July 16 (Reuters) - Insurer Hartford Financial on Monday said it expects up to $300 million in pretax losses due to natural disasters in the second quarter, a figure down sharply from a year earlier.
The Hartford also said it would raise asbestos reserves, though at a much lower rate than last year.
The company, which is in the middle of a restructuring to focus on its property insurance business, said its pretax disaster loss was $280 million to $300 million, against $447 million a year earlier.
Last year's second quarter was one of the worst in industry history due to record-breaking tornadoes in the U.S. South. This year was somewhat milder, marked mostly by major hailstorms across the United States.
Besides the disaster losses, The Hartford also said it would increase reserves by up to $55 million pretax, mostly to increase asbestos reserves. A year ago it took a $290 million provision for the same reason.