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ZURICH, May 10 (Reuters) - Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance Group beat expectations on Thursday with a 78 percent rise in first-quarter profit, helped by fewer large natural catastrophes than the year before, and said premiums were set to rise.

Europe’s second-biggest insurer by market capitalisation recorded a net profit of $1.14 billion for the first three months of the year. A Reuters poll of analysts forecast a net profit of $997 million.

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