EMC Insurance Group Slashes 2008 Outlook

Property and casualty insurer EMC Insurance Group Inc. on Thursday slashed its 2008 operating earnings outlook because of expected losses tied to storms in the Midwest.

EMC Insurance now expects operating earnings for the year between $1.20 and $1.45 per share. It previously estimated earnings between $2.10 and $2.35 per share.

The company expects catastrophe and storm losses for the second quarter will range between $1.09 and $1.17 per share. Catastrophe and storm losses totaled 46 cents per share during the second quarter last year.

If storm activity for the rest of the year remains normal, EMC Insurance estimates catastrophe and storm losses will be about 11 percent of earned premiums, compared with a previous assumption of 6.9 percent.

Shares of EMC Insurance fell 56 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $24.83 in morning trading.