Catastrophes caused significant 2011 first-half underwriting losses for U.S. property-and-casualty insurers, driving the industry's net income for that time period to $6.9 billion—down 67 percent relative to the year before, according to an A.M. Best special report.

A.M. Best adds in its report, "U.S. Property/Casualty—6-Months Underwriting Trends," that the industry is likely to remain under pressure for the remainder of 2011 as underwriting results are expected to remain weak, commercial lines are expected to remain competitive and investment yields are expected to remain low.

The report says catastrophe-related losses in the first half totaled $27 billion for U.S. insurers, contributing 12.8 points to the combined ratio, compared to 5.8 points in the prior year's first half. The 2011 first-half combined ratio stood at 109.6, up from 100.4.

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