HCC Insurance Holdings has reported that its net earnings jumped by 75% to $82.6m for the first quarter of 2012, against $47m during the corresponding period previous fiscal.

Net earnings per diluted share stood at $0.79 for the first quarter ended on 31 March 2012, compared to $0.41 during the same period a year ago.

The underwriter said that its net earning was widely impacted by US storms, which summed up $7.6m losses, thus slashing the net earnings by $0.05 per share during the current quarter.

The net earnings of the first quarter of 2012 also sustained pretax net catastrophe losses of $51.5m from natural disasters in Japan, New Zealand and Australia, corroding net earnings by $0.29 per share.

The company’s combined ratio stood at 85.2% against 94.7% for the first quarter of 2011, book value per share increased by 2.5% to $32.23, while its annualized return on equity stood at 10.1% for the first quarter of 2012.

HCC chief executive officer John Molbeck Jr said pricing has continued to improve almost universally throughout its portfolio, which has enabled it to achieve the double digit operating return on equity that was forecasted at the end of last year.

Gross written premium jumped by 5% to $682.7m compared to $649.2m, while net written premium surged by 4% to $558.4m against $538.9m for the same quarter of 2011.

HCC’s net earned premium rose 8% to $547.1m compared to $508.5m during the corresponding quarter last year.