Travelers profit beats on higher premiums, strong underwriting

(Reuters) - Property and casualty insurer Travelers Cos Inc TRV.N beat analysts' estimates for quarterly profit on Thursday, boosted by a rise in premiums and strong underwriting.

New York-based Travelers, often seen as a bellwether for the insurance sector as it typically reports before its industry peers, said net written premiums rose nearly 6% to $7.08 billion for the reported quarter.

The insurer’s underwriting gains more than tripled to $513 million. Catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance, fell to $85 million.

Net investment income fell 2% to $616 million, due to lower returns from its fixed income and private equity portfolio business, hit by slightly lower interest rates.

Net income rose to $873 million, or $3.35 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $621 million, or $2.32 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $3.32 per share, beating estimates of $3.29 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total revenue rose 3.4% to $8.06 billion.

(This story corrects sixth paragraph to say profit beat estimates)

Reporting by Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta