CNA Financial has reported net income of $273 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, helping to lift its full-year results by 23% to $1.0 billion.
The company’s results had previously been weighed down by its fourth quarter performance in 2018, when it posted a net loss of $84 million.
Lower catastrophe losses meant the combined ratio improved 9.8 points to 95.6%, with losses totalling $51 million in Q4 2019, versus $146 million for the same period in the previous year.
The underlying loss ratio for Q4 similarly improved 3.5 points due to elevated property losses and professional liability in the company’s London operation in the prior year quarter.
This was partially offset by a 0.5 point increase in the expense ratio driven by year-end true-ups in acquisition expenses.
Looking at the full year, the combined ratio was consistent with 2018 at 96.7%, although catastrophe losses were lower at $179 million, compared with $252 million previously.
Excluding third party captives, CNA Financial’s Property & Casualty Operations generated gross written premium growth of 8% and net written premium growth of 6% for Q4 2019.
But its Life & Group and Corporate & Other segments performed less well, producing Q4 core losses of 2019 of $4 million and $68 million, respectively, with the latter driven by a $48 million after-tax non-economic charge related to asbestos and environmental pollution.
“Our fourth quarter results reflect a strong underwriting quarter in line with a strong underwriting year in which our underlying combined ratio improved for the third consecutive year to 94.9%,” said Dino E. Robusto, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CNA Financial Corporation.
“With fourth quarter premium rates increasing to 7% and gross premiums increasing to 8%, CNA is well positioned going into 2020.”
CNA Financial’s net investment income, after tax, was $443 million for Q4 2019, including $56 million from limited partnership and common stock investments.