NU Online News Service, April 14, 2003, 4:56 p.m. EDT – The insurance industry escaped many of the scandals that beset the banking sector over the past year, according to a new report from Carma International Inc., Washington.

Researchers at the consulting firm used a 100-point scale to rate 9,570 stories on the insurance and banking industries published in U.S. print publications between March 2001 and February 2003.

The researchers gave 100 points to the most favorable stories and 0 points to the most negative stories.

Using that system, Carma researchers found that the insurance industry was portrayed at least as well as the banking industry.

Coverage of insurers was negative and appeared to get worse as time went on, but companies in the insurance industry appeared in only 2% of the stories involving scandals, while banks appeared in 12% of the scandal stories, Carma says.

Insurers also received less negative coverage, averaging a slightly unfavorable 42 rating on stories relating to scandal, compared to a very negative 36 rating for stories on the banking industry, Carma says.

The banking industry received more negative scandal coverage because of an intense focus on corporate responsibility and analyst conflicts of interest, Carma reports.

News outlets pounded banks for allegedly publishing false earnings reports and attacked the relationship between financial analysts who recommended stock buys while their banks profited from underwriting relationships with the same companies, Carma concludes.