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Optimum General boosts earnings in 2004


February 28, 2005   by Canadian Underwriter


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Montreal-based Optimum General Inc. (TSX: OGI.SV.A) saw strong improvement in its results for year ending December 31, 2004, with earnings almost double that produced in 2003.
2004 net income was $3.6 million, or $0.31 per share, up from income of $2 million, or $0.17 per share, in 2003. For the fourth quarter, however, the company did see some decline in earnings, with the three months producing net income of $383,000, or $0.04 per share, compared to $1.1 million, or $0.09 per share in the fourth quarter of 2003.
In 2004, the company brought in direct written premiums of $137.96 million, compared to $144.49 million the year prior. Net earned premiums for 2004 ticked up to $100.21 million from $98.02 million in 2003. Direct written premiums for the last fourth quarter were down somewhat to $33.27 million (Q4 2003: $37.51 million), while net earned premiums also dropped slightly to $25.40 million (Q4 2003: $26.59 million).
For the full year 2004, the company produced an underwriting loss of $237,000, on a combined ratio of 100.2%. However, this was a vast improvement over the underwriting loss of $2.2 million produced in 2003 on a combined ratio of 102.2%.
For the fourth quarter of 2004, the underwriting result deteriorated a bit, with Optimum General producing an underwriting loss of $1.15 million (combined ratio: 104.5%) compared to a loss of $83,000 (combined ratio 100.3% seen in fourth-quarter 2003.
The company was able to improve its claims ratio in 2004, dragging it down 4.3 point to 54.5%, while in the fourth quarter, the claims ratio improved 4.7% to 52.6%.
And investment income also improved, to $4.9 million in 2004 from $4.7 million the year prior, and to $1.4 million in the fourth quarter last year from $1.3 million a year earlier.


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