Chubb Corp.'s first-quarter net income rose 10 percent as the property and casualty insurer took in more premium revenue and paid out less in claims to cover damages from natural disasters.
Losses from worldwide catastrophes totaled $270 million before tax in the first quarter. That included winter storms in the U.S., flooding in Australia and earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan. In the first quarter of 2010, losses totaled $344 million.
Net income rose to $509 million, or $1.70 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $464 million, or $1.39 per share, a year earlier. Excluding investment gains and losses and other one-time costs, the company earned $1.35 per share, up from $1.14 per share in the first quarter of 2010.
That easily beat the $1.09 per share expected by analysts polled by FactSet.
Chubb said that it wrote $2.86 billion in premiums during the quarter, up 3 percent from $2.77 billion in the same period last year.
"This is a positive change from the flat to negative premium growth, excluding the effect of currency fluctuation, that we experienced during each of the past five calendar years," said John D. Finnegan, chairman, president and CEO, in a statement.
Operating costs and expenses rose to $904 million from $862 million a year ago. But the company said its combined loss and expense ratio was nearly unchanged at 93.7 percent, compared with 93.6 percent in 2010.