Commission and other revenues were $134.5 million, an increase of $47.3 million, or 54.3%, from $87.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 and represented 26.0% of total revenue. The combined ratio totaled 90.1% compared with 89.0% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Ceding commissions, primarily related to the reinsurance agreements with Maiden Holdings, Ltd. ("Maiden"), totaled $56.3 million, up 33.7% from $42.1 million a year ago. During the quarter, AmTrust ceded $269.6 million of gross written premium and $214.9 million of earned premium to Maiden compared to $189.3 million of gross written premium and $148.8 million of earned premium ceded in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Total service and fee income of $54.1 million increased $24.0 million, or 79.5% from $30.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and included $8.8 million from related parties compared with $4.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Investment income, excluding net realized gains and losses, totaled $18.9 million, an increase of 37.8% from $13.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. In addition, fourth quarter 2012 results include net realized investment gains of $5.2 million, or $3.4 million after-tax, on certain fixed income and equity investments compared with $1.2 million, or $0.8 million after-tax, in the fourth quarter of 2011.In the fourth quarter 2012, net gain on life settlements including non-controlling interest was $8.5 million. Operating earnings (1) included gain on life settlement contracts of $4.5 million, net of non-controlling interest. Loss and loss adjustment expense totaled $255.3 million, an increase of $61.0 million from $194.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and resulted in a loss ratio of 66.6% compared with 64.9% for the fourth quarter of 2011. Acquisition costs and other underwriting expenses of $146.2 million increased $31.9 million from $114.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Acquisition costs and other underwriting expenses less ceding commissions totaled $89.9 million compared to $72.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. The expense ratio was 23.5%, down from 24.1% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
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