* Q2 EPS $0.20 vs loss of $0.31 per share, a year ago
* Q2 oper EPS $0.17 vs est $0.11
* Q2 catastrophe losses halve to $147 mln
* Q2 earned premiums up 13 pct
July 26 (Reuters) - Cincinnati Financial Corp posted a quarterly profit that beat Wall Street estimates as the property and casualty insurer benefited from lower catastrophe losses and firming insurance rates.
Second quarter net income was $32 million, or 20 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $50 million, or loss of 31 cents per share, last year.
Operating profit, a key metric of profitability for insurers as it excludes certain investment gains and losses, was 17 cents per share.
Analysts on average expected the company to earn 11 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Earned premiums rose 13 percent to $877 million.
The company had said earlier this month that it expected lower impact from catastrophe losses in the quarter.
Catastrophe losses for the quarter were almost half of year ago levels at $147 million, while combined ratio was 109.5 percent.
The combined ratio is the percentage of premium revenue an insurer has to pay out in claims and expenses. A combined ratio of less than 100 percent indicates underwriting profitability, while anything over 100 indicates an underwriting loss.
Cincinnati Financial shares closed at $37.57 on Thursday on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Aman Shah in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D’Silva)