TRAVELERS ADDS RESERVES FOR ASBESTOS LITIGATION

TRAVELERS ADDS RESERVES FOR ASBESTOS LITIGATION

Travelers Insurance Co. said Wednesday that it is adding $325 million to its property-casualty reserves to pay for asbestos and other environmental claims and litigation.

As a result, the insurer expects to report a third-quarter, after-tax charge of $211 million, or $1.44 a common share in the quarter.Travelers will report third-quarter results Monday. Without the after-tax charge, operating results will show an improvement, the company said.

Primerica Corp. of New York, which owns 27 percent of Travelers, said the loss will have no impact on Primerica's third-quarter or 12-month results. Primerica has an agreement to merge the two companies by the end of the year and call by the more familiar name of Travelers.

The addition of $325 million will raise the level of reserves for asbestos and environmental litigation, not including reinsurance, to $670 million as of the end of the third quarter, a Travelers spokesman said.

The company said the insurance industry this year has seen a growth in claims brought by outside workers who allege exposure to asbestos while working on site at various companies.

Travelers has also experienced a growth in environmental claims, primarily

from smaller companies with lower coverage limits, the spokesman said. In addition, it has been named as a defendant in coverage cases brought by other insurers against their policyholders and the policyholders' other carriers.

Travelers said the reserving for losses in the environmental and asbestos area is subject to changing legal interpretations that expand theories of liability and coverage. The company said it regularly reviews its reserving practices.