Shares of insurance group Allmerica Financial ( AFC) were down almost 7% to $33.34 Friday, after the company announced a net first-quarter profit of $46.5 million or 86 cents per share Thursday, compared with $12 million, or 23 cents per share a year ago.

The company attributed the higher profit to lower catastrophe losses, which were $12 million in the first quarter of 2005, vs. $21 million in the same period last year.

Net income in the first quarter of last year included an after-tax charge of $57 million, and an after-tax benefit of $30 million. Net of those charges, the profit in 2004 was $39 million, or 73 cents a share.

Analyst estimates were for EPS of 77 cents.

The Worcester, Mass.-based company has four operating segments, which produced net income of $34 million, compared with $33 million in the previous year. While personal lines of insurance grew 2 1/2 times to $39 million, commercial lines declined 23% to $20.5 million. The Life Companies division had a net loss of $7.4 million, compared with a profit of $10 million last year.

"Our first-quarter results reflect a 60% increase in our property and casualty earnings and continued strength in our Life Companies' capital position," said Frederick H. Eppinger, president and chief executive officer of Allmerica Financial, in a statement.

If you liked this article you might like

Black & Decker Powers Up

Black & Decker Powers Up

Accredited Home Lenders' Profit Rises

Accredited Home Lenders' Profit Rises

Hollywood Holders OK Buyout

Hollywood Holders OK Buyout

Outback CFO Throws Up His Hands

Outback CFO Throws Up His Hands