portfolio an allowance for credit losses is recorded net of available-for-sale fixed maturities in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and a corresponding credit loss recognized as a realized loss or gain in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income. The Company determines if an
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allowance for credit losses is recorded based on a number of factors including the current economic conditions, management's expectations of future economic conditions and performance indicators, such as market value vs. amortized cost, investment spreads widening or contracting, rating actions, payment and default history.

The Company does not recognize an allowance for credit losses for accrued interest receivable for available-for-sale fixed-maturity securities, which is recorded in "Accrued investment income" in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and "Investment income, net of investment expenses" in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income. The Company considers collections of accrued investment income within six months to be timely and therefore not requiring a write- off. If a write-off is required for accrued investment income outstanding greater than six months, the Company writes off accrued interest by reversing net investment income. For more information on
credit losses and the allowance for credit losses for available-for-sale fixed-maturity portfolio, see Note 2 "Summary of Investments."

An allowance for mortgage loan losses is established based on historical loss information of the collective pool of the Company's commercial mortgage loan investments which have similar risk characteristics. To calculate the allowance for mortgage loan losses, the Company starts with historical loan experience to predict the future expected losses and then layers on a market-linked adjustment. On a quarterly basis, quantitative credit risk metrics, including for example, cash- flows, rent rolls and financial statements are reviewed for each loan to determine if it is
performing in line with its expectations. This allowance is presented as a separate line in the Consolidated Balance Sheets beneath the asset value as well as presented net and recorded through "Net realized investment gains (losses)" in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income. For more information on credit losses and the allowance for credit losses for our investment in mortgage loans see Note 3 "Fair Value of Financial Instruments."

For reinsurance receivables, the Company's model estimates expected credit loss by multiplying the exposure at default by both the probability of default and loss given default ("LGD"). The LGD is estimated by the rating of the Company, historical relationship with UFG, existence of letters of credit and known regulation the Company may be held accountable for. The ultimate LGD percentage is estimated after considering Moody’s experience with unsecured year 1 bond recovery rates from 1983-2017. The allowance calculated as of December 31, 2020 is recorded through the line "Reinsurance receivables and recoverables" in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and through the line "Other underwriting expenses" in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Other Comprehensive Income. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had a credit loss allowance for reinsurance receivables of $190.

Rollforward of Credit Loss Allowance for Reinsurance Receivable
As of
December 31, 2020
Beginning balance, January 1, 2020$38 
Current-period provision for expected credit losses152
Write-off charged against the allowance, if any
Recoveries of amounts previously written off, if any
Ending balance of the allowance for reinsurance receivable, December 31, 2020$190 
With respect to premiums receivable, the Company utilizes an aging method to estimate credit losses. An allowance for doubtful accounts is based on a periodic evaluation of the aging and collectability of amounts due from agents and policyholders. "Premiums receivable" are presented in the Consolidated Balance Sheets net of an estimated allowance for doubtful accounts and recorded through "Other underwriting expenses" in the Consolidated Statements of Income and Comprehensive Income.
Comprehensive Income
Comprehensive income includes all changes in stockholders' equity during a period except those resulting from investments by and dividends to stockholders.
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Subsequent Events
In the preparation of the accompanying financial statements, the Company has evaluated all material subsequent events or transactions that occurred after the balance sheet date through the date on which the financial statements were issued for potential recognition or disclosure in the Company's financial statements.
Subsequent to the completion of the financial statements as of December 31, 2020, the Company made the decision to change the post-retirement benefit plan to a voluntary plan funded exclusively by participants, commencing at the start of 2023. The impact of this decision will be reflected in the financial statements subsequent to December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the post-retirement benefit obligation was $31,666. This benefit obligation, along with the unrecognized prior service costs, will be released into the Consolidated Statement of Income and Other Comprehensive Income over the next two years. See Note 8 "Employee Benefits" for more information.
COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant financial market volatility, economic uncertainty and interruptions to normal business activities in 2020. As of the date of this report, we expect the effect of COVID-19 on claims currently under our coverages to be manageable, based on the information presently available. However, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and we cannot predict the extent to which our business, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, capital position, the value of investments we hold in our investment portfolio, premiums and the demand for our products and our ability to collect premiums or requirement to return premiums to our policyholders, will ultimately be impacted. Additionally, if established written contract policy exclusions of business interruption coverage for losses attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic are voided or changed through legislation, regulations or interpretations by the courts, such changes have the potential to materially increase claims, losses and legal expenses which may impact our business, financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.

