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Chubb reports sharp profit decrease in Q1


Chubb Ltd. posted first-quarter net income of $252 million compared with $1.04 billion a year ago, as the company saw a reduction of more than $900 million in adjusted net realized losses, according to its earnings release Tuesday.

Speaking on Chubb’s Wednesday morning earnings call, chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg said the first quarter “would be an earnings event for Chubb” and would not threaten the company’s balance sheet.

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely hurt smaller commercial enterprises more than medium-sized businesses, Mr. Greenberg said.

Property/casualty net premiums written rose 8.9% to $7.3 billion, and property/casualty underwriting income was up 9.3% to $778 million, according to the Chubb earnings release.

“The commercial property/casualty pricing environment continues to firm across the globe,” Mr. Greenberg said on the earnings call. He added, however, that “earning will be impacted by a reduction in premiums for a period of time,” although it could not be known by how much and for how long.

The company’s share repurchase program will be suspended, Mr. Greenberg said on the call.

Chubb’s combined ratio for first-quarter 2020 was 89.1% compared with 89.2% in the year-ago quarter, according to the release.

The overall rate increase in the North American commercial business was 10.5%, new business was up 27.5%, and the renewal rate was 95%, Mr. Greenberg said.

North American commercial net written property/casualty premiums rose 10.2%, with rates for large accounts up 13% and U.S. middle market and small accounts up 11% with an overall renewal rate of 94.5%, Mr. Greenberg said in the call.

Catastrophe losses for the first quarter totaled $237 million including $224 million for weather events and $13 million related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is being noted as a separate, ongoing catastrophe event, the release said.

The losses of $946 million after tax principally comprised $560 million related to the negative mark-to-market impact on the company’s variable annuity reinsurance portfolio; $129 million related to the adoption of new accounting guidance that required the acceleration of certain mark-to-market losses on fixed maturities, previously classified as unrealized losses, as realized losses; $103 million of impairment related to certain securities the company intended to sell subsequent to quarter-end; $71 million of foreign exchange losses; and $83 million of other realized losses, the release said.

Speaking of claims and losses, Mr. Greenberg said, “In the insurance industry, for the most part, except for those customers who discretely purchased it, business interruption doesn’t cover COVID-19,” and requires direct physical loss or damage.

Plaintiffs attorneys, he said, would try to “torture” policy language to create what does not exist, something he said the industry would fight “tooth and nail.”

“We will pay what we owe,” Mr. Greenberg said.

More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.








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