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Assurant reports 51% increase in Q4 earnings

Assurant, a provider of specialized insurance and insurance-related products and services, has reported that its net income for the fourth quarter of 2008 increased 51% to $182.4 million, or $1.55 per diluted share, compared to the fourth quarter 2007 net income of $120.8 million, or $1.01 per diluted share.

Net operating income for the fourth quarter of 2008 decreased less than 1% to $153.7 million, or $1.31 per diluted share, from $154.4 million, or $1.29 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2007. Net earned premiums of $2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008 increased 2% from $1.96 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Net income for the year ended December 31, 2008 was $447.8 million, or $3.77 per diluted share, a decrease of 32%, as compared to $653.7 million, or $5.38 per diluted share, in 2007.

Net operating income in 2008 was $637.4 million, or $5.36 per diluted share, a decrease of 8%, compared to $694.2 million, or $5.72 per diluted share, in 2007. Net earned premiums in 2008 were $7.93 billion, an increase of 7% from $7.41 billion in 2007.

Robert Pollock, president and CEO of Assurant, said: Although we can’t avoid the chill of the economic global cooling, Assurant’s capital position remains stable and our balance sheet remains solid, setting us apart, despite the unprecedented challenges in the economy. In 2008, despite an active storm season, we were able to grow revenues and expand through strategic acquisitions.

Although we are not immune to the impact of the economic environment, we are effectively mixing offense and defense to strengthen the company and better position Assurant for both the near and long term.