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Is A Second Hard Market Ahead In 2004?

Every commercial insurer executive interviewed for this edition identified the same set of issues facing the industry in 2004a list that included sustaining profitability in a stabilizing rate environment. But only David Zwiener, chief operating officer of property-casualty operations for The Hartford, raised the possibility of a second hard market ahead in 2004.

“The hard market weve enjoyed for the last few years is probably the result more of actions taken by the primary companies [than] what is a more traditional hard market created by the reinsurance community,” he observed. “What we could have play out in 04–something were watching–is a traditional reinsurance-led hard market, as [reinsurers] raise rates to achieve the kind of profitability they need. That could drive firmness into the overall market in a more traditional way.”

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