Despite its name, at its heart, The Hartford Financial Services Group is an insurer with a range of commercial and personal property/casualty insurance and financial products. Its commercial operations include auto, liability, workers' compensation policies, as well as group benefits and specialty commercial coverage for large companies. The Hartford also offers consumer homeowners and auto coverage. It has been the direct auto and home insurance writer for AARP's members for more than 30 years. Through its mutual fund division, the company offers wealth management products and services. The Hartford, in business since 1810, sells products through a network of independent agents and brokerages.
The Hartford's core operations revolve around property/casualty offerings, which are split up into commercial and consumer divisions. Other operating divisions include the group benefits unit and the mutual funds business. Altogether, its divisions serve some 18 million individuals.
The Hartford operates through six reporting segments: Commercial Lines (35% of total revenue), Personal Lines (21%), Group Benefits (17%), Talcott Resolution (6%), Mutual Funds (4%), and Property & Casualty Other Operations. It also has a Corporate segment. Commercial Lines provides workers' compensation, property, auto, marine, livestock, liability, and umbrella coverages, as well as customized products and risk management services including professional liability, bond, surety, and specialty casualty coverage. Personal Lines provides auto, homeowners, and personal umbrella coverage, including its special program designed exclusively for AARP members.
The Group Benefits segment provides employers, associations, and other groups with group life, accident, and disability products, as well as other lines including voluntary benefits and group retiree health.
The firm's Talcott Resolution unit manages remaining runoff annuity and institutional life offerings; group life products continue to be offered through the group benefits division.
Mutual Funds offers investment products and investment management and administrative services such as product design, implementation, and oversight.
In 2014 the company sold Hartford Life Insurance KK, the latest in a series of moves to exit the annuity and most of its life insurance operations.
The Hartford writes business for customers throughout the US from some 100 offices. While the US accounts for the majority of revenues, the company also has operations in international countries.
Sales and Marketing
The Hartford promotes its commercial and group benefits products through a network of thousands of agents and brokers, as well as third-party administrators and trade associations. It markets personal lines through a number of channels, including direct-to-consumer campaigns as well as independent agents. The company's mutual funds team sells through broker-dealer organizations, independent financial advisors, defined contribution plans, bank trust groups, and other channels.
The Hartford's revenues have fluctuated over the past five years. In 2015 revenue declined 1% to $18.4 billion as investment earnings fell.
Restructuring efforts helped the company return to profitability in 2010, but the company fell back in the red in 2012 due to debt restructuring, payoffs, and goodwill impairments on divested assets. Net income has been on the rise since and, in 2015, it rose 111% to $1.7 billion. Income from discontinued operations and a decline in operating costs helped the company's bottom line that year.
Cash flow from operations has also been up and down. In 2015 it increased 46% to $2.8 billion due to the higher net income and other factors.
Following the divestiture of most of its life and annuity operations, The Hartford is focused on growth of its property/casualty, mutual fund, and group benefits operations. In 2013 it announced plans to spend more than $1.5 billion through 2016 to modernize its systems to deliver new products faster and gets its infrastructure up to speed for the digital world.
The company sold operations through a number of transactions completed between 2012 and 2014 due to shareholder pressure. In 2014 it sold Hartford Life Insurance KK to ORIX Life Insurance for $963 million. Other divestitures or closures included Woodbury Financial Services, the firm's retirement plans and individual life businesses, individual annuity operations, and its UK variable annuity marketing and distribution operations (which took The Hartford out of that country completely).
The company has been focused on growth in its commercial markets and consumer markets segments. The Hartford's consumer markets division seeks marketing alliances, such as its exclusive arrangement to provide auto and homeowners polices to members of AARP. Pleased with the results of working with AARP, The Hartford has pulled back on mass marketing and is targeting other affinity groups, striking arrangements with the American Kennel Club, the Sierra Club, and the National Wildlife Federation. Meanwhile, the commercial division aims to grow by offering diversified products and services, especially to small and midsized businesses.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2016, The Hartford bought Maxum Specialty Insurance Group for $168 million. Maxum Indemnity is an authorized excess and surplus lines provider in 49 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands; Maxum Casualty Insurance is active throughout the US.