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XL Catlin swings to loss as catastrophes weigh

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Catastrophe losses pushed XL Group Ltd., which does business as XL Catlin, to a third-quarter loss of $1.04 billion, compared with net income of $70.6 million during third quarter of 2016, the insurer said as it reported earnings after markets closed Tuesday.

The company said pretax natural catastrophe losses net of reinsurance, reinstatement and premium adjustments and redeemable noncontrolling interest totaled $1.48 billion in the quarter compared to $97.4 million in the same period last year. Current-quarter natural catastrophe losses are largely attributed to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the company said in its statement.

A presentation accompanying the company’s earnings call Tuesday evening noted that Irma was the most expensive storm at $674 million in net losses, followed by Harvey at $399 million and Maria at $345 million.

However, CEO Mike McGavick, speaking on the call, said that the catastrophe losses, while significant, were “in line with our expectations and in line with our market share” and “well within confidence levels for events like these.”

He added that the company remains “well positioned from a capital perspective.”

Geographically, 51% of the losses were related to the U.S mainland, 41% to the Caribbean and 8% to catastrophes elsewhere, Greg Hendrick, president of property/casualty, said on the call.

The company’s third-quarter property/casualty combined ratio worsened to 146.9% from 93.1% in the year-ago period. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the combined ratio was 111.6% compared with 93.9% in the same period last year.

Net premiums written for the quarter rose 0.9% over the prior-year period to $2.33 billion. For the nine months, net premiums written rose 0.4% to $7.95 billion compared with the same period last year.

Net investment income slid 3.3% for the quarter to $202.8 million compared with the prior-year quarter. For the nine months, net investment income fell 3.0% to $612.0 million compared with the year-ago period.

Despite the rough quarter, Mr. McGavick took a bullish posture, saying on the call, “We are and will remain a leading writer of catastrophe reinsurance, and the market that is coming will be better than the marker that came before.”

Turning to overall insurance and reinsurance markets, Mr. McGavick said he believes it is “totally reasonable to expect rate to be more reasonable and sustainable,” moving forward.