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AXIS reports net income of $122 million for first quarter


PEMBROKE, Bermuda—AXIS Capital Holdings Ltd. reported first quarter net income of $122 million on Friday.

In the same period last year, the Pembroke, Bermuda-based insurer recorded a net loss of $384 million after being adversely impacted by catastrophe losses in Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

The company said it incurred no significant catastrophe losses during the first quarter of 2012 and posted a combined ratio of 94.8%, compared with 161.3% for the same period last year. Net written premiums increased 7% to $846 million in the first quarter of 2012, while net investment income was $116 million, a 5% increase from the year prior.

AXIS Capital President and CEO John Charman said that, in addition to the underwriting results and rise in investment income, the company also benefitted from a broad rise in prices.

“The exit from the bottom of the property/casualty pricing cycle maintained its steady progress,” Mr. Charman said in a statement. “Pricing continued to firm through the quarter and into April renewals, particularly in catastrophe-exposed classes. For lines of business where our global franchise maintains a meaningful participation, this ‘cycle change' trend of pricing improvement is now visible in almost every geography and every product line.”

He added, however, that the rate changes are gradual and did not yet warrant an expansion in underwriting activity. “Recognizing this transitional period for the industry, we remain judicious with our capacity and are totally focused on either preserving or expanding underwriting margin in order to drive value for our shareholders,” he said.

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