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Navigators Reports First Quarter Earnings

NEW YORK, May 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Navigators Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:NAVG) reported net income of $13.9 million, or $0.97 per diluted share, for the three months ended March 31, 2013 compared to $7.9 million, or $0.56 per diluted share, for the comparable period in 2012. Operating earnings were $10.8 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2013 compared to operating earnings of $6.8 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, for the comparable period in 2012.

Gross written premiums and net written premiums for the three months ended March 31, 2013 were $393.2 million and $269.5 million, respectively, an increase of 14.6% and 10.9% from the comparable period in 2012.

The combined loss and expense ratio for the three months ended March 31, 2013 was 97.9% compared to 99.8% for the comparable period in 2012.

Stan Galanski, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased to report profitable underwriting results for the quarter, with improved profitability in our U.S. insurance business. We are experiencing positive rate movement across most of our product lines and are benefitting from the investments made in expanding our underwriting team over the past few years."

Stockholders' equity was $896.8 million, or $63.46 per share, as of March 31, 2013 compared to $879.5 million, or $62.61 per share, as of December 31, 2012.

Net investment income for the three months ended March 31, 2013 was $13.7 million, an increase of 21.3% from the comparable period in 2012. Net investment income for the three months ended March 31, 2012 was reduced by $4.5 million as a result of the settlement of our dispute with Equitas over foregone interest on amounts that were due on certain reinsurance contracts. The annualized pre-tax investment yield, excluding net realized gains and losses, net other-than-temporary impairment losses recognized in earnings, and for 2012 the $4.5 million in interest expense for the settlement of our dispute with Equitas, was 2.3% and 2.8% for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively. The effective tax rate on net investment income was 28.5% for the three months ended March 31, 2013, compared to 25.2% for the comparable period in 2012.

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