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Insurer ACE's net income slips in 1st-qtr

The Associated Press

Property and casualty insurer ACE Ltd. said Monday that its net income slipped 2 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter, as expenses grew, offsetting a gain in net premiums.

Even so, the company's latest earnings trumped Wall Street estimates.

ACE, based in Zurich, said net income was $953 million, or $2.77 per share, for the three months ended March 31. That compares with net income of $973 million, or $2.84 per share, in the same period last year.

Analysts expected $2.22 per share, according to FactSet.

Total net premiums written increased 6.3 percent to about $3.8 billion, from $3.57 billion a year earlier.

But losses and loss-related expenses grew to $1.93 billion from $1.8 billion in the same period.

Net investment income also declined, falling to $531 million from $544 million.

After-tax catastrophe losses, including reinstatement premiums for the quarter, climbed to $28 million from $14 million, a year earlier.

ACE cited lower catastrophe losses as it raised its full-year expectations for $7.10 to $7.50 per share in after-tax operating income. In January, the company expected operating income of $6.60 to $7 per share.

ACE shares ended regular trading up 24 cents at $89.27. The stock fell 24 cents to $89.03 in extended trading. Shares are up about 12 percent this year.