CEO: Chubb merger exceeding expectations
The new Chubb Ltd got off to a strong start by exceeding the expectations of both Wall Street and Evan Greenberg, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, in the first three months of this year.
Formerly known as Ace Ltd until its $29.5 billion combination with US insurer Chubb Corp was completed in January, Chubb Ltd last night announced its first quarterly earnings as the new combined company.
The company’s operating income, a measure that strips out the impact of one-off items and acquisition-related costs, was $1.02 billion, or $2.26 per share in the January-through-March period, surpassing the $2.16 per share expected by industry analysts tracked by Yahoo Finance.
Mr Greenberg said the integration efforts were “on track and going well” and added that “the value creation that will come from the new Chubb is exceeding our initial expectations”.
“Our people are highly focused on serving their clients and writing business, and as they do so, we are knitting ourselves together at every level of the organisation,” Mr Greenberg said.
“Reception to the new Chubb in the market from customers, agents and brokers around the globe has been terrific. We also now project that we will surpass our original run-rate target for integration-related expense savings and, separately, we expect to increase our investment income run rate from what we would otherwise earn as a result of investment portfolio management improvements.”
The Swiss-based company with underwriting operations in Bermuda reported net income of $439 million.
“We’re off to a good start as the new Chubb with strong earnings for the first quarter, driven by excellent operating and underwriting results exclusive of the impact of one-time acquisition-related costs,” Mr Greenberg said.
“Comparing our results in 2016 to 2015 as if we were one company in both periods, our earnings per share in 2016 was $2.29 and our underwriting income of $720 million was up 23 per cent over prior year with an excellent combined ratio of 88.9 per cent.
“Book value per share was up over 10 per cent, or 2.3 per cent when excluding the merger impact, while our annualised operating return on equity for the quarter was over 10 per cent.”
The merger has made Chubb the largest publicly traded property-and-casualty insurer in the world. It ended the first quarter with shareholders’ equity of nearly $46 billion.
Gross premiums totalled $7.39 billion and net investment income was $674 million.
“Total premium revenue in the quarter was impacted by market conditions as we maintained underwriting discipline, as well as continued foreign exchange headwinds and integration-related activities,” Mr Greenberg said.
“Our client renewal retention rates were very strong in the quarter, so the impact to growth came predominantly from new business, where greater momentum has begun to build.
“The impact of merger-related focus is diminishing and foreign exchange should have a reduced effect in the second quarter. In fact, we are already beginning to see evidence of both.”
Chubb shares closed regular trading in New York down 44 cents at $117.82.