April 20 Property and casualty insurer Travelers
Cos Inc reported an 11 percent fall in quarterly profit
hurt by higher catastrophe losses and lower underwriting gains.
The company also authorized a $5 billion share buyback
Wind and hail storms in several regions of the United
States, as well as a winter storm in the eastern part of the
country resulted in higher catastrophe losses during the
Net income fell to $617 million, or $2.17 per share, in the
first quarter ended March 31, from $691 million, or $2.30 per
share, a year earlier.
On a core basis, the company earned $2.16 per share.
Total revenue rose 3.8 percent to $6.94 billion.
However, net investment income rose 12 percent to $610
million, reflecting higher interest rates.
December and March saw the latest hikes in interest rates by
the U.S. Federal Reserve. A 0.25 percentage point uptick in each
case, the hikes marked only the second and third raise in seven
years, after being kept near zero.
Travelers invests a lot of its insurance premiums in
investment grade bonds, which helped the company come out of the
financial crisis in a good shape.
Gains from underwriting, before tax, halved to $211 million.
Pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance, rose to $347
million from $318 million.
The underlying combined ratio, the percentage of premium
revenue Travelers pays out in claims, rose to 91.7 percent from
A ratio below 100 percent means an insurer earns more in
premiums than it pays out in claims.
Net written premiums rose 5.3 percent to $6.50 billion.
St. Paul, Minnesota-based Travelers, the only property and
casualty insurer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, is
often considered a bellwether for the sector.
American International Group Inc, with whom it
competes for the title of the biggest U.S. P&C insurer, reports
first-quarter results on May 3.
Through Wednesday's close, Travelers stock had risen 1.7
percent so far this year.
(Reporting by Nikhil Subba and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru;
Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)