Delphi Advance After First Quarter Earnings Exceeds Analysts' Estimates

Delphi Financial Group Inc., the seller of workers’ compensation and group-life insurance, surged the most in seven months after reporting first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

The insurer jumped $1.13, or 4.3 percent, to $27.36 at 12:08 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Delphi’s first-quarter operating profit was $47.5 million, or 86 cents a share, it said in a statement late yesterday, exceeding the 82-cent estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Delphi, which had its rating cut by Fitch last year on its security holdings tied to subprime loans, changed its investment strategy and increased sales at Safety National, the insurer’s excess workers’ compensation unit. The 9.7 percent unemployment rate has hurt business at Delphi’s group-life insurance business, Reliance Standard, the insurer said.

Safety National “continued to capitalize on our market leadership position and ongoing firmness in the excess workers’ compensation market,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Rosenkranz said in the statement. “Market conditions remain challenging for Reliance Standard, where continued high unemployment levels and our commitment to pricing and underwriting discipline have impacted premiums and production.”

Delphi reported first-quarter net income of $37.7 million, or 68 cents a share, up from $24.5 million, or 51 cents, in the same period a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sapna Maheshwari in New York at sapnam@bloomberg.net

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