Recently Issued Accounting Standards

Accounting Standards Adopted in 2020

Intangibles - Other Internal Use Software

In August 2018, the FASB issued guidance to align the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred in a cloud computing hosting arrangement that is a service contract with the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred to develop or obtain internal-use software. The guidance requires the Company to determine which implementation costs to capitalize as an asset related to the service contract and which costs to expense. The new guidance was effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2019. The Company adopted the new guidance as of January 1, 2020. The adoption did not have a significant impact on the Company's financial position or results of operations.
Financial Instruments - Credit Losses
In June 2016, the FASB issued new guidance on the measurement of credit losses for most financial instruments. The new guidance replaces the incurred loss model for recognizing credit losses with an expected loss model for instruments measured at amortized cost and requires allowances to be recorded for available-for-sale debt securities rather than reduce the carrying amount. These allowances are remeasured each reporting period. The new guidance was effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2019 and interim periods within those years. The new guidance impacted the Company's impairment model related to our available-for-sale fixed-maturity portfolio, reinsurance receivables and mortgage loans. The Company has performed a run of the credit loss models as of January 1, 2020. These models resulted in an immaterial expected credit loss at January 1, 2020. Prior to the adoption of the new guidance, the Company utilized an aging method to estimate credit losses on premiums receivable. This aging method is permitted under the new guidance. The Company adopted the new guidance
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prospectively as of January 1, 2020 recording a cumulative effect adjustment to opening retained earnings of $30. This cumulative effect adjustment is an allowance related to the Company's reinsurance receivables. The adoption of the new guidance did not have a material impact on the Company's financial position and results of operations.
Goodwill
In January 2017, the FASB issued new guidance which simplifies the test for goodwill impairment. The new guidance eliminates the implied fair value calculation when measuring a goodwill impairment charge. Under the new guidance, impairment charges are based on the excess of the carrying value over fair value of goodwill. The new guidance was effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2019. The Company adopted the new guidance as of January 1, 2020. The adoption did not have a significant impact on the Company's financial position or results of operations.
Financial Instruments - Disclosures
In August 2018, the FASB issued new guidance which modifies the disclosure requirements on fair value measurements of financial instruments. The new guidance removes the requirement for disclosing the amount and reason for transfers between Level 1 and Level 2 investment securities and the valuation processes for Level 3 fair value measurements. The guidance also requires additional disclosures on the range and weighted average of significant unobservable inputs used to develop Level 3 fair value measurements. The new guidance is effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2019. The Company adopted the new guidance as of January 1, 2020. The adoption modified existing fair value disclosures, but did not have an impact on the Company's financial position or results of operations.
Pending Adoption of Accounting Standards
Defined Benefit Plans - Disclosures
In August 2018, the FASB issued new guidance which modifies the disclosure requirements for employers that sponsor defined benefit pension and postretirement plans. The new guidance removes the requirement for disclosing the amounts in accumulated other comprehensive income expected to be recognized as components of net periodic benefit costs in the next year and the sensitivity of postretirement health plans to one-percentage-point changes in medical trend rates. The new guidance is effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2020. The Company adopted the new guidance as of January 1, 2021. The new guidance will modify existing disclosures, but will not have an impact on the Company's financial position and results of operations.
Income Taxes
In December 2019, the FASB issued new guidance which simplifies the accounting for income taxes by removing certain exceptions to income tax accounting. The amendments also improve consistent application of and simplify GAAP for other areas of income tax accounting. The new guidance clarifies and amends existing guidance, including removing certain requirements that an entity evaluate when a step-up in the tax basis of goodwill should be considered part of the business combination in which the book goodwill was originally recognized, when it should be considered a separate transaction and requiring an entity to reflect the effect of an enacted change in tax laws or rates in the annual effective tax rate computation in the interim period that includes the enactment date. The new guidance is effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2020. The Company adopted the new guidance as of January 1, 2021. The adoption of the new guidance will modify existing disclosures but will not have an impact on the Company’s financial position and results of operations.
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NOTE 2. SUMMARY OF INVESTMENTS
Fair Value of Investments

