Chubb 1Q Earnings Rise Despite Catastrophes

Chubb Corp. (NYSE:CB) said Thursday that first-quarter earnings rose despite a high incidence of costly global catastrophes.

The Warren, N.J.-based insurer reported net income of $509 million compared with $464 million in the first quarter of 2010.  Earnings per share increased to $1.70 from $1.39, a 22% year-to-year jump.

In a statement released after stock markets closed, Chubb said the impact of catastrophes on first-quarter earnings was $270 million before taxes. The insurer cited winter storms in the U.S., flooding in Australia, and earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.

“The big story for the property and casualty insurance industry in the first quarter was the high level of natural catastrophes around the globe,” John D. Finnegan, Chubb’s chairman and CEO said in a statement.

Operating income, which Chubb defines as net income excluding after-tax realized investment gains and losses, was $405 million in the first quarter of 2011 and $381 million a year earlier. First-quarter operating income per share rose 18% to $1.35 in 2011 from $1.14 in 2010.

Chubb’s stock closed higher by 70 cents, or 1.15% at $61.56, then jumped in after-hours trading on the positive earnings.