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The nation’s nine largest nonlife insurers posted increased net profits, with only one remaining in the red following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to interim earnings reports released Friday.

Four of the companies were in the red last year.

However, net premium — the equivalent of sales — remained stalled across the board.

“The market is not growing,” said Kenji Washio, managing director of Aioi Insurance Co. “We have to take customers from other companies.”

Aioi’s net premium for the six months to September remained at 401.5 billion yen, down 2.4 percent from the previous year.

A relatively disaster-free year, coupled with cost cuts in its second year since forming through a merger of mid-tier insurers Chiyoda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. and Dai-Tokyo Fire and Marine Insurance Co., helped it to return to the black.

Aioi posted a net profit of 3.7 billion yen, back from a debilitating loss of 51 billion yen the year before.

Sompo Japan Insurance Co., the second-largest nonlife insurance group, carried over losses sustained in the previous year following the failure of group member Taisei Fire & Marine Insurance Co.

Taisei’s losses carried from April to June pulled Sompo Japan’s gains to a loss of 3.9 billion yen for the six months to September.

The group now comprises Yasuda Fire & Insurance Co. and Nissan Fire & Insurance Co., which purchased the solvent operations of Taisei in July.

The group saw net premium edge up 0.7 percent year-on-year to 621.4 billion yen but projects a consolidated loss of 53.5 billion yen for the full year to March 31.

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