Travelers 1Q results rise, increases dividend

News,Business,Insurance Industry

NEW YORK (AP) — Travelers' first-quarter net income improved thanks in part to higher underwriting gains and increased net investment income. The insurer said its results were hurt by higher catastrophe losses, which were mostly from winter storms.

The results beat Wall Street forecasts, and its shares edged up in premarket trading.

For the three months ended March 31, Travelers Cos. earned $1.05 billion, or $2.95 per share. That's up from $896 million, or $2.33 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $2.16 per share.

Revenue climbed 6 percent to $6.71 billion from $6.33 billion, beating Wall Street's forecast of $5.86 billion.

Net written premiums — the industry term for new policy sales — increased 5 percent to $5.87 billion.

Net investment income rose to $736 million from $670 million.

The company's combined ratio fell to 85.7 percent from 88.5 percent. A ratio above 100 means that for every premium dollar taken in, more than a dollar went for losses, expenses, and commissions. A figure below 100 indicates an underwriting profit.

Travelers also announced Tuesday that it is raising its quarterly dividend by 10 percent to 55 cents per share from 50 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on June 30 to shareholders of record on June 10.

Its shares rose 60 cents to $87 per share in premarket trading about an hour before the market open.

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