Chubb's operating profit falls 90 percent on Sandy losses
* 4th-qtr oper profit $0.16/shr vs est oper loss $0.45/shr
* Expects oper profit $6.40-$6.80/share for 2013, above est
* $882 mln in before-tax catastrophe losses due to Sandy
* Approves new $1.3 bln share repurchase program
Jan 31 (Reuters) - Chubb Corp's quarterly operating profit fell more than 90 percent as the property and casualty insurer booked catastrophe losses of $882 million before-tax related to superstorm Sandy.
The company, however, forecast operating earnings of between $6.40 and $6.80 per share for 2013, higher than the average analyst estimate of $6.26.
Chubb was one of the most exposed insurers to Sandy, which struck the Northeastern United States on Oct. 29.
The company said on Thursday it had approved a new $1.3 billion share repurchase program to replace a $1.2 billion program suspended while it calculated losses from the storm.
The company had bought back about $979 million of shares under the earlier program.
Chubb's net income for the fourth quarter fell to $102 million, or 38 cents per share, from $452 million or $1.60 per share, a year earlier.
On an operating basis, Chubb earned 16 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a loss of 45 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Chubb has not posted an operating loss on a per-share basis since the third quarter of 2002, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The company's shares were little changed in extended trading after closing at $80.31 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.