The table that follows is a reconciliation of the amortized cost (cost for equity securities) to fair value of investments in available-for-sale fixed maturity securities, presented on a consolidated basis as of December 31, 2020 and 2019.
December 31, 2020
Type of InvestmentCost or Amortized Cost Gross Unrealized Appreciation Gross Unrealized Depreciation Fair ValueAllowance for Credit LossesCarrying Value
AVAILABLE-FOR-SALE
Fixed maturities
Bonds
U.S. Treasury$149,481 $482 $25 $149,938 $0 $149,938 
U.S. government agency60,502 4,016 0 64,518 0 64,518 
States, municipalities and political subdivisions
  General obligations:
     Midwest77,933 4,047 0 81,980 0 81,980 
     Northeast29,071 1,379 0 30,450 0 30,450 
     South104,522 5,448 0 109,970 0 109,970 
     West102,590 7,431 0 110,021 0 110,021 
   Special revenue:
     Midwest115,956 9,142 0 125,098 0 125,098 
     Northeast56,317 4,759 0 61,076 0 61,076 
     South208,739 17,967 0 226,706 0 226,706 
     West129,417 9,982 0 139,399 0 139,399 
Foreign bonds27,799 1,805 2 29,602 0 29,602 
Public utilities76,114 7,388 0 83,502 0 83,502 
Corporate bonds
Energy22,441 2,895 0 25,336 0 25,336 
Industrials39,513 3,744 0 43,257 0 43,257 
Consumer goods and services46,521 4,046 0 50,567 0 50,567 
Health care6,678 898 0 7,576 0 7,576 
Technology, media and telecommunications37,270 4,381 15 41,636 0 41,636 
Financial services93,736 7,564 269 101,031 5 101,026 
Mortgage-backed securities20,305 326 54 20,577 0 20,577 
Collateralized mortgage obligations
Government national mortgage association81,758 4,439 45 86,152 0 86,152 
Federal home loan mortgage corporation151,362 2,239 758 152,843 0 152,843 
Federal national mortgage association81,952 2,013 683 83,282 0 83,282 
Asset-backed securities314 612 0 926 0 926 
Total Available-For-Sale Fixed Maturities$1,720,291 $107,003 $1,851 $1,825,443 $5 $1,825,438 
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December 31, 2019
Type of InvestmentCost or Amortized Cost Gross Unrealized Appreciation Gross Unrealized Depreciation Fair Value
AVAILABLE-FOR-SALE
Fixed maturities
Bonds
U.S. Treasury$69,300 $203 $12 $69,491 
U.S. government agency97,962 2,344 104 100,202 
States, municipalities and political subdivisions
   General obligations:
      Midwest85,607 2,987 88,594 
      Northeast30,120 1,150 31,270 
      South111,688 3,515 115,203 
      West105,569 4,748 110,317 
   Special revenue:
      Midwest133,717 6,175 139,892 
      Northeast58,665 2,878 61,543 
      South224,214 10,452 234,666 
      West138,557 6,287 144,844 
Foreign bonds4,936 181 5,117 
Public utilities60,950 2,701 63,651 
Corporate bonds
Energy28,695 1,429 30,124 
Industrials52,249 1,766 54,015 
Consumer goods and services47,131 2,335 49,466 
Health care8,998 482 9,480 
Technology, media and telecommunications25,931 1,739 27,670 
Financial services96,613 3,870 230 100,253 
Mortgage-backed securities6,250 127 21 6,356 
Collateralized mortgage obligations
Government national mortgage association78,400 2,053 97 80,356 
Federal home loan mortgage corporation123,572 1,150 220 124,502 
Federal national mortgage association70,322 1,631 108 71,845 
Asset-backed securities314 436 750 
Total Available-For-Sale Fixed Maturities$1,659,760 $60,639 $792 $1,719,607 
Maturities
The amortized cost and fair value of available-for-sale fixed maturity securities at December 31, 2020, by contractual maturity, are shown in the following table. Actual maturities may differ from contractual maturities because borrowers may have the right to call or prepay obligations with or without call or prepayment penalties. Asset-backed securities, mortgage-backed securities and collateralized mortgage obligations may be subject to prepayment risk and are therefore not categorized by contractual maturity.
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Maturities
 Available-For-Sale
December 31, 2020 Amortized Cost Fair Value
Due in one year or less $32,214  $32,467 
Due after one year through five years 476,667  502,699 
Due after five years through 10 years 400,277  431,271 
Due after 10 years 475,442  515,226 
Asset-backed securities314 926 
Mortgage-backed securities 20,305  20,577 
Collateralized mortgage obligations 315,072  322,277 
  $1,720,291  $1,825,443 
Net Realized Investment Gains and Losses
Net realized gains (losses) on disposition of investments are computed using the specific identification method and are included in the computation of net income. A summary of net realized investment gains (losses) for 2020, 2019 and 2018, is as follows:
2020 20192018
Net realized investment gains (losses) from continuing operations   
Fixed maturities:
Available-for-sale$1,787 $655 $(254)
Allowance for credit losses(5)
Trading securities
Change in fair value(3,314)1,351 (296)
Sales2,950 1,993 1,226 
Equity securities
Change in fair value(6,875)51,231 (21,994)
Sales(26,906)725 1,702 
Mortgage loans(4)(26)(46)
   Real estate(28)(2,150)(517)
   Total net realized investment gains (losses) from continuing operations$(32,395)$53,779 $(20,179)
   Total net realized investment gains (losses) from discontinued operations0 (1,057)
Total net realized investment gains (losses)$(32,395) $53,779 $(21,236)
The proceeds and gross realized gains (losses) on the sale of available-for-sale fixed maturity securities from continuing operations for 2020, 2019 and 2018, are as follows:
2020 20192018
Proceeds from sales$50,744  $41,760 $132,250 
Gross realized gains1,400  302 140 
Gross realized losses(495) (13)(517)
There were 0 proceeds and gross realized gains (losses) on the sale of available-for-sale fixed maturity securities from discontinued operations for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Our investment portfolio includes trading securities with embedded derivatives. These securities are primarily convertible securities which are recorded at fair value. Income or loss, including the change in the fair value of these trading securities, is recognized currently in earnings as a component of net realized investment gains and losses. Our portfolio of trading securities had a fair value of $0 and $15,256 at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.


