St. Paul's First-Quarter Net Up 36 Percent

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NU Online News Service, April 30, 4:24 p.m.EDT?The St. Paul Companies Inc. reported that itsfirst-quarter profit increased by 36 percent to $181 million, or 75cents per share, helped by its stronger underwritingperformance.

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In the corresponding period last year, the insurer posted $133million net income, or 60 cents on a per share basis.

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The St. Paul, Minn.-based company's ongoing insurance segments,which accounted for 94.4 percent of total net written premiums,recorded first-quarter net written premiums of $1.87 billion, up32.4 percent over the 2002 first quarter. The St. Paul'sfirst-quarter revenue fell, however, by 9.4 percent, to $2.11billion from $2.33 billion one year ago.

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The company's combined ratio also improved during that timespan, falling to 91 percent from 99.3 percent one year ago. Theimproved underwriting figures outweighed a slightly lower netinvestment income, which was $281 million, down from $293 millionin the 2002 first quarter.

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"Our first-quarter earnings clearly demonstrate the strength ofour operations," said Jay Fishman, chairman and chief executiveofficer.

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"Solid execution, strong pricing, improving retentions, targetednew business, continued expense discipline and exceptionalperformance at Nuveen Investments all contributed to the quarter'sresults," Mr. Fishman said.

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The St. Paul offers liability and casualty, property, workers'comp, auto, marine, and other commercial coverage. Itsinternational operations include Lloyd's of London syndicates thatspecialize in niches markets, including kidnap and ransom, personalaccident, and creditor coverage.

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