INSURANCE

National Interstate profit rises

Specialty insurer National Interstate had a better 2015 than 2014, even as fourth-quarter results fell below analyst expectations.

The Richfield-based company had net income of nearly $2 million for the quarter ending Dec. 31, or 10 cents per share, on gross premiums written of $203.7 million. That compares to net income of $4.9 million, or 25 cents per share, on gross premiums written of $199 million a year ago.

The company released its results after the stock market closed Tuesday. Earnings and revenue for the quarter fell below analyst expectations.

For the year, National Interstate had net income of $20.8 million, or $1.05 a share, on gross premiums written of $727.1 million. For 2014, the company had net income of $11 million, or 56 cents per share, on gross premiums written of $689 million.

OIL/GAS

Ohio River barge plan fizzles

The U.S. Coast Guard has scuttled a plan for barges to ship large amounts of fracking wastewater from horizontal wells on the Ohio River and other waterways.

The agency, which regulates safety rules for vessels that carry hazardous materials, formally withdrew the proposal in the Tuesday edition of the Federal Register.

No new policy is proposed at this time, the six-page announcement said.

The plan drew more than 70,000 public comments with nearly 69,000 opposing the plan.

The proposal, dating from Oct. 30, 2013, drew little support from the drilling industry, and that contributed to the proposal being dropped, the Coast Guard said.

One Texas-based company, GreenHunter Resources, had pushed to win federal approval for such shipments on the Ohio River from a base in southern Ohio.

The company is allowed to ship salty wastewater from vertical wells but not fracking wastes from horizontal wells.

PARCELS

UPS invests in delivery firm

UPS, looking for ways to get goods to shoppers faster, is investing in same-day delivery company Deliv.

Deliv, founded nearly four years ago, works with Macyís Inc., Kohlís Corp. and other retailers to deliver online orders within the same day. Shoppers select same-day delivery when theyíre about to buy something from the retailerís website and Delivís workers get it delivered.

Retailers pay Deliv for its service and the stores usually charge customers. At Kohlís, for example, shoppers pay $9.95 for same-day deliveries on orders above $75 and $14.95 for orders below $75.

Deliv said Tuesday that it raised $28 million from a group of investors, including first-time investor United Parcel Service Inc. UPS says the investment will help it observe the same-day delivery market. Deliv did not specify how much UPS is investing. Other investors include mall operators General Growth Properties Inc., Taubman Centers Inc. and Westfield Corp., which also work with Deliv.

MINING

Murray idling site in W.Va.

A large West Virginia underground coal mine owned by Ohio-based Murray Energy is halting production for nearly two weeks and possibly longer, the Associated Press reported.

Murray Energy chairman and CEO Robert Murray said Wednesday that the Marion County mine would be idled until at least March 7 because of reduced demand for coal from electric utilities. The mine employs about 500 workers.

The St. Clairsville company is one of the nationís largest coal producers.

Murray said regulatory enforcement from President Barack Obamaís administration and inexpensive natural gas are stifling the demand for coal. He says all of his mines in six states are running on reduced schedules, and the companyís workforce has shrunk from 8,400 in May to 5,800 this month.

Murray bought the Marion County mine along with four others from Consol Energy in 2013.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.