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Chubb’s Greenberg: insurance market firming

Evan Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Chubb

Chubb beat analysts’ forecasts with a $1.2 billion profit in the second quarter of this year, as chairman Evan Greenberg flagged up a hardening pricing environment.

The Swiss-based insurer with substantial underwriting operations in Bermuda said net income broke down to $2.50 per share, down from $2.76 in the second quarter of 2018.

Core operating income, which strips out one-off items, was $2.60 per share, exceeding the $2.56 per share consensus of analysts tracked by Yahoo Finance.

“We benefited from an improved pricing and underwriting environment, flight to quality from commercial insurance buyers, and our various global growth initiatives,” Mr Greenberg said in Chubb’s earnings statement.

“Pricing continued to tighten in the quarter while spreading to more classes and segments of business, particularly in the US and London wholesale market.

“We’re also seeing early signs that market-firming conditions are spreading to more territories around the world.

“In sum, this quarter was about growth and pricing, and we have good momentum. Our organisation is executing at a high level and we are confident in our ability to outperform.”

Property and casualty combined ratio was 90.1 per cent, compared to 88.4 per cent in the prior-year period, as pre-tax catastrophe losses rose to $275 million from $211 million.

Book and tangible book value per share increased 3.2 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively, during the quarter and now stand at $117.97 per share and $73.74, respectively.

Chubb recorded net realised and unrealised gains of $1.1 billion after tax in the company’s investment portfolio, principally driven by a decline in interest rates.

P&C net premiums written were up 6 per cent in constant dollars, with growth of 6 per cent in Chubb’s North America commercial insurance operations and 9 per cent in its Overseas General division.