Posted on 06 Nov 2012 by Neilson
XL Group PLC's third-quarter earnings soared as the property-and-casualty insurer reported improved underwriting results and as core profits also strengthened.
The insurance sector faced some of the worst quarters in years in 2011, as disasters in Thailand, Japan, New Zealand and the U.S. racked up huge catastrophe losses.
In the latest quarter, XL's combined ratio--the percentage of premiums paid out on losses and expenses-- improved to 92.2% from 101.6% in the P&C business. The company said its combined ratio resulted from lower underlying loss ratios, in part due to a lower number of large losses and fewer catastrophes.
Catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums, were $32 million in the latest period, down from $ 110.6 million a year earlier.
The company, which also provides reinsurance, has also benefited in recent quarters from increases in premiums earned in its property-and-casualty operations.
Overall, XL posted a profit of $171.9 million, or 56 cents a share, up from $42.4 million, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier. Operating income, which strips out investment gains and losses, rose 61 cents a share from 28 cents.
Net premiums written rose 1.2% to $1.31 billion. Premiums earned in the property-and-casualty operations increased 7.8% to $1.47 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted operating earnings of 49 cents a share on premiums earned in P&C operations of $1.46 billion.
Total expenses rose 1.2%.
Shares were up by three cents to $24.25 after hours. The stock, which hit its highest level in four years last month, is up 14% over the past three months.