Michael J Sewell
Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President and Treasurer at Cincinnati Financial
Thank, you, Steve, and thanks to all of you for joining us today. Investment income again grew at a good pace, up 6% for the first quarter of 2022 compared with the same period a year ago. First quarter dividend income was up 12% and net equity securities purchase totaled $34 million. Bond interest income grew 4% in the first quarter while the pretax average yield of 4.01% for the quarter was down 13 basis points from a year ago. The average pretax yield for the total of purchased taxable and tax-exempt bonds during the first quarter of 2022 was 3.64%. We again purchased additional fixed maturity securities with net purchases during the quarter totaling $109 million. Valuation changes for our investment portfolio during the first quarter of 2022 were unfavorable in aggregate for both our stockholdings and our bond holdings. [Technical Issues] dollars before tax effects, including a net decrease of $746 million for unrealized gains in our bond portfolio. At the end of the first quarter, total investment portfolio net appreciated value was approximately $6.6 billion, including $46 million for our bond portfolio. Cash flow again helped to grow investment income. Cash flow from operating activities for the first quarter 2022 generated at $198 million compared to $354 million a year ago. Balancing strategic investments in our business with expense containment initiatives continues to be a priority.
The first quarter 2022 property casualty underwriting expense ratio was 2.2 percentage points higher than last year. Most of the increase was from higher accruals for profit-sharing commissions for agencies and related expenses. Regarding loss reserves, we aim for a consistent approach by targeting net amounts in the upper half of the actuarially estimated range of net loss and loss expense reserves. As we do each quarter, we considered new information such as paid losses and case reserves and then updated estimate ultimate losses and loss expenses by accident year and line of business. During the first quarter of 2022, we experienced $41 million of property casualty net favorable development on prior accident years have benefited the combined ratio by 2.5 percentage points. In recent years, we've experienced significant growth in commercial umbrella coverage within our commercial casualty lines of business, including 16% in 2021 as industry pricing for umbrella has been strong. Umbrella losses tend to be frequently -- relatively infrequent with high severity and we recently experienced an elevated level of large losses, particularly for accident year 2019. Due to increased uncertainty for our umbrella business, we strengthened reserves for certain accident years and estimated ultimate losses for accident year 2022 at what we believe is a prudent level.
On an all-lines basis by accident year, net reserve development for the quarter was favorable by $46 million for 2021, $24 million for 2022, unfavorable by 2020 by $28 million for 2019, and unfavorable by $1 million in aggregate for accident years prior to 2019. Now let me turn to capital management. We continue to follow a consistent approach that includes share repurchases as part of maintenance intended to offset the issuance of shares through equity compensation plans. However, changing circumstances or opportunities can influence us to repurchase more or less than historical averages. We believe that our quarter end financial strength was excellent and provides ample financial flexibility. During the first quarter of 2022, we repurchased 375,000 shares at an average price per share of $120.05. I'll conclude my prepared remarks as I usually do, with a summary of first quarter contributions to book value per share. They represent the main drivers of our value creation ratio. Property casualty underwriting increased book value by $0.81. Life insurance operations increased book value $0.06. Investment income, other than life insurance and net of noninsurance items, added $0.53. Net investment gains and losses for the fixed income portfolio decreased book value per share by $3.67. Net investment gains and losses for the equity portfolio decreased book value by $3.33. And we declared $0.69 per share in dividends to shareholders. The net effect was a book value decrease of $6.29 per share during the first quarter to $75.43 per share.
And now I'll turn the call back over to Steve.