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News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present the 2017 awards recognizing outstanding contributions to ecology in new discoveries, teaching, sustainability, diversity, and lifelong commitment to the profession during the Society's Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore. The awards ceremony will take place during the Scientific Plenary on Monday, August 7, at 8 AM in the Oregon Ballroom, Oregon Convention Center. Learn more about ESA awards on our home website. The Eminent Ecologist Award honors a senior ecologist for an outstanding body of ecological work or sustained ecological contributions of extraordinary merit. Soil ecologist Diana Wall, the founding director of the Colorado State University's School of Global Environmental Sustainability, is world-renowned for uncovering the importance of below-ground processes. Best known for her outstanding quarter century of research in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica, one of the more challenging environments of the planet. Her research has revealed fundamental soil processes from deserts and forests to grasslands and agricultural ecosystems to New York City's Central Park. Dr. Wall's extensive collaborative work seeks to understand how the living component of soil contributes to ecosystem processes and human wellbeing--and to in turn uncover how humans impact soils, from local to global scales. In landmark studies, she revealed the key role of nematodes and other tiny animals as drivers of decomposition rates and carbon cycling. The biodiversity in soils, she found, influences ecosystem functioning and resilience to human disturbance, including climate change. She demonstrated that the biodiversity belowground can at times be decoupled from biodiversity aboveground. Her focus on nematodes in soils in very harsh environments, from the cold, dry Antarctic to hot, dry deserts, opened up a perspective on how life copes with extreme environments. She has a laudable record of publishing excellent papers in top-ranked scientific journals. Dr. Wall has played a vital role as an ecological leader, chairing numerous national and international committees and working groups and serving as president of the Ecological Society of America in 1999. She is a Fellow of ESA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society of Nematologists. In 2013, she received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for her outspoken efforts as an ambassador for the environmental and economic importance of soils and ecology. Currently, she is scientific chair of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, which works to advance soil biodiversity for use in policy and management of terrestrial ecosystems. Dr. Wall is well-respected in her role as mentor of young scientists, over several generations, and as a communicator of science outside the usual academic arenas. Odum Award recipients demonstrate their ability to relate basic ecological principles to human affairs through teaching, outreach, and mentoring activities.? Kathleen Weathers is a senior scientist and the G.Evelyn Hutchinson chair of ecology at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, where she focuses on freshwater ecosystems. For more than a decade, she has been dedicated to advancing bottom-up network science, creating training opportunities for graduate students and tools for citizen science engagement. Her efforts strive to equip the next generation of ecologists and managers with the skills needed to protect freshwater resources. Dr Weathers played a guiding role in the formation of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), and currently acts as co-chair. A part of this international grassroots collaboration she helped develop Lake Observer, a crowd-sourcing App that streamlines the way that researchers and citizen scientists record water quality observations in lakes, rivers, and streams. Dr. Weathers has made it a priority to mentor students and early-career scientists participating in GLEON, with an eye toward diversity, inclusion, and instruction. She helped empower GLEON's student association, which contributes meaningfully to governance and training within the broader network. She also spearheaded the development of the GLEON Fellows Program, a two-year graduate immersion in data analysis, international collaboration, effective communication, and team science. The GLEON Fellows Program has emerged as a model for training initiatives in macrosystem ecology, and will affect the ecological community positively for decades to come, as participants carry their training forward to other institutions and endeavors. The Distinguished Service Citation recognizes long and distinguished volunteer service to ESA, the scientific community, and the larger purpose of ecology in the public welfare. Debra Peters is the founding editor-in-chief of ESA's newest journal, Ecosphere, created in 2010 to offer a rapid path to publication for research reports from across the spectrum of ecological science, including interdisciplinary studies that may have had difficulty finding a home within the scope of the existing ESA family of journals. In her hands the online-only, open-access journal has claimed a successful niche in the ecological publications landscape, expanding to publish over 400 manuscripts in 2016. Dr. Peters, an ecologist for the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research service's (USDA-ARS) Jornada Experimental Range and lead principal investigator for the Jornada Basin Long Term Ecological Research program in Las Cruces, New Mexico, has served on the editorial boards of ESA's journals Ecological Applications, Ecology and Ecological Monographs. She chaired the society's Rangeland Section, was a founding member and chair of the Southwest Chapter, and has served as member-at-large on the Governing Board. As program chair for the 98th Annual Meeting of the society, she inaugurated the wildly popular Ignite talks, which give speakers the opportunity to present conceptual talks that do not fit into the standard research presentation format. Dr. Peters has greatly contributed to the broader research enterprise as senior advisor to the chief scientist at the USDA, and as a member of the National Ecological Observatory Network's (NEON) Board of Directors. She has provided this quite amazing array of services in support of the society and her profession while maintaining an outstanding level of research productivity and scientific leadership in landscape-level, cross-scale ecosystem ecology. Many of her more than 100 research publication have been cited more than 100 times. Her fine record of research led to her election as a Fellow of ESA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In all respects, Debra Peters exemplifies distinguished service to the ESA, and to science. ESA's Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology award recognizes long-standing contributions of an individual towards increasing the diversity of future ecologists through mentoring, teaching, or outreach. Gillian Bowser, research scientist in Colorado State University's Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, is honored for her joyful and successful recruitment and retention of under-represented students to the study of ecology, to public service in support of the natural world, and to empowerment of women and minorities worldwide. The Cooper Award honors the authors of an outstanding publication in the field of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession or the distribution of plants along environmental gradients. William S. Cooper was a pioneer of physiographic ecology and geobotany, with a particular interest in the influence of historical factors, such as glaciations and climate history, on the pattern of contemporary plant communities across landforms. University of Waterloo, Ontario professor Andrew Trant and colleagues at the University of Victoria and the Hakai Institute in British Columbia revealed a previously unappreciated historical influence on forest productivity: long-term residence of First Nations people. Counter to a more familiar story of damage to ecosystems inflicted by people and their intensive use of resources, the activities of native people on the Central Coast of British Columbia enhanced the fertility of the soil around habitation sites, leading to greater productivity of the dominant tree species, the economically and culturally valuable western redcedar (Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don). Through a combination of airborne remote sensing and on-the-ground field work, the authors showed that forest height, width, canopy cover, and greenness increased on and near shell middens. They presented the first documentation of influence on forest productivity by the daily life activities of traditional human communities. The Mercer Award recognizes an outstanding and recently-published ecological research paper by young scientists. Biological invasions, and migrations of native species in response to climate change, are pressing areas of interest in this time of global change. Fragmentation of the landscape by natural and human-made barriers slows the velocity of spread, but it is not known how patchy habitat quality might influence the potential for evolution to accelerate invasions. Jennifer Williams, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, and colleagues implemented a creative experimental design using the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana that allowed them to disentangle ecological and evolutionary dynamics during population expansion. Some plant populations were allowed to evolve, while others were continually reset to their original genetic composition. The authors convincingly demonstrate that rapid evolution can influence the speed at which populations spread, especially in fragmented landscapes. The Sustainability Science Award recognizes the authors of the scholarly work that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences. Sustainability challenges like air pollution, biodiversity loss, climate change, energy and food security, disease spread, species invasion, and water shortages and pollution are often studied, and managed, separately, although they the problems they present are interconnected. Jianguo Liu and colleagues provide a framework for addressing global sustainability challenges from a coupled human and natural systems approach that incorporates both socioeconomic and environmental factors. They review several recent papers that have quantified at times conflicting efforts to provide ecosystem services, when these efforts are examined in a global perspective. The authors argue for the need to quantify spillover systems and feedbacks and to integrate analyses over multiple spatial and temporal scales. This will likely require the development of new analytical frameworks both to understand the social ecological mechanisms involved and to inform management and policy decisions for global sustainability. The Innovation in Sustainability Science Award recognizes the authors of a peer-reviewed paper published in the past five years exemplifying leading-edge work on solution pathways to sustainability challenges. One of the biggest challenges facing development of effective policy to address sustainability issues is that the concepts and vocabulary used by scientists to define and promote sustainability rarely translate into effective policy, because they do not include measures of success. This challenge is particularly apparent in the concept of stability and resilience, terms which are frequently used in policy statements and have long been the subject of empirical and theoretical research in ecology, but for which there are no easily defined and quantified metrics. Ian Donohue and colleagues argue that much of the fault for this disconnect lies with the academic community. They summarize and analyze a number of examples to support their claim that ecologists have taken a one-dimensional approach to quantifying stability and disturbance when these are actually multi-dimensional processes. They argue that this has led to confused communication of the nature of stability, which contributes to the lack of adoption of clear policies. They propose three areas where future research is needed and make clear recommendations for better integrating the multidimensional nature of stability into research, policy and actions that should become a priority for all involved in sustainability science. The Whittaker Award recognizes an ecologist with an earned doctorate and an outstanding record of contributions in ecology who is not a U.S. citizen and who resides outside the United States. Petr Pyšek, the chair of the Department of Invasion Ecology at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, is honored for his pioneering and insightful work in invasion ecology. Dr. Pyšek is editor-in-chief of Preslia (Journal of the Czech Botanical Society) and serves on the editorial boards of Biological Invasions, Diversity and Distributions, Folia Geobotanica, and Perspectives on Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. The Shreve award supplies $1,000-2,000 to support ecological research by graduate or undergraduate student members of ESA in the hot deserts of North America (Sonora, Mohave, Chihuahua, and Vizcaino). Daniel Winkler, a PhD student with Travis Huxman at University of California Irvine, studies the invasion of Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii) in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts. His dissertation focuses on determining the source populations of Sahara mustard and whether plasticity in functional traits is allowing the species to spread. Funds from the Forrest Shreve Student Research Fund will be used to process samples for leaf stable isotopes and elemental stoichiometry, allowing for a comparison of functional traits indicative of local adaptation and the species' plasticity. Daniel was a National Park Service Young Leaders in Climate Change Fellow and a NSF EAPSI Research Fellow. Learn more about the August 7-12, 2017 ESA Annual Meeting on the meeting website: http://esa. ESA welcomes attendance from members of the press and waives registration fees for reporters and public information officers. To apply, please contact ESA Communications Officer Liza Lester directly at llester@esa.org. The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world's largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society's Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www. .


