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Light catastrophe losses, higher premiums power Renaissance Re profits


PEMBROKE, Bermuda—Renaissance Re Holdings Ltd. reported profits of $201.4 million for the first quarter of this year, compared with a $248.0 million loss during the same period last year.

The Pembroke, Bermuda-based reinsurer attributed the turnaround to lower catastrophe losses and higher premium rates.

Renaissance Re reported gross written premiums of $664.2 million, up 8.8% compared with the first quarter of 2011. The reinsurer's combined ratio improved to 29.4% during the first quarter of the year, compared with 230.0% during the first quarter of 2011.

In a statement, Renaissance Re said the dramatic improvement was “primarily driven by the absence of large losses incurred during the first quarter of 2012, compared to the first quarter of 2011, which was negatively impacted by the Australian flooding and the New Zealand and Tohoku earthquakes, which had a net negative impact of $427.4 million and added 212.3 percentage points to the combined ratio.”

“Our results reflect a light catastrophe loss quarter, strong investment returns and favorable development,” said Neill A. Currie, Renaissance Re CEO, in a statement. “We also benefited from a successful January 1 renewal season in which we deployed more capital, increased our premiums by over 30% in each of our cat, specialty and Lloyd's units, and constructed an attractive portfolio of business."