NU Online News Service, July 6, 2004, 1:22 p.m. EDT

U.S. life and health insurance industry profits quadrupled in 2003.[@@]

Weiss Ratings Inc., Jupiter, Fla., says total industry profits increased to $30 billion last year on $3.8 trillion in assets, up from $7.3 billion on $3.4 trillion in assets in 2002.

The stock market rebound and a shift to annuity products with more conservative rate guarantees contributed to the improvement and helped increase industry capital and surplus to $274 billion at the end of 2003, up from $243 billion a year earlier, Weiss says.

Segment Results

Product

2003

2002

Group annuities

$5.8 billion

$4.5 billion

Group health

$4.3 billion

$2.1 billion

Individual annuities

$6.9 billion

$689 million loss