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Net investment income for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, is comprised of the following:
Years Ended December 31,2020 20192018
Investment income from continuing operations:
Interest on fixed maturities$46,478 $50,274 $51,356 
Dividends on equity securities6,368 7,842 7,731 
Income on other long-term investments
Investment income1,890 3,115 8,383 
Change in value (1)
(9,633)1,114 (10,116)
Interest on mortgage loans1,949 1,595 412 
Interest on short-term investments107 522 606 
Interest on cash and cash equivalents763 2,681 1,875 
Other205 252 307 
Total investment income from continuing operations$48,127 $67,395 $60,554 
Less investment expenses8,457 6,981 7,660 
Net investment income from continuing operations$39,670 $60,414 $52,894 
Net investment income from discontinued operations$0 $$12,663 
Net investment income$39,670 $60,414 $65,557 
(1)Represents the change in value of our interests in limited liability partnerships that are recorded on the equity method of accounting.
Funding Commitment
Pursuant to agreements with our limited liability partnership investments, we are contractually committed through July 10, 2030 to make capital contributions upon request of the partnerships. Our remaining potential contractual obligation was $8,484 at December 31, 2020.
In addition, the Company invested $25,000 in December 2019 in a limited liability partnership investment fund which is subject to a 3-year lockup with a 60 day minimum notice, with 4 possible repurchase dates per year, after the 3-year lockup period is met. The fair value of the investment at December 31, 2020 was $24,867 and there are no remaining capital contributions with this investment.
Credit Risk
An allowance for credit losses is recorded based on a number of factors including the current economic conditions, management's expectations of future economic conditions and performance indicators, such as market value vs. amortized cost, investment spreads widening or contracting, rating actions, payment and default history. The following table contains a rollforward of the allowance for credit losses for available-for-sale fixed maturity securities at December 31, 2020:
Rollforward of allowance for credit losses for available-for-sale fixed maturity securities:
As of
December 31, 2020
Beginning balance, January 1, 2020$
Additions to the allowance for credit losses for which credit losses were not previously recorded5
Reductions for securities sold during the period (realized)
Writeoffs charged against the allowance
Recoveries of amounts previously written off
Ending balance, December 31, 2020$

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Unrealized Appreciation and Depreciation
A summary of changes in net unrealized investment appreciation for 2020, 2019 and 2018, is as follows for continuing operations and discontinued operations:
2020 20192018
Change in net unrealized investment appreciation   
Available-for-sale fixed maturities$45,305 $71,648 $(57,475)
Deferred policy acquisition costs0  7,274 
Income tax effect(9,514) (15,046)10,543 
Cumulative change in accounting principles0 (191,244)
Net unrealized investment depreciation of discontinued operations, sold0 6,714 
Total change in net unrealized investment appreciation (depreciation), net of tax$35,791  $56,602 $(224,188)
The following tables summarize our fixed maturity securities that were in an unrealized loss position reported on a consolidated basis at December 31, 2020 and 2019. The securities are presented by the length of time they have been continuously in an unrealized loss position. Non-credit related unrealized losses are recognized as a component of other comprehensive income and represent other market movements that are not credit related, for example interest rate changes. We have no intent to sell, and it is more likely than not that we will not be required to sell, these securities until the fair value recovers to at least equal our cost basis or the securities mature.










