In the early 2000s, high rates of asbestos claims drained TRV's claims reserves. However, asbestos-related claims have slowed significantly for the company since 2005, which helps insulate the company's reserves for other claims, particularly amidst the tumultuous economic times.
The 2008 economic crisis seriously weakened TRV's investment portfolio that it uses as a reserve for future claims payments. Additionally, Travelers' earnings from its investments plummeted 26% in 2008 because of the slumping world economies. However, with the end of the recession in sight, the worst may be over for TRV and its weathered portfolios. As a result, expect TRV's earnings from its net investments to rebound in the second half of 2009.