American International Group Inc earned a bigger-than-expected profit during the third quarter, as higher prices in the insurer's property-casualty division and gains on investments in its life and retirement division led to a sharp rise in operating income.

AIG reported earnings of $1.9 billion, or $1.13 per share, for the period, compared with a loss of nearly $3 billion, or $2.10 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts had expected AIG to earn 86 cents per share, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting By Lauren Tara LaCapra)