Insurance company Allianz SE says its profits rose 58 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago, when it had big payouts for natural disasters including the tsunami in Japan.

Net earnings rose to (EURO)1.4 billion ($1.8 billion) from (EURO)0.9 billion a year ago.

The first quarter of 2011 was marked by a several expensive disasters that weighed on profits across the insurance industry for that quarter. Aside from the tsunami that killed almost 20,000 people in Japan, Australia was hit by a cyclone and an earthquake struck Christchuch, New Zealand.

Revenues rose slightly to (EURO)30.1 billion from (EURO)29.9 billion a year ago.