Hartford Posts Loss, Halts Sales In Japan, UK

Dan Wilchins
April 30, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hartford Financial Services Group Inc, (HIG.N), the fourth largest U.S. insurer, posted a first-quarter net loss on Thursday, and said it was suspending selling new policies in Japan and the United Kingdom.

The nearly 200-year old life and property insurer posted a first quarter loss of $1.2 billion, or $3.77 a share, compared with earnings of $145 million, or 46 cents a share in the same quarter last year.

The stock fell about 14 percent in after-hours trade to $9.87, down from a close of $11.47 during the regular session on the New York Stock Exchange.

Hartford, a large variable annuity seller, has been badly battered by investment losses and higher costs from guarantees on these retirement products, which are linked to stock market performance.

The life insurer's shares have fallen more than 85 percent since the beginning of 2008.

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