Separate accounts have also soared to $276.8 billion, a 29.1% increase over last year, reflecting more favorable economic conditions and increased interest in variable products, according to Weiss Ratings. Life and health insurance profits are also booming, up $212.5% for the first three months of 2004, compared to the same period last year. "The market rebound enabled assets in these accounts to regain and surpass their value from four years ago," said Melissa Gannon, vice president of Weiss Ratings. "In addition, consumers are becoming less fearful of the equity markets and are again considering variable life and variable annuity products."

The companies that reported the largest separate account gains were Hartford Life & Annuity Insurance Co. ($19.7 billion), Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. ($17.8 billion), Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. USA ($15.3 billion), Hartford Life Insurance Co. ($12.8 billion), and Nationwide Life Insurance Co. ($12.1 billion).

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