Insurer Travelers' profit beats as underwriting gains surge

Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:28am EDT
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(Reuters) - Property and casualty insurer Travelers Cos Inc (TRV.N: Quote) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by higher underwriting gains.

Travelers, which competes with American International Group Inc (AIG.N: Quote) for the title of the biggest U.S. commercial property and casualty insurer, said underwriting gains rose about 35 percent to $759 million in the third quarter.

Catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance, rose to $85 million from $83 million, a year earlier.

Travelers' combined ratio, the percentage of premium revenue an insurer has to pay out in claims, fell to 86.9 percent from 90 percent. A ratio below 100 percent means an insurer earns more in premiums than it pays out in claims.

Travelers, a Dow-30 component, is the first big U.S. insurer to report quarterly results.

The company's net income rose to $928 million, or $2.97 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from $919 million, or $2.69 per share, a year earlier.

Travelers reported an operating income of $2.93 per share, higher than the average analyst estimate of $2.27, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Travelers shares rose about 3.5 percent to $110 in light premarket trading on Tuesday.

(Reporting By Sudarshan Varadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)