Weiss Research Inc. finds a number of large life and annuity insurers are in solid financial shape.

Out of almost 900 life and annuity insurers it reviewed, Weiss, a rating service in Jupiter, Fla., rated 80 companies at B+ (good) or higher. Those companies control $1.3 trillion, or 7% of the industry’s total assets, Weiss says.

Weiss rated 74 companies at D+ (weak) or lower. Those businesses control $22.2 billion, or 0.5% of the industry’s total assets.

“The bulk of the assets in the life and annuity insurance industry are controlled by relatively strong and stable institutions, making it stronger overall than the banking industry,” said Martin D. Weiss, president of Weiss Ratings.

Life and annuity insurers reported a dramatic turnaround in profits in 2009, earning $21.1 billion, a substantial improvement over the industry’s total loss of $51.8 billion in 2008, Weiss reports. The advance was mostly due to a $45 billion decrease in the amount of additional reserves that were set aside as well as a drop in net realized losses on investments, from $50.5 billion in 2008 to $28.7 billion last year, according to Weiss.

Weiss listed the nation’s top-rated life and annuity insurers with $10 billion or more in assets as follows:

–Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association of America, New York

–Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee

–Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, Mass.

–Principal Life Insurance Company, Des Moines, Iowa

–New York Life Insurance Company, New York

–Pacific Life Insurance Company, Newport Beach, Calif.

–New York Life Insurance & Annuity Corp., a unit of New York Life

–Allstate Life Insurance Company, Northbrook, Ill.

–State Farm Life Insurance Company, Bloomington, Ill.

–Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York

–Midland National Life Insurance Company, Sioux Falls, S.D.