* Expects FY earnings $7.10-$7.50 per share vs est $7.85
* Q1 operating income $746 million, or $2.17 per share
* Net earned premium up 6 pct at $3.80 bln
* Shares up more than 2 pt after the bell
April 22 Insurer ACE Ltd reported a
quarterly profit that beat analysts' estimates as commercial
insurance rates continued to improve in the United States, and
it raised its profit expectations for the year.
After at least half a decade of soft pricing, commercial
insurance rates have started to firm up as insurers try to
protect their margins from low interest rates and catastrophe
ACE shares were up more than 2 percent after the bell.
The company's net income fell to $953 million, or $2.77 per
share, from $973 million, or $2.84 per share, a year earlier, as
it booked lower investment gains in the first quarter.
The company's operating income of $2.17 per share, however,
came well above analysts' estimates of $1.94.
ACE said net earned premium rose 6 percent to $3.80 billion.
"We are taking full advantage of the improved commercial P&C
pricing environment in the U.S. and our strong presence in areas
of the world where economic fundamentals are superior, such as
Asia and Latin America," Chief Executive Evan Greenberg said in
Property & casualty combined ratio, the percentage of
premium revenue an insurer has to pay out in claims, also fell
marginally to 88.2 percent from 89.2 percent.
However, low interest rates continued to take a toll on the
company's net investment income, which fell more than 2 percent
to $531 million.
For the current year, the insurer said it expected operating
income of between $7.10 and $7.50 per share, due to lower losses
from catastrophes and accidents. It had forecast operating
profit of $6.60 to $7.00 per share.
The company's revised forecast still fell below market
expectations of $7.85 per share.
ACE shares have gained about 9 percent since the beginning
of the year while the wider Thomson Reuters United States
Property & Casualty Insurance Index has more
Shares of the Zurich-based insurer closed at $89.24 on the
New York Stock Exchange on Monday.