WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Insurance provider Ace Limited (ACE), Tuesday reported an increase in profit for the third quarter, helped mainly by higher global property and casualty premium revenues along with improved combined ratio and higher net realized gains.
Zurich-based Ace's third-quarter profit rose to $916 million or $2.66 per share from $640 million or $1.86 per share last year.
Net realized gains for the quarter was $59 million compared to losses of $48 million last year.
Operating profit, which excludes realized gains and losses, rose to $2.49 per share from $2.01 per share last year. On average, 25 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected profit of $2.23 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Net premiums earned dropped to $4.61 billion from $4.67 billion last year. Net premiums written declined to $4.62 billion from $4.71 billion last year.
Eleven analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $4.27 billion for the quarter.
Global property and casualty (P&C) net premiums written increased 8.9 percent, or 10.6 percent on a constant-dollar basis.
ACE said its P&C combined ratio for the third quarter was 86.5 percent. A ratio above 100 percent indicates the company is paying out more money in claims than it is receiving from premiums. Chief Executive Evan Greenberg said the company 'benefited from a relatively benign quarter for catastrophes.'
Looking forward to the full year 2013, the company lifted its operating income guidance to a range of $8.65 to $8.90 per share, from a previous estimate of $7.65 to $8.05 per share. Analysts currently expect the company to report full year operating profit of $8.63 per share.
The company also updated its guidance to account for the positive prior period reserve development, lower-than-planned catastrophe losses, and better current accident year results excluding catastrophe losses in the third quarter.
ACE closed Tuesday's regular trade at $97.80, up $0.32 or 0.33%, on a volume of 1.69 million shares on the NYSE. The stock further gained $0.01 or 0.01% in after-hours trade. In the past 52-week period, the stock traded in a range of $75.95 - $98.39, on a three-month average volume of 1.15 million shares.
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