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May 6 (Reuters) - American International Group Inc reported a 44.1 percent surge in quarterly adjusted earnings on Monday, boosted by higher premiums, improved underwriting in its general insurance business and lower expenses.
AIG's adjusted net income rose to $1.39 billion, or $1.58 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from $963 million, or $1.04 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.01 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. It was not immediately clear if the numbers were comparable.
Shares rose nearly 2 percent in trading after the bell.
The company, one of the largest insurers in the United States, posted an underwriting profit of $179 million in its general insurance business, compared with a loss of $251 million a year earlier.
AIG has struggled to post an underwriting profit from its general insurance business since 2007, when it was hit hard by the financial crisis.
"We achieved an underwriting profit on a calendar year and accident year basis in the first quarter and we expect that to continue for the full year," Brian Duperreault, said in a statement.
Gross premiums written rose 11 percent to $10.2 billion in the general insurance business, helped mostly by the company's performance in North America.
Expense ratio fell 230 basis points to 34.3 from a year earlier, mostly due to cost cuts in the second half of 2018. (Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)