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National Interstate Q4 earnings fall

National Interstate reported a net income of $0.9m for Q4 08 compared to $11.1m for Q4 07

National Interstate, an insurance holding company, has reported a net income of $0.9 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to $11.1 million, or $0.57 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2007.

Net income from operations for the fourth quarter of 2008 was $12.86 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, as compared to $11.53 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, for the same quarter in 2007. Gross premiums written of $68.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 were 4.3% below the $71.1 million reported for the fourth quarter of 2007.

For the year ended December 31, 2008, net income declined to $10.7 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, compared to $43.6 million, or $2.25 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2007. Net income from operations was $32.8 million, or $1.69 per diluted share, for the year 2008, as compared to $44 million, or $2.27 per diluted share, in 2007. For 2008, gross premiums written of $380.3 million increased 9.9% from $346 million for 2007.

Dave Michelson, president and CEO, said: We continually remind our investors that our results can vary quarter to quarter because of the potential impact from claims on our higher limit policies. We are pleased that we experienced fewer large claims during the 2008 fourth quarter than we experienced in the earlier quarters of the year. The improvements we made related to our disciplined underwriting practices, particularly for small fleet charter risks, and the addition of new analytical tools will benefit us going forward.