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SYDNEY, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Insurance Australia Group , the nation's largest general insurer by market share, posted a 4.3 percent fall in first-half net profit on Wednesday, topping market expectations, as strong equity markets increased investment income and gross written premiums were higher than forecast.
IAG, which specialises in motor and property insurance, said net profit fell to A$446 million ($342 million) in the six months ended Dec. 31 compared with A$466 million a year ago but beat the A$419 million estimate of three analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
IAG, which has a strategic partnership with U.S. investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, reported an insurance margin of 12.6 percent for the half-year, near the bottom of its target range of 12.5 to 14.5 percent. ($1 = 1.3024 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)