Profit for the fourth quarter came in at $621 million, or $2.32 a share, up from $551 million, or $1.98 a share, in last year's fourth quarter, the company said.
Excluding special items, Travelers reported adjusted earnings of $571 million, or $2.13 a share, vs. $633 million, or $2.28 a share, in the comparable year-earlier period.
Analysts had expected the company to earn $2.10 a share, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Revenue for the quarter rose 4.7% to $7.8 billion from $7.45 billion last year.
The insurer reported a gain in quarterly profit despite higher catastrophe losses, which rose to $610 million pretax from $499 million in the year-earlier quarter, in large part due to insurable losses related to the California wildfires.
"Fourth quarter core income of $571 million and core return on equity of 10.0% were both impacted by a high level of catastrophe losses arising from the California wildfires and Hurricane Michael," CEO Alan Schnitzer said in a statement.
New York-based Travelers is the second-largest writer of U.S. commercial property casualty insurance, and the third-largest writer of U.S. personal insurance through independent agents.
The company's shares fell on Tuesday 1.3% to close at $122.36 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has gained approximately 7% since mid-December.