The Hartford Financial Services Group is alleged to be seeking a buyer for its property casualty business, as it continues to struggle in the financial downturn.
The Hartford won’t comment on the reports, originated by Bloomberg and citing unnamed sources. The news service says the profitable property casualty division has been offered to rivals Travelers and Ace, but it’s not known how advanced the talks are. Any potential merger with Travelers could be ominous for jobs in Hartford where both lines are based. Peter Kochenburger is director of the insurance law center at UConn’s School of Law.
"Hartford and Travelers are two of the largest property casualty insurance companies in the country, especially in the commercial lines areas, and they both have their home offices here. So certainly there would be duplication among a lot of administrative jobs, and I assume we could expect layoffs."
The Hartford has suffered drastic investment losses in its life insurance business, and has seen its debt rating downgraded several times. In October last year German insurer Allianz invested $2.5b to prop up The Hartford, but even that infusion of cash has failed to stabilize the company. Last month The Hartford was in talks to sell part of its life operations to Sun Life of Canada, but no deal resulted. The Hartford has seen its shares fall some 40% already this year.