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Declaring that a turn to a hard-market cycle is more visible, the chief executive of W.R. Berkley Corp. said he’s willing to bet there are carriers that are in for major trouble because they are being “stupid” and not increasing rates fast enough.

“Hard markets always start this way, and then something happens” that leads to “dire financial difficulties,” William R. Berkley, the CEO of the Greenwich, Conn.-based insurer, said during a conference call to discuss first-quarter earnings.

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