Scor's net income was €31m (£22m) for the first quarter, 3.4 times higher than the €7m (£4.9m) recorded for the same period last year.

The French reinsurer reported gross written premiums down by 12% to €1.2bn (£856m) from €1.4bn (£999m).

Earnings per share increased by 21% to 23 cents from 19 cents.

Property and casualty reinsurance premium income was down by 26% relative to the year before at €504m (£360m).

French group CNP Assurances reported premium income for the first quarter of 2003 at €6.1bn (£4.4bn) against €5.4bn (£3.9bn) for the same period of 2002, an increase of 12.4%. Premium income from property and casualty business fell 14% to €50.3m (£35.9m), from €58.4m (£41.7m).