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Cincinnati Financial Corp. (CINF - Analyst Report) reported third quarter 2013 operating earnings of 70 cents per share, significantly exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents per share. Earnings also grew 9.4% year over year. 
 
The earnings beat came on the back of increased premium income, and strong contribution from the company’s Personal as well as Excess and Surplus lines segments. 
 
Revenue for Cincinnati Financial during the reported quarter was $1.15 billion, up 11% year over year. The increase was driven by higher premiums earned (up 12% year over year).
 
Investment income of Cincinnati Financial increased 0.8% year over year to $133.0 million.
 
Total benefits and expenses for Cincinnati Financial in the quarter increased 9.9% year over year to $970.0 million.
 
Cincinnati Financial had 1439 agency relationships at Sep 30, 2013 compared to 1408 agency relationships at year end 2012. During the first nine months 78 new agency appointments were made by Cincinnati Financial.
 
Quarterly Segment Update
 
Commercial Lines Insurance: Net premiums written in the segment increased 16% year over year to $719 million in the reported quarter. The improvement was driven by premium growth strategies, higher average pricing and increasing insured exposures. Despite the top-line growth higher loss and underwriting expenses dragged down the underwriting profit by 28% year over year to $43.0 million.
 
Personal Lines Insurance: Net premiums written in the segment increased 10% year over year to $278 million in the quarter due to higher renewal written premiums. The segment reported an underwriting profit of $14 million compared with an underwriting loss of $12 million in the year ago quarter.
 
Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance: Net premiums written increased 26% year over year to $34 million due to average renewal price increases. The segment reported an underwriting profit of $4 million compared with an underwriting loss of $3 million in the year ago quarter. 
 
Life Insurance: Premiums earned in the segment remained stable year over at $38.0 million. 
 
Financial Update
 
Cincinnati Financial exited the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $511 million, up 4.9% from $487 million at Dec 31, 2012.
 
As of Sep 30, 2013, Cincinnati Financial had assets worth $17.3 billion, up 4.8% from $16.5 billion as of Dec 31, 2012.
 
Debt-to-capital ratio improved 80 basis points to 13.3% from 14.1% at year end 2012.
 
As of Sep 30, 2013, book value per share of Cincinnati Financial was $35.51, up 6.1% from Dec 31, 2012.
 
During the reported quarter, the company increased its quarterly dividend to 42 cents per share which marked the 53rd consecutive increase.
 
Cincinnati Financial carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). 
 
Among other property and casualty players, The Chubb Corp. (CB - Analyst Report), The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV - Analyst Report) and Assurant Inc. (AIZ - Analyst Report) -- all with Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) -- reported third quarter earnings ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimates.

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