Cincinnati Financial Gains on Best Underwriting in Decade

Cincinnati Financial Corp., the Ohio-based property-and-casualty insurer, advanced as fourth-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates on the best underwriting result in a decade.

Cincinnati Financial rose 1 percent to $44.40 at 4:30 p.m. in New York, the second-biggest gain in the 22-company Standard and Poor’s 500 Insurance Index. The insurer had climbed about 31 percent in the 12 months through yesterday.

Net income increased 43 percent to $192 million, the Fairfield-based company said yesterday in a statement. Operating profit was $1.11 per share, compared with the 49-cent average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The company spent 81.9 cents of every premium dollar on claims and expenses, the lowest for a quarter in 10 years.

Results were “driven by a materially better-than-expected underwriting result,” Sandler O’Neil & Partners LP analysts led by Paul Newsome said in a note yesterday.