Despite the ravages of four hurricanes in Florida last year, thenation's property and casualty insurers reported profits of $41.3billion in 2004, representing a 28-percent increase over the $32.3billion earned in 2003, according to Weiss Ratings.

“Property and casualty insurers continue to post impressiveresults,” said Melissa Gannon, vice president of Weiss. “Theability to withstand such a horrific hurricane season is anindicator of the industry's long-term financial strength.”

Contributing to the industry's healthy performance, underwritingprofits reached a record high, surging to $6.4 billion as of Dec.31, 2004, compared to a $2.9-billion loss the previous year. Theunderwriting gain was primarily due to an increase in earnedpremiums, which jumped from $387.7 billion in 2003 to $414.3billion in 2004.

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