NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. property and casualty insurers reported positive results today, but once you look under the hood the picture is not as rosy.
Insurers' industry-wide net income rose to $16.5 billion from $6 billion in the first-half of 2010, but that's to be expected as the industry recovers from the financial crisis, argues one analyst.
"It is less impressive then it looks," said Meyer Shields, analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. "We had year to year growth on the profitability side, but they are leaning on reserve releases. The underlying results are less impressive."
Data released from the Insurance Information Institute, ISO and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America boasts :
- The annualized rate of return on average policyholders' surplus was up 6.3 percent from 2.6 percent;
- Net investment gains rang in at $13.3 billion to $25.8 billion, up from $12.5 billion in first-half 2009
- Insurers' reported underwriting losses of $5.1 billion for the first half of 2010 compared a $2.1 billion loss for the same time period last year.
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