Selective Insurance has reported that its first quarter 2011 net income fell by 20% to $18.1m, or $0.33 per diluted share, compared to net income of $20.5m, or $0.37 per diluted share during the same period of 2011.

For the quarter ended on 31 March 2012, the underwriter operating income was $15.3m, or $0.28 per diluted share, against an operating income of $16.8m, or $0.30 per diluted share quarter-over-quarter last fiscal.

Selective Insurance president and chief executive officer Gregory Murphy said that for the quarter, the firm’s statutory combined ratio was a profitable 99.1% with both personal and commercial lines achieving combined ratios under 100%.

"Commercial lines price was up 5.1% for the quarter, with March generating a 6% increase, and commercial lines retention for the quarter improved 3 points to a very strong 83%," Murphy added.

"Overall net premiums written (NPW) grew 16% in the quarter compared to 2011. Excess and surplus (E&S) lines contributed 7 points, with the remainder attributable to renewal price increases in personal and commercial lines that were over 5%; direct new business that rose 36% or $22 million; and overall retention that improved 2 points to a solid 84%."

The company said that its net investment income, after tax, fell by 23% to $24.8m, and total revenue stood at $419.3m versus $403.5m during the corresponding period last year.

Selective Insurance, a holding company for eight property and casualty insurance companies and offers primary and alternative market insurance for commercial and personal risks, and flood insurance underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program.