Heavy use of foreign reinsurance and shifting investment strategies are helping U.S. property-casualty insurers emerge from a year marked by nearly $50 billion in direct insured property-catastrophe losses without a bottom-line disaster, experts say.

Through nine months, net income rose 4.4 percent to $28.8 billion, and the year-to-date combined ratio–at 100–was the second best nine-month ratio on record, according to a report by the Jersey City, N.J.-based Insurance Services Office and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America in Des Plaines, Ill. What’s more, consolidated surplus jumped 5.2 percent to $414.3 billion as of Sept. 30 from $393.8 billion at year-end 2004.

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