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Insurers ACE, Chubb log higher operating profits

Global insurer ACE Ltd., poised to become one of the world's biggest insurance companies with its pending acquisition of Chubb Corp., said its third-quarter operating income inched up 0.8%, while Chubb's operating income rose 4.8%.

The results come amid heightened industry competition and pressure on investment income from ultralow interest rates. They reflect a reprieve from Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, which in some years are devastating to the third-quarter results of property-casualty insurers. International insurers, though, were exposed to a wide range of costly events during the three months, including explosions at China's Tianjin port.

Shares of ACE and Chubb edged down fractionally after hours.

Operating earnings are a widely watched benchmark for the insurance industry because they exclude realized capital gains and losses from companies' investment portfolios, among other items that aren't considered recurring on a quarterly basis.

Zurich, Switzerland-based ACE reported that operating earnings totaled $897 million, or $2.74 a share, up from $891 million, or $2.64 a share, a year earlier. Overall, its net income was $528 million, or...