August 7, 2008

Tower Group, Inc. Reports Record Premium Volume in Second Quarter 2008

NEW YORK, Aug 07, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Tower Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWGP) today reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2008. For the three months ended June 30, 2008, net income totaled $10.2 million as compared to net income of $12.4 million in the second quarter of 2007. Tower reported diluted earnings per share of $0.44 for the second quarter of 2008 as compared to $0.53 per share for the same period in 2007.

Key Operating Highlights (all percentage increases compare the second quarter 2008 results to the same period in 2007):

-- Net income and diluted earnings per share excluding realized investment gains or losses (1), increased by 24.6% to $15.4 million and $0.66, respectively.

-- Gross premiums written increased to $166 million and premiums produced by TRM increased to $36.1 million.

-- Gross premiums written and produced(2) increased 34.8% to $201.2 million.

-- Commission and fee based revenue increased 88.9% to $36.3 million.

-- Strong underwriting profitability: combined ratio of 81.6% versus 85.2% in the prior year's second quarter.

(1) Note on Non-GAAP Financial Measures: Net income excluding realized investment gains or losses is a common performance measurement for insurance companies. We believe this presentation enhances the understanding of our results of operations by highlighting the underlying profitability of our insurance business. The tax rate used to calculate the net realized gains or losses on investments, net of tax, is 35%.

(2) Gross premiums written through our insurance subsidiaries and produced as managing general agent on behalf of other insurance companies, excluding assumed premiums written of $0.9 million, which was included in premiums produced by TRM.

Financial Summary ($ in thousands, except per share data):

                                 Three Months Ended  Six Months Ended
                                      June 30,           June 30,
                                 -------------------------------------
                                       2008     2007     2008     2007
                                 -------------------------------------
Gross premiums written             $165,962 $148,836 $301,075 $259,716
Premiums produced by managing
 general agency                      36,099      716   59,390      661
Net premiums written                 82,626   69,684  150,980  117,716
Net premiums earned                  70,114   74,035  138,544  134,418
Total commission and fee income      36,288   19,214   67,180   35,210
Net investment income                 8,366    9,446   18,162   17,401
Net realized (losses) gains on
 investments                        (7,970)       89  (6,596)       72

Total revenues                      106,798  102,784  217,290  187,101
Other income                            762      734    1,522    4,128
Net Income                           10,169   12,379   25,022   24,007
Earnings per share - Basic            $0.44    $0.54    $1.09    $1.04
Earnings per share - Diluted          $0.44    $0.53    $1.08    $1.03
Return on Average Equity              12.8%    17.2%    15.9%    21.7%

Reconciliation of non-GAAP
 financial measures:
--------------------------------
  Net income                        $10,169  $12,379  $25,022  $24,007
  Net realized (losses) gains on
   investments, net of tax          (5,181)       58  (4,287)       47
  Net income excluding realized
   investment gains or losses        15,350   12,321   29,309   23,960
Excluding realized investment
 gains or losses:
--------------------------------
  Earnings per share - Basic          $0.67    $0.54    $1.27    $1.04
  Earnings per share - Diluted        $0.66    $0.53    $1.26    $1.03
  Return on Average Equity            19.3%    17.1%    18.6%    21.6%

Michael H. Lee, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tower Group, Inc. stated, "We are very pleased with our second quarter operating results as well as the recently announced transaction to acquire CastlePoint Holdings, Ltd. Our positive operating results for the quarter continue to be driven by strong top line growth and a favorable combined ratio. We continue to experience strong demand for our products in the Northeast and continue to be encouraged by the progress we are making with our expansion into other parts of the country. Although we realized losses related to certain investments, we expect our projected book value and book value per share for year-end 2008 to increase significantly as a result the CastlePoint transaction. As we move towards the closing of the CastlePoint transaction and realize strong benefits from our combined businesses, we believe we are positioned to maintain our growth and profitability in the future. "

Gross premiums written increased to $166.0 million in the second quarter, which was 11.5% higher than in the second quarter of 2007.

