NU Online News Service, Sept. 10, 12:10 p.m. – Weiss Ratings Inc., Palm Beach, Gardens, Fla., says the total net income for U.S. life insurers fell to $3.4 billion for the first quarter, down 53% from the record profit total reported for the first quarter of 2000.

The profit total is the lowest Weiss has recorded since 1995, when it says life and health industry profits amounted to $3.18 billion.

“This decline in profits is bound to bring about rate increases in most product lines in both health and life insurance,’” Martin Weiss, chairman of the rating firm, said in a statement on the analysis.

Although the life and health insurers’ profits were down, their overall capital and surplus increased 11%, to $238 billion.

But investment losses ate up $36 billion of the $240 billion set aside to cushion reserves against capital losses, Weiss reports.