Most insurance companies have reported earnings, and the news is generally good for life insurers. With few exceptions, life insurance companies have met or beaten analyst expectations, according to UBS Investment Research.

Both fixed and variable annuities, which have affected earnings in the past several years, have now stabilized and are beginning to improve. Fixed annuity margins "seem to have held up fine," and variable annuity sales have recovered. Also, carriers have stopped shouldering investment losses.

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