Hart­ford ex­it­ing an­nu­ity busi­ness, re­fo­cus­ing ef­forts

The Washington Times Daily - - Business -

HART­FORD | Hart­ford Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Group Inc. is ex­it­ing the an­nu­ity busi­ness so it can fo­cus on its prop­erty and ca­su­alty in­sur­ance, group ben­e­fits and mu­tual funds.

The com­pany said that it also is look­ing to sell or pur­sue other op­tions for its in­di­vid­ual life and re­tire­ment plan seg­ments and bro­kerdealer Wood­bury Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices. It will con­tinue to seek new busi­ness in them in the mean­time.

Christopher Swift, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, said in a state­ment that the in­di­vid­ual life, Wood­bury Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices and re­tire­ment plans “will be bet­ter po­si­tioned for suc­cess as part of other or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

Credit Suisse’s Thomas Gal­lagher said in a client note that Hart­ford could get be­tween $2 bil­lion and $3 bil­lion by sell­ing the busi­nesses.

Hart­ford’s an­nounce­ment comes a lit­tle over a month af­ter hedge-fund man­ager John Paul­son urged the com­pany to spin off its prop­erty and ca­su­alty in­sur­ance busi­ness, say­ing that it could boost Hart­ford’s value to share­hold­ers by 40 per­cent to 60 per­cent. He added that break­ing up the com­pany would al­low man­age­ment of each new com­pany to fo­cus on what it does best while mak­ing each new com­pany more stream­lined.

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