Arch Capital Group Ltd. is a Bermuda public limited liability company with approximately $4.7 billion in capital at December 31, 2009 and, through operations in Bermuda, the United States, Europe and Canada, writes insurance and reinsurance on a worldwide basis. While we are positioned to provide a full range of property and casualty insurance and reinsurance lines, we focus on writing specialty lines of insurance and reinsurance.
We launched an underwriting initiative in October 2001 to meet current and future demand in the global insurance and reinsurance markets. Since that time, we have attracted a proven management team with extensive industry experience and enhanced our existing global underwriting platform for our insurance and reinsurance businesses. It is our belief that our underwriting platform, our experienced management team and our strong capital base that is unencumbered by significant pre-2002 risks have enabled us to establish a strong presence in the insurance and reinsurance markets. For 2009, we wrote $2.76 billion of net premiums and reported net income available to common shareholders of $851.1 million. Diluted book value per share was $73.01 at December 31, 2009, compared to $51.36 per share at December 31, 2008.
ACGL's registered office is located at Clarendon House, 2 Church Street, Hamilton HM 11, Bermuda (telephone number: (441) 295-1422), and its principal executive offices are located at Wessex House, 45 Reid Street, Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda (telephone number: (441) 278-9250). ACGL makes available free of charge through its website, located at http://www.archcapgroup.bm, its annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The public may read and copy any materials ACGL files with the SEC at the SEC's Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC (such as ACGL) and the address of that site is http://www.sec.gov.
ACGL was formed in September 2000 and became the sole shareholder of Arch Capital Group (U.S.) Inc. ("Arch-U.S.") pursuant to an internal reorganization transaction completed in November 2000, as described below. Arch-U.S. is a Delaware company formed in March 1995 under the original name of "Risk Capital Holdings, Inc.," which commenced operations in September 1995 following the completion of an initial public offering. From that time until May 2000, Arch-U.S. provided reinsurance and other forms of capital for insurance companies through its wholly owned subsidiary, Arch Reinsurance Company ("Arch Re U.S."), a Nebraska corporation formed in 1995 under the original name of "Risk Capital Reinsurance Company."
On May 5, 2000, Arch-U.S. sold the prior reinsurance operations of Arch Re U.S. to White Mountains Reinsurance Company of America ("WTM Re"), formerly known as Folksamerica
Reinsurance Company, in an asset sale, but retained its surplus and U.S.-licensed reinsurance platform. The sale was precipitated by, among other things, losses on the reinsurance business of Arch Re U.S. and increasing competition, which had been adversely affecting the results of operations and financial condition of Arch Re U.S. The WTM Re transaction, which resulted from extensive arm's length negotiation, was structured as a transfer and assumption agreement (and not as reinsurance) and, accordingly, the loss reserves (and any related reinsurance recoverables) related to the transferred business are not included in the balance sheet of Arch Re U.S. However, in the event that WTM Re refuses or is unable to make payment of claims on the reinsurance business assumed by it in the May 2000 sale and the notice given to reinsureds is found not to be an effective release by such reinsureds, Arch Re U.S. would be liable for such claims. In addition, Arch Re U.S. retained all liabilities not assumed by WTM Re, including all liabilities not arising under reinsurance agreements transferred to WTM Re in the asset sale. On November 8, 2000, following the approval by Arch-U.S.'s shareholders, Arch-U.S. completed an internal reorganization that resulted in Arch-U.S. becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of ACGL.
During the period from May 2000 through the announcement of our underwriting initiative in October 2001, we built and acquired insurance businesses that were intended to enable us to generate both fee-based revenue (e.g., commissions and advisory and management fees) and risk-based revenue (i.e., insurance premium). As part of this strategy, we built an underwriting platform that was intended to enable us to maximize risk-based revenue during periods in the underwriting cycle when we believed it was more favorable to assume underwriting risk. In October 2001, we concluded that underwriting conditions favored dedicating our attention exclusively to building our insurance and reinsurance businesses.