Total revenues increased 3.9% to $106.8 million in the second quarter of 2008 as compared to $102.8 million in the prior year's second quarter. Net premiums earned represented 65.7% of total revenues for the three months ended June 30, 2008 compared to 72.0% for the same period in 2007. For the second quarter of 2008, we produced $35.0 million of premiums on behalf of CastlePoint Insurance Company through our insurance services segment resulting in $11.1 million in fee income.

Total commission and fee income increased 88.9% to $36.3 million in the second quarter of 2008 compared to $19.2 million in the second quarter of 2007.

Net investment income decreased by 11.4% to $8.4 million for the three months ended June 30, 2008 compared to $9.4 million for the same period in 2007. On a tax equivalent basis, the yield was 5.4% as of June 30, 2008 compared to 5.8% as of June 30, 2007. In addition, Tower determined that 15 non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities were other-than-temporarily impaired and realized a loss of $8.3 million.

Gross loss and loss adjustment expenses and the gross loss ratio for the three months ended June 30, 2008 were $70.0 million and 50.4%, respectively, compared to $66.8 million and 51.2%, respectively, in the same period in 2007. The net loss ratio was 52.6% in the three months ended June 30, 2008 and 54.9% in the same period in 2007.

Operating expenses were $52.2 million for the three months ended June 30, 2008 as compared to $41.2 million for the same period in 2007. Our gross expense ratio was unchanged at 30.2% for the three months ended June 30, 2008 as compared with the same period in 2007.

Additional Highlights and Disclosures:

Acquisition of CastlePoint Holdings, Ltd.

On August 5, 2008, Tower and CastlePoint Holdings, Ltd. ("CastlePoint") announced that they had entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of CastlePoint by Tower in a transaction valued at approximately $490 million. Under the terms of that agreement and based on the closing stock price for Tower of $23.09 on August 4th, 2008, CastlePoint shareholders would receive a combination of Tower common stock and cash equal to $12.68 per CastlePoint share. CastlePoint shareholders (other than Tower) will receive 0.47 shares of Tower common stock and cash consideration of $1.83 for each share of CastlePoint common stock. The exchange ratio is subject to adjustment based on Tower's volume weighted average price per share during a 15 day trading window prior to closing, and will be fixed at 0.47 if the average price of Tower stock during such period is equal to or greater than $20.00 and equal to or less than $26.00. If the average stock price during such period is greater than $26.00, the exchange ratio will be adjusted downward to provide CastlePoint shareholders with a fixed value per share of $14.05 (including $1.83 of cash per share). If the average stock price during such period is less than $20.00 but equal to or more than $17.50, the exchange ratio will be adjusted upward to provide CastlePoint shareholders with a fixed value per share of $11.23 (including $1.83 of cash per share). However, if Tower's average stock price during such period falls below $17.50, the exchange ratio will be fixed at 0.5371, and CastlePoint will have the right, for a limited period, to terminate the agreement, unless Tower elects to add Tower shares or cash to provide CastlePoint shareholders with a value per share of $11.23 (including the amount in cash per share). The acquisition is not expected to require any external financing.

Dividend Declaration

Tower Group, Inc. announced today that the Company's Board of Directors has approved a quarterly dividend of $0.05 per share payable September 26, 2008 to stockholders of record as of September 15, 2008.

2008 and 2009 Guidance

Tower expects third quarter 2008 diluted earnings per share and net income, excluding realized investment gains and losses, to be in a range of $0.70 and $0.75 and $16.3 million to $17.5 million, respectively. For the full year 2008, Tower projects diluted earnings per share to be in the range between $2.90 and $3.00, excluding realized investment gains and losses. Tower also projects year-end 2008 book value per share to increase by 39% at the midpoint to a range of $18.45 to $18.65 on a pro forma basis from $13.34 at year-end 2007.

