NU Online News Service, Jan. 14, 11:13 a.m. – Weiss Ratings Inc., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., says it recorded only eight failures of U.S. health maintenance organizations in 2001, down from 19 in 2000.

The rating agency found that 40 insurance companies failed in 2001, but it points out that only six of the failed companies were life or health insurers.

The insurance company failure rate may increase this year, because more than half of U.S. insurers are reporting lower earnings, Weiss warns.