We are pleased to report that AEGIS had another successful year in 2015. Member and broker support of all of our operations was terrific. Thank you! As of year-end, surplus grew by $68 million to $1,290 million, a new high for AEGIS. We’ve now grown surplus by $532 million since 2008.
Our overall combined ratio of 81% is by far the best we’ve had in the past 20 years. This was comprised of a U.S. operations combined ratio of 86% and a London combined ratio of 76%. Relatively benign current year losses as well as favorable prior year reserve runoff contributed to these low ratios. Most importantly, our three-year policy year combined ratio for excess liability appears to be trending favorably with an initial evaluation of 93%. We should note, however, that this is a long tail line which will take several years to fully develop.
Gross written premiums for the year were $1,251 million, which is $93 million below Plan. This was largely due to the overall competitiveness of the market in the U.S. and London resulting in pricing pressure and lack of opportunity for responsible growth. We believe bottom line profitability is more important than premium growth.
Total gross investment return for the year was negative 61 basis points, which was 3.9% worse than our planned return for the overall portfolio. This shortfall is mainly attributed to our equity portfolio which generated a negative 8.2% return.
Given the difficult investment environment we are presently in, the Board of Directors and I are very pleased with these overall results and we hope you are too. We’re still in the process of finalizing our year-end audit and we look forward to sharing our final audited financial statements with you when we publish our annual report in April.