For 2009, including the effects of the CastlePoint transaction, Tower projects diluted earnings per share, excluding realized investment gains and losses, to be in a range between $3.20 and $3.40 per diluted share. Combined gross premiums written is projected to be in a range between $1.1 to $1.2 billion for 2009 and stockholders' equity is expected to increase to approximately $865 million at year-end 2009.

About Tower Group, Inc.

Tower Group, Inc. offers property and casualty insurance products and services through its operating subsidiaries. Its insurance company subsidiaries offer insurance products to individuals and small to medium-sized businesses. Tower Group's insurance services subsidiaries provide underwriting, claims and reinsurance brokerage services to other insurance companies.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" for forward-looking statements. This release or any other written or oral statements made by or on behalf of the Company may include forward-looking statements that reflect the Company's current views with respect to future events and financial performance. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this release are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may," "will," "plan," "expect," "project", "intend," "estimate," "anticipate," "believe" or "continue" or their negative or variations or similar terminology. All forward-looking statements address matters that involve risks and uncertainties. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. The following factors, among others, could cause or contribute to such material differences: the ability to obtain governmental approvals or rulings on or regarding the transaction on the proposed terms and schedule; the failure of the shareholders of CastlePoint or the stockholders of Tower to approve the amalgamation; the failure to satisfy the closing conditions to the transaction; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully or that such integration may be more difficult, time-consuming or costly than expected; the risk that the revenue opportunities, cost savings and other anticipated synergies from the merger may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; disruption from the amalgamation making it difficult to maintain relationships with customers, employees, brokers and managing general agents; the risk that the U.S. or Bermuda tax authorities may view the tax treatment of merger and/or the other transactions contemplated by the merger agreement differently from CastlePoint and Tower's tax advisors; costs relating to the transaction; ineffectiveness or obsolescence of the business strategy due to changes in current or future market conditions; increased competition on the basis of pricing, capacity, coverage terms or other factors; greater frequency or severity of claims and loss activity, including as a result of natural or man-made catastrophic events, than the underwriting, reserving or investment practices of CastlePoint or Tower anticipate based on historical experience or industry data; the ability to obtain necessary governmental licenses; the ability to hire and retain executive officers and other key personnel; the effects of acts of terrorism or war; developments in the world's financial and capital markets that adversely affect the performance of CastlePoint and Tower's investments; changes in regulations or laws applicable to CastlePoint, Tower and their respective subsidiaries, brokers or customers, including tax laws in Bermuda and the United States; acceptance of products and services, including new products and services; changes in the availability, cost or quality of reinsurance and failure of CastlePoint's or Tower's reinsurers to pay claims timely or at all; decreased demand for CastlePoint or Tower's insurance or reinsurance products; the effects of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures in the insurance and reinsurance sectors; changes in rating agency policies or practices; changes in legal theories of liability under CastlePoint and Tower's insurance policies or the policies that it reinsures; changes in accounting policies or practices; and changes in general economic conditions, including inflation and other factors. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

Additional Information

The proposed acquisition of CastlePoint will be submitted to shareholders of Tower and CastlePoint for their consideration. Shareholders are urged to read the joint proxy statement/prospectus regarding the proposed acquisition when it becomes available because it will contain important information. Shareholders will be able to obtain a free copy of the joint proxy statement/prospectus, as well as other filings containing information about Tower and CastlePoint, without charge, at the Securities Exchange Commission's Internet site (www.sec.gov). Copies of the joint proxy statement/prospectus and the filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that will be incorporated by reference in the joint proxy statement/prospectus can also be obtained, without charge, by accessing the companies' websites: http://www.twrgrp.com or http://www.castlepoint.bm.

Tower and CastlePoint, their respective directors and executive officers and other persons may be deemed to be participants in the solicitations of proxies from the shareholders of Tower and/or CastlePoint in respect of the proposed acquisition. Information regarding Tower's directors and executive officers is available in its proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Tower on April 11, 2008, and information regarding CastlePoint's directors and executive officers is available in it proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by CastlePoint on April 29, 2008. Additional information regarding the participants in the proxy solicitation and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be contained in the joint proxy statement/prospectus when it becomes available.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of such jurisdiction. No offering of securities shall be made except by means of a joint proxy statement/prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

For more information visit Tower's website at

http://www.twrgrp.com/.

