U.K.-based reinsurance broker Benfield Group is predicting reinsurers will maintain price discipline through 2004, with some leveling off of rates but slim chance of a dramatic softening. Speaking of the 2003-2004 renewal season, the broker notes that reinsurers did continue the trend of underwriting discipline, with some flattening of property catastrophe rates and less steep increases in the casualty line. "The question for 2004 is: will underwriters continue to hold the line?" notes Benfield Group CEO Grahame Chilton. He cites substantial new capacity and the resurgence of a few players aggressively seeking growth. "With this set of circumstances, history would suggest a rapid softening of the market. However, there appear to be specific reasons for the current state of the market, which Benfield expects to contribute to continued stability throughout 2004 and possibly longer." These reasons include the increased use of risk modeling and actuarial tools; higher investor expectations; credit quality concerns; and increased demand for reinsurance in some lines.