CNA Financial (CNA), the eighth largest commercial insurer in the US, has narrowly surpassed the expectations of analysts to deliver a net income of $270mn in the second quarter.

CNA reported net income of $0.99 a share, just beating the $0.98 expected by 6 analysts surveyed by MarketWatch.

The net income was relatively flat at group level in the quarter, down just $2mn from the same period in 2017.

In the property and casualty segment the carrier grew its book by 4 percent, reporting $1.77bn in net written premium in the three-months.

The combined ratio for CNA’s P&C book was broadly unchanged, deteriorating 0.3 points to 93.8 percent.

The P&C division was hit with net catastrophe losses of $26mn in the second quarter.

The carrier’s specialty segment shrunk by 2 percent during the period, with net written premium down to $688mn.

CNA said that was driven by a higher level of ceded reinsurance to support growth in management liability and a lower retention which was partially offset by an increase in new business and an uptick in renewal rates.

The combined ratio in the specialty division improved 3.5 points in the second quarter to 86.8 percent.

“I am pleased with the second quarter’s strong core income of $0.99 per share, and combined with our first quarter performance generated a first half core income of $2.02 per share, which is the highest first-half result for CNA in over 10 years,” CNA chairman and CEO Dino Robusto said.

“These results give me confidence in the ongoing progress CNA is making in our journey of generating sustained top quartile underwriting performance,” he added.