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ACE Limited's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

This call is being webcast live and the webcast replay will be available for one month. All remarks made during the call are current at the time of the call and will not be updated to reflect subsequent material developments.

Now I’d like to introduce our speakers. First, we have Evan Greenburg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, followed by Phil Bancroft, our Chief Financial Officer, then we’ll take your questions. Also with us to assist with your questions are several members of our management team.

And now it’s my pleasure to turn the call over to Evan.

Evan Greenburg

Good morning. ACE had a good first quarter. Our results, both revenue and current accident year income, were right on plan, and then we benefited additionally in positive prior period reserve development and life catastrophe losses. Pricing continued to improve and was in line with or a little better than our expectations. All in all, a strong start to the year.

After-tax operating income, as you’ve seen, for the quarter was 701 million or 2.05 per share, and our operating ROE exceeded 12%, a very good return. Book value grew 4.5% and now it stands at $25.4 billion. Book value growth benefited from both strong operating income as well as investment portfolio gains resulting from a narrowing of interest rate spreads and favorable equity markets during the quarter. In addition to the portfolio gains, we also had an improvement to the variable annuity mark on the order of about 230 million. Phil will have more to say about the market’s impact on our investment portfolio and the VA mark.

Our underwriting results were simply excellent. We had a combined ratio for the quarter of 89.2 and benefited from both positive prior period reserve development that was flat with last year’s first quarter, and of course low cat losses. What is noteworthy is that our ex-cat current accident year operating income was up over prior year, and that included current accident year underwriting that was flat with prior year. This is a reflection of the excellent health of our current business due to our underwriting discipline and our balance of business between various lines and geographies.

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