February 9, 2018

The Hartford's 4Q profit loss widens

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
The Hartford's headquarters.

Hartford property and casualty insurer The Hartford said late Thursday that its fourth quarter profits fell, mainly due to a $3 billion loss related to the December sale of its run-off life and annuity business.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the insurer's net loss increased to $3.7 billion compared with a net loss of $81 million in the year-ago period. The Hartford's profits also took a short-term hit from the federal tax overhaul, although its bullish about the reforms long term, the company said.

For the entire year, the company reported a net loss of $3 billion compared to net income of $896 million in the year-ago period.

Core earnings were flat, at approximately $293 million in the quarter compared to $294 million in the year-ago period. For the full year, core earnings rose to $1 billion compared to $912 million in 2016.

The insurer sold its run-off life and annuity business, Talcott Resolution, for $2 billion to a group of investors. About 400 Hartford employees will become employees of the new company and will be located at offices currently owned or leased by The Hartford in Windsor and Woodbury, Minn.

"Although we posted a net loss for the year due to our strategic actions and the impact of U.S. corporate tax reform, full year core earnings per diluted share were up 19 percent," said the Hartford's Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift.

Swift said the insurer overall recorded a strong year, aided by the acquisition of Aetna's U.S. group life and disability business. Profitability in personal auto improved and the insurer had "excellent results" from group benefits and mutual funds and very good investment returns, he said.

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