U.S. property and casualty insurers' earnings rose 4.4 percent in the first nine months despite four hurricanes, according to the Insurance Services Office (ISO).

The insurance industry's after-tax income in 2005 rose $1.2 billion to $28.8 billion from $27.6 billion in first nine months of 2004, said the ISO, which gathers statistics for the property casualty industry.

"Given the massive catastrophe losses absorbed by insurers in 2005, the increase in income during the first three quarters is a testament to the underlying financial health of the industry," said Gregory Heidrich, senior vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

During the first nine months, the industry had losses from four hurricanes: Dennis, Katrina, Ophelia and Rita, that totaled at least $47.6 billion, according to the ISO.

That was nearly double the $27 billion in direct insured property losses due to catastrophes in the first nine months of 2004, the ISO said. The 2005 nine-month losses didn't include Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida on Oct. 24 in the fourth quarter of the year.