(Reuters) - Property and casualty insurer Travelers Cos Inc (TRV.N) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by higher underwriting gains.
Travelers, which competes with American International Group Inc (AIG.N) 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