July 30, 2009 / 12:20 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 2-Insurer Cincinnati Financial posts Q2 loss

* Q2 loss $0.12/shr vs EPS $0.38 yr-ago

* Q2 oper loss $0.03/shr

* Q2 realized investment loss $0.09/shr

* Q2 catastrophe losses $118 million

July 30 (Reuters) - Cincinnati Financial Corp (CINF.O), a U.S. Midwestern property and casualty insurer, posted a second-quarter loss, hurt by heavy catastrophe losses and lower investment income.

However, the company said it remained confident in its long-term outlook, despite its “dreary” results so far this year.

“Although our expectations for the remainder of 2009 are modest, we expect to deliver strong financial performance for the longer term,” Chief Executive Kenneth Stecher said on a conference call.

The property and casualty insurer expects investment income, a primary driver of net income for insurers, to resume the trend of seeing an increase by the end of the second half of the year.

Cincinnati Financial is also looking to expand to new states to avoid catastrophe risk.

“We are setting the stage to gradually increase scale and over time work to dilute our concentration of insured exposures in the Midwest and South,” a company official said on a conference call with analysts.

The company posted a net loss of $19 million, or 12 cents a share for the second quarter, compared with a profit of $63 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier.

Operating loss, the measure most commonly used by insurance analysts, was 3 cents a share for the period. The figure typically excludes realized investment gains and losses.

The company, a component of the S&P 500 index .SPX, said combined ratio rose to 116.6 percent from 103.5 percent.

Combined ratio is the percentage of premiums an insurer has to pay out in claims and expenses. A figure over 100 indicates that underwriting was unprofitable.

Cincinnati Financial said it incurred losses from catastrophes amounting to $118 million during the quarter. It had forecast $106 million earlier this month. [ID:nBNG429767]

In the recent past, several U.S. property and casualty insurers, including Cincinnati Financial, posted a decline in the value of their investments due to exposure to troubled financial firms like Lehman Brothers LEHMQ.PK.

Shares of the Fairfield, Ohio-based company were down 17 cents at $24.47 in afternoon trade Thursday on Nasdaq. They have lost about 30 percent of their value since hitting a 52-week high of $35 last September. (Reporting by Anurag Kotoky and Brenton Cordeiro in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan and Deepak Kannan)

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