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John123 in Gainers & Losers,

Texas storms seriously damaged Travelers' quarterly profit

Property and casualty insurer Travelers Cos Inc (TRV) reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as catastrophe losses nearly doubled, mainly due to hail storms in Texas in March.

Travelers said on Thursday its pre-tax catastrophe losses jumped to $318 million in the quarter ended March 31 from $162 million a year earlier.

Travelers' shares closed down 6.05% at $108.79 on Thursday, and the stock was the biggest drag on the Dow Jones industrial average.

Texas was hit by several storms in March, including tornadoes that toppled power lines, damaged structures and injured a number of people.

Travelers' net income fell to $691 million, or $2.30 per share, in the period from $833 million, or $2.55 per share, a year earlier. 

On an operating basis, the insurer earned $2.33 per share, falling short of analysts' average estimate of $2.55 per share, according to Thomson Reuters figures.

Near-zero interest rates have added to insurers' problems as investment income has remained weak.

Travelers' net investment income, which accounts for more than three-fifth of its earnings, fell 8.2% to $439 million in the first quarter.

Storms in Texas are expected to add to insurers' losses in the second quarter.

Hail the size of baseballs caused widespread damage in the Dallas-Fort Worth area last week, shattering windshields and windows, while storms in Arkansas knocked down trees, crushing cars and homes.

The Insurance Council of Texas, a insurance trade association, estimates that insurers are likely to incur $1.36 billion in losses due to the latest storm, making it the most expensive hailstorm for insurers in Texas history.

Travelers, which vies with American International Group Inc for the title of biggest U.S. commercial property and casualty insurer, increased its quarterly dividend to 67 cents from 61 cents.

I think we have a good buying opportunity here. We have temporarily setback that is not related to effective business operations of the company.  Just look at their dividends, they have increased them despite of such bad quarter results. I am going to buy TRV.