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AIG profit beats estimates on general insurance, retirement gains

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FILE PHOTO: The AIG logo is seen at its building in New York's financial district
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(Reuters) - American International Group Inc beat second-quarter profit estimates on Thursday, driven by strong performance in its general insurance and life and retirement units.

The U.S. insurer posted underwriting income of $463 million in its general insurance business in the quarter, compared with a loss of $343 million a year earlier, when it booked large losses related to the pandemic.

The business saw $118 million of catastrophe losses, compared to $674 million in the prior year.

Global insurers last year faced a sharp rise in payouts related to the health crisis, but many have now seen a fall in coronavirus-related claims as vaccines roll out.

Adjusted after-tax income attributable to AIG's common shareholders rose to $1.33 billion in the quarter ended June 30, from $561 million a year earlier.

Excluding items, AIG earned $1.52 per share, exceeding analysts' estimates of $1.20, according to Refinitiv IBES.

The company's general insurance accident year combined ratio - which excludes catastrophe losses - was 91.1 for the quarter, compared with 94.9 a year earlier.

A ratio below 100 means the insurer earns more in premiums than it pays out in claims.

Gross premiums written rose 12% to $9.5 billion in the general insurance business.

AIG's life and retirement unit posted a 26% jump in adjusted pre-tax income to $1.12 billion, driven partly by higher private equity returns.

The life insurance business reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of $20 million, compared to $2 million a year earlier, largely reflecting fewer deaths from the virus outbreak.

AIG plans to use an initial public offering to sell part of its life and retirement business, while Blackstone Group last month agreed to buy a sizeable stake.

AIG said on Thursday that it believes the IPO is the next step in the separation.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Alwyn Scott in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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