Today's call will reference our earnings announcement, statistical package and webcast slides, which are available in the Investor Relations section of our website at manulife.com.
As in prior quarters, our executives will be making some introductory comments. We will then follow with a question-and-answer session. Available to answer questions about their businesses are the Heads of Asia, the U.S., Canada, Investments and General Account Investments.
Today's speakers may make forward-looking statements within the meaning of securities legislation. Certain material factors or assumptions are applied in making forward-looking statements, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied.
For additional information about the material factors or assumptions applied and about the important factors that may cause actual results to differ, please consult the slide presentation for this conference call and webcast available on our website, as well as the securities filings referred to in the slide entitled Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements. [Operator Instructions]
With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Donald Guloien, our President and Chief Executive Officer. Donald?
Donald A. Guloien
Thank you, Anthony. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. I'm joined on the call today by our CFO, Michael Bell, as well as several members of our senior management team, including our U.S. General Manager, Jim Boyle; our Canadian General Manager, Paul Rooney; our Asian General Manager, Bob Cook; Warren Thomson, our Chief Investment Officer; Scott Hartz, our Executive Vice President, General Account Investments; Cindy Forbes, our Chief Actuary, and Rahim Hirji, our Chief Risk Officer. Also with us today is Steve Roder, who as we announced this morning, will be joining us as our new CFO.
This morning, we announced our first quarter 2012 financial results. We reported net income of $1.2 billion for the quarter, which is up from $985 million in the first quarter of 2011. We entered 2012 with a very solid foundation for growth. Our first quarter reflects strong markets, positive hedging results, 35% higher Insurance sales and stronger underlying earnings relative to the fourth quarter of 2011.