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Hurricane Ian drives down Chubb’s Q3 profit

Evan G. Greenberg

Chubb Ltd.’s net income more than halved in the third quarter, reflecting Hurricane Ian claims and realized losses, and the insurer’s top executive said Wednesday that additional commercial rate increases are necessary to keep pace with loss costs and inflation.

“Casualty rate in most classes will need to rise at an accelerated rate or else the industry will fail to keep pace,” given loss cost inflation and what will be slowing growth and exposure in the future, Chubb Chairman and CEO Evan G. Greenberg said during an earnings call with analysts.

Chubb reported third-quarter net income of $812 million, down 55.7% from $1.83 billion in the prior-year period, according to an earnings statement released after Tuesday’s market close.

Net income in the quarter was adversely impacted by realized losses of $502 million after tax, “principally due to the mark-to-market impact on derivatives and private equities as well as from sales in fixed-income securities,” Chubb said in the statement.

Pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and including reinstatement premiums, were $1.16 billion in the quarter, of which $975 million was from Hurricane Ian. Some 77% of Chubb’s Ian-related loss was incurred in commercial lines.

Chubb’s property/casualty combined ratio improved to 93.1% in the quarter, compared with 93.4% in the year-earlier period.

Catastrophe pricing is inadequate in many portfolios, and property pricing will continue to adjust to the realities of the nat cat environment, and to the increased cost of reinsurance and lack of availability, Mr. Greenberg said.

Chubb is fully prepared to take catastrophe risk and the associated volatility, as long as it is adequately compensated, he said.

Total net premiums written rose 14.4% from the third quarter of 2021 to $12.0 billion.

Chubb’s property/casualty net premiums written increased 8.5% to $10.747 billion. North America property/casualty net premiums written were up 10.6% to $7.837 billion, with growth of 11.4% in commercial lines.

In North America, growth in commercial lines was led by Chubb’s major accounts and specialty division, which grew 9.7%, Mr. Greenberg said. Its middle-market and small commercial business grew 5.7%.

Overall rates in North America commercial lines were up 5%, excluding workers compensation, while total pricing including rates and exposure increased 8.5%, he said.

“We are staying on top of inflation in terms of pricing and reserving,” he said.

In major accounts, rates increased 5.3%, with total pricing up 8.6%. General casualty rates were up 8.7%, property rates climbed 9.7%, and financial lines rates were up 4.3%, he said. In its excess and surplus wholesale business rates were up 9%, with total pricing up nearly 13%.

Pre-tax net investment income was a record $979 million, up from $866 million in the prior-year period. “With rising interest rates and widening spreads, investment income is and will continue to rise,” Mr. Greenberg said.

Chubb closed its $5.4 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp.’s business in Asia in the third quarter, which more than doubled its life insurance premiums.

It expects to announce regulatory approval of its additional stake in Chinese insurer Huatai Insurance Group Co. Ltd. imminently, Mr. Greenberg said.