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Hartford Selling Most of Their Life Insurance Division

The Hartford Financial Services Group made a surprising decision as they announce that they are selling most of their life insurance business.  The NY Times article by Michael J. De La Merced reports that this comes after pressure from one of their biggest shareholders, the hedge fund Paulson & Company.  Hartford also intends on slowing down their annuity business as well as they focus more on its core operations in property and casualty, group benefits and mutual funds.

Liam McGhee, the insurer's chairman and chief executive, believes the added focus will lead to higher returns on equity over time.  It will also reduce sensitivity to markets and increase financial flexibility.  These actions will be changing the face of their portfolio, but should improve overall returns for the shareholders.  This is the ultimate goal of selling off much of the Hartford Life Insurance business.

Paulson & Company still have their concerns despite this announcement from Hartford.  The hedge fund says they appreciate the efforts from Hartford, but the actions do not fully address the problems facing the company and their property & casualty business.  Time will tell if Hartford's move will affect the bottom line, but until then, the company works hard to meet the expectations of their shareholders, especially their big players, Paulson & Company.

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