CNA Posts 3Q $75M Profit

NU Online News Service, Oct. 31, 2:40 p.m. EST

CNA Financial Corp. says third-quarter net income was $75 million, compared to a net loss of $140 million a year ago during the same period.

Net operating income increased to $91 million from a loss of $158 million a year ago when CNA sold its legacy asbestos and environmental pollution liabilities to Berkshire Hathaway’s National Indemnity Co.

Without the loss associated with the portfolio transfer, CNA says third-quarter operating income dropped $95 million compared to the same period in 2010.

Though net written premiums grew 8 percent, the company’s property and casualty operations saw $32 million in after-tax catastrophe losses and net-realized investment results decreased $56 million to a loss of $16 million compared to the 2010 third quarter, CNA says.

The catastrophe losses contributed 3.1 points to the Chicago-based specialty and commercial insurer’s 99.1 combined ratio. The company’s combined ratio was 98 a year ago.

During a conference call, Thomas F. Motamed, chairman and chief executive officer, says, “We see rates continuing to get stronger in commercial,” noting a progressive increase in rates of 1.2 percent in the first quarter, 1.8 percent in the second quarter and 2.4 percent during the third quarter.

“We’re pretty pleased with what’s happening with rates now,” he says. “Exposures have picked up as well.”

Rates were moving in a positive direction for the specialty segment as well, he adds. Average rate was flat, compared to a decrease of 3 percent during the 2010 third quarter.

Motamed says new business pricing was “slightly stronger” than renewal pricing.

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