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Travelers Latest Insurer to Add to Asbestos Reserves

Posted on 20 Oct 2011

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New York insurer Travelers Cos. is the latest large insurance company to say the asbestos problem, which the industry was supposed to have put behind it long ago, has not gone away and may be getting worse, Reuters reports.

Travelers put 25 percent more into its asbestos claim reserves this year than it did last year, the company said on Wednesday, citing more litigation and more severe payouts because of those lawsuits.

"While the Company believes that over the past several years there has been a reduction in the volatility associated with the Company's overall asbestos exposure, there nonetheless remains a high degree of uncertainty with respect to future exposure from asbestos claims," it said in its quarterly report to securities regulators.

Travelers follows both AIG and Hartford Financial , which surprised investors with substantial reserve increases earlier this year, amid increased losses and a litigation experience similar to Travelers.

In addition to the reserve increases, MetLife said in August it saw asbestos-related claims rise 11 percent in the first half of the year after dropping steadily from 2003 through 2010.