(Adds details about results, share price)
By Bharath ManjeshR and Suzanne Barlyn
Aug 7 (Reuters) - Insurer American International Group Inc beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Wednesday, boosted by improved underwriting in general insurance business and higher investment income, sending its shares up 3% in extended trading.
A strong performance in commercial and personal insurance in regions outside of North America helped the insurer post an underwriting profit of $147 million in its general insurance business compared with a loss of $89 million a year earlier.
The general insurance business reported its first underwriting profit last quarter since 2007, when it was hit by the financial crisis.
AIG, one of the largest U.S. insurers, earned $1.43 per share on an adjusted basis. That smashed the consensus forecast for $1.15 a share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
AIG shares were up 3% at $54.40 in after-hours trade.
AIG said its general insurance accident year combined ratio, excluding changes from losses incurred in past years, improved to 96.1 for the quarter, from 101 a year earlier.
A ratio below 100% means the insurer earns more in premiums than it pays out in claims.
Chief Executive Officer Brian Duperreault took the helm of AIG in 2017, promising to return the company to its glory days and make the company's general insurance business profitable again.
"General Insurance achieved its second consecutive quarter of underwriting profitability resulting from underwriting and expense discipline, and reinsurance actions, and remains on track to deliver an underwriting profit for the full year," Duperreault said in a statement.
AIG's acquisitions under Duperreault of reinsurer Validus and insurance program manager Glatfelter Insurance Group contributed to the better ratio, along with improvements to new business, renewal terms and use of reinsurance, the company said.
The insurer's net investment income jumped 19.4% to $3.7 billion, aided by higher returns from AIG's equity investments.
Net income attributable to the company's common stockholders rose to $1.10 billion, or $1.24 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $937 million, or $1.02 per share, a year earlier. (reut.rs/2GVhQjZ)
Gross premiums in the general insurance business remained steady at $8.65 billion from the year-ago period.
Adjusted pretax income for AIG's life and retirement business was $1 billion, up 9% from $962 million in the prior year quarter.
Strong private equity returns, including income of $138 million from the initial public offering of a company in that portfolio, also helped fuel performance, AIG said. (Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru and Suzanne Barlyn in New York; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Arun Koyyur)