Travelers Cos. (TRV), one of the first major insurers to report third-quarter results, said profit jumped dramatically and the company beat Wall Street expectations thanks to a remarkable absence of costly natural disasters.
Net income of $864 million, or $2.21 a share, more than doubled from the $333 million, or 79 cents a share in the same period a year earlier, the company said in a statement Thursday.
Operating profit of $867 million equated to $2.22 a share, setting a per-share record for the company and beating the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters by 61 cents.
Operating profit excludes some investment results.
Hurricane Isaac grabbed headlines in August and a severe drought across large swaths of the U.S. caused worry all summer, but neither event turned out to be very costly to insurers. Travelers pegged its catastrophe tally at $59 million after taxes, a massive drop from $394 million in last year's third quarter.
By coming in so far above Wall Street consensus and with so few catastrophe claims, the Travelers result will likely cause investors to re-examine their earnings assumptions for other property-casualty companies still to report. Chubb Corp. (CB) and Ace Ltd (ACE), the next major insurers to disclose results, are scheduled to release earnings next week.