The ongoing recession has hit workers’ compensation carriers hard, causing nearly a quarter of the market’s premiums to evaporate and cutting profitability by as much as half in the past two years, experts in the field reported here.

“Profitability in workers’ compensation is heading downhill rather rapidly,” according to Robert P. Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute. “We are earning about 40-to-50 percent less than we were pre-crisis,” he added, referring to the financial meltdown caused by the collapse of the housing market.

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