Mild weather boosts Nationwide's operating profits

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Mostly mild weather and strength across its insurance and financial lines of business have pushed Nationwide’s operating profits higher through the first nine months of 2013.

The insurer said today that its operating profit reached $1 billion so far this year, up 38 percent from the $723 million in operating profit through the first three quarters of 2012.

The higher profit comes even as operating profit was down in the third quarter because of one-time events.

“It’s probably the most balanced bottom line results we’ve had,” said Mark Thresher, Nationwide’s CFO.

When Nationwide releases its financial results, it routinely talks about the balance between its insurance and financial businesses and how a strong quarter for one can offset a weak quarter for the other.

Now, though, both segments are doing well, Thresher said.

“This is what the management team has been trying to build, a well-diversified organization that can produce balanced results,” he said.

Thresher said Nationwide’s property and casualty insurance business had strong gains in its commercial lines of business during the quarter while the financial services business benefited from improving sales of annuity, life insurance and retirement products.

The improving operating profit came even as Nationwide had lower operating profit of $251 million the quarter ended Sept. 30, down $99 million from the year-ago period.

The company said it was hurt by a one-time charge of $99 million to strengthen reserves for claims tied to asbestos from decades ago. The company also benefited from one-time tax gains in the year-ago period.

Nationwide had nearly $6 billion in operating revenue for the quarter, up from $5.8 billion in the same period of 2012. For the year, operating revenue totaled $17.7 billion compared with $16.6 billion in the first three quarters of 2012.

So far this year, Nationwide has paid more than $10 billion in auto, home, life and other claims and benefits to policyholders.


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