Co-operators General Insurance Company has reported a consolidated net income of $10.5 million for the first quarter of 2008, compared to $8.2 million for the same quarter of 2007.

According to the company, the increase in net income was due to improved core underwriting results and higher investment returns which were partially offset by the impact of lower interest rates and regulatory changes on claim reserves.

Gross written premium in the quarter improved 4.1% to $440.4 million, compared to $423.1 million in the corresponding quarter of 2007. Net investment income from interest, dividends and real estate rose to $34.7 million in 2008, up from $32.6 million in 2007 due to a shift to higher yielding corporate bonds and a larger invested asset base.

Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of Co-operators General, said: Lower interest rates had a negative short-term impact on our results, as did changes in the Alberta auto regulatory situation related to minor injury claims. However, the company’s performance during the first quarter demonstrated its continued underlying strength.