Hartford Financial Posts $1.2 Billion First-Quarter Loss

  • May 4, 2009
The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. posted a $1.2 billion first-quarter loss on April 30. For the first three months of the year, the insurance and financial services company posted a loss of $3.77 per share, compared with net income of $145 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier. The latest quarter includes a charge of $1.5 billion, or $4.66 per share, as equity market declines forced The Hartford to lower estimates of future life insurance gross profits. Adjusted losses totaled $3.66 per share for the period, widely missing the average loss estimate of $3.05 per share forecast by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

The insurer's problems stem from its exposure to the U.S. variable annuities market. It has been battered by investment losses and higher costs from guarantees on these retirement products, which are linked to stock market performance. Hartford provides financial services to more than 7 million customers and employs 30,000 staff.

The Hartford said it is suspending sales of annuities in Japan and the U.K. and halting plans to sell the products in Germany in a move to cut costs. The company said it will raise prices on the lifetime income rider in its U.S. variable annuity business and will launch a new variable annuity product in the third quarter. The Hartford also said it is pursuing options for its institutional markets business.--Tanya Irwin



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