The Chubb Corp., Warren, N.J., reported 2005 fourth-quarterincome rose 31 percent compared to 2004, reflecting results ofcompany cost-cutting.

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The personal and commercial lines carrier reported net income of$614 million for the fourth quarter of 2005, compared to $468million for the same period 2004.

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Bear Stearns analyst David Small said “the majority of theupside was driven by lower than expected expenses, as the companycontinues to focus on cost control.”

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The company reported net written premiums for the fourth quarterincreased 1 percent to $3.1 billion compared to the same period in2004. The combined ratio was 89.3 in the fourth quarter, comparedto 90.6 in the year-ago period.

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Mr. Small noted the company continues to write very profitablebusiness. He expressed concern that renewal rates in the commercialand specialty businesses were down 1 percent and 3 percent,respectively, “suggesting the insurance markets have not respondedto the '05 cats as many had anticipated.”

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He also said that while the share price will benefit from anaggressive share repurchase program, a competitive pricingenvironment and higher reinsurance costs could slow profitgrowth.

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For the full year, the company reported net income rising 20percent to $1.8 billion from $1.5 billion for the same period lastyear. The year-end combined ratio remained at 92.3 for both 2004and 2005.

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