Please note that some of the matters to be discussed today are forward-looking. These forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties. With respect to these risks and uncertainties, we direct your attention to our news release and to our various filings with the SEC. Also a reconciliation of non-GAAP measures was provided with the news release. Statutory accounting data is prepared in accordance with statutory accounting rules, and therefore is not reconciled to GAAP. With that, I'll turn the call over to Steve.
Thank you, Dennis. Good morning and thank you for joining us today to hear more about our first quarter results. We posted a strong first quarter with nice premium growth, and most importantly, we grew profitably. Investment performance was also strong and we more than covered our dividend with operating earnings, allowing us to grow book value. Previously announced catastrophe losses at 11.1 loss ratio points were more than three times higher than our long-term average for the first quarter, and yet we produced an underwriting profit with a 99.1% combined ratio.
We continue to earn higher pricing and healthy level of premium growth in all of our property casualty segments. In our Life Insurance segments, earned premiums rose at a double-digit pace during the first quarter. Our ability to deliver more precise pricing through analytics and our strong underwriting combined with more favorable market conditions also continue to give us confidence that our premium growth meets our criteria for profitability.Commercial Lines renewal pricing was a notch above what we experienced in the fourth quarter, with an overall average increase in the low to mid-single-digit range. Workers compensation led the way with just over a 10% increase in our smaller commercial property policies that renewed during the first quarter were in the high single-digit range.
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