IAG Profit More Than Triples as Natural Peril Claims Fall

Insurance Australia Group Ltd. (IAG), the nation’s biggest car and home insurer, reported full-year net profit more than triple a year earlier as claims fell and premiums rose.

Net income rose to A$776 million ($697 million) in the year ended June 30 from A$207 million a year earlier, the Sydney-based company said in a statement today. That compares with a median estimate of A$819 million from a survey of seven analysts by Bloomberg News. The company expects an insurance margin of 12.5 percent to 14.5 percent for the year to June 2014, it said.

IAG on July 17 raised its estimate of full-year net earned premium and insurance profit margin, citing fewer natural peril claims and higher investment income. IAG is gaining from Chief Executive Officer Michael Wilkins’s decision in December to exit the group’s ailing U.K. business and focus on operations in Australia and Asia.

“Underlying margins are still improving but only modestly,” James Coghill, a Sydney-based analyst at UBS AG, said before the profit announcement. “A big lift is required over the next 12 months to exceed FY14 expectations.”

The insurer will pay a final dividend of 25 Australian cents a share, taking the full-year payout to 36 cents, it said today.

IAG shares have climbed 26 percent this year compared with a 10 percent rise for the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Narayanan Somasundaram in Sydney at nsomasundara@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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