CNA Financial 4Q earnings rise, resumes its quarterly dividend

Thomas F. Motamed

Thomas F. Motamed

CHICAGO (AP) — CNA Financial Corp.’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 23 percent on improvements in its property and casualty insurance operations due to increased investment income. The insurer resumed its quarterly dividend.

Its stock added $2.24, or 8.1 percent, to $29.98 in afternoon trading on Monday. The shares hit a new 52-week high of $30.71 earlier in the session.

The Chicago insurer’s net income climbed to $302 million, or $1.09 per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That’s up from $246 million, or 81 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Its net operating income was $1.18 a share, Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 59 cents per share.

The company’s specialty division which provides professional and management liability insurance coverage delivered “superior results in an extremely competitive environment,” said Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Motamed. Net written premiums and operating income each increased, although net income fell on lower net realized investment results.

At the commercial division, net written premiums fell on lower insured exposure and decreased new business due to competitive market conditions, the company said.

CNA Financial declared a quarterly dividend of 10 cents a share, resuming such payments for the first time since 2007. The dividend will be paid on March 2 to shareholders of record on Feb. 16.

CNA is primarily owned by Loews Corp., a conglomerate led by New York’s Tisch family.