Total company net premiums in the quarter grew 3.7%. Our growth rate was right in line with our plan. Foreign exchange had approximately a 1% adverse impact on our premium growth rate. For the balance of the year, we expect premium growth to pick up continuously quarter by quarter and average mid to upper single digits in constant dollars, excluding agriculture insurance. Crop premiums, as you know, are impacted by commodity prices, and therefore agriculture will likely be down year-over-year about $250 million. Crop premium volume is concentrated in the second and third quarters.Returning to the quarter, in North America growth was impacted by our continued action to shed risk-transfer workers’ comp business. Even with the current price increases being achieved in the market, this class runs at combined ratios significantly over 100% and simply doesn’t meet our standards. We’ve been exiting this business for three years and by the end of the year our volume will be negligible. Adjusting for this reduction, our underlying growth in North America was around 3% with retail insurance up 3.5 and our wholesale and specialty business about flat.
ACE Limited's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript
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