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Ace's Q4 Earnings Down 25%

Posted on 01 Feb 2012

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Ace Ltd. reported its fourth-quarter earnings fell 25% as catastrophe losses jumped sharply from a year earlier..

For 2012, Ace sees operating income between $6.65 and $7.05 a share, below the $7.49 estimate from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

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 pretax catastrophe losses soared from the year-ago period to $155 million, primarily due to losses from the floods in Thailand.

Ace posted a profit of $750 million, or $2.20 a share, down from $1 billion, or $2.92 a share, a year earlier. Operating income, which strips out investment gains and losses, fell to $1.94 a share from $2.05 a year earlier. Analysts had expected earnings per share of $1.78.

The insurer reported net realized gains of $83 million, lower than the $305 million booked a year earlier.

Net premiums written rose 6.1%. Investment income improved 6.2%.

The property-and-casualty combined ratio—the percentage of each dollar in premiums paid out on losses and expenses—was 92.9% from 90.3% a year ago.