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CNA Financial 4Q Profit Falls

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CHICAGO (AP) – Commercial insurer CNA Financial Corp. said Monday its fourth-quarter profit dropped 37 percent, pulled down by losses at its life and group businesses.

CNA posted earnings of $190 million, or 70 cents per share, compared with $302 million, or $1.09 per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding investment losses, the company’s net operating income was 71 cents per share down from $1.18 per share in the year-ago period.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 69 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Losses from continuing operations at the company’s life and group unit totaled $157 million on lower results at its payout annuity, long-term care and pension deposit businesses. A year ago that unit had a profit of $10 million.

The company’s property and casualty businesses posted a combined profit from continuing operations of $339 million, up from $315 million a year ago.

Combined ratio for the property and casualty operations fell to 87.2 percent from 89.6 percent in the same quarter last year. Excluding catastrophic losses and development, the company’s combined ratio fell to 102.2 percent from 102.8 percent.

Combined ratio is the sum of an insurance company’s loss ratio and expense ratio and is used to indicate profitability. A ratio above 100 means that for every premium dollar taken in, more than a dollar went for losses, expenses and commissions. A figure below 100 indicates an underwriting profit.

CNA Financial, based in Chicago, is a subsidiary of Loews Corp.

In midday trading, CNA shares fell 64 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $28.52.