Liberty Mutual Group Inc., said yesterday that profits dropped 8.7%, blaming falling rates and a decline in private equity investments.

The policyholder-owned insurer that purchased Safeco Corp. last year, saw its second-quarter net income decline to $274 million from $300 million in the same period a year earlier, the Boston-based insurer said today in a statement. And policy sales excluding results at its Safeco unit slipped about 12% to $5.55 billion, according to a Bloomberg report.

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