CNA Is at a Loss

Heavy investment losses mar earnings.
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On Feb. 9, 2009,

CNA Financial

(CNA) - Get Report

reported that it swung to a net loss in Q4 FY08, hurt by heavy investment losses. Net loss was $336.00 million or $1.31 per share compared to a profit of $164.00 million or $0.60 per share in Q4 FY07. However, excluding investment losses and income from discontinued operations, net operating loss was $21.00 million or $0.15 per share. The most recent consensus estimate was a profit of $0.30 per share.

During Q4 FY08, revenue was $2.02 billion, down 19.5% from $2.51 billion in Q4 FY07. Business-wise, CNA's Property & Casualty (P&C) Operations gross written premium fell 4.4% to $2.02 billion from $2.12 billion in Q4 FY07. Within the segment, Standard Lines gross premium written slipped 7.3% to $764.00 million, while Specialty Lines gross premium written declined 2.6% to $1.26 billion. Moreover, P&C Operations net written premium edged down 4.0% to $1.56 billion from $1.63 billion a year ago. Furthermore, pre-tax net investment income plunged 70.0% or $404.00 million, due to significant losses from the limited partnership investments. Finally, CNA's after-tax net realized investment losses widened $253.00 million.

Net operating results from the core P&C Operations plunged 54.3% or $146.00 million to $123.00 million, while non-Core operations decreased $98.00 million to a loss of $39.00 million from Life & Group operations and $105.00 million from Corporate & Other, respectively. Finally, the combined P&C operations loss ratio declined to 58.6% from 67.0%, thereby reducing the combined ratio to 89.1% from 98.0% during Q4 FY07, reflecting an improved underwriting performance.

For FY08, CNA's net loss swung to $299.00 million or $1.18 per share from a gain of $851.00 million or $3.13 per share, while total P&C operations net premium written fell 4.2% to $6.49 billion from $6.77 billion in FY07.

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