NU Online News Service, Dec. 21, 2004, 5:20 p.m. EST

A Jupiter, Fla., insurance rating firm says U.S. life and health insurers did great between April 1 and June 30.[@@]

Total second-quarter industry profits increased 63% from the total for the second quarter of 2003, to $17 billion, Weiss says.

A big improvement in investment earnings contributed to the strong earnings.

The industry lost $4 billion when it sold, wrote off or wrote down investments during the second quarter of 2003. During the second quarter of 2004, the industry realized $814 million in gains on portfolio transactions, Weiss says.