UPDATE 1-Intact Financial profit falls on harsh winter

Wed May 7, 2014 7:53am EDT

(Adds details on underwriting loss, premiums written)

TORONTO May 7 (Reuters) - Intact Financial Corp, Canada's largest property and casualty insurer, reported an 8 percent fall in first-quarter profit as harsh winter conditions hurt underwriting income.

Toronto-based Intact said on Wednesday its net income fell to C$160 million, or C$1.17 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from C$174 million, or C$1.27 per share, a year earlier.

Underwriting profit fell 39 percent to C$51 million, as extremely cold winter weather, combined with a few rapid thaws, led to increases in burst pipes, auto accidents, fires, and sewer backups.

Weather-related catastrophe losses for the quarter amounted to C$75 million.

The company's combined ratio was 97.1 percent, compared with 95.1 percent a year earlier. A ratio below 100 percent means the company is taking in more from premiums than it is paying out in claims and expenses.

Direct premiums written slipped 1 percent to C$1.50 billion. (Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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