In its most recent poll of members, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) finds that insurance continues to be a sore spot for small-to-medium sized business owners. Along with energy costs, insurance price hikes are a thorn in the side of business owners as they warm to an increasingly stable economy. While 43% of companies are anticipating stronger results in the coming months, a full 68% say insurance premiums have negatively affected bottom-line performance in the first quarter of 2004. In fact, insurance is the single most-cited negative driver, topping even soaring energy prices, cited by 64%. Only 8% of members say their insurance rates have improved during the first quarter, adds CFIB chief economist Ted Mallett.