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, the German insurer, said fourth-quarter earnings rose 11% on improved performance in its property and casualty operations.

Earnings were €1.14 billion ($1.57 billion), up from €1.02 billion from a year earlier. Analysts were forecasting earnings of €1.2 billion.

Allianz said operating profit in the quarter rose 10% to €2.15 billion, while sales increased 2% to €26 billion.

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Its property and casualty operations saw operating profit rise 13.2% to €1.17 billion. "In terms of operating profit, the fourth quarter was our strongest quarter in two years," said Oliver Bate, a member of the board of management of Allianz, in a statement Thursday.

Full-year earnings jumped 20.1% to €5.05 billion from €4.21 billion.

The company said it would raise its 2010 dividend to €4.50 a share from €4.10 a share.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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