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RLI EARNINGS SURGE IN FOURTH QUARTER; QUARTERLY EARNINGS PER SHARE HIGHEST SINCE JUNE 1987

 RLI EARNINGS SURGE IN FOURTH QUARTER;
 QUARTERLY EARNINGS PER SHARE HIGHEST SINCE JUNE 1987
 PEORIA, Ill., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- RLI Corp. (NYSE: RLI) reported today annual net income for 1991 reached $12.6 million ($2.22 per share) on gross sales (consisting of gross premiums written, non-insurance sales revenue and net investment income) of $214.8 million, its best annual performance since 1987's record results. For the year 1990, net income was $11.6 million ($2.05 per share) on gross sales of $180.5 million.
 Fourth quarter 1991 consolidated net income rose to $4.0 million ($.70 per share) on gross sales of $52.9 million, the company's best showing since June 1987. Net income for the same period in 1990 was $2.5 million ($.44 per share) on gross sales of $45.8 million.
 Net investment income for the year 1991 reached a record pretax $12.1 million, rising 9.0 percent over last year's $11.1 million showing. Net investment income for the fourth quarter 1991 was $3.1 million compared to $2.9 million for the same quarter the year before.
 Commenting on the year's results, Gerald D. Stephens, president and chief executive officer, stated, "RLI employees can be proud of what they have accomplished in 1991. Although the property and casualty insurance market continued to resist necessary premium increases, our superb branch office underwriters were able to select profitable business. In spite of major computer development activities, productivity was up 6.1 percent in our ophthalmic segment and 11.9 percent in the specialty property and casualty segment. These gains contributed to a 6.5 percent decrease in our expense ratio."
 Other financial highlights for the fourth quarter include:
 -- Gross sales grew 15.5 percent to $52.9 million from $45.8 million the same quarter the year before. Gross insurance premiums written expanded 12.1 percent to $46.0 million from $41.1 million. Net premiums written increased 6.5 percent to $21.0 million from $19.7 million.
 -- Realized investment gains during the fourth quarter reached pre- tax $600,000 compared with realized losses of $1.2 million posted last year. The company achieved these 1991 gains through the disposal of appreciated common stock, and reinvested the proceeds in higher dividend yielding utility stocks. The 1990 losses were attributable to the company's decision to dispose of certain depressed securities and take advantage of expiring tax carry-forwards.
 -- The specialty property and casualty segment combined ratio was 91.8 percent for the year 1991 compared to 92.9 percent reported for the year 1990. The 1991 loss ratio increased to 58.4 percent from 51.6 percent at year-end 1990, while the expense ratio declined to 33.4 percent from 41.3 percent during the same period.
 -- The company's balance sheet is solid.
 -- Investments remain of impeccable quality. RLI holds no mortgages, no commercial real estate other than its home office, and 96 percent of its bonds are rated "AA" or better. The remainder are rated "A".
 -- Total assets grew 13.8 percent in 1991, crossing the $300 million mark, reaching $303.6 million at Dec. 31, 1991, up from $266.8 million at the end of 1990.
 -- Cash and invested assets at Dec. 31, 1991, are reported on the company's statement at $245.9 million. The estimated fair market value is $253.3 million. The $7.4 million of unrealized appreciation of the bond portfolios equals $.86 per share of unrecorded value.
 -- Loss reserve development during 1991 was excellent. Total reserves increased from $103.3 million in 1990 to $110.8 million at the end of 1991.
 -- As of Dec. 31, 1991, shareholders' equity was $92.8 million ($16.40/share, a new high), up 20.2 percent compared to last year-end.
 RLI Corp. underwrites selected property and casualty insurance products, and markets contact lens insurance, related products and practice automation systems to the ophthalmic industry.
 RLI CORP.
 Operating Results
 Year ended Dec. 31 1991 1990 Pct.
 Change
 Gross sales $124,815,102 $180,479,678 19
 Total revenue 101,660,498 92,221,379 10
 Total earnings $ 12,583,911 $ 11,621,424 8
 Net earnings per share $2.22 $2.05 8
 Average shares 5,658,974 5,658,974
 Fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 1991 1990 Pct.
 Change
 Gross sales $ 52,881,103 $ 45,772,363 16
 Total revenue 26,691,468 24,254,349 10
 Total earnings $ 3,956,776 $ 2,515,794 57
 Net earnings per share $.70 $.44 59
 Average shares 5,658,974 5,658,974
 -0- 1/29/92
 /CONTACT: James E. Zogby, treasurer of RLI, 309-693-5880/
 (RLI) CO: RLI Corp. ST: Illinois IN: INS SU: ERN


GK-OS -- NY054 -- 4786 01/29/92 13:47 EST
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Date:Jan 29, 1992
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