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Generali results down in first quarter

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Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. on Thursday said it is “pleased” with results from the first quarter of 2016 despite not matching last year's success.

The insurer's total operating result fell 12.3% from the prior-year quarter to €1.16 billion ($1.32 billion), “mainly due to a weaker investment result of the life segment, attributable to lower realized gains,” Generali General Manager and CFO Alberto Minali said during a conference call.

Meanwhile, the overall net result fell 13.8% to €588 million ($670.6 million), the insurer said in a statement.

“The decrease in the operating result and in the net profit is mainly driven by the decision to realize a lower level of gains on our investments considering the current adverse market conditions, in contrast to the approach taken in the first quarter of 2015,” Mr. Minali said in the statement.

Mario Greco, who implemented that approach, in January resigned as CEO of Generali to join Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. as CEO.

The company's combined ratio improved to 92% in the quarter from 93.3% in the prior-year quarter, driven by the absence of natural catastrophes, Mr. Minali said during the call.

Property/casualty premium income was “broadly stable” at €6.31 million ($7.2 million) compared with €6.5 million ($7.4 million), according to the statement. And P/C operating performance declined 1.4% to €498 million due to “the lower investment result impacted by the current low interest rate scenario,” among other things.

Mr. Minali said during the call that “the Solvency II ratio remains strong at 188%, even if decreasing 14 percentage points from year-end 2015, driven by adverse financial market conditions.”