U.S. property-casualty insurers ended 2007 with a strong fourth quarter, but year-end results fell short of their 2006 record profits and the sector saw a drop in net premium written for the first time since 1943, A.M. Best Co. reported.

Net income fell almost 7 percent to $66.5 billion from $71.3 billion in 2006. The industry’s after-tax return on equity slipped to 13 percent in 2007 from 15.3 logged in 2006, the Oldwick, N.J.-based rating service said.

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