We've been lucky this year - after being told to brace for another catastrophic hurricane season, we felt the ocean breezes grow calm and saw storm-related losses remain at a minimum.The insurance industry dealt with an estimated $61.8 billion in losses from Katrina and other storms in 2004-05. Yet surprisingly, many companies have rallied with record earnings. How? Some carriers asked for record-setting rate increases to offset what they believed would be more dire catastrophe-related losses for 2006. Many insurers reacted by shrugging off new business along the coasts. Some attributed their good fortune to technology that reduces claims leakage, some pointed to "underwriting discipline," some to expert predictive modeling systems that support improved rating. Some said it's simply a matter of expert reserve management.

No one in the industry wants to face another record year of natural catastrophes. And one mild hurricane season and its related healthy earnings does not sooth the souls of P&C carriers with significant risk in the path of future storms.

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