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Ace Swings to 3Q Loss on Wider Net Realized Losses, Full Year View Up

Source: Dow Jones

Posted on 26 Oct 2011

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Ace Ltd. swung to a loss in the third quarter amid a steep increase in net realized losses, though the insurer booked better-than-expected operating earnings and higher net premiums written.

The company again raised its full-year earning view, calling for operating earnings of $6.55 to $6.75, up from a previous forecast for $6 to $6.20 a share.
Like other global insurers, Ace has faced some of the worst quarters in years for catastrophe losses after a spate of natural disasters around the world and a particularly challenging storm season in the U.S. In the latest period, Ace's pre-tax catastrophe losses rose 25% from a year earlier.

Ace posted a loss of $31 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with a year- earlier profit of $675 million, or $1.97 a share. Operating income, which strips out investment gains and losses, rose to $2.22 a share from $2.01, well ahead of the $1.78 expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

For the third quarter, the company reported net realized losses of $760 million, sharply wider than the $50 million in losses booked a year earlier.

Net premiums written jumped 32%. Investment income improved 9.3%, due primarily to a slower turnover rate in the portfolio and a positive impact from foreign exchange.

The property-and-casualty combined ratio -- the percentage of each dollar in premiums paid out on losses and expenses -- was 90.3% from 88.4% a year earlier.