Declining figures still higher than analysts' predictions

ACE net income fell about 27% in the second quarter, down from $746m (£451m) to $535m (£323.5m), hurt by declines in sales and investment losses.

The Zurich-based insurer’s results beat analysts’ expectations, with operating earnings at $2.09 a share, 15c higher than the average expectation of $1.94.

Chairman and chief executive Evan Greenberg said: “Recession, a strong US dollar and a competitive pricing environment impacted premium growth. For our portfolio of business, rates continued to firm and a number of our divisions benefited – such as our ACE Tempest Re reinsurance franchise, where net premiums grew over 20% in the quarter.

“We are well positioned to build market share as insurance markets improve and economic growth slowly recovers.”