ACE Ltd. Notes 2006 Guidance

Bermuda-based ACE Ltd. reported the following guidance for the ACE Group of Companies for the full year 2006:

* Property & Casualty net earned premium growth is expected to average 6% to 8% for the full year. Earned premium growth is expected to be slower in early quarters and accelerate as the year progresses.
* The Property & Casualty combined ratio is expected to range between 88% and 90% and includes $400 million for catastrophe-related losses for both insurance and reinsurance exposures.
* Financial Services operating income is expected to decline approximately 15%.
* Total investment income is expected to range between $1.45 billion and $1.5 billion. The Company’s expectation is based upon estimated positive operating cash flow of approximately $4.0 billion and an expected increase in average portfolio yield to 5.0% over the course of the year.
* Interest expense and preferred dividends are expected to be approximately $210 million.
* Effective tax rate is expected to be between 22% and 24%.

The company also will be filing a shelf registration in the near future. The shelf replaces the previous capacity used in connection with the October common stock offering. The company reportedly has no plans for utilization of the new shelf at this time.