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AIG Q1 profits beat estimates on property-casualty results

American International Group Inc. (AIG), the insurer that repaid a bailout last year, posted a first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as results improved in the company’s property-casualty operation.

In the first three months of this year, the company’s net income fell 31 percent from a year earlier when the insurer benefited from $3.3 billion in investment income.

The company, which came close to collapsing during the financial crisis before being bailed out by the US federal government, said net income totalled $2.2 billion, or $1.49 per share, for the three months ending on March 31. That compares with $3.2 billion, or $1.71 per share, in the prior-year quarter.

AIG posted an after-tax operating income of $2.0 billion for the quarter, compared to $3.0 billion for the first quarter of 2012.

The company’s operating profit, which excludes some investment results, was $2.0 billion or $1.34 a share, beating the 87-cent average estimate of the 20 analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance.

Operating income for AIG’s insurance businesses was $3.0 billion, up 28 percent from Q1 2012. The property-casualty unit, AIG’s largest, jumped 52 percent to $1.59 billion, as the business posted an underwriting profit, the New York-based insurer said.

“AIG’s results this quarter reflect the depth of our global operations, the market’s demand for the products and services we offer, and the strong performance of our investment portfolio,” said Robert Benmosche, AIG president and chief executive officer.

The P&C segment wrote less business in the quarter with net premiums written down 4.3 percent to $8.44 billion. Premiums at the company’s life and retirement segment rose nearly 1 percent to $620 million. Policy fees rose 5.3 percent to $615 million.

The company’s overall combined ratio — the percentage of revenue spent on claims and costs — improved falling to 97.3 percent from 102.1 percent a year earlier.

AIG’s other operations, including its mortgage insurance unit, reported operating losses of $152 million for the quarter.

“Our priority this year is to improve operating fundamentals and reduce costs. Whether this means lowering the cost of capital, re-engineering our systems, or focusing on business lines and geographical locations that make strategic sense for our company — reducing expenses and improving operating efficiencies are leading goals of every AIG employee,” Mr Benmosche said.

“We have already narrowed our core businesses to insurance and retirement services, and see the potential for further cost savings as we work to transform the corporate structure to support this leaner business. And, as a global company with half of our people outside the United States, we are exploring the capabilities, expertise, and opportunities where we have operations.”

“Over the course of 2013, we intend to continue to show how these investments and hard work will come to fruition,” Mr Benmosche concluded.

AIG got the biggest bailout of the financial crisis: $182.5 billion. The company repaid the bailout funds over the years and also has undergone a massive restructuring that cut its size in half as it turned it focus to its core business of writing insurance.

The Treasury Department sold off the last of its stock in AIG in December and sold its remaining warrants in the company in March, severing its final financial link to the company.

American International Group CEO Robert Benmosche

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Published May 06, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 05, 2013 at 4:51 pm)

AIG Q1 profits beat estimates on property-casualty results

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