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Travelers profit falls on hurricane costs, lower investment returns


(Reuters) — Property/casualty insurer Travelers Cos. Inc. Wednesday reported a 20% decline in quarterly profit as it was hurt by hurricane-related claims and lower returns on its investments.

The company's core income fell to $526 million, or $2.20 per share, in the third quarter, from $655 million, or $2.60 per share, in the year-earlier period.

New York-based Travelers, often seen as a bellwether for the insurance sector as it typically reports before its industry peers, posted record net written premium growth of 10% to $9.2 billion in the quarter.

Hurricanes Ian and Fiona, as well as severe storms in many U.S. regions, pushed the insurer's pretax catastrophe losses to $512 million, from $501 million in last year’s third quarter.

Insurers are bracing for a hit of up to $57 billion from Hurricane Ian in Florida and South Carolina, risk modeling firm Verisk said earlier this month.

Industry experts already expect the hurricane impact to push some insurers into bankruptcy, homeowners into delinquency and make insurance less accessible in regions such as Florida.

The insurance industry also faces hefty claims from the Ukraine crisis and greater uncertainty brought on by higher claims costs from inflation.

Pretax net investment income dropped 23% to $593 million, Travelers said.