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Donegal's 1Q net income falls 17 percent

MARIETTA, Pa. (AP) -- Insurance holding company Donegal Group Inc. said Wednesday that its first quarter net income fell nearly 17 percent as losses from large fires increased and its net realized investment gains fell.

The company reported net income of $6.5 million, or 25 cents per share, during the quarter ending March 31, down from $8 million, or 31 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The Marietta, Pa.-based company said that total revenue rose 7 percent to $133.9 million from $125.3 million.

Net premiums rose to $124.7 million from $114.7 million. Premiums written for personal lines, such as auto and homeowner insurance, rose 2.6 percent. Commercial lines, such as workers compensation insurance, rose 18.6 percent.

Donald Nikolaus, Donegal's president and CEO, said in a news release that the losses from fires exceeded the company's quarterly average and the company "will monitor this development closely."

The company said net realized investment gains fell 42 percent to $1.34 million.

Donegal shares slipped 9 cents to $20.66 in morning trading Wednesday.

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