Tower has changed the presentation of its business results by combining its previously reported Insurance Segment with its Reinsurance Segment since reporting this segment separately was no longer meaningful. This will result in reporting two operating segments: the Insurance Segment which offers a broad range of property and casualty insurance products and services to small to mid-sized businesses and to individuals primarily in the Northeast states and which assumes reinsurance and the Insurance Services Segment which provides insurance brokering, claim administration, reinsurance intermediary services and other administrative services.

               Insurance Segment Results of Operations
                            Second Quarter
                           ($ in thousands)

                                            Three Months
                                                Ended
                                               June 30
                                          -----------------
Revenues                                      2008     2007 Change (%)
                                          -------- --------
Premiums Earned
    Gross premiums earned                 $138,634 $130,621       6.1%
    Less: Ceded premiums earned           (68,520) (56,586)      21.1%
                                          -------- --------
    Net premiums earned                     70,114   74,035      -5.3%
Ceding commission revenue                   21,491   17,032      26.2%
Policy billings fees                           459      543     -15.5%
                                          -------- --------
Total                                       92,064   91,610       0.5%

Expenses
Loss and loss adjustment expenses
    Gross loss and loss adjustment
     expenses                               69,951   66,826       4.7%
    Less: ceded loss and loss adjustment
     expenses                             (33,028) (26,215)      26.0%
                                          -------- --------
    Net loss and loss adjustment expenses   36,923   40,611      -9.1%
Underwriting expenses
    Direct commission expense               24,872   21,663      14.8%
    Other underwriting expenses             17,392   18,309      -5.0%
                                          -------- --------
Total underwriting expenses                 42,264   39,972       5.7%

Underwriting Profit                        $12,877  $11,027      16.8%
                                          ======== ========

Key Measures
Premiums written
  Gross premiums written                  $165,962 $148,836      11.5%
  Less: ceded premiums written            (83,336) (79,152)       5.3%
                                          -------- --------
  Net premiums written                     $82,626  $69,684      18.6%
                                          ======== ========
Loss Ratios
  Gross                                      50.4%    51.2%
  Net                                        52.6%    54.9%
Accident Year Loss Ratios
  Gross                                      51.5%    51.9%
  Net                                        54.5%    54.9%
Underwriting Expense Ratios
  Gross                                      30.2%    30.2%
  Net                                        29.0%    30.3%
Combined Ratios
  Gross                                      80.6%    81.4%
  Net                                        81.6%    85.2%

               Insurance Segment Results of Operations
                           First Six Months
                           ($ in thousands)

                                         Six Months Ended
                                              June 30
                                        -------------------
Revenues                                     2008      2007 Change (%)
                                        --------- ---------
Premiums Earned
    Gross premiums earned                $273,771  $239,248      14.4%
    Less: Ceded premiums earned         (135,227) (104,830)      29.0%
                                        --------- ---------
    Net premiums earned                   138,544   134,418       3.1%
Ceding commission revenue                  42,145    31,266      34.8%
Policy billings fees                          961       845      13.7%
                                        --------- ---------
Total                                     181,650   166,529       9.1%

Expenses
Loss and loss adjustment expenses
    Gross loss and loss adjustment
     expenses                             137,082   124,168      10.4%
    Less: ceded loss and loss
     adjustment expenses                 (62,863)  (49,647)      26.6%
                                        --------- ---------
    Net loss and loss adjustment
     expenses                              74,219    74,521      -0.4%
Underwriting expenses
    Direct commission expense              48,110    40,292      19.4%
    Other underwriting expenses            36,140    32,217      12.2%
                                        --------- ---------
Total underwriting expenses                84,250    72,509      16.2%

Underwriting Profit                       $23,181   $19,499      18.9%
                                        ========= =========

