A decline in investment gains seems to be the driver of private U.S. P&C insurers’ poor first-half net income numbers. Net income after taxes fell 59.3% to $5.8 billion in first-half 2009 from $14.1 billion in first-half 2008. P&C insurers’ net investment gains—the sum of net investment income and realized capital gains (or losses) on investments—fell 50.2% to $12.4 billion in first-half 2009 from $24.9 billion in first-half 2008, according to ISO and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

Insurers’ overall profitability, as measured by their annualized rate of return on average policyholders’ surplus (or statutory net worth), dropped to 2.5% in first-half 2009 from 5.5% in first-half 2008.

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