NU Online News Service, March 15, 2005, 3:30 p.m. EST

U.S. life and health insurers did well during the first 3 quarters of 2004.[@@]

Insurers’ total profits climbed to $25.7 billion during that period, up 42% from the total for the comparable period in 2003, according to researchers at Weiss Ratings Inc., Jupiter, Fla.

Weiss researchers are giving an 8.9% increase in total industry investment returns, to $112 billion, much of the credit for the soaring profit totals.

In related news, Weiss researchers are reporting that the value of assets in variable annuity and variable life separate accounts reached $1.2 trillion at the end of the third quarter of 2004, up 16% from the total recorded a year earlier.