Last year, U.S. reinsurers’ profit grew by almost 500%, to US$3.08 billion from just US$628 million the year prior, reports the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA), which represents 29 domestic U.S. companies. Substantially improved underwriting results were the key, with the reinsurers posting a combined ratio of 101.2%, down from 121.3% in 2002. The loss ratio dropped last year to 74.0%, from a whopping 93.7% the year prior, while expenses were down slightly to 27.2% from 27.6% in 2002. Overall, the companies posted an underwriting loss for 2003 of US$564 million, significantly better than the loss of US$6.4 billion reported the year previous. Net written premiums were up slightly in 2003 to US$30.6 billion from US$29.5 billion in 2002. And net earned premiums were US$29.8 billion, up from US$27.2 billion the year prior. However, investment income was down last year, coming in at US$5.6 billion, compared to US6.2 billion in 2002. And income taxes took a big chunk out of profits, totaling US$2.1 billion in 2003, compared to just US$22 million the year prior. At yearend 2003, policyholder surplus stood at US$55.9 billion, versus US$42.1 billion at the end of 2002.