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Employers Holdings profit falls

NNBW Staff

Reduced workforces and smaller payrolls at its business customers pinched the fourth-quarter earnings of Reno-based Employers Holdings Inc., a workers compensation insurer.

The company’s executives also said Employers faces tough competition in some markets from workers comp carriers that appear to be writing policies at a loss.

The company earned $15.9 million in the fourth quarter compared with earnings of $31.8 million a year earlier.

Despite the price competition and effects of the recession, Employers had 45,599 policies in force at the end of last year, compared with 33,699 a year earlier. The policies in force generated $328.9 million in premiums for Employers in 2008. In 2007, the company generated $346.9 million in premiums.

The company said last month it plans to trim its workforce by 14 percent, saving $12 million in 2009 and more than $20 million in 2010. About 150 positions are expected to be eliminated.

Some of the staff cuts come as the result of Employers’ acquisition late last year of AmCOMP, a Florida-based workers comp carrier. About 20 percent of the corporate staffs of the two companies will lose their jobs as the companies are merged.

Employers hasn’t disclosed how many of the lost jobs are at its Reno headquarters.

The company’s board last week authorized a plan to repurchase up to $100 million of Employer’s common shares this year in open-market and private transactions.

The board also OK’d a quarterly dividend of 6 cents a share to be paid March 25 to shareholders of record March 1.