The first-quarter after-tax operating earnings soundly beat the consensus estimate of 87 cents, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Benmosche has repeatedly said that AIG was focusing on improving its P&C underwriting, and the company reported its first underwriting profit for the unit since the second quarter of 2009. The Property Casualty insurance segment's first-quarter underwriting profit was $231 million, compared to an underwriting loss of $180 million a year earlier. The unit's loss ratio -- losses either paid or for which reserves were set aside, divided by premiums earned -- was 63.3% in the first quarter, improving from 68.0% a year earlier. The P&C combined ratio improved to 97.3% in the first quarter from 102.1% a year earlier. The combined ratio is an insurance unit's losses plus expenses divided by premiums earned. A ratio above 100% indicates an underwriting loss. First-quarter pretax income for the Property Casualty segment was $1.604 billion, increasing from $910 million in the first quarter of 2012. Deutsche Bank analyst Joshua Shanker rates American International Group a "buy," and said in a note to clients late on Thursday that "these results--after stripping out good weather, alternative investments and non-core items--are still modestly ahead of our expectations, and we expect incremental margin improvement in P&C as well as debt and stock retirement in 2013 to drive forward-looking EPS higher."
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-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla. >Contact by Email. Follow @PhilipvanDoorn