Hartford Is 'Finalizing Details' of TARP Investment (Update1)

By Andrew Frye
Bloomberg News
May 27, 2009

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., the Connecticut-based life and property-casualty insurer, is "finalizing details" in its talks with the U.S. about a Treasury capital injection.

"Similar investments have been completed in about 30 days" for other companies, Chief Executive Officer Ramani Ayer said today at the insurer's annual meeting in Hartford.

Hartford was among six life insurers to win preliminary approval this month for a U.S. capital injection and is working to reach a deal as other carriers back away. Offers from the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program, which allocated as much $3.4 billion to Hartford, were rejected by Allstate Corp. and Ameriprise Financial Inc.

"TARP capital is very attractive capital in markets that still remain extremely volatile and uncertain," Ayer said in a telephone interview after the meeting. "I think it's a smart thing for management to do, to consider TARP funds."

Hartford's capital was depleted by losses on bonds tied to money-losing financial firms and costs to prop up equity-linked retirement products called variable annuities. The insurer has been unprofitable for three straight quarters.

Hartford has dropped 79 percent in the past 12 months, the worst performance in the 24-company KBW Insurance Index. The insurer slipped 7 cents to $14.72 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange Composite trading.

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