Financial buyer appetites for specialty insurance deals may start waning this year–not just because of the current credit crisis, but also because the insurance market is softening, an insurance company executive said recently.

“We haven’t gotten to the soft part of the cycle. We’re just getting there,” said Mark Watson, chief executive of Argo Group International Holdings Ltd., during a panel discussion about private equity buyer appetites at the midyear educational conference of the Kansas City, Mo.-based National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices Ltd., held last month in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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