Travelers profit handily beats estimates as disaster losses fall

Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:33am EDT

(Reuters) - U.S. insurer Travelers Cos Inc (TRV.N) posted an 85 percent rise in quarterly profit owing to lower disaster losses, blowing past Wall Street estimates.

Shares of the company, a Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI component, rose 4 percent to $88.75 in premarket trading.

Travelers reported net income of $925 million, or $2.41 per share, for the second quarter, up from $499 million, or $1.26 per share, a year earlier.

Operating earnings of $2.13 per share were well above the $1.60 analysts had estimated.

Profit was boosted by lower catastrophe losses, which fell to $340 million from $549 million.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $6.67 billion. Analysts on average expected revenue of $5.97 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Travelers has been able to hold on to customers and keep insurance pricing consistent across its businesses to offset perennially low interest rates.

"Given the environment of low interest rates and volatile weather patterns, we will continue to seek higher margins," Chief Executive Jay Fishman said in a statement.

Travelers closed at $85.43 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

(Reporting by Aman Shah in Bangalore; Editing by Robin Paxton and Sreejiraj Eluvangal)