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EMC profits rise along with premiums


EMC Insurance Group Inc., the publicly traded insurance unit of EMC Insurance Cos., said fourth-quarter profit rose 17.9 percent as it took steps to better manage its risk, experienced fewer losses related to storms and continued to raise its prices for premiums.

Net income climbed to $6.09 million, or 53 cents, from $5.17 million, or 45 cents. The year-ago results were restated March 11 after EMC decided to increase its reserves for asbestos-related exposures by $2.07 million. The restatement lowered the year-ago fourth-quarter earnings by $1.35 million, or 12 cents. Revenues in the most recent quarter rose 3.38 percent to $91.7 million from $88.7 million.

EMC has been raising premiums for more than a year, and in a statement, President and Chief Executive Bruce Kelley said, “no significant changes are forecasted for 2004.

“The company will continue to implement rate increases in those lines of business and/or territories where such action is warranted; however, the overall level of these rate increases is expected to be smaller than those implemented during 2003,” Kelley said in the statement.

The company said it experienced significant growth in its reinsurance business and that prices among reinsurance lines rose as well. EMC said its catastrophe and storm losses dropped 65.6 percent $811,000, or 5 cents per share, from $2.36 million, or 13 cents, a year ago.

Shares of EMC have risen about 29 percent in the past year.  

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