News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: www.accesswire.com

MISSION VIEJO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / February 22, 2017 / Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCQB: AOLS), a biotechnology company developing compounds to protect against fibrosis, inflammation, nerve damage and infection, announced today the initiation of a phase 1 study with its lead compound AEOL 10150. The phase 1 study is an open-label, single center, dose‑escalation study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of an escalating single dose of AEOL 10150 administered by subcutaneous injection in healthy subjects. AEOL 10150 is being developed as a treatment for the lung and delayed effects of acute radiation exposure (Lung-ARS) under a $118.4 million advanced research and development contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority ("BARDA"). BARDA is the division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for the development and purchase of medical countermeasures for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. In addition, AEOL 10150 is being developed as a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and for use in conjunction with radiation therapy to treat solid tumors. This study will expand the safety database for AEOL 10150 and will be the first set of human safety data for the new formulation of AEOL 10150 developed under the BARDA contract. The data from this study will be included in the Company's pre-Emergency Use Authorization application in Lung-ARS and will also be used to support the IPF and radiation therapy indications, as well as the use of AEOL 10150 as a medical countermeasure against lung damage from exposure to sulfur mustard gas. Prior studies with the original formulation in single and multiple dose studies of 39 patients with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis ("ALS"), demonstrated that AEOL 10150 was safe and well tolerated. The new formulation of AEOL 10150 is significantly cheaper than the prior formulation and is the subject of new patents pending with the US and global patent authorities. Additional toxicology work completed with Aeolus and BARDA funding has led to FDA concurrence to test the drug in healthy normal volunteers and animal efficacy data generated under the BARDA contract supports the drug's potential as a therapy for IPF. Upon completion of the phase 1 single dose study, Aeolus plans to initiate multiple dose studies in patients with IPF and cancer. Data from all of these studies will support the development of AEOL 10150 as a medical countermeasure for Lung-ARS and sulfur mustard exposure, as well as the IPF and cancer clinical indications. "We are very pleased to have addressed the FDA's comments and received their concurrence to test AEOL 10150 in healthy subjects. The new formulation of AEOL 10150 has reduced the cost of the drug by approximately 90 percent and the additional toxicology work cleared the way for testing in healthy subjects," stated John L McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "This phase 1 study will give us important safety and pharmacokinetic data that will allow us to accelerate and expand the development of AEOL 10150 in both large commercial and in biodefense indications that represent major unmet medical needs. We are grateful to BARDA for their support of the program, which enabled us to achieve the improvements in the cost and consistency of manufacturing AEOL 10150 and the elimination of the toxicology concerns that had previously limited our potential clinical targets." AEOL 10150 protects tissue from damage and increases survival in animal models of lung damage after exposure to radiation, toxic chemicals, disease and trauma by mitigating and/or preventing cell death, inflammation and fibrosis through its action on oxidative stress and regulation of growth factors and chemokines, as well as impacting subsequent signaling pathways of reactive oxygen species production, apoptosis and fibrosis. We are developing 10150 as a MCM for national defense and for use in oncology and treating lung fibrosis. AEOL 10150 has performed well in preclinical and non-clinical studies, demonstrating statistically significant survival efficacy in an acute radiation-induced lung injury model, and was well-tolerated in two human clinical trials. The Company believes it could have a profound beneficial impact on people who have been exposed, or are about to be exposed, to high-doses of radiation, whether from cancer therapy or a nuclear event, and potentially reduce lung damage in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and people who inhale chemical vesicants, such as sulfur mustard gas. Aeolus Pharmaceuticals is developing a platform of novel compounds for use in biodefense, fibrosis, oncology, infectious diseases and diseases of the central nervous system. Its most advanced compound, AEOL 10150, is being developed, with funding by the US Department of Health and Human Services, as a medical countermeasure against chemical and radiological weapons, where its initial target indications are as a protective agent against the effects of acute radiation syndrome and delayed effects of acute radiation exposure. Aeolus' strategy is to leverage the substantial investment in toxicology, manufacturing, and preclinical and clinical studies made by US Government agencies in AEOL 10150, including the contract with BARDA valued, with options, at up to $118.4 million, to efficiently develop the compound for use in oncology. For more information, please visit Aeolus' corporate website at www.aolsrx.com. The statements in this press release that are not purely statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. Such statements include, but are not limited to, those relating to Aeolus' product candidates, as well as its proprietary technologies, development strategies and research programs, including the Company's initiation or potential initiation of pre-clinical development as well as clinical trials, including a phase 1 study in pulmonary fibrosis patients. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Aeolus' actual results to be materially different from historical results or from any results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause results to differ include risks associated with uncertainties of progress and timing of clinical trials, scientific research and product development activities; difficulties or delays in development, testing and obtaining regulatory approval; the imposition or continuation of clinical holds on development projects; the need to obtain funding for pre-clinical and clinical trials and operations; the scope and validity of intellectual property protection for Aeolus' product candidates, proprietary technologies and their uses; competition from other biopharmaceutical companies; and whether BARDA exercises one or more additional options under the its contract with Aeolus. Certain of these factors and others are more fully described in Aeolus' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Aeolus' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2016. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

American Residential Services (ARS), a Memphis, Tenn. based, privately-held national provider of air conditioning, heating and plumbing services, donated 2650 clothing items to Dress for Success® due to a generous donation from ARS employee Frank Lamitina and his wife Marina. Marina Lamitina discovered she had Stage Four Lymphoma cancer while she and Frank were living in Florida, where she owned a clothing boutique called Queen Grace. When the couple relocated to New Jersey so that Marina could receive treatment, they put her store’s retail into storage. Shortly after, Frank took a position at A.J. Perri, an ARS network provider in New Jersey. When ARS held a dress drive, Frank knew what to do with all of their stored merchandise. He and Marina turned over the garments to the ARS Corporate Office, who facilitated the donation to Dress for Success. Dress for Success affiliates in the following areas received merchandise from the donation: Fort Myers, FL; Lantana, FL; Winter Park, FL; Miami, FL; Tampa, FL; and Jersey City, NJ. The garments include wrap dresses and women’s separates that range in size and are work-appropriate. The donation retail value is approximately $285,000 worth of merchandise. “ARS is passionate about giving back to the community, and we are honored to assist women in empowering themselves professionally,” says Chris Mellon, SVP and CMO of ARS/Rescue Rooter. “We are also fortunate to have people like the Lamitinas in our ARS family who are committed to serving others.” ABOUT AMERICAN RESIDENTIAL SERVICES: Based in Memphis, Tenn., privately-owned ARS operates a network of more than 70 locally-managed service centers in 22 states, with approximately 6,000 employees. The ARS network features industry-leading brands including, A.J. Perri, Aksarben ARS, Allgood, Andy’s Statewide, ARS, Aspen Air Conditioning, Atlas Trillo, Beutler, Blue Dot, Brothers, Columbus Worthington Air, Conway Services, Efficient Attic Systems (EAS), Florida Home Air Conditioning, Green Star Home Services, McCarthy Services, Rescue Rooter/ Proserv, Rescue Rooter, RighTime Home Services, RS Andrews, The Irish Plumber, Unique Services, "Will" Fix It, and Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing. United by Exceptional Service®, the ARS / Rescue Rooter Network serves both residential and light commercial customers by providing heating, cooling, indoor air quality, plumbing, drain cleaning, sewer line, radiant barrier, insulation and ventilation services. Each location has a knowledgeable team of trained specialists, who have undergone rigorous drug testing and criminal background checks. Providing exceptional service and ensuring the highest standards of quality, ARS has the experience to do any job right – the first time, with all work fully guaranteed. About Dress for Success: Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to 145 cities in 23 countries. To date, Dress for Success has helped more than 1,000,000 women work towards self-sufficiency. Visit http://www.dressforsuccess.org to learn more.


