(Adds details about results, company background)
Nov 5 (Reuters) - Intact Financial Corp, Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer, reported a more than four-fold rise in quarterly profit, helped by a sharp fall in catastrophe losses.
The company’s profit last year was hurt by severe rain storms in the Toronto area and Quebec, and hail storms in Alberta.
Intact’s profit rose to C$202 million ($177 million), or C$1.49 per share in the third quarter ended Sept.30, from C$47 million, or 32 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Underwriting profit was C$124 million, compared with a loss of C$50 million, as catastrophe losses fell by C$145 million.
The company, the former Canadian insurance arm of Dutch financial group ING Groep, said its combined ratio fell to 93.2 percent from 102.8 percent.
A ratio below 100 percent means the company is taking in more from premiums than it is paying out in claims and expenses.
Intact sells insurance under several banners, including Belair Direct and Grey Power, BrokerLink and Jevco.
Operating income more than tripled to C$1.37 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of C$1.14, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Domestically, Intact has been an active M&A player over the last few years, buying up assets including the Canadian operations of French insurer AXA in 2011, and smaller Canadian players such as Jevco Insurance in 2012 and Metro General Insurance Corp, which it agreed to buy earlier this year.
Intact said in July it had taken a C$20 million minority position in a small insurance brokerage in Brazil, which marked the company’s foray into international markets. ($1 = C$1.1443) (Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson in Toronto and Anannya Pramanick in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)