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Travelers settles common law asbestos suits

Asbestos settlements continue apace – this time with the news that mega mergees St. Paul Travelers had agreed a $90mn sum to settle common law asbestos-related suits.

In a 24 May press release the company said the sum included a $70mn float for asbestos claims and a $20mn payout on for legal fees.

It added that, if it received court approval, the settlement would bar future direct actions against Travelers and that it would fund the settlement from its unallocated asbestos reserves. This means it does not expect to take an earnings charge because of the settlement.

Jay S Fishman, St. Paul Travelers CEO, commented. "I am pleased with this settlement and the substantial reduction we have achieved in our exposure to asbestos-related claims over the past year. As with our settlement of the statutory-based direct actions, this settlement is a product of our efforts to seek favourable resolution of asbestos-related litigation."

The deal is in addition to earlier asbestos-related settlements prior to the merger of St. Paul and Travelers in April 2004.

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