The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, Conn., hasreported second-quarter net income of $602 million, a 39 percentincrease over the $433 million reported for the period lastyear.

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The combined ratio decreased to 87 from 91.4 last year while thecatastrophe ratio declined to 1.7 from 2.4.

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Personal lines saw earned premium growth of 6 percent to $914million up from $861 million during the period last year.

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The Hartford also saw gains in specialty commercial as thedivision increased 6 percent in written premiums to $500 million.The growth in the division was spurred on by a 31 percent growth incasualty premiums from last year to $239 million.

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The growth in casualty premiums helped to offset the 39 percentdecline in property premiums, which amounted to $75 million in thesecond quarter.

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Written premiums for business insurance grew 10 percent to $1.2billion in the second quarter compared to the same period lastyear.

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Ramani Ayer, chairman and chief executive officer of TheHartford, said that "pricing among lines [of business] issoftening; however, by and large, competitors are still behavingrationally."

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Overall, net written premiums rose 7 percent from last year to$2.7 billion. "New business, particularly in targeted industrysectors, helped to offset a decline in written pricing," Mr. Ayernoted.

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In response to continued growth in small markets along withincreased competition, Mr. Ayer said that The Hartford "has addedmore than 200 new agencies selling small commercial[insurance]."

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