New York A group of chief executives said they are optimisticthat the industry will remain in good financial shape, and one saidhe is hopeful the industry will soon see some moderation in thesoft-market cycle.

The comments were made on Sunday during a chief executives paneldiscussion at the Alexandria, Va.-based Independent InsuranceAgents & Brokers annual meeting here.

"I'm a big optimist," said Fredrick H. Eppinger, president andchief executive officer of Allmerica Financial Corporation, basedin Worcester, Mass., discussing the industry.

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