HCC Insurance Holdings has reported that its net earnings for the first quarter of 2008 were $81.1 million, compared with $96.7 million during the same quarter of 2007.

Total revenue of $567.4 million for the quarter was $29.8 million lower than in the comparable quarter of 2007. The decrease was primarily due to the $30.2 million pretax change in the investment-related items.

HCC has announced that its gross written premium, net written premium and net earned premium were all down slightly from 2007 amounts due to the impact of softening rates in several of its markets, which has curtailed the company’s risk appetite.

Other operating loss was $4.9 million in 2008, compared to $18.6 million in 2007. The 2008 loss includes a $9 million loss on the company’s trading portfolio. HCC’s projection for other operating income for 2008 is approximately $3.3 million per quarter, excluding the effect of any trading portfolio activity or sales of strategic investments.

Frank Bramanti, CEO of HCC, said: We are very pleased with our underwriting results for the first quarter of 2008 given the softening market. We have projected a combined ratio of 85% for 2008 and our results for the first quarter are on track.