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CNA Financial nine-month profits rise


CHICAGO—CNA Financial Corp. on Monday said its net income rose by 9.3% to $424 million during the first nine months of 2011 compared with the same period last year, as premium gains offset catastrophe and investment losses.

Net written premiums for the Chicago-based insurer's property/casualty operations, including its specialty and commercial businesses, climbed 6.2% compared with the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2010, to $4.72 billion.

But the company's combined ratio deteriorated to 102.1% during the first nine months of the year from 96.6% during the same period of 2010. Catastrophe losses amounted to $133 million in the wake of events ranging from the March 11 earthquake in Japan to tornadoes in the United States during the first nine months this year, up 104.6% from the same period of 2010.

Meanwhile CNA's net realized investment gains plunged 97.3% year over year to $2 million in the first three quarters.

The insurer’s net income in the third quarter rose to $75 million from a $140 million loss in the same period of 2010 that was related to an aftertax net loss of $365 million related to its July 2010 payment to Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s National Indemnity Co. in exchange for taking on CNA’s asbestos and pollution risks.

The company’s net written premiums increased by 8.0% year over year to $1.59 billion during the quarter.

Its third-quarter combined ratio deteriorated to 99.1% from 98.0% in the year-ago period. Catastrophe losses in the third quarter surged by 300% year over year to $32 million. Net realized investment results swung to a loss of $16 million in the third quarter from a $40 million gain during the same period of 2010.

“While we are pleased to demonstrate continued progress in our determined efforts to improve the earnings power of our core property and casualty operations, we recognize that there continues to be much work to be done,” the insurer’s chairman and CEO, Thomas F. Motamed, said in a statement.