"Insurers take cover" (Finance, Mar. 17) says that many insurers, "such as France's AXA, have seen their reserves shrink by two-thirds or more in just two years." It's not clear which reserves you refer to. AXA's technical reserves on Dec. 31, 2002, represented 207% of net premiums, up from 201% on Dec. 31, 2001. Technical reserves are the most important reserves insurers hold: They represent money set aside to cover future claims and are a main source of profit that generates income. The reserves your correspondent was referring to were unrealized capital gains, which decreased from 7.2 billion euros at the end of 2000 to 2.2 billion euros at the end of last year, because of the financial markets' slump.