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ZURICH, Switzerland Swiss Reinsurance Co., the Zurich, Switzerland-based reinsurance giant, exceeded analysts' expectations Tuesday with a first quarter net profit of 1.3 billion Swiss francs ($1.1 billion) up 54% on last year's 863 million Swiss francs ($709 million).
The result was driven by strongly increased premium income coupled with a minor deterioration in the combined ratio, an improved investment result and gains.
Total premiums earned in nonlife business was up 18% from 3.9 billion Swiss francs ($3.2 billion) last year to 4.6 billion Swiss francs ($3.8 billion) so far this year as the combined ratio rose from 91% to 94.8%. Operating profit for this segment was up 4% to Swiss francs 1.2 billion ($986 million).
Life and Health premiums earned rose by 34% from 2.4 billion Swiss francs ($2.0 billion) to 3.2 billion Swiss francs ($2.6 billion).
The investment result was up 44% to 2.3 billion Swiss francs ($1.9 billion) with a return on investment of 5.9% up from 5.4% for the first quarter of last year. Net realized investment gains rose 6.1% to 445 million Swiss francs ($365 million), including the sale of the group's landmark building in London known as the Gherkin.