Forward-looking statements contained in this call are based on the company's assumptions and expectations concerning future events and financial performance of the company and are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to significant business, economic and competitive risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements.PartnerRe's forward-looking statements could be affected by numerous foreseeable and unforeseeable events and developments, such as exposure to catastrophe or other large property and casualty losses, adequacy of reserves, risks associated with implementing business strategies, levels and pricing of new and renewal business achieved, credit, interest, currency and other risks associated with the company's investment portfolio, changes in accounting policies and other factors identified in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In light of the significant uncertainties inherent in the forward-looking information contained herein, listeners are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the dates on which they are made. The company disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking information or statements. In addition, during the call, management will refer to some non-GAAP measures when talking about the company's performance. You can find a reconciliation of those measures to GAAP measures in the company's financial supplement. With that, I'll hand the call over to Costas. Costas Miranthis Thank you, Robin and welcome everybody to our first quarter results call. We had a good first quarter providing a solid start to what is so far at least a relatively uneventful 2012. Our underwriting results were strong helped by the low level of catastrophe loss events during the quarter as well as continued favorable prior-year reserve development that is consistent with our reserving philosophy. Our non-life combined ratio was 84.7% and together with a good quarter for our life business, this resulted in a 13% operating return on beginning equity for the quarter.
Improvements in equity markets and contraction in credit spreads during the quarter resulted in significant gains in our investment portfolio and a strong non-operating result. We grew our book value per share approximately 6% during the quarter. Our long-term growth in book value per share plus dividend remains our primary long-term objective. Given the challenging economic environment in which we operate we are pleased with these results.We continue to provide top-quality security to our clients. We have one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry supporting our assumed risk with $7.6 billion in total capital. As many of you know last month we published PML disclosures for several catastrophe zones. This is in addition to the disclosure we have provided quarterly for several years now on aggregate limits for peak rates including Cat. The new PML disclosure should help provide further insight and understanding for the catastrophe exposures we carry in the zones provided and how these exposures evolved over time. I will talk more about the specifics of the April renewal environment in my remarks at the end of the call, but I would like to point out that I am pleased that we continue to find profitable opportunities to grow and diversify our overall portfolio. Some of these opportunities are reflected in the current quarters, but others will not be fully recognizing premium until subsequent quarters. While we are comfortable with our current portfolio including our overall level of capacity exposure as always we will continue to respond to pricing changes relative to risks to achieve the best risk adjustments return for the overall portfolio. I will now hand over the call to Bill who will provide you with more details on our financial results for the quarter. Bill Babcock Thank you Costas and good morning everyone. As you just heard we are pleased with our strong results for the first quarter of 2012. We reported operating income for the quarter of $182 million or $2.76 per diluted share which translates to an annualized operating ROE of 13%. This compares to the operating loss of $10.82 per diluted share, we reported in the comparable prior-year quarter which were significantly impacted by major earthquake events in Japan and New Zealand. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com