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December 31, 2020Less than 12 months12 months or longerTotal
Type of InvestmentNumber
of Issues
Fair
Value
Gross Unrealized
Depreciation
Number
of Issues
Fair
Value
Gross Unrealized DepreciationFair
Value
Gross Unrealized Depreciation
AVAILABLE-FOR-SALE
Fixed maturities
Bonds
U.S. Treasury5 $86,371 $25 0 $0 $0 $86,371 $25 
Foreign bonds1 2,000 2 00 0 2,000 2 
Corporate bonds
Technology, media and telecommunications1 2,020 15 00 0 2,020 15 
Financial services1 2,995 5 1 3,000 7 5,995 12 
Mortgage-backed securities2 8,099 53 5 118 1 8,217 54 
Collateralized mortgage obligations
Government national mortgage association2 12,394 45 1 24 0 12,418 45 
Federal home loan mortgage corporation24 97,691 758 1 26 0 97,717 758 
Federal national mortgage association10 44,677 683 0 0 0 44,677 683 
Total Available-for-Sale Fixed Maturities46 $256,247 $1,586 8 $3,168 $8 $259,415 $1,594 

The unrealized losses on our investments in available-for-sale fixed maturities were the result of interest rate movements. We have no intent to sell, and it is more likely than not that we will not be required to sell, these securities until the fair value recovers to at least equal our cost basis or the securities mature.
December 31, 2019Less than 12 months12 months or longerTotal
Type of InvestmentNumber
of Issues
Fair
Value
Gross Unrealized DepreciationNumber
of Issues
Fair
Value
Gross Unrealized DepreciationFair
Value
Gross Unrealized Depreciation
AVAILABLE-FOR-SALE
Fixed maturities
Bonds
U.S. Treasury$$$4,733 $12 $4,733 $12 
U.S. government agency13,846 104 13,846 104 
Corporate bonds - financial services10,906 142 4,913 88 15,819 230 
Mortgage-backed securities13 1,585 21 1,585 21 
Collateralized mortgage obligations
Government national mortgage association8,444 38 3,053 59 11,497 97 
Federal home loan mortgage corporation12 50,829 183 4,844 37 55,673 220 
Federal national mortgage association23,515 90 1,102 18 24,617 108 
Total Available-for-Sale Fixed Maturities24 $107,540 $557 27 $20,230 $235 $127,770 $792 


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NOTE 3. FAIR VALUE OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

Current accounting guidance on fair value measurements includes the application of a fair value hierarchy that requires us to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs when measuring fair value. Our financial instruments that are recorded at fair value are categorized into a three-level hierarchy, which is based upon the priority of the inputs to the valuation technique. The fair value hierarchy gives the highest priority to quoted prices in active markets for identical assets (i.e., Level 1) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (i.e., Level 3). If the inputs used to measure fair value fall within different levels of the hierarchy, the category level is based on the lowest priority level input that is significant to the fair value measurement of the financial instrument.
Financial instruments recorded at fair value are categorized in the fair value hierarchy as follows:
Level 1: Valuations are based on unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical financial instruments that we have the ability to access.
Level 2: Valuations are based on quoted prices for similar financial instruments, other than quoted prices included in Level 1, in markets that are not active or on inputs that are observable either directly or indirectly for the full term of the financial instrument.
Level 3: Valuations are based on pricing or valuation techniques that require inputs that are both unobservable and significant to the overall fair value measurement of the financial instrument. Such inputs may reflect management's own assumptions about the assumptions a market participant would use in pricing the financial instrument.
We review our fair value hierarchy categorizations on a quarterly basis at which time the classification of certain financial instruments may change if the input observations have changed. Transfers between levels, if any, are recorded as of the beginning of the reporting period.
To determine the fair value of the majority of our investments, we utilize prices obtained from independent, nationally recognized pricing services. We obtain one price for each security. When the pricing services cannot provide a determination of fair value for a specific security, we obtain non-binding price quotes from broker-dealers with whom we have had several years of experience and who have demonstrated knowledge of the subject security. We request and utilize one broker quote per security.
In order to determine the proper classification in the fair value hierarchy for each security where the price is obtained from an independent pricing service, we obtain and evaluate the vendors' pricing procedures and inputs used to price the security, which include unadjusted quoted market prices for identical securities, such as a New York Stock Exchange closing price, and quoted prices for identical securities in markets that are not active. For fixed maturity securities, an evaluation of interest rates and yield curves observable at commonly quoted intervals, volatility, prepayment speeds, credit risks and default rates may also be performed. We have determined that these processes and inputs result in fair values and classifications consistent with the applicable accounting guidance on fair value measurements.
When possible, we use quoted market prices to determine the fair value of fixed maturities, equity securities, trading securities and short-term investments. When quoted market prices do not exist, we base estimates of fair value on market information obtained from independent pricing services and brokers or on valuation techniques that are both unobservable and significant to the overall fair value measurement of the financial instrument. Such inputs may reflect management's own assumptions about the assumptions a market participant would use in pricing the financial instrument. Our valuation techniques are discussed in more detail throughout this section.
The mortgage loan portfolio consists entirely of commercial mortgage loans. The fair value of our mortgage loans is determined by modeling performed by our third party fund manager based on the stated principal and coupon payments provided for in the loan agreements. These cash flows are then discounted using an appropriate risk-adjusted discount rate to determine the security's fair value.
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Our other long-term investments consist primarily of our interests in limited liability partnerships that are recorded on the equity method of accounting. The fair value of the partnerships is obtained from the fund managers, which is based on the fair value of the underlying investments held in the partnerships. In management's opinion, these values represent a reasonable estimate of fair value. We have not adjusted the net asset value provided by the fund managers.
For cash and cash equivalents and accrued investment income, carrying value is a reasonable estimate of fair value due to the short-term nature of these financial instruments.

