NU Online News Service, June 24, 2003, 5:22 p.m. EDT – U.S. life and health insurers reported $7.3 billion in total net income in 2002, 53% less than they reported in 2001, according to Weiss Ratings Inc., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Profits were down mainly because the stock slump and bond defaults caused life and health insurers to post $15.5 billion in losses on the sale of invested assets, Weiss says.

Although life and health insurers earned less, the individual annuity line was the only line of business that actually suffered a loss in 2002, Weiss says.

The industry lost $689 million on individual annuities in 2002. That compares with a $1.8 billion profit on individual annuities in 2001, Weiss says.

Group health and group annuity products experienced the largest increase in profits. Profits jumped to $2.1 billion, from $885 million, for group health products, and to $4.5 billion, from $2.1 billion, for group annuity products, Weiss says.