Connecticut Regulator Allows Hartford to Use Nearly $1 Billion for Statutory Surplus

By Alyn Ackermann
A. M. Best
February 12, 2009

HARTFORD, Conn., Feb 12, 2009 (A. M. Best via COMTEX) --  The Connecticut Department of Insurance has permitted Hartford Financial Services Group to use nearly $1 billion for statutory capital surplus requirements, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company has received approval from the Connecticut Insurance Department regarding the use of two permitted practices in its statutory financial statements and those of its Connecticut-domiciled life insurance subsidiaries as of Dec. 31, 2008, the company said in the 2008 annual report it filed with the SEC.

The company said the approvals allowed the company to increase the estimated statutory surplus for its life insurance companies by $987 million as of Dec. 31.

The decisions will provide the Hartford with added financial flexibility while ensuring that the company is appropriately capitalized for its customer commitments during this challenging economic period," the company said in a statement.

Efforts to obtain comment from Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas R. Sullivan were not immediately successful.

One approval eases statutory reserving requirements for variable annuities under National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Actuarial Guideline 39, which ensures carriers can support "living benefits" such as guaranteed income provisions, and which is due to be replaced the end of the year (BestWire, Nov. 3, 2008).

The second request deals with the admissibility of deferred tax assets, increasing the realization period for deferred tax assets from one year to three years and increasing the asset recognition limit from 10% to 15% of adjusted statutory capital and surplus.

Hartford (NYSE: HIG) this month reported a $2.75 billion loss for 2008, with investment losses particularly hurting its life operations (BestWire, Feb. 6, 2009).

Members of the Hartford Insurance Group currently have a Best's Financial Strength Rating of A+ (Superior).

Shares of Hartford Financial Services were $12.14 in afternoon trading on Feb. 12, down 10.9% from the previous close.

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