Travelers’ Profit Rises, Helped by Lower Catastrophe Losses

Travelers Co’s earnings rose in the first quarter as catastrophe losses fell and the insurance holding company had stronger gains from underwriting policies.

Source: WSJ | Published on April 22, 2019

New York-based Travelers, part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, is among the largest sellers of insurance to U.S. businesses and sells car and home insurance to individuals and families. It is one of the first big property-casualty insurers to report quarterly earnings, and its results are watched as a bellwether for others.

The company said Thursday pretax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance, totaled $193 million during the quarter, compared with $354 million a year earlier. Major hurricanes and wildfires weighed on insurers’ results in 2017 and 2018.

Travelers reported net income of $796 million, or $2.99 a share, up from $669 million, or $2.42 a share, a year earlier. Total revenue, which includes investment income, rose to $7.67 billion from $7.29 billion.

Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected earnings of $2.72 a share on $7.11 billion in revenue.

Travelers posted core operating earnings of $755 million, or $2.83 a share, up from $678 million, or $2.46 a share, in the year-earlier period. Analysts had expected $2.74 a share.

Core operating earnings are a widely watched industry benchmark because they exclude realized capital gains and losses in companies’ big investment portfolios as well as items that aren’t considered recurring in nature.

Net premiums written, an important measure of revenue growth, rose 3% to $7.06 billion.