UPDATE 1-Allied World Q1 profit tops view; to buy back shares

Thu May 6, 2010 5:46pm EDT

* Q1 oper shr $1.16 vs est $1.07

* Announces $500 mln share buy back

* Net earned premiums up 4 pct

May 6 (Reuters) - Property and casualty insurer Allied World (AWH.N) posted a quarterly profit that beat estimates on higher earned premiums and announced a $500 million share buy back programme.

For the first quarter, the company earned $133.7 million, or $2.52 a share, compared with $131.4 million, or $2.57 a share, in the year-ago period.

The company reported operating income of $1.16 per share.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn $1.07 a share, excluding items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net premiums earned rose 4 percent to $338.3 million.

Combined ratio, which is the percentage of premiums an insurer has to pay out in claims and expenses, was 99.5 percent.

The company said its board authorized a share repurchase programme of up to $500 million, effective through May 3, 2012.

Shares of the Bermuda-based company closed at $41.51 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Jochelle Mendonca in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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