Property-casualty insurers' results should improve slightly thisyear and then worsen over the next two years, according to a newstudy by Conning Research and Consulting Inc.

The Hartford, Conn.-based firm said return on equity for 2004 isexpected to be 8.4 percent and will increase to 8.8 percent in2005. However, forecasts for 2006 and 2007 show returns of 7.4percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.

Price competition among insurers is expected to rise, Conningsaid, leading to reductions in premium growth. Premium growth isestimated at 4.1 percent for 2004, 1.5 percent for 2005, andlowering to 1 percent in 2006.

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