Key Measures
Premiums written
  Gross premiums written                 $301,075  $259,716      15.9%
  Less: ceded premiums written          (150,095) (142,000)       5.7%
                                        --------- ---------
  Net premiums written                   $150,980  $117,716      28.3%
                                        ========= =========
Loss Ratios
  Gross                                     50.1%     51.9%
  Net                                       53.6%     55.4%
Accident Year Loss Ratios
  Gross                                     51.0%     52.4%
  Net                                       54.5%     55.5%
Underwriting Expense Ratios
  Gross                                     30.4%     30.0%
  Net                                       29.7%     30.1%
Combined Ratios
  Gross                                     80.5%     81.9%
  Net                                       83.3%     85.5%

           Insurance Services Segment Results of Operations
                           ($ in thousands)

                                         Three Months    Six Months
                                              Ended          Ended
                                            June 30,       June 30,
                                          2008    2007   2008    2007
                                         ------- ------ ------- ------
Revenues
Direct commission revenue from managing
 general agency                          $11,796   $572 $20,067 $1,060
Claims administration revenue              1,013    535   1,970  1,100
Other administrative revenue (1)           1,209    347   1,580    598
Reinsurance intermediary fees(2)             224    185     285    341
Policy billing fees                           96      -     172      -
                                         ------- ------ ------- ------
Total Revenues                            14,338  1,639  24,074  3,099
                                         ------- ------ ------- ------
Expenses
Direct commissions expense paid to
 producers                                 5,154    144   8,525    151
Other insurance services expenses          3,171    358   4,745    615
Claims expense reimbursement to TICNY(3)   1,013    533   1,970  1,098
                                         ------- ------ ------- ------
Total Expenses                             9,338  1,035  15,240  1,864
                                         ------- ------ ------- ------
Insurance Services Pre-tax Income         $5,000   $604  $8,834 $1,235
                                         ======= ====== ======= ======
Premium produced by TRM on behalf of
 issuing companies                       $36,099   $716 $59,390   $661
                                         ======= ====== ======= ======

(1) Other administration revenue includes amounts reimbursed by
 CastlePoint Reinsurance for services rendered pursuant to a service
 and expense sharing agreement.
(2) Reinsurance intermediary fees include commissions earned for
 placement of reinsurance on behalf of our insurance subsidiaries.
(3) Consists of underwriting expenses reimbursed to TICNY pursuant to
 an expense sharing agreement.

                          Tower Group, Inc.
                     Consolidated Balance Sheets

                                              (Unaudited)
                                               June 30,   December 31,
                                                 2008         2007
                                              ----------- ------------
                                              ($ in thousands, except
                                                par value and share
                                                      amounts)
Assets
Fixed-maturity securities, available-for-
 sale, at fair value (amortized cost of
 $605,884 and $616,757)                          $579,163     $606,488
Equity securities, available-for-sale, at
 fair value (cost of $7,051 and $14,429)            5,778       12,580
                                              ----------- ------------
      Total investments                           584,941      619,068
Cash and cash equivalents                         100,258       77,679
Investment income receivable                        6,993        6,546
Agents' balances receivable                       122,797      122,763
Reinsurance recoverable                           231,304      207,828
Prepaid reinsurance premiums                      142,295      124,834
Deferred acquisition costs, net of deferred
 ceding commission revenue                         47,502       39,271
Deferred income taxes                              21,548       22,802
Intangible assets                                  21,067       21,670
Goodwill                                           18,962       13,281
Fixed assets, net of accumulated depreciation      36,290       32,337
Investment in unconsolidated affiliate             32,838       32,615
Other assets                                       40,236       33,917
                                              ----------- ------------
      Total Assets                             $1,407,031   $1,354,611
                                              =========== ============
Liabilities
Loss and loss adjustment expenses                $519,578     $501,183
Unearned premium                                  299,778      272,774
Reinsurance balances payable                       80,417       58,740
Payable to issuing carriers                        27,121       42,855
Funds held under reinsurance agreements            30,368       36,841
Accounts payable, accrued liabilities and
 other liabilities                                 26,568       31,795
Subordinated debentures                           101,036      101,036
                                              ----------- ------------
      Total Liabilities                         1,084,866    1,045,224
                                              ----------- ------------
Stockholders' Equity
Common stock ($0.01 par value per share;
 40,000,000 shares authorized; 23,379,981 and
 23,225,039 shares issued, and 23,316,833 and
 23,185,173 shares outstanding)                       234          232
Treasury stock (63,148 and 39,866 shares)         (1,039)        (493)
Paid-in-capital                                   206,817      205,435
Accumulated other comprehensive net loss         (19,102)      (8,322)
Retained earnings                                 135,255      112,535
                                              ----------- ------------
    Total Stockholders' Equity                    322,165      309,387
                                              ----------- ------------
    Total Liabilities and Stockholders'
     Equity                                    $1,407,031   $1,354,611
                                              =========== ============

