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Chubb

(CB) - Get Chubb Limited Report

, one of the nation's leading insurers, reported a 10% decline in profits for the first quarter Tuesday, a larger-than-expected drop that reflected weather damage losses in the company's homeowners business and some big losses in its property and marine businesses.

The company, based in Warren, N.J., said operating earnings, which exclude investment gains and one-time adjustments, totaled $149.9 million, or 85 cents a diluted share, in the January-March quarter, down from $166.4 million, or $1.02 a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by

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First Call/Thomson Financial

had anticipated 94 cents a share.

Dean R. O'Hare, Chubb's chairman and chief executive officer, attributed part of the decline in profitability to severe weather that resulted in increased damage claims from homeowner insurance policyholders. In a statement, O'Hare called it "a temporary interruption in the profitability that has characterized homeowners results in recent years."

The company said the losses reported by property and marine policyholders compared to unusually few such losses in the quarter a year ago.

Chubb shares were trading at 64 7/8, down 1/8, in midafternoon trading. (Chubb closed up 1 1/8, or 2%, at 66 1/8.)