CNA Financial swings to loss in 3Q

By Ameet Sachdev
Posted Nov. 1, 2010 at 8:05 a.m.

CNA Financial Corp. reported a $140 million loss, or 59 cents a share, in the third quarter, as the company recorded a loss from its previously announced agreement to transfer its legacy asbestos liabilities to Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

In the year-ago quarter, the Chicago-based commercial insurer reported earnings of $263 million, or 86 cents a share.

The Berkshire transaction resulted in an after-tax loss of $365 million. Excluding the transaction, net operating income fell 44 percent to $186 million, from $331 million.

CNA said it had lower net investment income in its core segments because of less favorable limited partnership income. The company also said its renewal rates were slightly negative.

Its combined ratio. a measure of profitability in its property and casualty units was 97.9 percent in the third quarter, compared with 101 percent a year ago. A ratio above 100 percent means an insurer is paying out more in claims than it is receiving from premiums.

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