(By Balachander) EMC Insurance Group Inc. (NASDAQ: EMCI) expects operating income for the full year ended Dec. 31, 2012, to be "significantly better" than its prior forecast on strong results at both its property and casualty insurance and reinsurance segments.
The company now expects operating income per share will be roughly $2.54, versus $2.05 to $2.30 per share projected earlier.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expect earnings of $2.13 per share for 2012.
EMC currently forecasts GAAP combined ratio to be around 99.6 percent from prior view of 101.3 percent.
"The fourth quarter was relatively quiet, in part because Superstorm Sandy was not a significant event for us," commented CEO Bruce Kelley. "We continued to benefit from the improving rate environment, and experienced a decline in both claims frequency and severity."
EMC expects 2012 premium income to increase 10.2 percent. The company's property and casualty insurance segment is expected to post a growth of about 11.0 percent and segment is expected to report a rise of roughly 7.3 percent.
In addition, EMC expects catastrophe and storm losses to total $2.70 per share after tax last year compared with $4.04 per share after tax in 2011.
The company will report its fourth-quarter results on February 20, 2013.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $19.00 to $25.97, traded 0.12 percent lower at $25.15 on Monday.