                          Tower Group, Inc.
                Consolidated Statements of Income and
                       Comprehensive Net Income
                             (Unaudited)

                            Three Months Ended     Six Months Ended
                                 June 30,              June 30,
                           --------------------- ---------------------
                              2008       2007       2008       2007
                           ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
                           ($ in thousands, except share and per share
                                             amounts)
Revenues
  Net premiums earned         $70,114    $74,035   $138,544   $134,418
  Ceding commission
   revenue                     21,491     17,032     42,145     31,266
  Insurance services
   revenue                     14,242      1,639     23,902      3,099
  Net investment income         8,366      9,446     18,162     17,401
  Net realized (losses)
   gains on investments       (7,970)         89    (6,596)         72
  Policy billing fees             555        543      1,133        845
                           ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
    Total revenues            106,798    102,784    217,290    187,101
                           ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
Expenses
  Loss and loss adjustment
   expenses                    36,923     40,611     74,219     74,521
  Direct and ceding
   commission expense          30,026     21,808     56,634     40,443
  Other operating expenses     22,193     19,432     43,858     34,521
  Interest expense              2,161      2,446      4,484      4,530
                           ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
    Total expenses             91,303     84,297    179,195    154,015
                           ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

Other Income
  Equity income in
   unconsolidated
   affiliate                      762        734      1,522      1,423
  Gain from issuance of
   common stock of
   unconsolidated
   affiliate                        -          -          -      2,705
                           ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
    Income before income
     taxes                     16,257     19,221     39,617     37,214
    Income tax expense          6,088      6,842     14,595     13,207
                           ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
    Net income                $10,169    $12,379    $25,022    $24,007
                           ========== ========== ========== ==========

     Gross unrealized
      investment holding
      losses arising
      during period           (9,550)   (11,575)   (22,074)   (11,029)
     Equity in net
      unrealized losses in
      investment in
      unconsolidated
      affiliate's
      investment portfolio      (324)      (477)    (1,107)      (422)
     Less:
      reclassification
      adjustment for
      losses (gains)
      included in net
      income                    7,970       (89)      6,596       (72)
     Income tax benefit
      (expense) related to
      items of other
      comprehensive income        666      4,249      5,805      4,033
                           ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
       Comprehensive Net
        Income                 $8,931     $4,487    $14,242    $16,517
                           ========== ========== ========== ==========

Earnings Per Share
  Basic earnings per
   common share                 $0.44      $0.54      $1.09      $1.04
                           ========== ========== ========== ==========
  Diluted earnings per
   common share                 $0.44      $0.53      $1.08      $1.03
                           ========== ========== ========== ==========

Weighted Average Common
 Shares Outstanding:
  Basic                    23,040,952 22,895,783 23,018,275 22,442,345
  Diluted                  23,266,866 23,169,573 23,239,227 22,729,005

Dividends declared and
 paid per common share:
  Common stock                  $0.05     $0.025      $0.10      $0.05

SOURCE: Tower Group, Inc.

Tower Group, Inc.
Thomas Song, 212-655-4789
Managing Vice President
tsong@twrgrp.com

Copyright Business Wire 2008

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