The North American insurance industry is plowing forward in an economy that fell completely off the rails during the third quarter of 2008. This year, insurers are challenged by:

•    Hefty declines in rates and written premiums. The global recession has taken a big chunk out of the insurance industry’s hide with consumers “right-sizing” their insurance coverage, and even business policyholders opting to “go naked” or the self-insured route. The economic drag on rates is further amplified by the fact that the insurance industry is now more than five years into a soft market.

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