Profits of the nation's life and health insurers jumped $14.8 billion, or 437%, to $18.1 billion in the first nine months of 2003, the best third-quarter increase in a decade, according to Weiss Ratings Inc., a Jupiter, Fla.-based independent provider of ratings and analyses of financial services companies, mutual funds and stocks.Driving the industry's steep profit growth, the change in reserves fell to $101.5 billion for the first three quarters of 2003, an $11.8 billion decline compared to the $113.3 billion change in reserves reported for the same period in 2002. The five life and health insurers responsible for nearly 90% of the changes in reserves were Kemper Investors Life Insurance Co., General Electric Capital Assurance Co., Prudential Insurance

Company of America, Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association, and Transamerica Life Insurance Co.

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