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Travelers estimates Sandy net loss at $650 million

NEW YORK (AP) -- Insurer Travelers Cos. estimates that its losses from Superstorm Sandy amount to about $1.14 billion, or $650 million after taxes and reinsurance recoveries.

The company said Wednesday that the final loss amount from Sandy may differ from its estimate due to the nature of the event.

Travelers also announced that it plans to resume stock buybacks. It temporarily suspended repurchases following Sandy while it was assessing its exposure. During the third quarter, the New York-based company repurchased 5.4 million shares for $350 million.

Travelers, along with Allstate Corp. and Chubb Corp., claims a major share of the coverage in areas with heavy damages from Sandy, which hit densely populated areas along the East Coast, including New York City and New Jersey.

Allstate estimated last week that it had $1.08 billion in catastrophe losses during October, mostly the result of damage to homes and autos from Superstorm Sandy.

On Tuesday the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said there's enough money in the government's disaster relief fund for Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts until early spring.

FEMA Director Craig Fugate told the House Transportation Committee that the fund still has about $4.8 billion that can be dispersed. So far, the government has distributed about $2 billion in aid to the 11 states struck by the late October storm. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have appealed for more aid immediately. They want another $83 billion.

Shares of Travelers gained $2.02, or 2.9 percent, to $72.55 in morning trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $54.17 to $74.70.