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While the Market Barometer composite rate index for property and casualty insurance was down 4 percent at the close of calendar-year 2009, the head of the electronic insurance exchange that produces the monthly price report predicted an upswing by the end of this year.

Dallas-based MarketScout said an anticipated return to rate increases failed to materialize last year. However, 2009 began with composite rate reductions of 9 percent, only to slowly moderate throughout the year to close at an average decline of 4 percent in December 2009.

“The return to rate increases will come in 2010, but the full impact will not be recognized until 2011,” according to Richard Kerr, chairman and chief executive officer of MarketScout.

“Of course, a cataclysmic event could change everything,” he added.

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