SAFECO Corp. expects first quarter profits to fall far short of Wall Street expectations due to a wide range of factors including inadequate premiums to costly storms in Texas.
The Seattle-based company expected to post operating profits of roughly 5 cents a share, while the underwriter was expected to earn 33 cents per share.
SAFECO blamed part of its poor performance on $20 million in underwriting losses from hailstorms and the tornado in the Dallas/Fort Worth area last month.
Overall, Safeco said it will see underwriting losses of roughly $135 million for the quarter, compared to $114 million in underwriting losses in the last quarter of 1999. On Thursday, SAFECO shares fell nearly a point to 25 5/8, well below its 52-week high of 46 ¾. The company is expected to report first quarter financial results April 24.
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