Health insurers have a relatively bad public image, and life insurers do just slightly better.

Researchers at Harris Interactive Inc., Rochester, N.Y., have published those conclusions in a summary of results from a telephone survey of 1,010 U.S. adults.

The researchers asked for participants’ opinions about 20 industries and compared the answers with results from a similar 2007 survey.

The 2008 industry scores ranged from 84, for supermarkets, to -43, for tobacco companies.

Managed care companies received a score of -14, up from -20 in 2007.

Health insurers received a score of -9, up from -21.

The health insurers and managed care companies came in near the bottom, barely ahead of oil companies and tobacco companies.

Life insurers increased their score to 26, from 18.

Life insurers appeared in 13th place, behind telephone companies and on-line retailers, but ahead of investment and brokerage firms.