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Travelers Suffers Earnings Drop From Spike in Catastrophic Losses

By Dave Kovaleski – Apr 21, 2020 at 11:06AM

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The insurer raised its quarterly dividend 4%.

The Travelers Cos. (TRV -1.15%) saw earnings fall in the first quarter due in part to higher catastrophic losses.

The Hartford, Conn.-based insurer missed earnings estimates with $600 million in net income, down 25% from the first quarter of 2019. Earnings per diluted share came in at $2.33, down 22% from the previous year's first quarter.

Revenue was up 3% year over year to $7.9 billion, but the company paid out $333 million in catastrophic losses -- up from $193 million in the previous year's quarter. The losses were primarily from tornadoes that hit Tennessee, as well as other wind storms and winter storms throughout the country. Underwriting gains were also offset by $86 million in net charges related to hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Travelers reported a consolidated combined ratio of 95.5% -- still profitable, but up from the same period the year before.

Illustration of six men in suits with briefcases holding a large red umbrella to protect against elements

Image source: Getty Images

Also, the company reported a 4% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.85 per share, marking 16 straight years of dividend increases. Based on this morning's prices, Travelers' dividend yields about 3.2%, with an affordable payout ratio of 35%.

"Our balance sheet is extremely strong, our debt-to-capital ratio is comfortably within our target range, our holding company liquidity of $1.6 billion is well above our target level, and we have a very high-quality investment portfolio," Travelers Chairman and CEO Alan Schnitzer said.

Travelers stock price was up over 4% in early trading today. The stock price is down about 23% on the year.

Dave Kovaleski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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