* Q1 net profit 25.7 bln yuan vs 23.05 bln in year-ago period
* To pay special dividend of 3.66 bln yuan (Adds details of results)
SHANGHAI, April 26 (Reuters) - Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China , the country’s largest insurer by market value, posted an 11.5 percent rise in quarterly net profit, driven by strong premium growth.
China’s heightened regulatory scrutiny of insurers and other financial sector participants amid an industry-wide crackdown on risk is benefiting Ping An and other big insurers at the expense of smaller ones. Ping An is also gaining from being diversified, with a presence in businesses such as asset management and banking.
Net profit at Ping An, one of nine insurers globally and the only Asian one designated as a systemically important insurer by global regulators, posted a net profit of 25.70 billion yuan ($4.06 billion) for the three months ended March 31, against 23.05 billion yuan in the same period last year.
In the first quarter, written premiums of Ping An’s life and health insurance business grew by 24.9 percent year-on-year to 230.59 billion yuan on steady growth in renewal premiums, while its property and casualty insurance business boosted premium income by 17.8 percent to 63.22 billion yuan.
Ping An’s asset management division, which includes trust, securities, and other subsidiaries that conduct asset management business, posted a 25.8 percent on-year rise in first-quarter net profit.
It also proposed to pay a special 30th anniversary dividend totalling 3.66 billion yuan.
Last month, the insurer posted a forecast-beating annual profit due to strong life insurance sales.
With a market value of more than $180 billion, Ping An is the fourth most valuable financial sector company in mainland China. ($1 = 6.8930 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Engen Tham in SHANGHAI and Shu Zhang in BEIJING; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman