NEW YORK–Property-casualty industry leaders are generally pessimistic about the year ahead, expecting a deepening soft market and deteriorating profitability, with even a mild recession making it that much harder for carriers to grow their top- or bottom lines.

A survey of top company and association executives gathered here for their annual reunion–the Property-Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum–found that by more than a three-to-one margin, no improvement is expected in personal or commercial lines profitability.

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