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U.S. insurer Travelers quarterly profit more than doubles

Property and casualty insurer Travelers Companies Inc reported third-quarter profit on Tuesday that more than doubled, helped by higher premiums, lower costs and an increase in returns from non-fixed income investments.

Oct 20 (Reuters) - Property and casualty insurer Travelers Companies Inc TRV.N reported third-quarter profit on Tuesday that more than doubled, helped by higher premiums, lower costs and an increase in returns from non-fixed income investments.

Travelers also recorded a one-time gain of about $403 million from Pacific Gas & Electric's emergence from bankruptcy. The gain, which stemmed from payments Travelers made for claims on wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018, had been flagged last quarter at an anticipated $400 million.

The company's profit rose to $827 million, or $3.23 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from $396 million, or $1.50 per share, a year earlier. Total revenue rose 3% to $8.28 billion.

New York-based Travelers, seen as a bellwether for the insurance sector as it typically reports before its industry peers, said net written premiums rose 3% to $7.77 billion in the quarter.

The rise in profit was despite catastrophe losses that were well above the 10-year average for the third quarter, Chief Executive Officer Alan Schnitzer said in a statement.

The quarter also saw lower revenue from fixed income investments and the need to bolster reserves for asbestos claims.

Travelers reported pretax catastrophe losses of $397 million, mainly from severe storms in several regions of the United States and wildfires.

It reported an increase in revenue from non-fixed income investments, which include private equity, whose results are reported with a one-quarter time lag.

Claims and claim adjustment expense fell to $4.89 billion from $5.23 billion.

The company reported a combined ratio of 94.9% compared with 101.5% a year earlier. A ratio below 100% means the insurer earns more in premiums than it pays out in claims.

Shares of the insurer, a Dow component, have fallen 18.3% so far this year, while the blue-chip index .DJI has fallen 1.2% in the same period.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Alwyn Scott in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

((noor.hussain@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; Outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2663 or +91 80 3796 2663 ;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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