Travelers posts earnings of $2.90 a share vs $2.65 expected

Property and casualty insurer Travelers reported a 16.6 percent fall in quarterly net profit as its net investment income was hurt due to low interest rates and a slump in oil prices.

The company's net income fell to $866 million, or $2.83 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $1.04 billion, or $3.11 per share, a year earlier. The company posted adjusted earnings per share of $2.90.

Travelers is the first big U.S. insurer to report quarterly results.

Revenue for the quarter came in at $6.67 billion, against the comparable year-ago figure of $5.84 billion.

Analysts had expected Travelers to report adjusted earnings of about $2.65 a share on $5.94 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Travelers Insurance
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The company has raised insurance prices in the past several quarters to combat low interest rates that have kept insurers' investment income in the doldrums over the past few years.

Travelers is one of the first big U.S. insurers to report quarterly results. Insurer ACE, which recently acquired Chubb in a $28.3 billion merger, is scheduled to report next week. Extra Space Storage, a real estate investment trust that replaced Chubb in the S&P 500, will report fourth-quarter earnings next month.

The earnings announcement comes about one month after Alan Schnitzer replaced Jay Fishman as CEO of Travelers. Schnitzer, 49, last served as CEO of Travelers' Business and International Insurance, the company's largest business segment. Before that, he headed the Financial, Professional and International Insurance segment. He joined the company in April 2007. The former CEO, Fishman, has assumed the role of executive chairman following Schnitzer's appointment.

Reuters contributed to this report.