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Forward-looking statements are sensitive to many factors including those identified in Endurance's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and other documents on file with the SEC, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements.Forward looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made. Endurance undertakes no obligation publicly to update or revise any forward looking statement whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. In addition, this presentation contains information regarding the operating income and other measures that are non-GAAP financial measures. For a reconciliation of these items to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures, please refer to our press release, which can be found on our website, www.endurance.bm. I would now like to turn the call over to David Cash. David Cash Thank you, Greg. Good morning and welcome to our call. The first quarter was a good one for Endurance. Our earnings were solid with improved exceeding results in both our segments. Strong returns from the investment portfolio and growth in book value per share. Strategically Endurance made progress on a number of fronts. The company generated solid organic growth in its reinsurance business, achieved double-digit policy count growth in our agriculture insurance business, and improved margins in our U.S. insurance operations. We continue to see a trend of improved pricing in our business. This trend began to emerge last year and was very visible in the business we underwrote in the first quarter ending April 1. Looking closer in our results, Endurance produced net income of 74.4 million and operating income of 53.3 million for the quarter. We delivered a combined ratio of 96.5 for the quarter. Our net written premiums were up 5.5% on year-over-year basis. And finally diluted book value per share grew 2.7% over yearend 2011.
Later in the call I will provide further commentary on market conditions, our crop insurance business, capital management and recent management changes. But first I will pass the call over to Mike McGuire who will review our financial results in more detail.Mike McGuire Thanks, David, and good morning everyone. In the first quarter, Endurance generated net income to common shareholders of $74.4 million and $1.72 per diluted share and operating income of $53.3 and $1.23 per diluted share. Our diluted book value per share ended the quarter at $51.90, up 2.7% from yearend and up 3.3% when excluding the $0.31 per share in dividends paid during the quarter. In comparison to the first quarter of 2011 the improvement in our results was primarily due to a lower level of catastrophe losses in our reinsurance segment, improved accident year results and our crop and U.S. insurance business and higher net investment income in foreign exchange gains. Starting with premium writings, the first quarter is typically our largest written premium quarter as it includes 11 renewals in the reinsurance segment and spring crop premiums in our agriculture insurance line of business. Net premiums written in the current quarter were $843.1 million, an increase of 5.5% over the same period in 2011. Our Insurance segment generated net premiums of 427.8 million in the quarter, down just 1% year-over-year. Premium declines in our property insurance line of business were mostly offset by growth in our agriculture line of business. The decline in property insurance premiums reflects a reduction in the amount of capital deployed to the all risk market and capital reallocations within the DIC market to improve the ROE potential in this business. Timing differences in the accounting recognition of growth versus ceded premiums written also impacted the change in net property insurance premiums. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com