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Operators of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico may have breathed a big sigh of relief as they eyed the easterly track of Hurricane Bill recently because many drastically shrank their hurricane coverage programs, insurance executives reported late last month.

“We scared a lot of clients into self-insurance by [requiring] huge premium dollars, where it might have been more intelligent…to focus on coverage,” said Richard Brindle, group chief executive of Bermuda-based Lancashire Insurance, where energy insurance makes up for more than 30 percent of the overall book of business.

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