News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: marketersmedia.com

MISSION VIEJO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / February 22, 2017 / Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCQB: AOLS), a biotechnology company developing compounds to protect against fibrosis, inflammation, nerve damage and infection, announced today the initiation of a phase 1 study with its lead compound AEOL 10150. The phase 1 study is an open-label, single center, dose‑escalation study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of an escalating single dose of AEOL 10150 administered by subcutaneous injection in healthy subjects. AEOL 10150 is being developed as a treatment for the lung and delayed effects of acute radiation exposure (Lung-ARS) under a $118.4 million advanced research and development contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority ("BARDA"). BARDA is the division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for the development and purchase of medical countermeasures for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. In addition, AEOL 10150 is being developed as a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and for use in conjunction with radiation therapy to treat solid tumors. This study will expand the safety database for AEOL 10150 and will be the first set of human safety data for the new formulation of AEOL 10150 developed under the BARDA contract. The data from this study will be included in the Company's pre-Emergency Use Authorization application in Lung-ARS and will also be used to support the IPF and radiation therapy indications, as well as the use of AEOL 10150 as a medical countermeasure against lung damage from exposure to sulfur mustard gas. Prior studies with the original formulation in single and multiple dose studies of 39 patients with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis ("ALS"), demonstrated that AEOL 10150 was safe and well tolerated. The new formulation of AEOL 10150 is significantly cheaper than the prior formulation and is the subject of new patents pending with the US and global patent authorities. Additional toxicology work completed with Aeolus and BARDA funding has led to FDA concurrence to test the drug in healthy normal volunteers and animal efficacy data generated under the BARDA contract supports the drug's potential as a therapy for IPF. Upon completion of the phase 1 single dose study, Aeolus plans to initiate multiple dose studies in patients with IPF and cancer. Data from all of these studies will support the development of AEOL 10150 as a medical countermeasure for Lung-ARS and sulfur mustard exposure, as well as the IPF and cancer clinical indications. "We are very pleased to have addressed the FDA's comments and received their concurrence to test AEOL 10150 in healthy subjects. The new formulation of AEOL 10150 has reduced the cost of the drug by approximately 90 percent and the additional toxicology work cleared the way for testing in healthy subjects," stated John L McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "This phase 1 study will give us important safety and pharmacokinetic data that will allow us to accelerate and expand the development of AEOL 10150 in both large commercial and in biodefense indications that represent major unmet medical needs. We are grateful to BARDA for their support of the program, which enabled us to achieve the improvements in the cost and consistency of manufacturing AEOL 10150 and the elimination of the toxicology concerns that had previously limited our potential clinical targets." AEOL 10150 protects tissue from damage and increases survival in animal models of lung damage after exposure to radiation, toxic chemicals, disease and trauma by mitigating and/or preventing cell death, inflammation and fibrosis through its action on oxidative stress and regulation of growth factors and chemokines, as well as impacting subsequent signaling pathways of reactive oxygen species production, apoptosis and fibrosis. We are developing 10150 as a MCM for national defense and for use in oncology and treating lung fibrosis. AEOL 10150 has performed well in preclinical and non-clinical studies, demonstrating statistically significant survival efficacy in an acute radiation-induced lung injury model, and was well-tolerated in two human clinical trials. The Company believes it could have a profound beneficial impact on people who have been exposed, or are about to be exposed, to high-doses of radiation, whether from cancer therapy or a nuclear event, and potentially reduce lung damage in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and people who inhale chemical vesicants, such as sulfur mustard gas. Aeolus Pharmaceuticals is developing a platform of novel compounds for use in biodefense, fibrosis, oncology, infectious diseases and diseases of the central nervous system. Its most advanced compound, AEOL 10150, is being developed, with funding by the US Department of Health and Human Services, as a medical countermeasure against chemical and radiological weapons, where its initial target indications are as a protective agent against the effects of acute radiation syndrome and delayed effects of acute radiation exposure. Aeolus' strategy is to leverage the substantial investment in toxicology, manufacturing, and preclinical and clinical studies made by US Government agencies in AEOL 10150, including the contract with BARDA valued, with options, at up to $118.4 million, to efficiently develop the compound for use in oncology. For more information, please visit Aeolus' corporate website at www.aolsrx.com. The statements in this press release that are not purely statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. Such statements include, but are not limited to, those relating to Aeolus' product candidates, as well as its proprietary technologies, development strategies and research programs, including the Company's initiation or potential initiation of pre-clinical development as well as clinical trials, including a phase 1 study in pulmonary fibrosis patients. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Aeolus' actual results to be materially different from historical results or from any results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause results to differ include risks associated with uncertainties of progress and timing of clinical trials, scientific research and product development activities; difficulties or delays in development, testing and obtaining regulatory approval; the imposition or continuation of clinical holds on development projects; the need to obtain funding for pre-clinical and clinical trials and operations; the scope and validity of intellectual property protection for Aeolus' product candidates, proprietary technologies and their uses; competition from other biopharmaceutical companies; and whether BARDA exercises one or more additional options under the its contract with Aeolus. Certain of these factors and others are more fully described in Aeolus' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Aeolus' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2016. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. MISSION VIEJO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / February 22, 2017 / Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCQB: AOLS), a biotechnology company developing compounds to protect against fibrosis, inflammation, nerve damage and infection, announced today the initiation of a phase 1 study with its lead compound AEOL 10150. The phase 1 study is an open-label, single center, dose‑escalation study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of an escalating single dose of AEOL 10150 administered by subcutaneous injection in healthy subjects. AEOL 10150 is being developed as a treatment for the lung and delayed effects of acute radiation exposure (Lung-ARS) under a $118.4 million advanced research and development contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority ("BARDA"). BARDA is the division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for the development and purchase of medical countermeasures for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. In addition, AEOL 10150 is being developed as a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and for use in conjunction with radiation therapy to treat solid tumors. This study will expand the safety database for AEOL 10150 and will be the first set of human safety data for the new formulation of AEOL 10150 developed under the BARDA contract. The data from this study will be included in the Company's pre-Emergency Use Authorization application in Lung-ARS and will also be used to support the IPF and radiation therapy indications, as well as the use of AEOL 10150 as a medical countermeasure against lung damage from exposure to sulfur mustard gas. Prior studies with the original formulation in single and multiple dose studies of 39 patients with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis ("ALS"), demonstrated that AEOL 10150 was safe and well tolerated. The new formulation of AEOL 10150 is significantly cheaper than the prior formulation and is the subject of new patents pending with the US and global patent authorities. Additional toxicology work completed with Aeolus and BARDA funding has led to FDA concurrence to test the drug in healthy normal volunteers and animal efficacy data generated under the BARDA contract supports the drug's potential as a therapy for IPF. Upon completion of the phase 1 single dose study, Aeolus plans to initiate multiple dose studies in patients with IPF and cancer. Data from all of these studies will support the development of AEOL 10150 as a medical countermeasure for Lung-ARS and sulfur mustard exposure, as well as the IPF and cancer clinical indications. "We are very pleased to have addressed the FDA's comments and received their concurrence to test AEOL 10150 in healthy subjects. The new formulation of AEOL 10150 has reduced the cost of the drug by approximately 90 percent and the additional toxicology work cleared the way for testing in healthy subjects," stated John L McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aeolus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "This phase 1 study will give us important safety and pharmacokinetic data that will allow us to accelerate and expand the development of AEOL 10150 in both large commercial and in biodefense indications that represent major unmet medical needs. We are grateful to BARDA for their support of the program, which enabled us to achieve the improvements in the cost and consistency of manufacturing AEOL 10150 and the elimination of the toxicology concerns that had previously limited our potential clinical targets." AEOL 10150 protects tissue from damage and increases survival in animal models of lung damage after exposure to radiation, toxic chemicals, disease and trauma by mitigating and/or preventing cell death, inflammation and fibrosis through its action on oxidative stress and regulation of growth factors and chemokines, as well as impacting subsequent signaling pathways of reactive oxygen species production, apoptosis and fibrosis. We are developing 10150 as a MCM for national defense and for use in oncology and treating lung fibrosis. AEOL 10150 has performed well in preclinical and non-clinical studies, demonstrating statistically significant survival efficacy in an acute radiation-induced lung injury model, and was well-tolerated in two human clinical trials. The Company believes it could have a profound beneficial impact on people who have been exposed, or are about to be exposed, to high-doses of radiation, whether from cancer therapy or a nuclear event, and potentially reduce lung damage in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and people who inhale chemical vesicants, such as sulfur mustard gas. Aeolus Pharmaceuticals is developing a platform of novel compounds for use in biodefense, fibrosis, oncology, infectious diseases and diseases of the central nervous system. Its most advanced compound, AEOL 10150, is being developed, with funding by the US Department of Health and Human Services, as a medical countermeasure against chemical and radiological weapons, where its initial target indications are as a protective agent against the effects of acute radiation syndrome and delayed effects of acute radiation exposure. Aeolus' strategy is to leverage the substantial investment in toxicology, manufacturing, and preclinical and clinical studies made by US Government agencies in AEOL 10150, including the contract with BARDA valued, with options, at up to $118.4 million, to efficiently develop the compound for use in oncology. For more information, please visit Aeolus' corporate website at www.aolsrx.com. The statements in this press release that are not purely statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. Such statements include, but are not limited to, those relating to Aeolus' product candidates, as well as its proprietary technologies, development strategies and research programs, including the Company's initiation or potential initiation of pre-clinical development as well as clinical trials, including a phase 1 study in pulmonary fibrosis patients. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Aeolus' actual results to be materially different from historical results or from any results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause results to differ include risks associated with uncertainties of progress and timing of clinical trials, scientific research and product development activities; difficulties or delays in development, testing and obtaining regulatory approval; the imposition or continuation of clinical holds on development projects; the need to obtain funding for pre-clinical and clinical trials and operations; the scope and validity of intellectual property protection for Aeolus' product candidates, proprietary technologies and their uses; competition from other biopharmaceutical companies; and whether BARDA exercises one or more additional options under the its contract with Aeolus. Certain of these factors and others are more fully described in Aeolus' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Aeolus' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2016. