HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania granted the Pennsylvania Insurance Department's request to put Reliance Insurance Co. into rehabilitation.

The order took effect Tuesday and puts Reliance under the statutory control of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. In the coming months the department will determine whether to proceed with rehabilitation or liquidate the unit.

The states with the largest number of affected policyholders include California, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Texas.

Reliance is licensed to write coverage in all 50 states. It stopped writing virtually all new or renewal business in June 2000.

The company's insurance business consists of workers' compensation, commercial and personal auto, and commercial liability coverage. Its direct written premiums for 1999 were $1.5 billion.

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