Insurance firm Great Eastern Holdings reported a 56% fall in net profit to S$96.9mn for the March quarter to due to unrealized fair value losses from the valuation of assets and unfavorable financial market conditions, the company said on Tuesday.

The company had reported a profit of S$220.5mn in Q1 2015.

Operating profit from the insurance business fell 20.1% to S$120.4mn from S$150.7mn, and the company said the profit was lower in the City mainly due to higher claims in the non-participating fund.

Meanwhile, the profit contribution from Malaysia in Singapore dollar terms was also lower as the Malysian ringgit has fallen.

There was a non-operating loss of S$42.6mn for the quarter thanks to widening of credit spreads and decline in equity markets, according to Great Eastern.

The insurer recorded a non-operating profit of S$41.1mn for the same quarter last year, mainly from unrealized gains from equity investments.

Total weighted new sales (TWNS) for the first quarter grew 9% to S$222.9mn, helped by higher sales in both Singapore and Malaysia.

Its China sales were down, and excluding that, the group's TWNS was 11% higher than the same quarter last year.

New business embedded value (NBEV), a measure of long-term economic profitability, for the first quarter was S$84.7mn, not far away from Q1 2015.

NBEV margin for the quarter was 38%, down from 41.3% in the same period last year due to channel and product mix shifts, said the insurer.

Profit from shareholders' fund's Investments was lower at S$28.9mn from S$45.6mn dragged by unrealized foreign exchange loss from US dollar-denominated investments.