If you were an insurance buyer in 2007, you enjoyed the benefits of a rapidly softening market for all but catastrophe-prone exposures, with no turnaround in sight, given the high profits and deep pockets reported by the industry nationwide.

As a price-cutting mentality reverberates throughout the property-casualty business, the widening and deepening soft market for almost all lines makes this the top news development of the year.

If you own a home or business along the Gulf Coast (where the risk of a massive hurricane scares away carriers) or in California (where the threat of earthquakes and wildfires haunts property insurers), you probably cannot count on premiums to plummet–but just about everywhere else, policyholders are in the driver's seat.

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