"Looking beyond the financial impact of Storm Sandy, we made significant progress across many facets of our Company. We grew meaningfully in lines and markets that experienced some of the strongest price corrections in a steadily improving insurance market. Additionally, we advanced a number of important business initiatives including renewable energy and global accident and health, while at the same time continuing to lay the groundwork for further profitable growth. We have added more balance to our overall portfolio, and expect that our pursuit of new opportunities in 2013 - including our new agriculture and marine reinsurance initiatives and re-entry into select casualty markets - will lead to a larger and more diversified portfolio of risks. We are entering 2013 on a positive note, based on our expectations for continued pricing improvement, our positioning for diversified growth and our excellent financial strength."
Our insurance segment reported gross premiums written of $580 million in the quarter, up 11% from the fourth quarter of 2011. Growth was largely associated with new initiatives in our global professional lines business outside the U.S. and improvements in the U.S. excess and surplus umbrella market benefiting our liability line. For the full year, gross premiums written were $2.3 billion, with the 9% growth attributable to a number of lines of business, including professional lines, liability and accident & health. The segment's ceded premium ratio increased by seven percentage points in the quarter, with two points attributable to an increase in costs to reinstate our reinsurance protection, largely due to Storm Sandy. The remaining increase, as well as the increase for the full year, was largely due to changes in certain of our reinsurance programs on renewal in the second quarter and business mix changes. Net premiums earned increased 3% and 9%, respectively, for the quarter and year. Recent growth in gross premiums written, most notably in our accident & health line of business, drove the increases; however, this growth was partially offset by the aforementioned reinstatement premiums in the fourth quarter.