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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Floods, ice storm swamp Q4, full-year bottom line at Co-operators insurance

GUELPH, Ont. - Co-operators General Insurance Co. is reporting a big drop in both fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 earnings, citing claims related to the year's "devastating natural disasters."

The Ontario-based insurer said Friday that its fourth-quarter consolidated net income fell to $74.6 million or $3.40 per common share from $115.8 or $5.44 per share in the same 2012 period, reflecting the affects of December's ice storms in Ontario and Quebec.

Meanwhile, full-year net income slumped to $88.9 million or $3.51 per share from $259.3 million or $11.92 per share in for 2012.

"2013 will be remembered for its devastating natural disasters," Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators, said in a statement accompanying the earnings report.

"After consideration of reinsurance, our losses related to the heavy rains and flooding in southern Alberta and the Greater Toronto area totalled $126.6 million," she added.

Meanwhile, the company said fourth-quarter direct written premiums increased to $542.6 million from $518.7 million a year earlier, with growth primarily in the auto and home lines of business in both the Ontario and Western regions.

The combined ratio, excluding the market yield adjustment for the quarter, was 94 per cent compared with 93.7 pcer cent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The fourth-quarter loss ratio, excluding MYA, deteriorated to 63.7 per cent from 58.2 per cent as a result of claims from the late December ice storm in Ontario, paired with commercial line of business fire losses. This was partially offset by higher favourable claims development in auto insurance, the company said.

Net investment income and gains for the quarter were $58 million compared with $63.1 million for the same period of 2012.

Co-operators General, with assets of more than $5 billion, is part of The Co-operators Group Ltd., a Canadian-owned co-operative. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

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