Baldwin & Lyons bounces back with profit-WEB ONLY

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Baldwin & Lyons Inc. swung to a profit and met analysts’ expectations in the first quarter, the trucking fleet insurer reported today.

Indianapolis-based Baldwin earned $5.4 million, or 37 cents per share, as investment losses eased from a year earlier. In the first quarter of 2008, Baldwin lost $4.6 million, or 30 cents per share.

Net investment losses totaled $1.2 million, or 5 cents per share, down from $13.6 million, or 58 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding those losses, Baldwin earned 42 cents per share, in line with forecasts of Wall Street analysts, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

Premiums written by Baldwin’s insurance companies rose 6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2008. But trucking fleets increasingly opted for reinsurance products, which produce lower premium income. Net premiums earned fell 2 percent in the quarter, to $44.2 million.

The company repurchased 53,000 shares of Class B common stock at an average price of $16.48 per share during the quarter, reducing total shares outstanding to 14.7 million.

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