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Hanover Insurance Q4 net income improves

The Hanover Insurance Group reported a net income of $58.4m, or $1.27 per share for the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $57.3m, or $1.14 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Total property and casualty segment income before interest expense and taxes was $76.2m in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $70.3m in the fourth quarter of the prior year.

Net income for the full year of 2010 was $154.8m, or $3.34 per share, compared to net income of $197.2m, or $3.86 per share, in 2009.

Total property and casualty pre-tax segment income was $227.7m for the full year of 2010, compared to $270.1m in the prior year.

Net premiums written were $3.04bn in 2010, compared to $2.60bn in 2009.

The Hanover CEO Frederick Eppinger said that the ex-catastrophe accident year loss ratio improved by 3 points compared to the prior-year quarter, and the company grew ex-catastrophe P&C earnings by 20%, all while achieving significant net written premium growth.

"Our differentiated partner agency strategy allows us to improve margins while growing at rates above industry averages.

"In 2010, for the first time in our nearly 160-year history, our written premium volume passed the $3bn mark, driven by the success of our renewal rights transaction and strong growth in specialty commercial lines. This was also the first year our commercial premiums accounted for more than half of our business overall, reflecting the success of our diversification efforts.

"We closed the year with a book value per share of $54.74, an increase of 10% from December 2009, as we continue to build value for our shareholders," Eppinger said.