Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. reported higher disaster losses in the fourth quarter of 2018 but the insurer returned to profit after spending a large quarterly loss a year earlier on special charges.
Disastrous losses, which included two major hurricanes and historically harmful fires, did not result in significant hits to fourth quarter profits, Hartford executives said on Tuesday during a conference call discussing the outcome.
Hartford reported a net income of $ 196 million for the fourth quarter compared to a net loss of $ 3.7 billion in the previous year, which resulted in a major loss in the sale of its life and annuity business and a US-related fee. tax reforms.
In the conference call, Hartford chairman and chief executive Christopher Swift said the insurer reported "excellent financial performance despite a second year due to high disaster losses" and that the results were in line with expectations.
Total revenues increased below 1% to 4.63 billion in the quarter. Trade premiums increased by 4% compared to the same period last year to $ 1.8 billion, mainly due to the growth of small businesses and middle market operations, according to Hartford's income statement.
The combined commercial line ratio deteriorated to 90.7% in the fourth quarter of 2018 from 89.9% the year before, "mainly due to higher disaster losses, which are largely offset by lower policyholders' dividends and higher net benefits (development of accidents), "according to an income statement.
At the same time, an increase in work-offs in 2018 is likely to stabilize in 2019, says Hartford's president Doug Elliot at the conference call, noting that the insurer "began to see these trends flat" in the fourth quarter of 2018.
"This platform indicates that it may have been a one-time change, "he said.
Going forward, a top priority for Hartford in 2019 "is the successful integration of Navigators (Group Inc.)," said Mr. Elliott, referring to the insurer's last 2.1 billion acquisition of the special insurance company.