U.S. property and casualty insurers' profitability fell to the lowest level since 2008 as losses from natural disasters exceeded gains in sales and investment income.

Insurers posted a 1.9 percent annualized rate of return on policyholders' surplus, or cushion against unexpected claims, in the nine months through Sept. 30, according to a statement today from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. That's the lowest since the 1.2 percent return in 2008, when the industry faced losses from Hurricane Ike and on investments.

Travelers Cos. and Allstate Corp. are among insurers raising prices for coverage to boost shareholder returns after claims from storms and low interest rates pressured results. Policy sales rose to $115.7 billion in the third quarter from $111.1 billion a year earlier, according to PCI.

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