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- National General Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:NGHC) today reported fourth quarter 2016 net income of $30.9 million or $0.28 per diluted share, compared to $13.7 million or $0.13 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2015. Fourth quarter 2016 operating earnings(1) was $32.6 million or $0.30 per diluted share, compared to $42.3 million or $0.39 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2015. Barry Karfunkel, National General’s President and CEO, stated: “This was a year of growth for National General.  We experienced significant top line expansion, driven by both organic opportunities and recent acquisitions, entered into a renewal rights transaction with Nationwide for its non-standard auto business, and recorded a solid ROE of 12% despite an increase in catastrophe losses in our Property and Casualty segment.  So far in 2017, we have announced our acquisition of Quotit® Corporation and HealthCompare® from The Word & Brown Companies, which will allow us to provide a single quote and bind platform to our agents for both major medical and supplemental products.  We continue to leverage our industry leading technology infrastructure and take advantage of the vast opportunity that we are experiencing in the market today.  All of these pieces contribute to building a premier personal lines company from which we expect to generate strong results.” *NOTE: Unless specified otherwise, discussion of our fourth quarter 2016 and 2015 results do not include financial results from the Reciprocal Exchanges, which are presented within our consolidated financial results within this release but are not included in net income available to NGHC common stockholders. Overview of Fourth Quarter 2016 as Compared to Fourth Quarter 2015 Gross written premium grew 20.7% to $818.7 million, net written premium grew 19.8% to $740.5 million, and net earned premium grew 27.2% to $817.2 million. Premium growth was driven by several key factors: underlying organic growth within our P&C segment, continued growth of our A&H segment, additional premiums from the acquisitions of Direct General which closed on November 1, 2016, Standard Property and Casualty Insurance Company (f/k/a Standard Mutual) which closed on October 7, 2016, Century-National which closed on June 1, 2016, and added premium volume from Assigned Risk Solutions (ARS), which we began writing on National General paper in the first quarter of 2016. Service and fee income grew 9.4% to $108.6 million, driven by added service and fee income from our recently completed transactions, primarily Direct General, partially offset by a decrease in our A&H segment. Other revenue in the fourth quarter 2016 included $24.3 million pre-tax bargain purchase gain related to our acquisitions of Standard Property and Casualty Insurance Company and Direct General. Excluding non-cash amortization of intangible assets, the combined ratio(10,14) was 96.3% with a loss ratio of 66.8% and an expense ratio(10, 13) of 29.5%, compared to a prior year combined ratio of 94.2% with a loss ratio of 69.3% and an expense ratio of 24.9%. Underwriting results detailed by each of our business segments are as follows: Investment income grew 9.7% to $22.0 million, reflecting an increase in the size of our investment portfolio as compared to the prior year’s quarter. Fourth quarter 2016 results included $6.5 million of net realized and unrealized investment gain compared with a loss of $0.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The fourth quarter of 2016 included no other-than-temporary impairment losses versus $6.8 million in the prior year’s quarter. Total investments and cash equivalents were $3.5 billion as of December 31, 2016. Accumulated other comprehensive income decreased to $12.7 million at December 31, 2016 from $67.4 million at September 30, 2016. Interest expense was $11.6 million, up from $8.2 million in the prior year’s quarter due to an increased amount of debt on our balance sheet. Debt was $752.0 million at December 31, 2016, up from $446.1 million at December 31, 2015 as a result of our May 2016 borrowing of $50.0 million under our credit facility, our June 2016 promissory note of $178.9 million for the acquisition of Century-National, and $72.2 million in subordinated debentures from our Direct General acquisition. Equity in earnings of unconsolidated subsidiaries (predominantly our investment in Life Settlement Entities and Real Estate investments) was a $8.4 million gain in the fourth quarter of 2016 versus a $1.7 million gain in the prior year’s quarter, reflecting fair value adjustments on life settlement contracts and income from our real estate investments. The fourth quarter of 2016 provision for income taxes was $10.4 million and the effective tax rate for the quarter was 25.5%. Included in the fourth quarter of 2016 provision for income taxes was a $5.5 million expense attributable to an increase of the deferred tax liability associated with the equalization reserves of our Luxembourg Reinsurance Companies (LRC). As of December 31, 2016, the remaining deferred tax liability associated with our LRC was $8.3 million. National General Holding Corp.’s shareholders’ equity was $1,893.8 million at December 31, 2016, growth of 25.1% from $1,514.0 million at December 31, 2015. Fully diluted book value per share was $13.52 at December 31, 2016, growth of 13.0% from $11.96 at December 31, 2015. Our trailing twelve month operating return on average equity (ROE)(15) was 12.0% as of December 31, 2016. *Loss ratio points related to P&C net earned premium in quarter the loss event was recorded National General Holdings Corp. intends to file a Form 12b-25 with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or prior to March 2, 2017 noting that it will be unable to file its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 in a timely manner.  This filing will give the Company an additional 15 day period in which to submit its Form 10-K and still be deemed a timely filer. The Company is unable to file its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 in a timely manner because the Company is still finalizing the Form 10-K and is still preparing analyses and providing documentation requested by its auditors. The Company does not anticipate any changes from the results reported in this Earnings Release. The Company expects that its Form10-K will be filed with the SEC prior to the end of the 15-day period. On Monday, February 27, 2017 at 11:00 AM ET, President and Chief Executive Officer Barry Karfunkel and Chief Financial Officer Mike Weiner will review results and discuss business conditions via a conference call that may be accessed as follows: A replay of the conference call will be accessible from 2:00 PM ET on Monday, February 27, 2017 to 11:59 PM ET on Monday, March 6, 2017 by dialing either 800-332-6854 (toll-free) within the U.S. or 973-528-0005 outside the U.S. and entering passcode 561289. In addition, a replay of the webcast can also be retrieved at http://ir.nationalgeneral.com/events.cfm. National General Holdings Corp., headquartered in New York City, is a specialty personal lines insurance holding company. National General traces its roots to 1939, has a financial strength rating of A- (excellent) from A.M. Best, and provides personal and commercial automobile, homeowners, umbrella, recreational vehicle, motorcycle, lender-placed, supplemental health and other niche insurance products. This news release contains “forward-looking statements” that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects on the Company. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as “may,” “will,” “plan,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate” and “believe” or their variations or similar terminology. There can be no assurance that actual developments will be those anticipated by the Company. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements as a result of significant risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, non-receipt of expected payments from insureds or reinsurers, changes in interest rates, a downgrade in the financial strength ratings of our insurance subsidiaries, the effect of the performance of financial markets on our investment portfolio, our ability to accurately underwrite and price our products and to maintain and establish accurate loss reserves, estimates of the fair value of our life settlement contracts, development of claims and the effect on loss reserves, accuracy in projecting loss reserves, the cost and availability of reinsurance coverage, the effects of emerging claim and coverage issues, changes in the demand for our products, our degree of success in integrating acquired businesses, the effect of general economic conditions, state and federal legislation, regulations and regulatory investigations into industry practices, risks associated with conducting business outside the United States, developments relating to existing agreements, disruptions to our business relationships with AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., ACP Re Ltd., Maiden Holdings, Ltd., or third party agencies, breaches in data security or other disruptions involving our technology, heightened competition, changes in pricing environments, and changes in asset valuations. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made only as of the date of this release. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement except as may be required by law. Additional information about these risks and uncertainties, as well as others that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected is contained in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. NOTE: Consolidated column includes eliminations as follows: (A) $(711), (B) $711, (C) $(11,675), (D) $(2,328), (E) $(14,003), (F) $(11,675), (G) $(2,328), (H) $(14,003), (I) $(9,288), (J) $(9,288), (K) $(45), (L) $(9,243) and (M) $(9,288). NOTES: Consolidated column includes eliminations as follows: (A) $(2,312), (B) $2,312, (C) $(33,816), (D) $(6,506), (E) $(40,322), (F) $(6), (G) $(33,810), (H) $(6,506), (I) $(40,322), (J) $(3,590), (K) $3,590, (L) $(39,792), (M) $(39,792), (N) $(108), (O) $(39,684) and (P) $(39,792). (1) Consolidated column for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016 excludes Reciprocal Exchanges’ operating results from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, as these entities did not meet the criteria for consolidation under GAAP. NOTE: Consolidated column includes eliminations as follows: (A) $(89,008), (B) (801), (C) $(22,125), (D) $(111,934), (E) (801), (F) $(6,398), (G) $(89,008), (H) $(15,727), (I) $(111,934) and (J) $(111,934). NOTE: (1) Reciprocal Exchanges’ column for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016 excludes its operating results from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, as these entities did not meet the criteria for consolidation under GAAP. NOTE: Consolidated Total includes eliminations of $(711) and $0 within 2016 and 2015 Gross Written Premium, respectively. NOTES: Consolidated Total includes eliminations of $(2,312) and $(3,590) within 2016 and 2015 Gross Written Premium, respectively. (1) Reciprocal Exchanges for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016 excludes its operating results from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, as these entities did not meet the criteria for consolidation under GAAP. (1) References to operating earnings and basic and diluted operating EPS are non-GAAP financial measures defined by the Company as net income and basic earnings per share excluding after-tax net realized and unrealized gain or loss on investments, other-than-temporary impairment losses, foreign exchange gain or loss, bargain purchase gain, equity in earnings or losses of unconsolidated subsidiaries (other than LSC Entities and Real Estate investment gains or losses), non-cash impairment of goodwill and non-cash amortization of intangible assets. The Company believes operating earnings and basic and diluted operating EPS are more relevant measures of the Company’s profitability because operating earnings and basic and diluted operating EPS contain the components of net income upon which the Company’s management has the most influence and excludes factors outside management’s direct control and non-recurring items. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (2) Premiums and other receivables, net includes $10,264 and $62,306 from related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (3) Reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses includes $26,782 and $42,774 from related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (4) Reinsurance payable includes $33,419 and $31,923 due to related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (5) Accounts payable and accrued expenses includes $29,271 and $51,755 to related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (6) Debt (Exchanges owed to related party) includes $0 and $45,476 at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (7) Common stock: $0.01 par value - authorized 150,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 106,428,092 shares - December 31, 2016; authorized 150,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 105,554,331 shares - December 31, 2015. (8) Preferred stock: $0.01 par value - authorized 10,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 2,565,000 shares - December 31, 2016; authorized 10,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 2,365,000 shares - December 31, 2015. (9) Loss and loss adjustment expense ratio is calculated by dividing loss and loss adjustment expense by net earned premium. (10) Operating expense ratio and combined ratio are considered non-GAAP financial measures under applicable SEC rules because a component of those ratios, operating expense, is calculated by offsetting acquisition and other underwriting costs and general and administrative expenses by ceding commission income and service and fee income. Management uses operating expense ratio (non-GAAP) and combined ratio (non-GAAP) to evaluate financial performance against historical results and establish targets on a consolidated basis. The Company believes this presentation enhances the understanding of our results by eliminating what we believe are volatile and unusual events and presenting the ratios with what we believe are the underlying run rates of the business. