Travelers Profit Dented By High Catastrophe Losses

By Ciara Linnane Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Insurer Travelers Cos. Inc. said Thursday it had net income of $617 million, or $2.17 a share, in the first quarter, down from $691 million, or $2.30 a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to $2.16, below the FactSet consensus of $2.37. Revenue rose 4% to $6.942 billion, ahead of the FactSet consensus of $6.326 billion. "Core income of $614 million and core return on equity of 10.8% reflected unusually high first quarter catastrophe losses that arose from a record number of tornado and hail events," Chief Executive Alan Schnitzer said in a statement. Net premiums written rose 5% to a record level in the quarter with all business segments contributing, he said. Net investment income rose 9% to $610 million before tax, he said. Travelers is raising its quarterly dividend by 7.5% to 72 cents a share. The board has approved an additional $5 billion share buyback program. Shares were slightly lower premarket, but are down 1.7% in 2017, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 3.3%.

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