New York — Travelers Cos. CEO Jay Fishman said companies may be stuck with insurance businesses they can’t sell as the global credit crunch erodes the capital of potential buyers, reports

The number of insurance businesses for sale far exceeds demand in the current market, Fishman said in an interview yesterday. “There are some that might not be sold,” he said.

Financial firms in the U.S. and Europe have put insurers on the market that may be valued at more than $70 billion.

American International Group Inc. (AIG), the only insurer that sells more coverage to U.S. companies than Travelers, plans to unload assets after it required a $150 billion commitment from the government to prevent its collapse.

Detroit-based GMAC LLC and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) in Edinburgh also put profitable insurance units up for sale as they struggle with losses from mortgage-related investments. Insurers disclosed more than $140 billion of asset writedowns and unrealized losses since the beginning of last year, according to Bloomberg data.

AIG is selling more than 10 insurance units worth a combined $49 billion, according to Gary Ransom, an analyst at Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller. That’s more than twice the value of acquisitions announced industrywide in the first eight months of the year by carriers including Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group Inc., Japan’s Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. and Australia’s QBE Insurance Group Ltd.

Citigroup Inc. and OneBeacon Insurance Group Ltd. have also solicited bids on underwriting units this year, according to people familiar with the auctions, and neither announced a deal. RBS was seeking more than 6 billion pounds ($9.2 billion), according to two people familiar with the matter.


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