October 29, 2009 / 10:25 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-Fairfax Q3 profit jumps 20 percent

* Q3 helped by underwriting profit

* EPS $30.88 diluted vs $25.27 (In U.S. dollars unless noted)

TORONTO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd FFH.TO, which deals in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, said on Thursday its quarterly profit jumped 20 percent, due primarily to improved underwriting profit.

The a Toronto-based financial services company said its profit was $562.4 million in the third quarter, or $30.88 per diluted share.

In the year ago quarter, when the company suffered significant underwriting losses due primarily to damaging hurricanes, Fairfax reported $467.6 million in profit, or $25.27 per diluted share.

Revenue fell to $1.28 billion in the latest period from $1.33 billion last year, while net premiums written fell to $1.06 billion from $1.13 billion, Fairfax said.

“Our third quarter in 2009 was a key milestone in the history of Fairfax,” Chairman and Chief Executive Prem Watsa said in a statement.

The company said its book value had increased to $371.85 per basic share as of Sept. 30, from $315.91 a share on June 30 and $278.28 a share as of Dec. 31 last year.

Stock in the company closed up 1.17 percent at C$376.90 on Thursday.

$1=$1.07 Canadian Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Rob Wilson

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