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Travelers' earnings up in first quarter


ST. PAUL, Minn.--Net income for Travelers Cos. Inc. increased almost 8% to nearly $1.09 billion during the first quarter of 2007 on the strength of a nearly identical increase in net written premium, a continuing sub-90% combined ratio and stronger investment returns, the insurer reported.

Travelers reported net income of just over $1 billion during the first quarter of 2006.

Net written premium for the insurer exceeded $5.14 billion during the first quarter, a 7.75% increase from more than $4.77 billion during the first quarter last year.

The insurer's consolidated combined ratio was 89.2%, compared with 88.9% for the year-earlier period. But its combined ratios for commercial business segments were somewhat higher than they were for personal lines business. Travelers reported ratios of 91.5% for its business insurance segment and 89.4% for its financial, professional and international insurance segments. It reported an 85.5% ratio for its personal insurance segment.

Travelers' underwriting gain during the first quarter was $341 million, a 1% increase from the first quarter in 2006.

Travelers' investment income gain of $737 million was 10% higher than the same period last year.

"While it is too early to predict revenue growth for the remainder of this year, we are feeling good about our income prospects and are increasing our guidance accordingly," said Jay Fishman, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.

During the first quarter, Travelers repurchased 13.9 million of its common shares for $725 million.