Travelers Companies Inc. reported Thursday first-quarter earnings that fell to $691 million, or $2.30 a share, from $833 million, or $2.55 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, operating earnings per share declined to $2.33 from $2.53, due primarily to higher catastrophe losses related to hail storms in Texas last month. The FactSet EPS consensus was $2.55. Total revenue increased to $6.686 billion from $6.629 billion, while net written premiums rose 5% to $6.166 billion. That beat the FactSet consensus for total revenue of $6.707 billion and net written premiums of $6 billion. The insurance giant raised its quarterly dividend 10% to 67 cents a share. "Our results from time to time will be impacted by higher levels of catastrophe losses, as they were this quarter, but the strength of our franchises, our meaningful and sustainable competitive advantages and our relentless execution have enabled us to deliver industry-leading returns over time, and we are well positioned to continue to do so," said Chief Executive Alan Schnitzer. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has gained 2.6% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 3.9%.
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