Fitch Downgrades Hartford's Hybrid Debt Following Receipt of TARP Funds

Source: Fitch Ratings
Business Wire
June 29, 2009


CHICAGO -- Fitch Ratings has downgraded and removed from Rating Watch Negative the following Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (HFSG) ratings:

--$500 million 8.125% junior subordinated debentures due 2068 to 'BB' from 'BB+';

--$1.75 billion 10% junior subordinated debentures due 2068 to 'BB' from 'BB+'.

Fitch has also assigned a 'BB' rating to HFSG's senior perpetual preferred stock issued under the U.S. Treasury's Capital Purchase Program (CPP). The Rating Outlook is Negative. The Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and senior debt ratings of HFSG and the Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) ratings of HFSG's primary life and property/casualty insurance subsidiaries remain unchanged with a Negative Rating Outlook. (A full list of ratings follows at the end of this release.)

The rating action follows HFSG's announcement that it has closed on its definitive investment agreement to participate in the CPP for $3.4 billion in perpetual preferred stock. Overall, Fitch views the additional capital received as positive to the company in that it enhances near-term financial flexibility in a period of challenging capital markets access, and could ultimately help to stabilize ratings. However, the downgrade of HFSG's hybrid securities reflects Fitch's belief that the receipt of government support and the accompanying tighter debt service requirements could increase risk of deferral for hybrid securities, particularly given the sizable amount of CPP funds relative to the existing capital structure.

The Negative Rating Outlook continues to reflect HFSG's exposure to the volatile credit and investment market conditions, particularly in its variable annuity business and asset portfolio. Also, the added debt service on the CPP funds increases HFSG's cash needs and reduces holding company interest coverage margins, although the company has also substantially reduced its quarterly common share dividend by 90% to conserve cash, which more than offsets the funding needs. If the company suffers additional significant losses, the ratings could be lowered. However, if the company is able to improve its earnings and generate internal capital growth, the Outlook could return to Stable.

The Negative Outlook also reflects Fitch's concerns about the potential impact to HFSG's business position, franchise value and management team as a result of recent financial stress and its need to participate in CPP, particularly given the federal government restrictions imposed on companies. Fitch anticipates that the company will focus in the near-term on mitigating any such disruptions so as to preserve the long-term success of the business. Any actual impact of these changes will be monitored closely in Fitch's rating analysis going forward.

Fitch has downgraded and removed from Rating Watch Negative the following ratings:

Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

--$500 million 8.125% junior subordinated debentures due 2068 to 'BB' from 'BB+';

--$1.75 billion 10% junior subordinated debentures due 2068 to 'BB' from 'BB+'.

The Rating Outlook is Negative.

Fitch assigns the following rating:

Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

--$3.4 billion senior perpetual preferred stock 'BB'.

The Rating Outlook is Negative.

The following ratings remain unchanged by Fitch with a Negative Rating Outlook:

Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

--Long-Term IDR 'BBB';

--$275 million 7.9% notes due 2010 'BBB-';

--$400 million 5.25% notes due 2011 'BBB-';

--$319 million 4.625% notes due 2013 'BBB-';

--$199 million 4.75% notes due 2014 'BBB-';

--$200 million 7.3% notes due 2015 'BBB-';

--$300 million 5.5% notes due 2016 'BBB-';

--$499 million 5.375% notes due 2017 'BBB-';

--$500 million 6.3% notes due 2018 'BBB-';

--$499 million 6% notes due 2019 'BBB-';

--$298 million 5.95% notes due 2036 'BBB-';

--$323 million 6.1% notes due 2041 'BBB-';

--Short-term IDR 'F2';

--Commercial paper 'F2'.

Hartford Life, Inc.

--Long-term IDR 'BBB';

--$147 million 7.65% notes due 2027 'BBB-';

--$92 million 7.375% notes due 2031 'BBB-';

--Short-term IDR 'F2'.

Hartford Life Global Funding

--Secured notes program 'A-'.

Hartford Life Institutional Funding

--Secured notes program 'A-'.

Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company

--IFS 'A-'.

Hartford Life Insurance Company

--IFS 'A-';

--Medium-term note program 'BBB+'.

Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company

--IFS 'A-'.

Members of the Hartford Fire Insurance Intercompany Pool:

Hartford Fire Insurance Company

Nutmeg Insurance Company

Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company

Hartford Casualty Insurance Company

Twin City Fire Insurance Company

Pacific Insurance Company, Limited

Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford

Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd.

Hartford Insurance Company of Illinois

Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest

Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company

Hartford Insurance Company of the Southeast

Hartford Lloyd's Insurance Company

Trumbull Insurance Company

--IFS 'A+'.

Fitch's rating definitions and the terms of use of such ratings are available on the agency's public site, www.fitchratings.com. Published ratings, criteria and methodologies are available from this site, at all times. Fitch's code of conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, affiliate firewall, compliance and other relevant policies and procedures are also available from the 'Code of Conduct' section of this site.

Fitch Ratings:
Brian C. Schneider, CPA, CPCU, +1-312-606-2321 (Chicago)
R. Andrew Davidson, CFA, +1-312-368-3144 (Chicago)
Gregory W. Dickerson, +1-212-908-0220 (New York)
Media Relations
Brian Bertsch, +1-212-908-0549 (Chicago)
brian.bertsch@fitchratings.com

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