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UPDATE

Market easing for homeowners insurance policies

October 19, 2003

A recovering economy and healthier profits for property/casualty insurers are easing the tight market for homeowners insurance nationwide, but securing a policy is still a challenge for home buyers.

A recent report card on the first half of 2003 by the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit group funded by insurers, shows a "remarkable turnaround" in the industry, with underwriting losses declining 95% from a record $52 billion in 2001 to just $4 billion to $6 billion this year.

Combine that with a resurgent stock market that has climbed 13% from January through September, allowing insurers to amass $4.5 billion in capital gains during the first half of this year.

The situation in California appears to be improving as State Farm and Safeco have resumed writing homeowners policies. However, State Farm agents are restricted to writing only one new policy for each canceled policy, according to company spokesperson Ena Alcaraz.

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