Growth due to appreciation of US dollar relative to Sterling as well as an increase in rates

Amlin’s gross written premiums increased by 39.2% to £729.7m for the first quarter of 2009 from £524.2m in the first quarter of 2008. Amlin said the rise was supported by the appreciation of the US dollar relative to sterling, increase in rates and new business.

The insurer bought Anglo-French Underwriters in November 2008, which generated £18.2m of premium in the first four months of 2009.

Syndicate 2001 contributed £595.4m of premium, a rise of 35.4% from the £438.7m it produced in the first quarter of 2008.

Amlin said it saw a ‘steady improvement’ in the trading environment since the year end across a number of classes.

It said its catastrophe reinsurance business had an average rate increase of between 7% to 10%, with the largest increases in zones affected by 2008 hurricane activity, but it admitted that its international catastrophe book was slower.

Amlin said its property and casualty business, which is trading towards the bottom of the cycle, is showing early signs of improvement.

“Increased upward pressure is anticipated as the year progresses,” said the insurer.

However, its marine business saw a sharp uplift in rates following the 2008 hurricanes with an average increase of 19% in the period. Hull and liability rates also improved by 9% and 7% respectively.

“We have seen a flight to quality and recognition of our capital strength and superior ratings, which are reflected in our increased renewal ratios and the expansion of our London, UK and Bermudian businesses,” said Amlin’s chief executive, Charles Philipps.

But Amlin’s investment portfolio suffered a 0.8% loss. The insurer made a 4% and 13.9% loss in its respective equity and property portfolio. But its £2.9bn funds under management saw a slight investment improvement of 0.4% for April.

“Poor economic data meant that risk assets continued to perform badly and low returns available from safe haven investments such as government bonds and cash provided little protection to investment performance,” said Amlin.