UPDATE 1-Axis Capital's Q4 profit trumps Street view

Mon Feb 8, 2010 5:28pm EST

* Q4 oper EPS $1.83 vs est EPS $1.31

* Q4 total rev up 50 pct to $867.6 mln

* Net premiums rose 8 pct to $713.6 mln

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Axis Capital Holdings Ltd (AXS.N), a Bermuda insurer and reinsurer, posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a surge in net investment income.

For the fourth quarter, the company earned $282 million, or $1.87 a share, compared with $131 million, or 88 cents a share, last year.

Operating earnings were $276 million, or $1.83 per share, compared with $163 million, or $1.09 per share, a year ago.

Analysts on average were looking for a profit of $1.31 a share, before items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue jumped 50 percent to $867.6 million.

Net premiums earned rose 8 percent to $713.6 million.

Net investment income was $118.2 million, from $26 million in net investment losses in the previous year.

Reinsurers essentially provide insurance to other insurers, spreading the risk of losses among several carriers.

Axis Capital shares closed at $28.69 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Brenton Cordeiro in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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