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Ace Q2 Earnings Fell, Core Profit Holds Steady

Source: WSJ - Erik Holm, Melodie Warner

Posted on 27 Jul 2011

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Ace Ltd. second-quarter earnings fell 10%, but the commercial insurer's core profit held steady despite expectations for a drop as it noted modestly improving pricing in property-and-casualty insurance.

The company raised its full-year operating earnings guidance, predicting $6 to $6.20 a share versus its May prediction for $5.40 to $5.70 a share, as Chairman and Chief Executive Evan G. Greenberg said the company was confident it could achieve double-digit revenue growth in the second half.

Like other global insurers, Ace has faced some of the worst quarters in years for catastrophe losses, due to devastating natural disasters in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as in the U.S. this spring because of a particularly destructive tornado season. In the latest period, Ace's catastrophe losses rose 65%.

Ace posted a profit of $607 million, or $1.77 a share, from $677 million, or $1.98 a share, a year earlier. Operating income, which strips out investment gains and losses, was flat at $2.01.

Net premiums written rose 16%. Investment income was up 9.8%.

The property-and-casualty combined ratio--the percentage of each dollar in premiums paid out on losses and expenses--deteriorated to 92.6% from 89.7% a year earlier.