Insurers watched pools of assets earmarked for specific customers grow much more quickly than their general account assets during the first quarter.

Analysts at TheStreet.com Ratings, New York, a successor to the old Weiss Ratings, say total life and health insurance company assets increased to $4.9 trillion at the end of the first quarter, up 6.7% from the total recorded a year earlier.

General account assets increased only 3%, to $3 trillion, while separate account assets increased 14%, to more than $1.8 trillion, TheStreet.com analysts report.

Industry earnings increased 3.2% from the total for the first quarter of 2006, to $10 billion, and much of the growth in earnings came from gains obtained from the sale of investments, the analysts report.