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Intact Financial Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Brindamour speaks during the annual general meeting of shareholders in Toronto May 4, 2011.

MIKE CASSESE/Reuters

Intact Financial Corp. says improved underwriting in its personal auto insurance drove the company's profit higher in the third quarter.

The Toronto-based property and casualty insurance provider had $101-million of net income, or 87 cents per share, in the third quarter.

That was up from $109-million or 96 cents per share a year earlier.

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Adjusted earnings per share was $1.11, up from 98 cents per share in the third quarter of 2010.

Intact had $1.23-billion of premiums written during the three-month period, up from $1.21-billion a year earlier.

"Our underwriting performance continued to be strong this quarter as personal auto results improved significantly," said Charles Brindamour, Intact's chief executive officer.

The company said it expects industry premiums are likely to increase over the next 12 months at a similar pace compared with last year, with growth in personal auto in the "mid-single digits."

Premiums on personal property coverage is expected to increase in the "upper single digits" due to the impact of water-related losses and storms. Premiums on commercial insurance are expected to glow at a "low single-digit rate."

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