Chubb (NYSE:CB) has been around since 1882, but last night the insurer reported spry earnings, with a 61% increase in net income. It attributed the fat quarterly gain to premium increases, among other things.

First-quarter net income came in at $360.7 million, or $1.88 per share, compared to $224.6 million, or $1.31 per share, in the same quarter last year. Operating income, which is income excluding tax-realized investment gains and losses, increased 39% to $308.1 million, or $1.61 per share.

As for its full-year estimates, while Chubb didn't provide an improved view, it reiterated that it still expects to provide earnings of $5.90 to $6.30 per share. Furthermore, it will take a fresh look at the numbers once the first half of the year has passed.

Chubb provides property insurance to individuals who are rolling in dough, and also doles out property and casualty insurance to corporations. It competes with the likes of American International Group (NYSE:AIG), which recently reported a 36% increase in profits, but said that competitors were trying to build market share by lowering prices.

During its conference call (transcript courtesy of CCBN StreetEvents), Chubb management touched on that issue as it reflected on homeowners' insurance. The upshot was that while some consumers may be lured away by lower prices provided by new entrants, Chubb contends its strong service element provides a solid argument for its pricing.

The company further said that rates may soon be flat, in what it described as a "soft landing," versus an environment where rates could spike downward. However, it added that there are fewer competitors in the past and undercutting prices likely won't happen; most companies would not be willing to operate underwriting businesses at a loss, with some price increases coming merely to offset inflation.

Despite the strong showing that included the usual first-quarter wintertime woes in the Northeast, Chubb shares recently crept up less than 1%. With the company's vow to revisit its full-year estimates in several months and the specter of competitive pricing hovering just the same, investors may have seen no rush to get too chummy with Chubb just yet.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Speaking of chubb(y), the world's record for the biggest sandwich was broken in Mexico last weekend, where a bread company produced a one-ton ham, cheese, lettuce, and mayo sandwich.