Carmel, Ind.-based Conseco Inc. is back in the black for first quarter 2009. The insurer reported net income of $24.5 million for the quarter, compared to a net loss of $7.2 million in the same period a year ago.

"Conseco showed continued improvement and profitability in all three insurance businesses for the first quarter, which is a seasonally low quarter for our earnings,” Conseco CEO Jim Prieur said in a statement. “Core sales increased by 4% overall. We set records in the quarter for new agent contracts in our wholly owned distribution channels, and new agency appointments rose 73% in our independent channel, all key to future sales growth."

The numbers were further abetted by shrinking investment losses, which tallied $6.9 million for the quarter, compared to losses of $27.3 million a year ago.

Likewise, Munich-based Allianz SE reported growth in its core businesses, with first quarter premium revenues in the life and health insurance business rising nearly 6% from the same period the previous year to 13 billion euros. On the property/casualty side, gains were more modest with gross written premiums for the quarter increasing only 1.5% over the previous year. Moreover, the property/casualty combined ratio rose to 98.5%, compared to 94.8% for the previous year.

"Allianz continues to cope successfully with the impact of the ongoing financial markets crisis on our business," Helmut Perlet, CFO of Allianz, said in a statement.

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