Ping An Insurance said its first-quarter net profits rose 23.62% year-on-year to reach US$1.01 billion, the South China Morning Post reported. The company, China’s second-largest life insurer, said its banking operations helped offset losses from stock market investments. On Sunday, rival insurer China Life announced a 61% fall in first-quarter net profits as investment income declined by 9.9%, and US$786 million was sliced off its investment portfolio during the first three months of the year. Ping An’s investment income fell 34.84% to US$1.15 billion while its portfolio value dropped by 21.58% to US$9.59 billion. Knowing that Ping An’s blue chip holdings had been hit hard as the stock market fell 34% in the first quarter, analysts had expected the company’s profit growth to be weaker than that of China Life. However, Ping An’s banking business generated US$238.82 million in interest income, compared with US$138.86 million a year earlier.