A dozen Wall Street analysts are predicting an average combined ratio of 98 for 2006 for the property-casualty insurance industry, but it could be even better, according to the developer of the annual “Early Bird” survey.

On the other hand, early predictions of a hardening market in 2006, with overall premium growth of 4.7 percent, will likely be tempered, Robert Hartwig, senior vice president and chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute, told National Underwriter.

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