AIG posts profit on stronger underwriting in general insurance unit

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Insurer American International Group Inc on Thursday reported a quarterly profit compared to a year-earlier loss, helped by smaller catastrophe losses and improved underwriting in its general insurance business.

Net income attributable to the company’s shareholders was $922 million, or $1.03 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a loss of $622 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier.

AIG, one of the largest insurers in the United States, posted an underwriting income of $12 million in its general insurance business, compared with a loss of $1.07 billion, a year earlier.

Underwriting income is the difference between premiums an insurer collects on policies and claims it pays out.

Net pre-tax catastrophe loss at the general insurance unit narrowed to $411 million in the reported quarter from $826 million, a year earlier.

Total net investment income rose 30% to $3.6 billion.

The insurer also said it expects to pay $1.7 billion as part of a tax settlement with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, which could be made as early as the first quarter of 2020.

The settlement amount, which AIG had previously disclosed, is related to cross-border financing transactions dating back to 1997. (Reporting by C Nivedita in Bengaluru and Suzanne Barlyn in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)