The Hartford Boosts Profits in Q3

November 3, 2010

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. reported third quarter 2010 net income of $666 million. This compares to the company’s third quarter 2009 net loss of $220 million.

The Hartford reported core earnings for the third quarter of 2010 were $710 million, compared with core earnings of $660 million for the prior year period.

Strong earnings in the insurer’s property/casualty commercial segments contributed to the positive results, the company said.

The Hartford reported strong profitability in P/C Commercial, with a 92.2 percent combined ratio, excluding catastrophes and prior year reserve development. P/C Commercial net income was $306 million, an increase of 41 percent compared with $217 million for the prior year period. The increase in net income reflected lower catastrophes and underwriting expenses, higher investment income, and almost a full point improvement in the combined ratio, excluding catastrophes and prior year development.

P/C Commercial written premium were up 4 percent from prior year period, driven by growth in the small commercial and specialty casualty lines. Commercial Markets net income was $352 million for the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 25 percent compared with $282 million for the prior year period.

Also, in standard commercial lines, policy count retention was up 3 points over the prior year period and policies-in-force grew 4 percent over the prior year period.

The Hartford reported that renewal written pricing remained positive in standard commercial lines, up 1 percent for the third consecutive quarter, and disability claims experience remains elevated in Group Benefits. The company is implementing rate changes to address loss cost and interest rate trends. Group Benefits net income was $46 million, compared to $65 million for the prior year period. The decline reflected a 2 percent reduction in fully insured premium and an increase in loss costs, the company said.

Personal Lines

Personal lines business in the insurer’s Consumer Markets division also improved substantially.

Consumer Markets net income was $70 million for the third quarter of 2010, compared with $15 million for the prior year period. The increase was driven by significantly lower current accident year catastrophe losses, an improvement in ex-catastrophe current accident year underwriting results and an improvement in net realized capital gains and losses, The Hartford said.

The company reported a combined ratio of 93.3 percent in Consumer Markets, excluding catastrophes and prior year development.

Written premiums were $1.01 billion, compared with $1.05 billion in the prior year period. The modest decline reflected the company’s rate and underwriting actions to increase profitability and the move towards a more preferred customer demographic in the agency channel.

The insurer also reported a catastrophe ratio of 5.1 points, down from prior year level.

The Hartford also noted that it continues to sharpen focus on target customer groups and to implement rate increases where appropriate. Renewal written price increases of 8 percent in auto and 11 percent in homeowners were noted.

Source: The Hartford

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