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In the face of a record catastrophe season, state residual markets need to take a dose of reality and think about increasing premiums to reflect risk or face serious trouble in the future, an industry economist said.

Robert P. Hartwig, vice president and chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute in New York, said the reality of the catastrophic losses the insurance industry has experienced this year from hurricanes will mean higher rates for homeowners and commercial clients for years to come. He said strains from the losses will mean primary insurers have to increase premiums and re-examine their risk appetites in the wind-exposed regions.

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