Phone lines, meeting rooms, and yes even bars, have borne witness to talk of whether the market is truly hardening. The debate is only likely to intensify as the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous kicks off conference season. After years of suffering a softening market, many would like to believe times are changing. But the increasing influence of alternative capital could still throw a spanner in the works. In our cover feature, II finds out whether the riches of a hard market will really materialise. With cyber another issue on everyone's lips, check out our special cyber report with insight from Guy Carp, CyberCube, Moody's and more.