Hartford Ups Reserve, Exits Re The Hartford Financial Services Group said last week it will exit its volatile property-casualty reinsurance business. The company is also biting the bullet with a massive $2.6 billion strengthening of asbestos reserves.

The Hartford, Conn.-based company said it will post a $1.7 billion charge to first-quarter earnings for the reserve hit.

The Hartford is also cutting 1,500 positions–850 workers will lose their jobs by the end of next month and 650 vacant positions will also be eliminated. The insurer is expecting this cost-lowering effort to save some $50 million this year and $130 million in 2004.

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