Canadian investment giant Fairfax, which owns the likes of Brit and OdysseyRe, saw premiums climb by 50.7 percent in the first quarter driven by its acquisition of Allied World.

However, underwriting profits for the first quarter were roughly flat year-on-year at $109.1mn.

The group reported a combined ratio of 96 percent, which marked a deterioration on the 94.6 percent it reported this time last year.

Operating income from its insurance and reinsurance division was more encouraging at $237.6mn, a 13.8 percent increase on the first quarter of 2017.

“Our insurance companies continued to have excellent underwriting performance in the first quarter of 2018 with a consolidated combined ratio of 96.0 percent, with Zenith National at 86.1 percent, OdysseyRe at 91.2 percent and Allied World at 94.8 percent, and our operating income was strong at $238mn,” said Fairfax boss Prem Watsa.

Gross written premiums climbed by over 50 percent to $3.93bn. The investment house’s acquisition of Allied World added over $735mn to that total.

At a group level, Fairfax reported $684.3mn of net earnings in the first quarter, a vast improvement on the $82.6mn it reported this year.

But the conglomerate said that the increase was due to a change in accounting for its Indian business services provider Quess Corp.

“We continue to be soundly financed, with quarter-end cash and marketable securities in the holding company exceeding $2 billion,” Watsa said.