With the amount of money generated by the insurance industry andthe fact that its obligations are subject to legalinterpretation--often during high-profile court battles--there isnever a shortage of controversy in this business. That's good newsfor a newspaperman like myself, but not so good for an industrythat has to wonder what, if anything, it could possibly do to turnaround its reputation for greed, inefficiency and roguebehavior.

Before you feel too sorry for the industry, however, considerthat property-casualty insurance on the whole was very profitableonce again in 2007, even without reliable investment income.

Underwriters are certainly doing a better job, helped byimproved modeling and restrained by more demanding rating agencies,Wall Street analysts, shareholders and regulators. But it alsohelps there were no major catastrophes--natural or man made--forthe second straight year.

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