The Warren, N.J., insurer made $710 million, or $1.71 a share, for the quarter ended March 31, up from the year-ago $672 million, or $1.58 a share. Operating earnings, excluding realized investment gains, rose to $1.53 a share from $1.42 a share a year earlier.
Analysts were looking for an operating profit of $1.37 a share.
Net written premiums for the first quarter declined 2% to $2.9 billion. Premiums for the insurance business increased 1%; they decreased 1% in the U.S. and increased 7% outside the U.S. (1% in local currencies). Premiums for the reinsurance assumed business declined 69%, reflecting the impact of the Chubb Re-Harbor Point transaction completed in December 2005.
The first quarter combined loss and expense ratio was 83.4% in 2007, compared to 82.9% in 2006. The impact of catastrophes accounted for 2.5 percentage points of the combined ratio in the first quarter of 2007, compared to an impact of 0.1 percentage points in the first quarter of 2006. Excluding the impact of catastrophes, the first quarter combined ratio was 80.9% in 2007 and 82.8% in 2006. The expense ratio for the first quarter was 30.4% in 2007 and 29.1% in 2006.
"Chubb's outstanding first-quarter results obviously put us on the path to achieving or exceeding our January 30, 2007 operating income per share guidance of $5.00 to $5.40 for the year," CEO John Finnegan said. "However, we do not believe it is appropriate to revisit our guidance after only one quarter."
Shares rose 23 cents in after-hours trading to $53.99.