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Read ’em and weep, folks! I couldn’t help but cringe a bit as I reviewed the P&C industry’s consolidated results for the first three quarters of 2011. It was bad news galore. Even the few bits of “good” news had a negative tinge.

Let’s start with the bottom line: Net income fell by over two-thirds, down from $27.1 billion in the first nine months of 2010 to a relatively paltry $8 billion last year. That sent the industry’s rate of return plummeting to a measly 1.9 percent, compared with a below-average but still-respectable 6.8 percent in 2010.

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