Claims arising from an unusually high number of tornadoes put a crimp in profits of the U.S. property/casualty industry in the first half.

The industry posted $15.9 billion of net income in the first six months, down 14.9% from the same period a year earlier, according to Insurance Services Office Inc. and the National Association of Independent Insurers.

The industry posted net income of $6.4 billion in the second quarter, a 33% drop from a year earlier.

According to the Insurance Services Office's property claims unit, losses in first-half catastrophes totaled $4.6 billion, compared with $1.8 billion in the first half of 1997.

Adjusted for inflation, the first half of 1998 was the third worst for catastrophe losses of the past 20 years, according to the insurers association. And tornadoes contributed to 87% of those losses, most of them in the second quarter.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.