Chubb shakes off cat losses to post $1.19bn profit
Chubb Ltd shook off net pretax catastrophe losses of $925 million to post net income of $1.19 billion in the third quarter.
The Swiss-based insurer with substantial operations in Bermuda said net earnings were up from $1.09 billion in the corresponding quarter last year.
Evan Greenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Chubb, said: “In the third quarter, Chubb performed well despite a challenging environment that included the continued struggle by many nations to address the impact, both health and economic, of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a record number of natural catastrophes for the insurance industry globally.
“We experienced our share of the cats with $925 million in net pre-tax losses. Yet, we still published a 95 per cent combined ratio, supported by significant underlying underwriting margin improvement.”
Combined ratio refers to the proportion of premium dollars used to pay claims and expenses. A ratio of less than 100 indicates an underwriting profit.
Underwriting income was up 44 per cent in constant dollars, Mr Greenberg said.
The chairman also spoke of the hardening market and impact of Covid-19 on premiums.
Mr Greenberg said: “With strong and continuously improving underwriting conditions in most all regions of the world, we grew property and casualty net premiums written 6.5 per cent in the quarter in constant dollars, comprised of 10.8 per cent growth in our commercial P&C business and a 3.3 per cent decline in consumer lines.
“Commercial P&C revenue grew 11 per cent in North America and 12 per cent in our international business. New business growth was up briskly, and we retained our renewal business at very high levels.
“The global pandemic continues to depress consumer activity and, as a result, premiums declined in our global accident and health and international personal lines divisions. We expect both to begin to recover sometime in 2021.
“On the other hand, our North America high net worth personal lines business is benefiting from a flight to quality and grew about 3 per cent in the quarter.
“The current commercial P&C market, as we have observed, is a natural response to prolonged industry underpricing of risk and the loss cost and interest rate environment. I believe the favourable trend will endure.
“Where we can get paid adequately to assume the risk and volatility, we are growing our exposures across the portfolio while achieving rates that exceed loss costs, and that means margin improvement.
“We have the people, the capabilities, the execution-oriented culture, and the command and control structure to continue capitalising on this underwriting environment, and we expect to grow our EPS through both revenue growth and improved margins.”
Book and tangible book value per share increased 3 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively, from June 30, 2020 and now stand at $124.98 and $81.11, respectively. Book value was favourably impacted by total after-tax net realised and unrealised gains of $1.1 billion in the quarter.