Looking For Safety In Numbers

Consolidation--and competition from other investments--are changing the business

If there is one word that sums up prospects for the insurance industry in 1996, it's consolidation. Last year saw a record $18 billion worth of insurance-company mergers and acquisitions, and there's no letup in sight. "There are too many players competing for too little return in a crowded marketplace," says Eric Simpson, a vice-president at rating agency A.M. Best Co.

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