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and, therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (11) Operating expense ratio is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by dividing operating expense by net earned premium. Operating expense consists of the sum of acquisition and other underwriting costs and general and administrative expenses less ceding commission income and service and fee income. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (12) Combined ratio is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by adding the loss and loss adjustment expense ratio and the operating expense ratio (non-GAAP) together. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s underwriting discipline, efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business, and overall underwriting profit. A combined ratio under 100% generally indicates an underwriting profit, while over 100% an underwriting loss. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. (13) Operating expense ratio before amortization and impairment is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by dividing the operating expense before amortization and impairment by net earned premium. Operating expense before amortization and impairment consists of the sum of acquisition and other underwriting costs and general and administrative expenses less ceding commission income and service and fee income less non-cash amortization of intangible assets and non-cash impairment of goodwill. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (14) Combined ratio before amortization and impairment is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by adding the loss and loss adjustment expense ratio and the operating expense ratio before amortization and impairment (non-GAAP) together. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s underwriting discipline, efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business, and overall underwriting profit. A combined ratio under 100% generally indicates an underwriting profit, while over 100% an underwriting loss. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (15) Trailing twelve month operating return on average equity is the ratio of the previous twelve months operating earnings to average shareholders’ equity for the periods presented. Average shareholders’ equity is the sum of the shareholders’ equity excluding preferred stock at the beginning and end of the period presented divided by two. In the opinion of the Company’s management this ratio is an important indicator of how well management creates value for its shareholders through its operating activities and capital management. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of net income to operating earnings, which is the Non-GAAP component of the operating return on average equity.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- National General Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:NGHC) today reported fourth quarter 2016 net income of $30.9 million or $0.28 per diluted share, compared to $13.7 million or $0.13 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2015. Fourth quarter 2016 operating earnings(1) was $32.6 million or $0.30 per diluted share, compared to $42.3 million or $0.39 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2015. Barry Karfunkel, National General’s President and CEO, stated: “This was a year of growth for National General.  We experienced significant top line expansion, driven by both organic opportunities and recent acquisitions, entered into a renewal rights transaction with Nationwide for its non-standard auto business, and recorded a solid ROE of 12% despite an increase in catastrophe losses in our Property and Casualty segment.  So far in 2017, we have announced our acquisition of Quotit® Corporation and HealthCompare® from The Word & Brown Companies, which will allow us to provide a single quote and bind platform to our agents for both major medical and supplemental products.  We continue to leverage our industry leading technology infrastructure and take advantage of the vast opportunity that we are experiencing in the market today.  All of these pieces contribute to building a premier personal lines company from which we expect to generate strong results.” *NOTE: Unless specified otherwise, discussion of our fourth quarter 2016 and 2015 results do not include financial results from the Reciprocal Exchanges, which are presented within our consolidated financial results within this release but are not included in net income available to NGHC common stockholders. Overview of Fourth Quarter 2016 as Compared to Fourth Quarter 2015 Gross written premium grew 20.7% to $818.7 million, net written premium grew 19.8% to $740.5 million, and net earned premium grew 27.2% to $817.2 million. Premium growth was driven by several key factors: underlying organic growth within our P&C segment, continued growth of our A&H segment, additional premiums from the acquisitions of Direct General which closed on November 1, 2016, Standard Property and Casualty Insurance Company (f/k/a Standard Mutual) which closed on October 7, 2016, Century-National which closed on June 1, 2016, and added premium volume from Assigned Risk Solutions (ARS), which we began writing on National General paper in the first quarter of 2016. Service and fee income grew 9.4% to $108.6 million, driven by added service and fee income from our recently completed transactions, primarily Direct General, partially offset by a decrease in our A&H segment. Other revenue in the fourth quarter 2016 included $24.3 million pre-tax bargain purchase gain related to our acquisitions of Standard Property and Casualty Insurance Company and Direct General. Excluding non-cash amortization of intangible assets, the combined ratio(10,14) was 96.3% with a loss ratio of 66.8% and an expense ratio(10, 13) of 29.5%, compared to a prior year combined ratio of 94.2% with a loss ratio of 69.3% and an expense ratio of 24.9%. Underwriting results detailed by each of our business segments are as follows: Investment income grew 9.7% to $22.0 million, reflecting an increase in the size of our investment portfolio as compared to the prior year’s quarter. Fourth quarter 2016 results included $6.5 million of net realized and unrealized investment gain compared with a loss of $0.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The fourth quarter of 2016 included no other-than-temporary impairment losses versus $6.8 million in the prior year’s quarter. Total investments and cash equivalents were $3.5 billion as of December 31, 2016. Accumulated other comprehensive income decreased to $12.7 million at December 31, 2016 from $67.4 million at September 30, 2016. Interest expense was $11.6 million, up from $8.2 million in the prior year’s quarter due to an increased amount of debt on our balance sheet. Debt was $752.0 million at December 31, 2016, up from $446.1 million at December 31, 2015 as a result of our May 2016 borrowing of $50.0 million under our credit facility, our June 2016 promissory note of $178.9 million for the acquisition of Century-National, and $72.2 million in subordinated debentures from our Direct General acquisition. Equity in earnings of unconsolidated subsidiaries (predominantly our investment in Life Settlement Entities and Real Estate investments) was a $8.4 million gain in the fourth quarter of 2016 versus a $1.7 million gain in the prior year’s quarter, reflecting fair value adjustments on life settlement contracts and income from our real estate investments. The fourth quarter of 2016 provision for income taxes was $10.4 million and the effective tax rate for the quarter was 25.5%. Included in the fourth quarter of 2016 provision for income taxes was a $5.5 million expense attributable to an increase of the deferred tax liability associated with the equalization reserves of our Luxembourg Reinsurance Companies (LRC). As of December 31, 2016, the remaining deferred tax liability associated with our LRC was $8.3 million. National General Holding Corp.’s shareholders’ equity was $1,893.8 million at December 31, 2016, growth of 25.1% from $1,514.0 million at December 31, 2015. Fully diluted book value per share was $13.52 at December 31, 2016, growth of 13.0% from $11.96 at December 31, 2015. Our trailing twelve month operating return on average equity (ROE)(15) was 12.0% as of December 31, 2016. *Loss ratio points related to P&C net earned premium in quarter the loss event was recorded National General Holdings Corp. intends to file a Form 12b-25 with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or prior to March 2, 2017 noting that it will be unable to file its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 in a timely manner.  This filing will give the Company an additional 15 day period in which to submit its Form 10-K and still be deemed a timely filer. The Company is unable to file its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 in a timely manner because the Company is still finalizing the Form 10-K and is still preparing analyses and providing documentation requested by its auditors. The Company does not anticipate any changes from the results reported in this Earnings Release. The Company expects that its Form10-K will be filed with the SEC prior to the end of the 15-day period. On Monday, February 27, 2017 at 11:00 AM ET, President and Chief Executive Officer Barry Karfunkel and Chief Financial Officer Mike Weiner will review results and discuss business conditions via a conference call that may be accessed as follows: A replay of the conference call will be accessible from 2:00 PM ET on Monday, February 27, 2017 to 11:59 PM ET on Monday, March 6, 2017 by dialing either 800-332-6854 (toll-free) within the U.S. or 973-528-0005 outside the U.S. and entering passcode 561289. In addition, a replay of the webcast can also be retrieved at http://ir.nationalgeneral.com/events.cfm. National General Holdings Corp., headquartered in New York City, is a specialty personal lines insurance holding company. National General traces its roots to 1939, has a financial strength rating of A- (excellent) from A.M. Best, and provides personal and commercial automobile, homeowners, umbrella, recreational vehicle, motorcycle, lender-placed, supplemental health and other niche insurance products. This news release contains “forward-looking statements” that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects on the Company. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as “may,” “will,” “plan,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate” and “believe” or their variations or similar terminology. There can be no assurance that actual developments will be those anticipated by the Company. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements as a result of significant risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, non-receipt of expected payments from insureds or reinsurers, changes in interest rates, a downgrade in the financial strength ratings of our insurance subsidiaries, the effect of the performance of financial markets on our investment portfolio, our ability to accurately underwrite and price our products and to maintain and establish accurate loss reserves, estimates of the fair value of our life settlement contracts, development of claims and the effect on loss reserves, accuracy in projecting loss reserves, the cost and availability of reinsurance coverage, the effects of emerging claim and coverage issues, changes in the demand for our products, our degree of success in integrating acquired businesses, the effect of general economic conditions, state and federal legislation, regulations and regulatory investigations into industry practices, risks associated with conducting business outside the United States, developments relating to existing agreements, disruptions to our business relationships with AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., ACP Re Ltd., Maiden Holdings, Ltd., or third party agencies, breaches in data security or other disruptions involving our technology, heightened competition, changes in pricing environments, and changes in asset valuations. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made only as of the date of this release. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement except as may be required by law. Additional information about these risks and uncertainties, as well as others that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected is contained in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. NOTE: Consolidated column includes eliminations as follows: (A) $(711), (B) $711, (C) $(11,675), (D) $(2,328), (E) $(14,003), (F) $(11,675), (G) $(2,328), (H) $(14,003), (I) $(9,288), (J) $(9,288), (K) $(45), (L) $(9,243) and (M) $(9,288). NOTES: Consolidated column includes eliminations as follows: (A) $(2,312), (B) $2,312, (C) $(33,816), (D) $(6,506), (E) $(40,322), (F) $(6), (G) $(33,810), (H) $(6,506), (I) $(40,322), (J) $(3,590), (K) $3,590, (L) $(39,792), (M) $(39,792), (N) $(108), (O) $(39,684) and (P) $(39,792). (1) Consolidated column for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016 excludes Reciprocal Exchanges’ operating results from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, as these entities did not meet the criteria for consolidation under GAAP. NOTE: Consolidated column includes eliminations as follows: (A) $(89,008), (B) (801), (C) $(22,125), (D) $(111,934), (E) (801), (F) $(6,398), (G) $(89,008), (H) $(15,727), (I) $(111,934) and (J) $(111,934). NOTE: (1) Reciprocal Exchanges’ column for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016 excludes its operating results from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, as these entities did not meet the criteria for consolidation under GAAP. NOTE: Consolidated Total includes eliminations of $(711) and $0 within 2016 and 2015 Gross Written Premium, respectively. NOTES: Consolidated Total includes eliminations of $(2,312) and $(3,590) within 2016 and 2015 Gross Written Premium, respectively. (1) Reciprocal Exchanges for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016 excludes its operating results from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, as these entities did not meet the criteria for consolidation under GAAP. (1) References to operating earnings and basic and diluted operating EPS are non-GAAP financial measures defined by the Company as net income and basic earnings per share excluding after-tax net realized and unrealized gain or loss on investments, other-than-temporary impairment losses, foreign exchange gain or loss, bargain purchase gain, equity in earnings or losses of unconsolidated subsidiaries (other than LSC Entities and Real Estate investment gains or losses), non-cash impairment of goodwill and non-cash amortization of intangible assets. The Company believes operating earnings and basic and diluted operating EPS are more relevant measures of the Company’s profitability because operating earnings and basic and diluted operating EPS contain the components of net income upon which the Company’s management has the most influence and excludes factors outside management’s direct control and non-recurring items. