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Insurer Travelers profit falls on winter storm costs

The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company Travelers Companies Inc (TRV) is seen in Los Angeles

(Reuters) - Property and casualty insurer Travelers Companies Inc reported a 37% fall in quarterly profit on Tuesday, hurt by losses related to a winter storm that swept across the United States and Canada in the last week of 2022.

The company's core income fell to $810 million, or $3.40 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $1.29 billion, or $5.20 per share, a year earlier.

The winter storm pushed up the insurer's catastrophe losses net of reinsurance to $459 million from $36 million last year.

A dangerously frigid Arctic air mass gripped a vast expanse of the United States in late December, bringing floods, power outages, mudslides, evacuations and road closures.

Industry experts already expected the impact from Hurricanes Ian and Fiona last year to push smaller insurers into bankruptcy.

Travelers' profit was also hit by a fall in net investment income to $625 million from $743 million a year earlier.

The New York-based company, often seen as a bellwether for the insurance sector as it typically reports before its industry peers, posted net written premiums growth of 10% to $8.83 billion in the quarter.

The company reported a combined ratio of 94.5%, compared with 88% a year earlier. A ratio below 100% means the insurer earned more in premiums than it paid out in claims.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)