The Travelers Company’s 2018 first-quarter numbers reflect steep catastrophe losses but an otherwise profitable period due to strong results in net premiums written and higher premium renewals across the board. A lower U.S. corporate income tax rate also helped.

Net income for the quarter came in at $669 million, or $2.42 per diluted share, compared to $617 million, or $2.17 per diluted share over the same period a year ago. Results would have been better, save for $354 million in pre-tax ($280 million after-tax) catastrophe losses generated by East Coast winter storms, a wind/hail storm in the southern United States and California mudslides.

Travelers’ consolidated combined ratio was 95.5 versus 96 in the 2017 first quarter. The insurer also said its net written premiums of $6.8 billion for the quarter were a record, up 5 percent over the same, year-ago period due to growth in all segments.

Travelers Chairman and CEO Alan Schnitzer said that robust net written premium growth showed the carrier’s growth plans are working, even with catastrophe loss challenges.

“Net written premiums grew 5 percent in the quarter, reflecting growth in all segments as we continued to successfully execute on our marketplace strategies,” Schnitzer said in prepared remarks.

He noted that pricing continued to improve for business insurance, adding that the insurer also saw widespread rate increases across its broader product portfolio, along with improved retention. Bond & specialty insurance saw net written premiums jump 6 percent, and personal insurance experienced an 8 percent hike in net premiums written, he said, thanks to a renewal premium change of 10 percent in agency auto and continued growth in homeowners insurance.

Travelers booked $603 million in net investment income during the quarter, which dipped from $610 million in the 2017 first quarter.

The company said it returned $598 million in capital to shareholders during the quarter, including $401 million in share repurchases.

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Source: Travelers