Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. reported on Monday that its first-quarter net income rose 60 percent.
Results benefitted from a $150 million gain on the sale of its Specialty Risk Services claims administration business, and from improved results in consumer insurance and wealth management.
The Hartford, Connecicut-based company posted net income of $511 million, or $1.01 per share, up from $319 million, or a loss of 42 cents, a year ago.
Excluding some investment gains and losses, adjusted income totaled $1.16 per share. That topped the average estimate of 95 cents forecast by analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Commercial insurance sales fell 31 percent to $200 million, but consumer product sales rose 79 percent to $113 million. Sales growth was also noted in annuities, life insurance and retirement plans. Hartford's wealth management business grew 24 percent to $268 million.
The company's combined ratio improved to 88.7 percent from 91.1 percent. An insurer's combined ratio reflects the company's losses and expenses, so a decrease means the company spent less of each premium dollar it received to pay out claims.
"The Hartford is well positioned to benefit as the U.S. economy continues to recover in 2011," CEO Liam E. McGee said in a statement. "We expect our disciplined execution, combined with rising payrolls, increasing business investment and consumers' renewed focus on retirement savings, will generate sustained, profitable growth."