The Company formed a rabbi trust in 2014 to fund obligations under the United Fire & Casualty Company Non-qualified Deferred Compensation Plan and United Fire Group Supplemental Executive Retirement and Deferral Plan (collectively the "Executive Retirement Plans"). Within the rabbi trust, corporate-owned life insurance ("COLI") policies are utilized as an investment vehicle and source of funding for the Company's Executive Retirement Plans. The COLI policies invest in mutual funds, which are priced daily by independent sources. As of December 31, 2020, the cash surrender value of the COLI policies was $8,557, which is equal to the fair value measured using Level 2 inputs, based on the underlying assets of the COLI policies, and is included in other assets in the Consolidated Balance Sheets.

A summary of the carrying value and estimated fair value of our financial instruments from at December 31, 2020 and 2019 is as follows:
 December 31, 2020December 31, 2019
Fair ValueCarrying ValueFair ValueCarrying Value
Assets    
Investments    
Fixed maturities:
Available-for-sale securities$1,825,443 $1,825,438 $1,719,607 $1,719,607 
Trading securities0 0 15,256 15,256 
Equity securities206,685 206,685 299,203 299,203 
Mortgage loans48,932 47,614 43,992 42,448 
Other long-term investments69,305 69,305 78,410 78,410 
Short-term investments175 175 175 175 
Cash and cash equivalents87,948 87,948 120,722 120,722 
Corporate-owned life insurance8,557 8,557 6,777 6,777 
Liabilities
Long term debt50,000 50,000 

















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The following tables present the categorization for our financial instruments measured at fair value on a recurring basis. The tables include financial instruments at December 31, 2020 and 2019:
Fair Value Measurements
DescriptionDecember 31, 2020Level 1Level 2Level 3
AVAILABLE-FOR-SALE
Fixed maturities
Bonds
U.S. Treasury$149,938 $0 $149,938 $0 
U.S. government agency64,518 0 64,518 0 
States, municipalities and political subdivisions
General obligations
   Midwest81,980 0 81,980 0 
   Northeast30,450 0 30,450 0 
   South109,970 0 109,970 0 
   West110,021 0 110,021 0 
Special revenue
   Midwest125,098 0 125,098 0 
   Northeast61,076 0 61,076 0 
   South226,706 0 226,706 0 
   West139,399 0 139,399 0 
Foreign bonds29,602 0 29,602 0 
Public utilities83,502 0 83,502 0 
Corporate bonds
Energy25,336 0 25,336 0 
Industrials43,257 0 43,257 0 
Consumer goods and services50,567 0 50,567 0 
Health care7,576 0 7,576 0 
Technology, media and telecommunications41,636 0 41,636 0 
Financial services101,031 0 100,781 250 
Mortgage-backed securities20,577 0 20,577 0 
Collateralized mortgage obligations