Insurance group ACE has reported a net income of $259m, or $0.76 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2011, compared to $755m or $2.22 per diluted share reported for the same quarter last year.

Net after-tax catastrophe losses for the first quarter of 2011 were $443m, compared with $149m, for the first quarter of 2010.

Net premiums written were $3.44bn for the first quarter of 2011, compared to $3.57bn for the corresponding quarter last year.

ACE chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg said company had a very good quarter that was overshadowed by significant catastrophe losses.

"Our revenue growth was better than we originally anticipated when we planned the year and the renewal persistency of our business was excellent.

We also benefited in the quarter from positive client payroll and sales growth due to improved economic conditions. Finally, rates for our renewal business declined at the slowest pace we have experienced in a number of quarters.," Greenberg said.