Pre-Paid Legal Announces 2009 4th Quarter & Year-End Results

Year 2009 New Memberships Produced Up 2.9%, New Sales Associates Enrolled Up 52.2%

Jan 04, 2010, 17:46 ET from Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.

ADA, Okla., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (NYSE: PPD) reported new memberships produced and new sales associates enrolled for the fourth quarter and for the year ended December 31, 2009. During the 4th quarter of 2009, new sales associates enrolled increased 89.4% to 61,623 from the 32,533 enrolled in the 4th quarter of 2008 and new memberships produced increased 11.8% to 148,248 during the 2009 quarter compared to 132,641 for the 2008 quarter.

For the year 2009, new sales associates enrolled increased 52.2% to 186,064 compared to 122,255 enrolled during 2008 while new memberships produced were 568,095, up 2.9% from 552,327. Our active memberships decreased less than 1.0% during 2009 from 1,559,154 to 1,547,585. From the 3rd quarter of 2009 to the 4th quarter of 2009, our active memberships increased by 2,030 memberships.

                                   Three Months Ended:        Year Ended:
                                   -------------------        -----------
                              12/31/     9/30/    12/31/    12/31/    12/31/
    New Memberships:           2009      2009      2008      2009      2008
                              -------   -------   -------   -------   -------
    New legal service
     membership sales         139,076   166,377   124,629   541,138   521,522
    New "stand-alone" IDT
     membership sales           9,172     8,645     8,012    26,957    30,805
    Total new membership        -----     -----     -----    ------    ------
     sales                    148,248   175,022   132,641   568,095   552,327
                              =======   =======   =======   =======   =======
    New "add-on" IDT
     membership sales          85,095   112,653    85,221   348,607   344,869
    Average Annual
     Membership fee           $316.87   $325.60   $321.00   $322.77   $324.52
    Active Memberships:
    Active legal service
     memberships at end of
     period                 1,454,661 1,455,492 1,469,315 1,454,661 1,469,315
    Active "stand-alone"
     IDT memberships at end
     of period (see note
     below)                    92,924    90,063    89,839    92,924    89,839
    Total active               ------    ------    ------    ------    ------
     memberships at end of
     period                 1,547,585 1,545,555 1,559,154 1,547,585 1,559,154
                            ========= ========= ========= ========= =========
    Active "add-on" IDT
     memberships at end of
     period (see note
     below)                   711,131   710,795   680,862   711,131   680,862
    New Sales Associates:
    New sales associates
     recruited                 61,623    75,398    32,533   186,064   122,255
    Average enrollment fee
     paid by new sales
     associates                $71.31    $79.31    $49.02    $87.41    $71.53
    Average Membership fee
     in force:
    Average Annual
     Membership fee           $302.51   $302.86   $300.80   $302.51   $300.80
    ---------------           -------   -------   -------   -------   -------

    Note - reflects 4,494 net transfers from "add-on" status to "stand-alone"
    status during the 2009 4th quarter

Our total active membership premium in force decreased less than 1% to $468.2 million at December 31, 2009 from $469 million at December 31, 2008. The membership persistency rate (defined as the number of memberships in force at the end of a 12 month period as a percentage of the total of memberships in force at the beginning of such period, plus new memberships sold during such period) was 72.8% for 2009.

Our fourth quarter 2009 corporate finance focus has again been on share repurchases. During the 4th quarter, we returned $35.9 million to shareholders through the repurchase of 902,697 shares of common stock, at an average per share price of $39.75. Since April 1999, we have returned $457.9 million to shareholders through the purchase of 15.1 million shares, average price of $30.32 per share, and $17.1 million in dividends for a combined total of more than $475 million representing more than 100 percent of our net earnings during the same timeframe. We have reduced the number of shares outstanding by approximately 57% from 23.6 million at March 31, 1999 to 10.1 million today.

We anticipate announcing our 2009 fourth quarter and annual earnings on February 22, 2010 after the market closes and hosting a conference call to discuss such earnings on February 24, 2010.

About Us - We believe our products are one of a kind, life events legal service plans. Our plans provide for legal service benefits provided through a network of independent law firms across the U.S. and Canada, and include unlimited attorney consultation as well as will preparation, traffic violation defense, automobile-related criminal charges defense, letter writing, document preparation and review and a general trial defense benefit. We have an identity theft restoration product we think is also one of a kind because of the combination of outside vendors and our provider law firms. More information about us and our products can be found at our homepage at

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release, other than purely historical information, regarding our future plans and objectives and expected operating results, dividends and share repurchases and statements of the assumptions underlying such statements, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements contained herein are based on certain assumptions that may not be correct. They are subject to risks and uncertainties incident to our business that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties are described in the reports and statements filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including (among others) those listed in our Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, and include the risks that our membership persistency or renewal rates may decline, that we may not be able to continue to grow our memberships and earnings, that we are dependent on the continued active participation of our principal executive officer, that pending or future litigation may have a material adverse effect on us if resolved unfavorably to us, that we may have compromises of our information security, that consumer purchases of discretionary items may be impacted by a downturn in the economy, that we could be adversely affected by regulatory developments, that competition could adversely affect us, that we are substantially dependent on our marketing force, that our stock price may be affected by short sellers, that we have been unable to increase our employee group membership sales, that our active premium in force is not indicative of future revenue as a result of changes in active memberships from cancellations and additional membership sales and that we have repurchased more than half of our outstanding shares. Please refer to pages 18 through 20 of our 2008 Form 10-K/A and pages 7 and 8 of our September 30, 2009 Form 10-Q for a more complete description of these risks. We undertake no duty to update any of the forward-looking statements in this release.

SOURCE Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.