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CNA swings to loss on cat claims, investments

Posted On: Feb. 11, 2019 11:03 AM CST

CNA swings to loss on cat claims, investments

CNA Financial Corp. posted a 2018 fourth-quarter loss of $84 million compared with a profit of $223 million in the same period of 2017, as higher catastrophe losses and lower investment earnings weighed on results, the insurer said in an earnings statement Monday.

“(H)igher non-catastrophe current accident year losses driven by increased property losses as well as increased professional liability losses in our London operation” also had an effect, the insurer said in the statement.

For the year 2018, the company posted net income of $813 million compared with net income of $899 million in 2017, the statement said.

Revenue for the quarter grew 3.1% to $1.86 billion, according to the company’s financial supplement. Yearly revenue grew 4.6% over 2017 to $7.31 billion, the documents showed.

Net investment income for the quarter dropped 33.9% to $334 million vs. the year-ago period, the statement said; for the year, it fell 10.7% to $1.82 billion.

In the company’s property/casualty operations, net written premiums for the quarter increased 3.6% to $1.66 billion, the statement said. However, property/casualty net investment income dropped 58.4% from the year-ago quarter to $127 million.

For the full year 2018, net written premiums rose 4.4% to $6.822 billion compared with 2017, while net investment income dropped 19.2% to $996 million, the statement said.

CNA’s fourth-quarter property/casualty combined ratio jumped to 105.4% from 94% in the year-ago period because of catastrophe losses, but decreased to 96.7% for the year from 97.1% in 2017, the statement said.

Specialty operations saw quarterly net written premiums grow 2.6% to $682 million, the insurer’s financial supplements showed, while premiums for the year grew 0.5% to $2.74 billion.

The unit’s combined ratio rose to 91.2% from 88.6% in the fourth quarter but improved to 88.2% from 88.7% for the year, according to the supplement.

“While the combination of limited partnership investment returns and catastrophe losses drove a loss in the fourth quarter, we made significant progress in 2018,” Dino E. Robusto, chairman and CEO of CNA, said in the statement.