(Bloomberg) -- Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., theinsurer that sold life units to focus on property-casualtycoverage, increased its share buyback by $1.6 billion and raisedthe dividend 17 percent as second-quarter profit beat analysts’estimates.

The insurer posted net income of $413 million, or 96 cents ashare, compared with a loss of $467 million, or $1, a year earlierthat was driven by costs tied to the sale of a Japan annuitybusiness, according to a statement Monday from Hartford. Operatingprofit, which excludes some investment results, was 91 cents ashare, while analysts had predicted 77 cents according to theaverage estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

The insurer’s shares gained 9.8 percent this month in New Yorktrading amid speculation that it could become a takeover targetafter Ace Ltd. agreed to buy Chubb Corp. for more than $28 billion,accelerating the push for mergers and acquisitions in the industry.Chief Executive Officer Chris Swift and his top deputies arescheduled to discuss results on a conference call Tuesday and willprobably face questions about possible deals.

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