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The latest publicly available statistics for the excess and surplus lines industry indicate that overall E&S premiums probably fell for the third straight year in 2009–and few experts see much change for 2010.

Although U.S. property and casualty insurers have not all officially filed their financial results with state regulators on their statutory yellow blanks yet, preliminary information taken from several sources confirms the likelihood of the three-year slide.

In late January, the Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas reported a 7.9 percent decline in the premiums collected by 15 U.S. stamping offices. SLSOT said total premiums for these offices were $19.5 billion in 2009, compared to $21.2 billion in 2008.

Although SLSOT said this was the second consecutive year of decline that it tallied–following an 8.2 percent drop in 2008–in October last year, rating agency A.M. Best had already reported two straight years of decline for 2007 and 2008 for the entire U.S. surplus lines industry, with 2009 yet to play out.

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