Hannover Re has beaten analyst forecasts for its first quarter profits and seen its gross written premiums climb strongly in the first three months of the year.

Hannover re

Net income was up from the EUR264.8mn it reported this time last year to EUR273.4mn for the first quarter of 2018 and above a Reuters analyst poll that had predicted a EUR256mn gain.

The result came as the reinsurer pointed to strong performances from both its P&C and life divisions, together with a 3.3 percent return on invested assets.

Overall, gross premiums rose significantly by 17.6 percent to EUR5.3bn or by 27.5 percent when adjusted for currency exchange movements.

“We made the most of the available opportunities on the reinsurance markets and substantially expanded our portfolio,” said CEO Ulrich Wallin.

“With group net income of EUR273.4 million we have taken the first step towards achieving our year-end target of more than EUR1bn”

While Hannover Re acknowledged it was still facing tough, competitive conditions in P&C, the reinsurer added that it had achieved increases in premiums written in Asia, Australia and the UK.

The combined ratio was effectively flat at 95.9 percent versus the 95.6 percent it reported this time last year.

As a result, the operating profit in P&C reinsurance climbed by 9.4 percent to EUR338.9mn.

Meanwhile, its net large loss bill for the quarter was EUR73.4mn, below the quarterly budget of EUR167mn.

It said the largest single cat loss was cyclone Friederike which cost the group EUR31.5mn.