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* Q3 pretax profit 976 mln DKK vs 717 mln forecast
* Result aided by low weather claims, cost cuts, investments
* Gross earned premiums 5.20 bln DKK vs f‘cast 5.38 bln
* Combined ratio 87.7 percent vs 91.7 percent
COPENHAGEN, Nov 8 (Reuters) - The Nordic region’s second-biggest insurer Tryg A/S posted a higher-than-expected rise in third-quarter pretax profit, boosted by investment returns, a low level of weather-related claims and cost cuts.
Pretax profit rose to 976 million Danish crowns ($166.9 million) from 274 million a year before, which was hit by a major cloudburst in Copenhagen.
The result was above an average forecast for 717 million crowns in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Cost cutting initiatives had helped increase profit for the quarter, Tryg said in a statement.
The group recently launched a plan to cut costs by 300 million crowns by 2015 through actions such as staff reductions.
“The work on reducing the costs and claims costs continued as planned during the quarter,” the company said.
Earlier this week, Tryg said it had entered into an agreement to sell its Finnish unit to Finland’s If P&C Insurance Co Ltd for 15 million euros.
Earnings from the group’s core insurance business rose to 652 million from 480 million, also exceeding forecasts, while a 189 million loss on investments in last year’s third quarter was turned into a 338 million profit.
Gross earned premiums rose to 5.20 billion crowns from 5.13 billion, slightly lagging a 5.38 billion crowns forecast, and the combined ratio fell to 87.7 percent from 91.7 percent.
The company said it expected lower 2012 premium growth than in previous years. (Reporting by Mette Fraende; Editing by David Holmes)