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As I scanned all the 2009 editions of National Underwriter, picking candidates for my annual choices as the year’s top insurance stories, one thought kept crossing my mind–it could’ve been worse.

No one will look back fondly on 2009. The economy was in a shambles. Insurable exposures disappeared at an alarming rate. The investment markets–especially in the first half–were volatile at best.

Insurers saw their net written premiums flat-line and their net income plummet. Washington raced to restructure the entire financial services regulatory system, including insurance.

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