EMC First Quarter Net Is Up 75 Percent

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NU Online News Service, May 2, 3:07 p.m.EDT?EMC Insurance Group Inc. said higher premiums and moredisciplined underwriting led to a 75 percent rise in first-quarternet income to $6.5 million, or 57 cents per share.

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In the corresponding period last year, the insurer posted a netprofit of $3.7 million, or 33 cents on a per-share basis.

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The Des Moines, Iowa-based insurer said its premiums earnedincreased 17.3 percent to $80.38 million for the 2003 first quartercompared to the year-ago period.

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EMC said the improvement in premiums earned is mainly because ofrate increases during the past two years in the property-casualtyinsurance business, as well as growth and improved pricing in theassumed reinsurance business.

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The company added that, for the remainder of 2003, it willcontinue to boost rates in the p-c insurance business. Theseanticipated rate increases, however, will generally be smaller thanthe increases from the past several months, EMC said.

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The improvement in the overall underwriting performanceoutweighed slightly bigger catastrophe and storm losses, whichincreased to $1.08 million in the 2003 first quarter from $883,000one year ago.

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Its net investment income also dropped slightly, to $7.85million from $8.26 million in the 2002 first quarter.

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"The first quarter of 2003 was our most profitable first quarterever," said Bruce G. Kelley, president and chief executive officerat EMC. "We are thrilled that improved pricing, prudent riskselection and careful claim management combined to produce theseexcellent results."

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EMC--through its EMCASCO Insurance, Illinois EMCASCO and DakotaFire Insurance--offers a number of p-c lines, including auto,property, liability and workers' compensation. The company alsosells high-risk private auto insurance through its Farm and CityInsurance, while its EMC Underwriters offers excess and surpluslines of insurance. Additionally, the company sells p-c treatyreinsurance through EMC Reinsurance.

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