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ACE profits climb on lower catastrophe losses


HAMILTON, Bermuda--ACE Ltd. reported a 107% gain in net income in the first nine months of 2006, compared with last year's nine months results, which were hit by a string of hurricane losses.

Net income for the first nine months of 2006 was $1.64 billion, compared with $792 million in the first nine months of 2005.

The gains in large part were due to a huge fall in catastrophe losses, which were $10 million for the first nine months of 2006 compared with $742 million for the same period last year following hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Dennis.

The Hamilton, Bermuda-based insurer's gross premiums written increased by 2.9% to $13.39 billion in the 2006 period. The combined ratio for the first nine months was 87.8%, compared with 88.4% in the same period in 2005.

Evan Greenberg, ACE Ltd. president and chief executive officer, said all areas of the company performed well.

"The positive effect of the lack of catastrophe activity only added to what was already a very good quarter of operating performance," he said.