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CNA Doubles 3Q Earnings as Catastrohies Fall

Boosted by investment gains and lower catastrophe losses, insurer CNA (CNA) surpassed forecasts on Monday by more than doubling third-quarter earnings.

Shares of the Chicago-based insurance holding company were inactive Monday morning as U.S. markets were shut down due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

CNA said it earned $221 million, or 82 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $75 million, or 28 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company earned 80 cents a share easily trumping the Street’s view of 68 cents.

“We are pleased to report our third quarter results which include a much improved level of earnings and a continuation of favorable rate and retention trends in our core P&C business,” CEO Thomas Motamed said in a statement.

CNA said its pretax net investment income for the third quarter surged by $207 million due to a “significant increase” in limited partnership investment results.

At the same time, catastrophe losses plunged to $18 million after taxes from $32 million in the same period a year earlier.

CNA also said its results were helped by the acquisition of the Hardy Group, which posted net earned income of $64 million.

Shares of CNA have gained 7.4% so far this year, underperforming the S&P 500 and rivals like Loews (L).

Follow Matt Egan on Twitter @MattMEgan5