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In the wake of the latest market correction toward softer conditions, some surplus lines experts are suggesting that once-hardening insurance markets are not what they used to be—and in fact, may never be the same again.

A year ago, the E&S market was still recovering from many of the lumps it took when Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast in October 2012. The storm, which killed 280 people, caused $18.75 billion of insured damage—the third-costliest storm-damage loss for insurers in U.S. history, according to Verisk’s Property Claims Service. With rates increasing across the board on P&C risks as a result, surplus lines insurers and brokers had described the market a year ago as definitely firming, if not quite hard. Today, the consensus among executives is that the market is softer.

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