Travelers Profits Up

April 21, 2011

Improved pricing and a drop in catastrophe losses boosted Travelers profits 30 percent in the first quarter, as it beat Wall Street’s expectations and offered some evidence of a turn in the soft market.

Net profit for the first quarter was $839 million, up from $647 million in the year-ago period. The insurer said it saw both account and pricing growth in commercial insurance lines, while in personal insurance pricing also improved and retention was steady.

Net written premiums were $5.4 billion, up 4 percent from $5.3 billion in the first quarter of 2010. The company’s combine ratio improved to 94.7, down 1.7 points from the 96.4 it saw in the same period last year.

Travelers’ catastrophe losses plunged 61 percent in the quarter to $186 million, which — combined with a $1.1 billion stock buyback and the resolution of historical tax dispute — boosted earnings despite modest growth in premiums.

“We feel very good about our position in the marketplace and are cautiously but increasingly optimistic about the operating environment,” Chief Executive Jay Fishman said in a statement.

Material from Reuters was used in this report

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