The development of our underwriting platform included the following steps: after the completion of the WTM Re asset sale, we retained our U.S.-licensed reinsurer, Arch Re U.S., and Arch Excess & Surplus Insurance Company ("Arch E&S"), currently an approved excess and surplus lines insurer in 47 states and the District of Columbia and an admitted insurer in one state; in May 2001, we formed Arch Reinsurance Ltd. ("Arch Re Bermuda"), our Bermuda-based reinsurance and insurance subsidiary; in June 2001, we acquired Arch Risk Transfer Services Ltd., which included Arch Insurance Company ("Arch Insurance"), currently an admitted insurer in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam with a branch office in Canada, and rent-a-captive and other facilities that provide insurance and alternative risk transfer services; in February 2002, we acquired Arch Specialty Insurance Company ("Arch Specialty"), currently an approved excess and surplus lines insurer in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and an admitted insurer in one state; in June 2003, we acquired Arch Indemnity Insurance Company ("Arch Indemnity"), an admitted insurer in 49 states and the District of Columbia; in May 2004, our London-based subsidiary, Arch Insurance Company (Europe) Limited ("Arch Insurance Company Europe"), was approved by the Financial Services Authority in the U.K. to commence insurance underwriting activities and began writing a range of specialty commercial lines in Europe and the U.K. during the 2004 third quarter; in January 2005, Arch Insurance received its federal license to commence underwriting in Canada and began writing business in the first quarter of 2005; and in November 2006, Arch Reinsurance Ltd., Hamilton (Bermuda), European Branch Zurich ("Arch Re Bermuda Swiss Branch"), the Swiss branch of Arch Re Bermuda, was registered with the commercial register of the Canton of Zurich to commence reinsurance underwriting activities in Switzerland. All liabilities arising out of the business of Arch Specialty and Arch Indemnity prior to the closing of our acquisitions of such companies were reinsured and guaranteed by the respective sellers, Sentry Insurance a Mutual Company ("Sentry") and Protective Life Corporation and certain of its affiliates.
In 2007, we (1) formed Arch Re Accident & Health ApS ("Arch Re Denmark"), a Danish underwriting agency which conducts accident and health underwriting as a branch office of Arch
Reinsurance Europe Underwriting Limited ("Arch Re Europe"), which was formed in 2008 and is described below; (2) acquired the assets of Wexford Underwriting Managers, Inc., a managing general agent, to write excess workers' compensation and employers' liability insurance, a new line of business for us at the time; and (3) launched our property facultative reinsurance underwriting operations which are headquartered in Farmington, Connecticut. On January 22, 2008, Arch Re Bermuda and Gulf Investment Corporation GSC ("GIC") entered into a joint venture agreement for the purpose of forming a reinsurance company in the Dubai International Financial Centre. GIC is owned equally by the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council ("GCC"), which include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In May 2008, we provided $100.0 million of funding to Gulf Reinsurance Limited ("Gulf Re"), a newly formed reinsurer based in the Dubai International Financial Centre, pursuant to the joint venture agreement with GIC. Gulf Re provides property and casualty reinsurance primarily in the member states of the GCC.
In 2008, we expanded our underwriting platform by forming Arch Re Europe, an Irish company based in Dublin which was authorized by the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority in October 2008 to underwrite reinsurance and in November 2009 to underwrite life reinsurance. The operations of Arch Re Bermuda Swiss Branch were transferred to the Swiss branch of Arch Re Europe called Arch Reinsurance Europe Underwriting Limited, Dublin (Ireland), Zurich Branch ("Arch Re Europe Swiss Branch"). Arch Re Europe Swiss Branch commenced underwriting from the date of transfer in late 2008. Arch Re Bermuda Swiss Branch was de-registered as a branch in early 2009. In 2009, we received approval from the Lloyd's Franchise Board and the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom to establish a managing agent and syndicate at Lloyd's of London ("Lloyd's"). Our new Lloyd's syndicate 2012 ("Arch Syndicate 2012") commenced underwriting in the second quarter of 2009. Arch Underwriting at Lloyd's (Australia) Pty Ltd ("AUAL Australia"), based in Sydney, Australia, and Arch Underwriting at Lloyd's (South Africa) (Pty) Limited ("AUAL South Africa"), based in Johannesburg, South Africa, were each formed in 2009 as services companies to underwrite on behalf of Arch Syndicate 2012. AUAL Australia commenced operations in the 2009 fourth quarter, and AUAL South Africa is expected to commence operations in the 2010 first quarter.
The growth of our insurance and reinsurance platforms was supported through the net proceeds of: an equity capital infusion of $763.2 million led by funds affiliated with Warburg Pincus LLC ("Warburg Pincus funds") and Hellman & Friedman LLC ("Hellman & Friedman funds") in late 2001; a public offering of 7,475,000 of our common shares with net proceeds of $179.2 million in April 2002; the exercise of class A warrants by our principal shareholders and other investors in September 2002, which provided net proceeds of $74.3 million; a March 2004 public offering of 4,688,750 of our common shares with net proceeds of $179.3 million; a May 2004 public offering of $300.0 million principal amount of our 7.35% senior notes due May 2034 with net proceeds of $296.4 million, of which $200.0 million was used to repay all amounts outstanding under our existing credit facility; a February 2006 public offering of $200.0 million of our 8.00% series A non-cumulative preferred shares with a liquidation preference of $25.00 per share with net proceeds of $193.5 million; and a May 2006 public offering $125.0 million of our 7.875% series B non-cumulative preferred shares with a liquidation preference of $25.00 per share with net proceeds of $120.9 million.
In November 2009, the board of directors of ACGL authorized the investment of up to an additional $1.0 billion in ACGL's common shares through a share repurchase program. Repurchases under this authorization may be effected from time to time in open market or privately negotiated transactions through December 31, 2011. The board of directors of ACGL had previously authorized the investment of up to $1.5 billion in ACGL's common shares. During 2009, ACGL repurchased 6.7 million common shares for an aggregate purchase price of $458.4 million. Since the inception of the share repurchase program in February 2007 through December 31, 2009, ACGL has repurchased approximately 22.0 million common shares for an aggregate purchase price of $1.51 billion.
We classify our businesses into two underwriting segments, insurance and reinsurance.
Our Insurance Operations
Our insurance operations are conducted in Bermuda, the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and South Africa. Our insurance operations in Bermuda are conducted through Arch Insurance (Bermuda), a division of Arch Re Bermuda, which has an office in Hamilton, Bermuda. In the U.S., our insurance group's principal insurance subsidiaries are Arch Insurance, Arch E&S, Arch Specialty and Arch Indemnity. Arch Indemnity is not currently writing business. The headquarters for our insurance group's U.S. support operations (excluding underwriting units) relocated from New York, New York to Jersey City, New Jersey during the first quarter of 2009. The insurance group has additional offices throughout the U.S., including four regional offices located in: Alpharetta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; New York, New York; and San Francisco, California. In addition, Arch Insurance has a branch office in Canada, with head offices in Toronto, Ontario.
Our insurance group's European operations are conducted on two platforms: Arch Insurance Company Europe and Arch Syndicate 2012 (the insurance operations are collectively referred to as "Arch Insurance Europe"). Arch Insurance Europe conducts is operations from London. Arch Insurance Europe also has branches in Germany, Italy, Spain and Denmark. Commencing April 1, 2009, we received approval in principle from the Lloyd's Franchise Board and the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom to establish a managing agent and syndicate at Lloyd's. Arch Underwriting at Lloyd's Ltd ("AUAL") is the managing agent of Arch Syndicate 2012 and is responsible for the daily management of Arch Syndicate 2012. Arch Syndicate 2012 has enhanced our underwriting platform by providing us with access to Lloyd's extensive distribution network and worldwide licenses. In 2009, AUAL (Australia) and AUAL (South Africa) were formed, and in the 2009 fourth quarter, AUAL received approval from the Lloyd's Franchise Board to underwrite commercial property business on behalf of Arch Syndicate 2012. AUAL (Australia) commenced underwriting in the 2009 fourth quarter, and AUAL (South Africa) is expected to commence underwriting in the 2010 first quarter.
As of February 15, 2010, our insurance group had approximately 1,120 employees.
Strategy. Our insurance group's strategy is to operate in lines of business in which underwriting expertise can make a meaningful difference in operating results. The insurance group focuses on talent-intensive rather than labor-intensive business and seeks to operate profitably (on both a gross and net basis) across all of its product lines. To achieve these objectives, our insurance group's operating principles are to:
Capitalize on Profitable Underwriting Opportunities. Our insurance group believes that its experienced management and underwriting teams are positioned to locate and identify business with attractive risk/reward characteristics. As profitable underwriting opportunities are identified, our insurance group will continue to seek to make additions to their product portfolio in order to take advantage of market trends. This may include adding underwriting and other professionals with specific expertise in specialty lines of insurance.
Centralize Responsibility for Underwriting. Our insurance group consists of a range of product lines. The underwriting executive in charge of each product line oversees all aspects of the underwriting product development process within such product line. Our insurance group believes that centralizing the control of such product line with the respective underwriting executive allows for close management of underwriting and creates clear accountability for results. Our U.S. insurance group has four regional offices, and the executive in charge of each region is primarily responsible for all aspects of the marketing and distribution of our insurance group's products, including the management of broker and other producer relationships in such executive's respective region. In our non-U.S. offices, a similar philosophy is observed, with responsibility for the management of each product line residing with the senior underwriting executive in charge of such product line.Maintain a Disciplined Underwriting Philosophy. Our insurance group's underwriting philosophy is to generate an underwriting profit through prudent risk selection and proper pricing. Our insurance group believes that the key to this approach is adherence to uniform underwriting standards across all types of business. Our insurance group's senior management closely monitors the underwriting process.
Focus on Providing Superior Claims Management. Our insurance group believes that claims handling is an integral component of credibility in the market for insurance products. Therefore, our insurance group believes that its ability to handle claims expeditiously and satisfactorily is a key to its success. Our insurance group employs experienced claims professionals and also utilizes experienced external claims managers (third party administrators) where appropriate.
Utilize a Brokerage Distribution System. Our insurance group believes that by utilizing a brokerage distribution system, consisting of select international, national and regional brokers, both wholesale and retail, it can efficiently access a broad customer base while maintaining underwriting control and discipline.