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Posted by tonyb on Auguest 9, 2003 at 9:17:20
HARTFORD FINANCIAL EARNINGS NEARLY TRIPLE
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE:HIG) said on Wednesday its quarterly earnings nearly tripled as improved financial markets led to investment gains and insurance premiums rose, and it boosted its forecast for the year, to $507 million, or $1.88 per share, from $185 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier. As financial markets rebounded, Hartford achieved $167 million in after-tax capital gains, compared with losses of $106 million in the year-ago period. Excluding the gains and other items, the company said it earned $1.26 per share, compared with $1.18 per share, a year earlier. This beat the average forecast of $1.18 per share turned in by analysts polled by Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group Plc.
The company's property and casualty division benefited from premium hikes,
while better equity markets helped its annuity business. The company did
have to pay out high claims from tornadoes in the Midwest and hail storms
in the Southwest. Hartford, like other insurers with property and casualty
lines, has benefited from rising rates, which have followed a decade-long
price war among insurers.