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AIG quarterly earnings miss as corporate category underperforms

AIG quarterly earnings miss as corporate category underperforms

(Reuters) — Insurer American International Group Inc. reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, hurt by the performance in its corporate category.

AIG also declared a dividend of $0.125 per share and increased its share repurchase authorization to up to $2.5 billion.

The U.S. insurer's net income fell 67% to $655 million, or $0.46 per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $2 billion, or $1.34 per share, a year earlier.

The net income figure included an after-tax loss on extinguishment of debt of $824 million, or $0.58 per diluted share, as the company bought back high-cost obligations.

On an operating basis, the company earned $1.4 billion, or $0.97 per share.

The company saw its corporate and other category — which includes businesses and items not allocated to AIG's reportable segments — swing to an operating loss of $357 million, compared with operating income of $296 million in the year-ago period.

In a statement, AIG pointed to "reductions in workers' compensation discount and total adverse prior-year reserve development" as factors affecting operating income.

The last three months of 2014 marked the first full quarter under CEO Peter Hancock, who took the role from his previous post as head of the company's property/casualty business.

Mr. Hancock succeeded Bob Benmosche, who was widely credited with helping turn the company around after bad bets on derivatives nearly sank the company during the financial crisis.

The company has since focused more closely on its core businesses.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.05 per share in the fourth quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In property/casualty, net premiums earned dipped about 2% to $5.207 billion, while the combined ratio fell to 103.4 from 108.7.

A combined ratio below 100 indicates an underwriting profit, meaning an insurer is receiving more in premiums than it is paying out in claims.

In personal insurance, net premiums earned slipped 5% to $2.926 billion. But the combined ratio improved to 98.7 from 104.3.

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