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Press release from Business Wire

Travelers Institute and Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce Co-Host Forum with Minnesota's Top Small Business Leaders

<p class='bwalignc'> <i><b>“Small Business – Big Opportunity” Panel Aims to Raise Awareness of and Advocate for Economic Opportunity</b></i> </p>

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Travelers Institute and Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce Co-Host Forum with Minnesota's Top Small Business Leaders14:30 EDT Thursday, March 22, 2012 SAINT PAUL, Minn. (Business Wire) -- The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), and the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce (SPACC) today convened regional leaders from the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and local small business lenders to address economic opportunity for the state's small businesses, which comprise 98 percent of Minnesota's employers, according to the SBA. “As one of the nation's largest insurers of small businesses, we are committed to helping small business owners find solutions to daily challenges,” said Joan Woodward, Travelers Executive Vice President of Public Policy and President of the Travelers Institute. “We recognize the importance of entrepreneurship as a vital part of economic opportunity, and we are dedicated to providing small business owners with resources and tools to help them succeed.” Matt Kramer, President of SPACC, echoed Woodward: “Our primary goal is to strengthen our community by advocating for a vibrant business climate. We actively engage with state and local elected officials to influence issues that affect small businesses, enhance economic development, and improve the business climate to create jobs and stimulate the Minnesota economy. We are proud to partner with the Travelers Institute on their ‘Small Business – Big Opportunity' series, which aligns perfectly with our mission.” Gary Stern, former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota, made opening remarks, and Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman made closing remarks. Woodward moderated the panel, which featured Minnesota-based small business and economic leaders, including: Rick Beeson, President, Park Midway Bank Yvonne Cheung Ho, President, Metropolitan Economic Development Association Henry Sanders, Regional Advocate, U.S. Small Business Administration Salah Tarraf, President, Tarraf Construction At the event, panelists identified barriers to funding, while offering tips for obtaining small business loans. In addition, panelists touched on other business challenges, including risk management, business continuity planning, regulatory requirements, and other issues that impact small business growth and job creation. The Saint Paul symposium is the sixth small business forum the Travelers Institute has held since 2011, following events in Morristown, N.J., Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas. In addition, the Travelers Institute has hosted events in conjunction with the Latino Coalition, Small Business California, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and other business advocacy groups. The company also released a white paper, “Small Business – Big Opportunity,” outlining its principles for advocacy. About the Travelers InstituteThe Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc., engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and the financial services industry. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers' senior management and the technical expertise of many of Travelers' underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information and analysis to public policy makers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit www.travelers.com. About the Saint Paul Area Chamber of CommerceThe Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce (SPACC) is a vital, dynamic force serving the business community through the collective strength of its members. For more than 140 years, the Chamber has provided vibrant programs, powerful advocacy and results that foster member growth. With nearly 1,200 members, the SPACC is the largest local chamber in Minnesota. TravelersAshley Maagero, 860-277-2954amaagero@travelers.comorSaint Paul Chamber of CommerceKelsey Siqveland, 651-265-2791Kelsey@saintpaulchamber.com