Ping An Insurance reports Q1 profit up 25.2%
Updated: 2008-04-30 09:28

Ping An Insurance Group, China's second largest life insurer, said on Tuesday that its first-quarter net profit rose 25.2 percent year-on-year on premium growth, offsetting lower investment returns.

Net income rose to 4.96 billion yuan ($709 million), the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Revenues from its insurance businesses grew 35.1 percent to 35.8 billion yuan.

Insurance, banking and investment businesses maintained strong growth in the first three months, according to the report.

Premium income from life insurance activity rose 33.3 percent to 28.2 billion yuan, while that derived from property insurance policies jumped 42.4 percent to 7.58 billion yuan.

The company said it was challenged by high claims arising from the snow storms that struck parts of China early this year and unstable investment returns from the fluctuating capital market.

As of March 1, Chinese insurers had paid 1.97 billion yuan in claims, about 90 percent of which was for property insurance, for damage caused by the unusually severe weather that hit south China in January and February, official statistics show.

Meanwhile, China's main stock index was down by nearly half from its October record high before rebounding sharply earlier this month.

Chinese shares had already been dragged down on fund supply worries when Ping An announced in January a plan to issue 1.2 billion new A shares. The status of the refunding plan remains unsettled.

Shares in Ping An climbed 0.54 percent to 65.05 yuan in Shanghai and surged 2.55 percent to 72.5 yuan in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

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