Evan G. Greenberg
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Chubb
Good morning. We had an excellent start to the year. With record per share operating earnings and underwriting results, double-digit Global P&C commercial lines premium growth, accompanied by rate increases in excess of loss costs, and improving growth in our consumer business globally.
Core operating income in the quarter was one $1.64 billion or a record $382 per share, up 52% on a per share basis over prior year. In the quarter, we produced simply outstanding underwriting results. $1.28 billion of underwriting income was more than double prior year with a combined ratio of 84.3%, both records.
Our P&C current accident year combined ratio, excluding catastrophes, was 83.5%, a 1.7 point improvement over prior year with about one point from loss ratio improvement and the balance expense driven. On the investment income side, adjusted net investment income was circa $900 million for the quarter. We are predominantly a buy and hold fixed income investor and given rising interest rates and widening spreads, we expect investment income to increase from here. Every 100 basis points increase in interest rates for us is worth on an annualized basis about $1.2 billion on -- of -- in pre-tax investment income. We have a portfolio duration of about four years, so a rise in rates begins to earn in reasonably quickly. Peter will have more to say about other financial items.
Let me say a few words about the Russia and Ukraine war. The events unfolding before our eyes are a human tragedy of epic proportions with profound geopolitical implications. Our actual incurred losses to date from the event are de minimis. And from all we know today, while additional losses may develop over time, this will not represent a meaningful event for Chubb.
Integration planning around the Cigna transaction is quite active and remains on track. We expect to receive regulatory approvals leading to a close during the second quarter. There are no changes of substance to the guidance we gave you and any changes are modestly positive, we will update you after closing.
Now turning to growth. The rate environment and inflation, Global P&C premiums, which exclude Agriculture, increased 8.8% in the quarter on a published basis or 10.7% in constant dollars with commercial up 12% and consumer up 8%. Growth in the quarter was broad-based with contributions from virtually all commercial businesses globally, from large corporate to middle market to small, from traditional to specialty in most all regions of the world. Commercial P&C premiums excluding Agriculture for North America were up 10.5%, while in Overseas General they grew 13% in constant dollars, but we then had five points of FX impact to the published results.
Agriculture premiums were down in the quarter because of the return of premium to the government was based on our level of profitability for the '21 crop year. This is a favorable unexpected development. You will recall that crop insurance is a business where revenue and losses are shared with the government. For the '22 crop year, we will have a substantial increase in premium revenue over last year, given commodity prices and other factors. Most of this will be recognized in the third quarter.
Returning to commercial P&C. In terms of rate, the level of rate increase remains strong and as I have said before, as naturally moderating individual portfolios achieve adequacy and additional rate, it's then required to keep pace with loss costs. The rate environment is reasonably orderly and in aggregate, rate increases remained in excess of observed and projected loss costs.
In the quarter in North America, total P&C premiums excluding Agriculture grew 9.6%, again with commercial up 10.5%. Growth this quarter in commercial lines was led by our middle market and small commercial business with premiums up almost 12%, followed by our major accounts and specialty division that grew 9.5%. Total exposure change was a positive 1% in the quarter, a combination of an increase in economic exposure of about 3.2% due to higher payroll, sales, and other economically sensitive activity. And on the other hand, a decline in exposure due to underwriting changes such as increased attachment points and higher deductibles. It's a good thing.
Renewal retention for our retail commercial businesses is a 100% on a premium basis, very strong. Overall rates increased in North America commercial lines, 8.7%. Major accounts, which serves the largest companies in America, rates increased 9.3%. General casualty rates were up over 15.5% and vary by class of casualty, while risk management related primary comp and casualty rates were up 3.7%. Property rates were up 9.1% and financial lines rates were up 13.9% and varied by subcategory.
In our E&S wholesale business, rates increased by more than 11%, rates were up 13.3% in casualty, about 10% -- sorry, in property. Casualty was up 10% and financial lines rates were up 15.4%. And in our middle market business, rates increased 7.7% or 9.5% excluding comp. Rates for property were up over 8%, casualty rates excluding comp were up 8.5% and comp rates were down 1.5%. The comp pricing, which is rate plus exposure, was up over 9%. And finally, financial lines in middle market were up 17%.
We are trending loss costs at 6% and it varies by line. In general, we're trending loss costs in the rates we charge for short-tail classes just over 6.5%. So the actual is running lower. In long-tail, excluding workers' comp, we continue to trend in the 6% rate overall. And our first dollar workers' comp book is trending between 4% and 4.5%. In short-tail classes, we are actively monitoring property valuations, loss costs as they develop, and the real-time drivers of cost for changes in inflation, labor, parts and supplies, as well as the delays caused by supply chain disruptions given the length of time to repair or replace. This can add additional pressure on costs. In long-tail lines, we actively monitor and study both frequency and severity of each class.
Turning to our International General Insurance operations, retail commercial P&C premiums grew 15.5% in constant dollars, while our London wholesale business grew just over 5.5%. Retail commercial growth varied by region with premiums up 18.5% in Latin America, followed by growth of about 16.5% in our UK and Europe Division, and Asia Pac was up 14.5%. Internationally, like in the US, we continued to achieve improved rate to exposure across our commercial portfolio. And our international retail business rates increased in the quarter 10%, while in our London wholesale business rates increased 9%, both varied by class and by region, as well as country within region. Outside North America, loss costs are currently trending about 4%, though that varies by class of business in country. In general, loss costs for short-tail classes are running just under 4% and we anticipate this to increase. In long-tail we are trending at about a 4.5% rate.
International consumer lines growth in the quarter continued to recover from the pandemic's impact on consumer-related activity. The premiums increased about 9.5% though FX then scrubbed 6 points of to the grow -- off the growth rate. Premiums in our international A&H business grew 6% in constant dollars, while our international personal lines business grew over 10%. Latin America led the way with A&H and personal lines growth of over 18% and 17.5% respectively. While Asia Pac's growth for these two product lines was over 6% and 24.5% respectively.
Net premiums in our North America high net worth personal lines business were up about 7.5%. Last year's reinsurance reinstatement premiums due to the cat losses had a negative impact on growth there. Adjusted for that was other one-time items, our underlying growth was about 5.5% in the quarter. Our true high net worth client segment, the heart of our business, grew over 13% in the quarter, driven by a flight to quality and competitors leaving certain markets. While overall retention was very strong at nearly 99%.
In our homeowners business we achieved pricing, which includes rate and exposure of 12.3%, while homeowners loss costs are running in the 11% range. In our Asia-focused international life insurance business, net premiums plus deposits were flat in constant dollars but will increase in future quarters. While net premiums in our Global Re business were up 22%.
In sum, we had an outstanding quarter all around and we are off to a great start to the year. As I look ahead, I remain optimistic and confident in the things we can control and may have naturally grown more cautious given the world around us. Economic growth, general inflation and Central Bank actions, and the war come to mind. We will continue to capitalize on favorable underwriting conditions for our commercial P&C businesses globally. Consumer lines growth to continue to recover, as interest rates rise our investment income as well. And as I stated last quarter, our strategic investments, including the acquisitions of Cigna and likely later in the year Huatai will provide us with greater revenue and earnings growth opportunity.
I'll now turn the call over to Peter and then we'll be back to take your questions.