James River Group Holdings, Ltd.
James River Group Holdings, Ltd. (“James River” or the “Company”) is a holding company that owns and operates a group of specialty insurance and reinsurance companies. Its largest segment, Excess and Surplus (“E&S”) Lines insurance, focuses on insureds that generally cannot purchase insurance from standard lines insurers due to perceived risks related to their businesses. Included in this E&S Lines segments is James River’s Commercial Auto Division. In 2014, James River ramped up its Commercial Auto Division by underwriting a new type of insurance policy that covered Rasier LLC (“Rasier”), a subsidiary of the ride-sharing company, Uber Technologies, Inc. (together with Rasier, “Uber”).
On July 31, 2019, James River issued a press release that assured investors that James River was adequately reserved against its Uber policies and that the defendants were “comfortable” with James River’s E&S Lines reserves. However, after the market closed on October 8, 2019, James River announced that it had delivered a notice of early cancellation, effective December 31, 2019, for all insurance policies issued to Uber, though James River would remain contracted to provide coverage for future claims related to the period the Uber polices were in effect. Throughout the Class Period, the defendants repeatedly assured investors that the legacy contract posed no challenges to James River.
On May 5, 2021, James River shocked the market by disclosing an additional $170 million of unfavorable reserves related to the Uber policies. In order to cover its losses, James River announced that it was seeking to raise $175 million through a public equity offering, which was priced at “the sector’s steepest discount ever” according to Bloomberg.
Following this news, James River’s stock price dropped $12.27 per share, or 26.83%, from a closing price of $46.50 per share on May 5, 2021 to a closing price of $34.23 per share on May 6, 2021.
A securities class action has been filed against James River and several of its officers in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, on behalf of investors who acquired the Company’s common stock between August 1, 2019 and May 5, 2021.
The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, the defendants failed to disclose that: (1) James River had not adequately reserved for its Uber policies; (2) James River was using an incorrect methodology for setting reserves that materially understated its true exposure to Uber claims; (3) as a result, James River was forced to increase its unfavorable reserves in subsequent quarters even after cancelling the Uber polices; and (4) as a result, the defendants’ statements about James River’s business, operations, and prospects were materially false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis.
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