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (2) Premiums and other receivables, net includes $10,264 and $62,306 from related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (3) Reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses includes $26,782 and $42,774 from related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (4) Reinsurance payable includes $33,419 and $31,923 due to related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (5) Accounts payable and accrued expenses includes $29,271 and $51,755 to related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (6) Debt (Exchanges owed to related party) includes $0 and $45,476 at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (7) Common stock: $0.01 par value - authorized 150,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 106,428,092 shares - December 31, 2016; authorized 150,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 105,554,331 shares - December 31, 2015. (8) Preferred stock: $0.01 par value - authorized 10,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 2,565,000 shares - December 31, 2016; authorized 10,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 2,365,000 shares - December 31, 2015. (9) Loss and loss adjustment expense ratio is calculated by dividing loss and loss adjustment expense by net earned premium. (10) Operating expense ratio and combined ratio are considered non-GAAP financial measures under applicable SEC rules because a component of those ratios, operating expense, is calculated by offsetting acquisition and other underwriting costs and general and administrative expenses by ceding commission income and service and fee income. Management uses operating expense ratio (non-GAAP) and combined ratio (non-GAAP) to evaluate financial performance against historical results and establish targets on a consolidated basis. The Company believes this presentation enhances the understanding of our results by eliminating what we believe are volatile and unusual events and presenting the ratios with what we believe are the underlying run rates of the business. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and, therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (11) Operating expense ratio is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by dividing operating expense by net earned premium. Operating expense consists of the sum of acquisition and other underwriting costs and general and administrative expenses less ceding commission income and service and fee income. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (12) Combined ratio is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by adding the loss and loss adjustment expense ratio and the operating expense ratio (non-GAAP) together. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s underwriting discipline, efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business, and overall underwriting profit. A combined ratio under 100% generally indicates an underwriting profit, while over 100% an underwriting loss. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. (13) Operating expense ratio before amortization and impairment is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by dividing the operating expense before amortization and impairment by net earned premium. Operating expense before amortization and impairment consists of the sum of acquisition and other underwriting costs and general and administrative expenses less ceding commission income and service and fee income less non-cash amortization of intangible assets and non-cash impairment of goodwill. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (14) Combined ratio before amortization and impairment is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by adding the loss and loss adjustment expense ratio and the operating expense ratio before amortization and impairment (non-GAAP) together. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s underwriting discipline, efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business, and overall underwriting profit. A combined ratio under 100% generally indicates an underwriting profit, while over 100% an underwriting loss. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (15) Trailing twelve month operating return on average equity is the ratio of the previous twelve months operating earnings to average shareholders’ equity for the periods presented. Average shareholders’ equity is the sum of the shareholders’ equity excluding preferred stock at the beginning and end of the period presented divided by two. In the opinion of the Company’s management this ratio is an important indicator of how well management creates value for its shareholders through its operating activities and capital management. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of net income to operating earnings, which is the Non-GAAP component of the operating return on average equity.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- National General Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:NGHC) today reported fourth quarter 2016 net income of $30.9 million or $0.28 per diluted share, compared to $13.7 million or $0.13 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2015. Fourth quarter 2016 operating earnings(1) was $32.6 million or $0.30 per diluted share, compared to $42.3 million or $0.39 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2015. Barry Karfunkel, National General’s President and CEO, stated: “This was a year of growth for National General.  We experienced significant top line expansion, driven by both organic opportunities and recent acquisitions, entered into a renewal rights transaction with Nationwide for its non-standard auto business, and recorded a solid ROE of 12% despite an increase in catastrophe losses in our Property and Casualty segment.  So far in 2017, we have announced our acquisition of Quotit® Corporation and HealthCompare® from The Word & Brown Companies, which will allow us to provide a single quote and bind platform to our agents for both major medical and supplemental products.  We continue to leverage our industry leading technology infrastructure and take advantage of the vast opportunity that we are experiencing in the market today.  All of these pieces contribute to building a premier personal lines company from which we expect to generate strong results.” *NOTE: Unless specified otherwise, discussion of our fourth quarter 2016 and 2015 results do not include financial results from the Reciprocal Exchanges, which are presented within our consolidated financial results within this release but are not included in net income available to NGHC common stockholders. Overview of Fourth Quarter 2016 as Compared to Fourth Quarter 2015 Gross written premium grew 20.7% to $818.7 million, net written premium grew 19.8% to $740.5 million, and net earned premium grew 27.2% to $817.2 million. Premium growth was driven by several key factors: underlying organic growth within our P&C segment, continued growth of our A&H segment, additional premiums from the acquisitions of Direct General which closed on November 1, 2016, Standard Property and Casualty Insurance Company (f/k/a Standard Mutual) which closed on October 7, 2016, Century-National which closed on June 1, 2016, and added premium volume from Assigned Risk Solutions (ARS), which we began writing on National General paper in the first quarter of 2016. Service and fee income grew 9.4% to $108.6 million, driven by added service and fee income from our recently completed transactions, primarily Direct General, partially offset by a decrease in our A&H segment. Other revenue in the fourth quarter 2016 included $24.3 million pre-tax bargain purchase gain related to our acquisitions of Standard Property and Casualty Insurance Company and Direct General. Excluding non-cash amortization of intangible assets, the combined ratio(10,14) was 96.3% with a loss ratio of 66.8% and an expense ratio(10, 13) of 29.5%, compared to a prior year combined ratio of 94.2% with a loss ratio of 69.3% and an expense ratio of 24.9%. Underwriting results detailed by each of our business segments are as follows: Investment income grew 9.7% to $22.0 million, reflecting an increase in the size of our investment portfolio as compared to the prior year’s quarter. Fourth quarter 2016 results included $6.5 million of net realized and unrealized investment gain compared with a loss of $0.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The fourth quarter of 2016 included no other-than-temporary impairment losses versus $6.8 million in the prior year’s quarter. Total investments and cash equivalents were $3.5 billion as of December 31, 2016. Accumulated other comprehensive income decreased to $12.7 million at December 31, 2016 from $67.4 million at September 30, 2016. Interest expense was $11.6 million, up from $8.2 million in the prior year’s quarter due to an increased amount of debt on our balance sheet. Debt was $752.0 million at December 31, 2016, up from $446.1 million at December 31, 2015 as a result of our May 2016 borrowing of $50.0 million under our credit facility, our June 2016 promissory note of $178.9 million for the acquisition of Century-National, and $72.2 million in subordinated debentures from our Direct General acquisition. Equity in earnings of unconsolidated subsidiaries (predominantly our investment in Life Settlement Entities and Real Estate investments) was a $8.4 million gain in the fourth quarter of 2016 versus a $1.7 million gain in the prior year’s quarter, reflecting fair value adjustments on life settlement contracts and income from our real estate investments. The fourth quarter of 2016 provision for income taxes was $10.4 million and the effective tax rate for the quarter was 25.5%. Included in the fourth quarter of 2016 provision for income taxes was a $5.5 million expense attributable to an increase of the deferred tax liability associated with the equalization reserves of our Luxembourg Reinsurance Companies (LRC). As of December 31, 2016, the remaining deferred tax liability associated with our LRC was $8.3 million. National General Holding Corp.’s shareholders’ equity was $1,893.8 million at December 31, 2016, growth of 25.1% from $1,514.0 million at December 31, 2015. Fully diluted book value per share was $13.52 at December 31, 2016, growth of 13.0% from $11.96 at December 31, 2015. Our trailing twelve month operating return on average equity (ROE)(15) was 12.0% as of December 31, 2016. *Loss ratio points related to P&C net earned premium in quarter the loss event was recorded National General Holdings Corp. intends to file a Form 12b-25 with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or prior to March 2, 2017 noting that it will be unable to file its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 in a timely manner.  This filing will give the Company an additional 15 day period in which to submit its Form 10-K and still be deemed a timely filer. The Company is unable to file its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 in a timely manner because the Company is still finalizing the Form 10-K and is still preparing analyses and providing documentation requested by its auditors. The Company does not anticipate any changes from the results reported in this Earnings Release. The Company expects that its Form10-K will be filed with the SEC prior to the end of the 15-day period. On Monday, February 27, 2017 at 11:00 AM ET, President and Chief Executive Officer Barry Karfunkel and Chief Financial Officer Mike Weiner will review results and discuss business conditions via a conference call that may be accessed as follows: A replay of the conference call will be accessible from 2:00 PM ET on Monday, February 27, 2017 to 11:59 PM ET on Monday, March 6, 2017 by dialing either 800-332-6854 (toll-free) within the U.S. or 973-528-0005 outside the U.S. and entering passcode 561289. In addition, a replay of the webcast can also be retrieved at http://ir.nationalgeneral.com/events.cfm. National General Holdings Corp., headquartered in New York City, is a specialty personal lines insurance holding company. National General traces its roots to 1939, has a financial strength rating of A- (excellent) from A.M. Best, and provides personal and commercial automobile, homeowners, umbrella, recreational vehicle, motorcycle, lender-placed, supplemental health and other niche insurance products. This news release contains “forward-looking statements” that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects on the Company. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as “may,” “will,” “plan,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate” and “believe” or their variations or similar terminology. There can be no assurance that actual developments will be those anticipated by the Company. