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April 24 (Reuters) - Property and casualty insurer Travelers Cos Inc TRV.N on Tuesday reported an 8.4 percent rise in quarterly profit, lifted by higher premiums, improved underwriting and lower tax expenses.
Net income rose to $669 million, or $2.42 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from $617 million, or $2.17 per share, a year earlier.
On a core basis, the New York-based company earned $2.46 per share.
Travelers, which is seen as a bellwether for the insurance sector, said net written premiums rose 5 percent to $6.82 billion.
The company's income tax expenses fell 21.3 percent, primarily driven by lower U.S. corporate income tax rate, while underwriting gains rose 22.3 percent to $258 million.
Net investment income fell 1 percent to $603 million and catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance, widened to $354 million from $347 million a year earlier.
Travelers combined ratio fell to 95.5 percent from 96 percent a year earlier. A ratio below 100 percent means an insurer earns more in premiums than it pays out in claims.
Total revenue rose 5 percent to $7.29 billion. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)