The insurance marketplace goes through a cycle every few years, and the changes are a response to various signals from the economy. During a soft market, pricing is competitive, underwriting is lax, and there are more players (insurance companies) willing to take on risk. On the other hand, in a hard market, there are only a limited number of players left, underwriting is stringent, coverage may be limited, and pricing is clearly not as aggressive. Insurance companies may even decide to partially or completely withdraw from a certain segment of business as well. Some businesses may feel the impact more than others, so it's important to be proactive and talk to your consultant about what your options are.