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Premiums Lift HCC Insurance

It beats estimates.

HCC Insurance Holdings

(HCC) - Get Warrior Met Coal, Inc. Report

said fourth-quarter earnings rose 18% from a year ago, aided by an increase in premiums earned from financial products.

The Houston-based insurance provider earned $66.53 million, or 59 cents a share, compared with $56.24 million, or 56 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 50 cents a share for the same period. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 22.46% to $447.8 million, beating analysts' estimates of $434.57 million.

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Revenue collected from premiums rose 27.5% to $374.09 million. Fee and commission income fell 31.6% to $31.83 million, while investment income rose 49.5% to $28.81 million. Realized loss from investment was $590,000, compared with a profit of $1.33 million a year ago. Premium from diversified financial products rose 55% to $159.72 million.

"2005 was the best year in our history despite the $57.5 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, cumulative effect of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma," the company said. "In 2005, we still achieved a 15% ROE and grew shareholders' equity by 28%."

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