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements as a result of significant risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, non-receipt of expected payments from insureds or reinsurers, changes in interest rates, a downgrade in the financial strength ratings of our insurance subsidiaries, the effect of the performance of financial markets on our investment portfolio, our ability to accurately underwrite and price our products and to maintain and establish accurate loss reserves, estimates of the fair value of our life settlement contracts, development of claims and the effect on loss reserves, accuracy in projecting loss reserves, the cost and availability of reinsurance coverage, the effects of emerging claim and coverage issues, changes in the demand for our products, our degree of success in integrating acquired businesses, the effect of general economic conditions, state and federal legislation, regulations and regulatory investigations into industry practices, risks associated with conducting business outside the United States, developments relating to existing agreements, disruptions to our business relationships with AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., ACP Re Ltd., Maiden Holdings, Ltd., or third party agencies, breaches in data security or other disruptions involving our technology, heightened competition, changes in pricing environments, and changes in asset valuations. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made only as of the date of this release. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement except as may be required by law. Additional information about these risks and uncertainties, as well as others that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected is contained in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. NOTE: Consolidated column includes eliminations as follows: (A) $(711), (B) $711, (C) $(11,675), (D) $(2,328), (E) $(14,003), (F) $(11,675), (G) $(2,328), (H) $(14,003), (I) $(9,288), (J) $(9,288), (K) $(45), (L) $(9,243) and (M) $(9,288). NOTES: Consolidated column includes eliminations as follows: (A) $(2,312), (B) $2,312, (C) $(33,816), (D) $(6,506), (E) $(40,322), (F) $(6), (G) $(33,810), (H) $(6,506), (I) $(40,322), (J) $(3,590), (K) $3,590, (L) $(39,792), (M) $(39,792), (N) $(108), (O) $(39,684) and (P) $(39,792). (1) Consolidated column for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016 excludes Reciprocal Exchanges’ operating results from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, as these entities did not meet the criteria for consolidation under GAAP. NOTE: Consolidated column includes eliminations as follows: (A) $(89,008), (B) (801), (C) $(22,125), (D) $(111,934), (E) (801), (F) $(6,398), (G) $(89,008), (H) $(15,727), (I) $(111,934) and (J) $(111,934). NOTE: (1) Reciprocal Exchanges’ column for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016 excludes its operating results from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, as these entities did not meet the criteria for consolidation under GAAP. NOTE: Consolidated Total includes eliminations of $(711) and $0 within 2016 and 2015 Gross Written Premium, respectively. NOTES: Consolidated Total includes eliminations of $(2,312) and $(3,590) within 2016 and 2015 Gross Written Premium, respectively. (1) Reciprocal Exchanges for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016 excludes its operating results from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016, as these entities did not meet the criteria for consolidation under GAAP. (1) References to operating earnings and basic and diluted operating EPS are non-GAAP financial measures defined by the Company as net income and basic earnings per share excluding after-tax net realized and unrealized gain or loss on investments, other-than-temporary impairment losses, foreign exchange gain or loss, bargain purchase gain, equity in earnings or losses of unconsolidated subsidiaries (other than LSC Entities and Real Estate investment gains or losses), non-cash impairment of goodwill and non-cash amortization of intangible assets. The Company believes operating earnings and basic and diluted operating EPS are more relevant measures of the Company’s profitability because operating earnings and basic and diluted operating EPS contain the components of net income upon which the Company’s management has the most influence and excludes factors outside management’s direct control and non-recurring items. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (2) Premiums and other receivables, net includes $10,264 and $62,306 from related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (3) Reinsurance recoverable on unpaid losses includes $26,782 and $42,774 from related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (4) Reinsurance payable includes $33,419 and $31,923 due to related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (5) Accounts payable and accrued expenses includes $29,271 and $51,755 to related parties at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (6) Debt (Exchanges owed to related party) includes $0 and $45,476 at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively. (7) Common stock: $0.01 par value - authorized 150,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 106,428,092 shares - December 31, 2016; authorized 150,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 105,554,331 shares - December 31, 2015. (8) Preferred stock: $0.01 par value - authorized 10,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 2,565,000 shares - December 31, 2016; authorized 10,000,000 shares, issued and outstanding 2,365,000 shares - December 31, 2015. (9) Loss and loss adjustment expense ratio is calculated by dividing loss and loss adjustment expense by net earned premium. (10) Operating expense ratio and combined ratio are considered non-GAAP financial measures under applicable SEC rules because a component of those ratios, operating expense, is calculated by offsetting acquisition and other underwriting costs and general and administrative expenses by ceding commission income and service and fee income. Management uses operating expense ratio (non-GAAP) and combined ratio (non-GAAP) to evaluate financial performance against historical results and establish targets on a consolidated basis. The Company believes this presentation enhances the understanding of our results by eliminating what we believe are volatile and unusual events and presenting the ratios with what we believe are the underlying run rates of the business. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and, therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (11) Operating expense ratio is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by dividing operating expense by net earned premium. Operating expense consists of the sum of acquisition and other underwriting costs and general and administrative expenses less ceding commission income and service and fee income. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (12) Combined ratio is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by adding the loss and loss adjustment expense ratio and the operating expense ratio (non-GAAP) together. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s underwriting discipline, efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business, and overall underwriting profit. A combined ratio under 100% generally indicates an underwriting profit, while over 100% an underwriting loss. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. (13) Operating expense ratio before amortization and impairment is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by dividing the operating expense before amortization and impairment by net earned premium. Operating expense before amortization and impairment consists of the sum of acquisition and other underwriting costs and general and administrative expenses less ceding commission income and service and fee income less non-cash amortization of intangible assets and non-cash impairment of goodwill. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (14) Combined ratio before amortization and impairment is a non-GAAP measure defined by the Company, that is commonly used in the insurance industry. The Company calculates the ratio by adding the loss and loss adjustment expense ratio and the operating expense ratio before amortization and impairment (non-GAAP) together. The ratio is used as an indicator of the Company’s underwriting discipline, efficiency in acquiring and servicing its business, and overall underwriting profit. A combined ratio under 100% generally indicates an underwriting profit, while over 100% an underwriting loss. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure. (15) Trailing twelve month operating return on average equity is the ratio of the previous twelve months operating earnings to average shareholders’ equity for the periods presented. Average shareholders’ equity is the sum of the shareholders’ equity excluding preferred stock at the beginning and end of the period presented divided by two. In the opinion of the Company’s management this ratio is an important indicator of how well management creates value for its shareholders through its operating activities and capital management. Other companies may calculate these measures differently, and therefore, their measures may not be comparable to those used by National General. Please see the Non-GAAP Financial Measures table within this release for the reconciliation of net income to operating earnings, which is the Non-GAAP component of the operating return on average equity.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: marketersmedia.com

VANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / February 23, 2017 / Asiamet Resources Limited ("ARS" or the "Company") (TSX-V and AIM: ARS) is pleased to announce the results of a comprehensive review of all historical exploration data collected within a 3 kilometer radius of the BKM deposit in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia where the Company is currently advancing feasibility studies for the development of a 25,000 tpa SX-EW copper mine. The review assessed the base and precious metal potential at each of the Beruang Kanan West (BKW), Beruang Kanan South (BKS), and BKZ Polymetallic Prospects (BKZ). Significant copper, zinc, and associated base and precious metal mineralization warranting near term drill testing is present on each of the key prospect areas. These prospects are shown on the project location map in Figure 1 and historic results for each prospect area are summarized below. - A well-defined high tenor copper in soil anomaly measuring 800m x 600m is located less than 1km south of BKM and is coincident with copper mineralized sheeted veins and a strong near surface IP geophysical anomaly of similar intensity to the near surface signature at BKM. This hole also intersected near surface high grade gold mineralization as follows: Three scout holes were drilled in 2015, totaling 194.8 meters. The first drill hole BKM30350-01 intersected a barren dyke and was not assayed. Drill holes BKM30500-01 and BKM30625-01 locally intersected moderate to strong copper mineralization, including: - BKM30500-01 - 10.0m @ 2.52% Cu from 19.5m depth - Includes 2m @ 7.45% Cu from 19.5m depth - 3.0m @ 1.45% Cu from 43.5m depth - 3.5m @ 1.04% Cu from 58.5m depth - Multiple copper mineralized sheeted vein zones with wide spread alteration similar to BKM are observed within a 2.5 sqkm area, including exposures along the BKM access road. Three well defined copper in soil anomalies occur coincident with these sheeted vein zones, the largest measuring 1.7km x 1km. - Copper in soil anomalies are coincident with chargeability anomalies identified in IP geophysical surveys. The most prominent chargeability anomaly which replicates the BKM signature is greater than 1 km in strike length. - Historic rock chip sampling of these sheeted vein zones yielded highly anomalous copper values, with individual rock chip samples assaying up to 7.1% Cu. - No previous drilling on two anomalies noted above, and only one hole drilled off the margin of a third extensive (1.7km by 1km) copper in soil anomaly. - Located less than 800m north of BKM a well-defined zinc-lead-copper in soil anomaly measuring 400m by 200m occurs coincident with massive sulphide-bearing outcrops. - Massive base metal sulphide-bearing outcrops are exposed along the main creek with rock channel sampling returning exceptional high grade polymetallic results, including 11.5 meters @ 16.50% Zn, 6.16% Pb, 0.48% Cu, 0.55g/t Au, and 106g/t Ag. - A total of 12 line kilometers of IP and ground magnetic geophysical surveys were completed and six scout holes were drilled in 1999 totaling 871 meters. Three holes (BKZ-1,2, and 3) tested the coincident soil/rock geochemistry and IP chargeability anomaly. - Mineralization occurs within a zone of pervasive alteration, containing barite, carbonate, and gypsum after anhydrite. True thickness is estimated at 50 meters, and mineralized outcrops indicate at least 100m of strike extent. Significant drill intercepts are summarized in Table 1. Notes: Grade intercepts are calculated as a weighted average grade (uncut). NSA-No Significant Assay True widths are interpreted to be between 80-100% of the reported lengths, unless otherwise stated. The BKW and BKS prospects display similar characteristics to the BKM deposit and represent potentially highly attractive resource expansion targets immediately adjacent to the proposed BKM mine. The BKZ prospect represents a potential stand-alone high value polymetallic target. An initial scout drill program is proposed for each area in Q2-Q3, 2017 to confirm the width and continuity of the mineralization. Any potentially economic areas will be fast tracked to resource delineation drilling, as this may have a material impact on mine life and development planning for the BKM project. "Asiamet has always been very excited by the substantial exploration potential in the wider BK area, however, it has been critical for the Company to focus its efforts on progressing the development of the BKM deposit over the past two years. As the feasibility study on BKM is now in full swing and advancing to plan, we have taken the opportunity to re-assess and prioritize those targets, with the potential to materially impact the BKM mine life and development schedule. With elevated base and precious metals extending over more than five square kilometers in the soils, and high grade mineralization reporting from a number of discrete zones associated with favorable geology, we are looking forward to more fully testing these targets and demonstrating the wider Resource potential of the BK area." Data disclosed in this press release have been reviewed and verified by ARS's qualified person, Stephen Hughes, P. Geo, Vice President Exploration of the Company and a Qualified Person within the meaning of NI 43-101 and for the purposes of the AIM Rules. ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, For further information, please contact: Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release contains forward-looking statements that are based on the Company's current expectations and estimates. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "plan," "expect," "project," "intend," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "suggest," "indicate," and other similar words or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from estimated or anticipated events or results implied or expressed in such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others: the actual results of current exploration activities; conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing; and fluctuations in metal prices. There may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and accordingly undue reliance should not be put on such statements due to the inherent uncertainty therein. To view the graphic, please click here. Figure 1: Location map showing Beruang Kanan project area, and the four main prospects BKM, BKW, BKS and BKZ To view the graphic, please click here. To view the graphic, please click here. VANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / February 23, 2017 / Asiamet Resources Limited ("ARS" or the "Company") (TSX-V and AIM: ARS) is pleased to announce the results of a comprehensive review of all historical exploration data collected within a 3 kilometer radius of the BKM deposit in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia where the Company is currently advancing feasibility studies for the development of a 25,000 tpa SX-EW copper mine. The review assessed the base and precious metal potential at each of the Beruang Kanan West (BKW), Beruang Kanan South (BKS), and BKZ Polymetallic Prospects (BKZ). Significant copper, zinc, and associated base and precious metal mineralization warranting near term drill testing is present on each of the key prospect areas. These prospects are shown on the project location map in Figure 1 and historic results for each prospect area are summarized below. - A well-defined high tenor copper in soil anomaly measuring 800m x 600m is located less than 1km south of BKM and is coincident with copper mineralized sheeted veins and a strong near surface IP geophysical anomaly of similar intensity to the near surface signature at BKM. This hole also intersected near surface high grade gold mineralization as follows: Three scout holes were drilled in 2015, totaling 194.8 meters. The first drill hole BKM30350-01 intersected a barren dyke and was not assayed. Drill holes BKM30500-01 and BKM30625-01 locally intersected moderate to strong copper mineralization, including: - BKM30500-01 - 10.0m @ 2.52% Cu from 19.5m depth - Includes 2m @ 7.45% Cu from 19.5m depth - 3.0m @ 1.45% Cu from 43.5m depth - 3.5m @ 1.04% Cu from 58.5m depth - Multiple copper mineralized sheeted vein zones with wide spread alteration similar to BKM are observed within a 2.5 sqkm area, including exposures along the BKM access road. Three well defined copper in soil anomalies occur coincident with these sheeted vein zones, the largest measuring 1.7km x 1km. - Copper in soil anomalies are coincident with chargeability anomalies identified in IP geophysical surveys. The most prominent chargeability anomaly which replicates the BKM signature is greater than 1 km in strike length. - Historic rock chip sampling of these sheeted vein zones yielded highly anomalous copper values, with individual rock chip samples assaying up to 7.1% Cu. - No previous drilling on two anomalies noted above, and only one hole drilled off the margin of a third extensive (1.7km by 1km) copper in soil anomaly. - Located less than 800m north of BKM a well-defined zinc-lead-copper in soil anomaly measuring 400m by 200m occurs coincident with massive sulphide-bearing outcrops. - Massive base metal sulphide-bearing outcrops are exposed along the main creek with rock channel sampling returning exceptional high grade polymetallic results, including 11.5 meters @ 16.50% Zn, 6.16% Pb, 0.48% Cu, 0.55g/t Au, and 106g/t Ag. - A total of 12 line kilometers of IP and ground magnetic geophysical surveys were completed and six scout holes were drilled in 1999 totaling 871 meters. Three holes (BKZ-1,2, and 3) tested the coincident soil/rock geochemistry and IP chargeability anomaly. - Mineralization occurs within a zone of pervasive alteration, containing barite, carbonate, and gypsum after anhydrite. True thickness is estimated at 50 meters, and mineralized outcrops indicate at least 100m of strike extent. Significant drill intercepts are summarized in Table 1. Notes: Grade intercepts are calculated as a weighted average grade (uncut). NSA-No Significant Assay True widths are interpreted to be between 80-100% of the reported lengths, unless otherwise stated. The BKW and BKS prospects display similar characteristics to the BKM deposit and represent potentially highly attractive resource expansion targets immediately adjacent to the proposed BKM mine. The BKZ prospect represents a potential stand-alone high value polymetallic target. An initial scout drill program is proposed for each area in Q2-Q3, 2017 to confirm the width and continuity of the mineralization. Any potentially economic areas will be fast tracked to resource delineation drilling, as this may have a material impact on mine life and development planning for the BKM project. "Asiamet has always been very excited by the substantial exploration potential in the wider BK area, however, it has been critical for the Company to focus its efforts on progressing the development of the BKM deposit over the past two years. As the feasibility study on BKM is now in full swing and advancing to plan, we have taken the opportunity to re-assess and prioritize those targets, with the potential to materially impact the BKM mine life and development schedule. With elevated base and precious metals extending over more than five square kilometers in the soils, and high grade mineralization reporting from a number of discrete zones associated with favorable geology, we are looking forward to more fully testing these targets and demonstrating the wider Resource potential of the BK area." Data disclosed in this press release have been reviewed and verified by ARS's qualified person, Stephen Hughes, P. Geo, Vice President Exploration of the Company and a Qualified Person within the meaning of NI 43-101 and for the purposes of the AIM Rules. ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, For further information, please contact: Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release contains forward-looking statements that are based on the Company's current expectations and estimates. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "plan," "expect," "project," "intend," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "suggest," "indicate," and other similar words or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from estimated or anticipated events or results implied or expressed in such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others: the actual results of current exploration activities; conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing; and fluctuations in metal prices. There may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and accordingly undue reliance should not be put on such statements due to the inherent uncertainty therein. To view the graphic, please click here. Figure 1: Location map showing Beruang Kanan project area, and the four main prospects BKM, BKW, BKS and BKZ To view the graphic, please click here. To view the graphic, please click here.


News Article | February 20, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Annapolis, MD; Feb. 13, 2017 -- Pest ants like the red imported fire ant could be controlled more effectively with insecticide baits that can withstand moisture, say researchers with the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). A comparison study soon to be published in Journal of Economic Entomology shows a water-resistant ant bait offers a significant advantage over currently available baits, which break down when wet. The red imported fire ant and the little fire ant are just two species of invasive ants that have thrived since their introduction to the U.S. The former has spread through much of the southeastern United States, while the latter has become widespread on the Big Island of Hawaii. In both locales, moisture in the environment means existing baits have limitations. However, a new ant bait formulation that is water-resistant offers promise. A team led by Robert K. Vander Meer, Ph.D., at the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in the Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research Unit, conducted an experiment that deployed existing ant baits and water-resistant baits in closely matched wet conditions. Both baits carry an active ingredient that inhibits the ability of an ant colony's queen to produce eggs. At the end of the 13-week test period, half of the red imported fire ant colonies exposed to standard bait were no longer producing worker ants, while none of the colonies exposed to the water-resistant bait were producing workers. Vander Meer says the experiment was designed carefully to ensure that similar-sized ant colonies were compared and that they were exposed to baits under the same moisture and temperature conditions. "If you're comparing two formulations of the same insecticide, at the same rates, then you have to control variables as much as you can, or else you're not going to be able to show significant differences between the two," he says. "We were very happily surprised." The water-resistant, or hydrophobic, ant bait, Erasant, is produced in Taiwan, by Chung Hsi Chemical Plant Ltd. The company has a U.S. patent, but the bait is not currently available in the United States. "Our objective is to ultimately provide better control tools to the public for the control of pest ants and, in particular, the fire ant. Ideally, we would like to see this appear as a product at some time in the future here in the U.S., because I think it could be very useful in terms of providing a very good control method that is not affected by the heavy moisture that we deal with in the southeast," says Vander Meer. USDA-ARS is conducting further testing of the water-resistant ant bait, in irrigated plant environments in California and Florida as well as tropical areas such as Hawaii. "Enhanced Pest Ant Control With Hydrophobic Bait," by Robert K. Vander Meer and David E, Milne, will be published in the Journal of Economic Entomology on February 20, 2017. Journalists may request advance copies via the contact below. ABOUT: ESA is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has over 6,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. The Society stands ready as a scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit http://www. . Journal of Economic Entomology publishes research on the economic significance of insects and is the highest-cited journal in entomology. It includes sections on apiculture and social insects, insecticides, biological control, household and structural insects, crop protection, forest entomology, and more. For more information, visit https:/ , or visit https:/ to view the full portfolio of ESA journals and publications.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Automotive Defense Specialists, expert attorneys defending against Bureau of Automotive Repair citations, letters and accusations, is proud to announce an informative new blog post. While most of the law firm's work is in actions defending against California's Bureau of Automotive Repair, the new blog post puts a positive spin on things by focusing on customer service issues for automotive repair stations and technicians. “We know that if an auto shop has received a letter from the Bureau of Automotive Repair, they need a highly-skilled attorney,” explained attorney William Ferreira of Automotive Defense Specialists. “We also know that good customer service skills can make it a lot easier for attorneys to communicate with auto shop owners. Our new post offers a few customer service tips for auto shop owners that we’ve used ourselves.” To review the new informational blog post with customer service tips please go to http://automotivedefense.com/2017/01/15/common-ground-customer-service-tips-from-a-bureau-of-automotive-repair-defense-lawyer/. Tips for good customer service skills can be found. To review information about how to respond to a Bureau of Automotive Repair letter, visit http://automotivedefense.com/bureauofautomotiverepair/bureau-of-automotive-repair-defense/. Anyone facing administrative or legal action from the Bureau of Automotive Repair is urged to reach out to an attorney for a consultation. Here's a summary of the important blog post. Handling a SMOG check or auto repair problem may take more than top auto tech skills. Listening to a customer, as well as speaking to one, can make the difference. If a Bureau of Automotive Repair letter has been received by an auto shop owner, finding an attentive attorney with great communication skills can help. Such attributes may also help a defense attorney support a mechanic with a BAR letter or citation. Interested parties, including journalists or bloggers who'd like to understand how the Bureau of Automotive Repair system works vis-a-vis auto repair stations, are urged to visit the company website. Automotive Repair Specialists is a top law firm representing auto repair facilities, SMOG check stations, and technicians in every facet of their legal needs. This includes Bureau of Auto Repair letters and accusations. The company offers free phone consultations to auto shops, mechanics, technicians and others who are facing disciplinary actions from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair. ARS attorneys are highly skilled in how to check STAR program scores.

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