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Insurance Industry Awaits Next Move After The Hartford Spurns Chubb

Onasill ~ Bill
Creative Commons

With The Hartford’s rejection of a takeover offer from Chubb comes speculation about the next move in a potential insurance industry consolidation that could get personal for Connecticut. 

Most analysts believe the Swiss giant -- with its U.S. headquarters in New Jersey -- will come back with an improved bid for the Connecticut insurer.

What’s not clear is whether any public negotiation could become a hostile takeover bid. Or whether other large international insurers might also see The Hartford as an attractive target and start a bidding war.

“Chubb’s unsolicited bid brings attention to The Hartford by other potential buyers,” Quinnipiac professor Fred McKinney told Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered. “I don’t think The Hartford, or the stakeholders in The Hartford -- the city, the state, the employees -- are out of the woods yet.”

CEO Chris Swift has been silent so far on the drama. But he recently indicated he sees the company’s future as independent. Speaking at a virtual forum held by Credit Suisse in February, he praised The Hartford’s performance during the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“My overall feeling that I would want investors to have is I feel very optimistic as we head into 2021,” he said, “and our ability to perform, create value for shareholders and, ultimately, remain a top competitor in an environment where there’s a lot of good competitors out there. But we’re looking forward to competing every day for hearts and minds of agents, brokers and customers.” 

Gov. Ned Lamont did give his first comments on the situation Tuesday, saying he expects the rejection of the Chubb offer to be “the first step in a long dance.”

He added, unsurprisingly, that he feels strongly about The Hartford staying put in Connecticut’s capital city. After the loss of United Technologies’ Farmington headquarters, as that company merged to become Massachusetts-based Raytheon Technologies, he won’t be eager to lose another marquee name from the state’s corporate roster.

The Hartford has been headquartered in its namesake city since 1810, and it has a long history of civic involvement with its host community. In 2018, in one of its most high-profile endeavors, the company committed, along with Travelers and Aetna, to give $50 million over five years to support Hartford’s efforts to stabilize its finances.

The Hartford employs some 6,000 people in Connecticut.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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