The mortgage-insurance company responsible for protecting many investors in homes owned by Equity Programs Investment Corp. does not have enough money to pay off all its potential claims at the troubled real estate syndication unit, lawyers involved in the case revealed this week.

TMIC, a subsidiary of the Los Angeles-based Ticor, has told California regulators that it does not have the resources to contribute to a proposed plan of reorganization for the bankrupt real estate partnerships established by EPIC, an affiliate of Community Savings & Loan of Bethesda.

The participation of TMIC, which insured more than 40 percent of EPIC's property, is considered critical to the successful reorganization of the partnerships, which have defaulted on more than $1 billion in mortgages.

A plan submitted last month to bankruptcy court in Alexandria calls for TMIC and other companies that insured EPIC mortgages to make cash advances so that the partnerships can resume payments on these instruments. If TMIC can not make these payments, however, lawyers say the whole plan could fall apart.

The Wall Street securities firm of Salomon Bros. has been seeking to raise additional capital for the Ticor firm, but lawyers trying to prop up the EPIC operations said they couldn't predict whether this effort will be successful.

Nonetheless, they said they would proceed with their efforts to prepare a rescue plan acceptable to creditors, investors, and other parties involved with the massive EPIC bankruptcy.

In a statement prepared this week, TMIC confirmed that it is trying to raise the necessary capital to participate in this plan. Although it said a "firm commitment" has not yet been obtained, it said "it had reason to believe that the necessary capital would be made available in sufficient time to permit its participation in the plan.

A spokeswoman for TMIC declined to elaborate on the statement, but lawyers working on the plan said the terms for raising capital may include adjusting the terms of the existing debt of both Ticor and Ticor's parent, New TC Holding Co.

Ticor was "taken private" -- the public stockholders were bought out -- by senior management in 1984, in a deal that required borrowing $100 million from a consortium of banks led by Manufacturers Hanover.

The financial difficulties of the mortgage-insurance unit have been known since last fall, but the disclosure that it cannot currently participate in the reorganization plan was first made in papers filed this week in federal bankruptcy court in Alexandria by proponents of the plan.

TMIC has said that it stands to lose more than $160 million as a result of EPIC mortgages and mortgage securities it insured, although the number could be reduced as a result of the workout plan. As of Dec. 31, TMIC reported that it had a statutory contingency reserve of $48.6 million and a policyholders' surplus of $104.9 million, according to the papers filed this week. These funds could presumably be used to pay off insurance claims.