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Entries in Hartford (6)

Monday
Nov162009

Int. Insurance Links 16.11.09 

Aviva remains upbeat despite 25% drop in UK sales

A loss of confidence in the economy among older customers helped knock UK sales at life assurer Aviva by 25%, according to the company's third-quarter management statement.

Customers close to retirement delayed purchasing annuities, while pension savers either reduced or stopped their monthly payments, hitting the company's core pensions and annuity businesses over the first three months of the year.

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RBS outlines assets insured by taxpayer

Royal Bank of Scotland has used up nearly half of the £60bn buffer available before it is able to hand 90% of its losses on toxic assets to the taxpayer through the asset protection scheme. Stephen Hester, chief executive of the bank, insisted today that RBS should not need to call upon the insurance for its £282bn of troubled assets through the APS as its impairment charge was levelling off.

The bank has used £27bn of the buffer and today published information about the assets being insured by taxpayer. Some £120bn are in the non-core division created by Hester to hold businesses being sold, while £75bn are contained within the investment bank. In terms of the type of loans, just £15bn are residential mortgages while £51bn are loans connected to commercial property.

RBS admits EU sale plan

Royal Bank of Scotland has admitted for the first time that the European Union is forcing it to sell off more assets than it planned.

RBS told the City this morning that it hopes to have concluded a deal with the EU over its state aid support by the end of this week. The price of this deal, it warned, is that it will have to sell parts of its operations which it hoped to hang on to after it was restructured.

 

 

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Flood victims suffer as insurance costs rise

Flood victims continue to face spiralling costs for home insurance as excesses for flood cover rise to levels that are making their properties virtually impossible to sell.

Many have invested thousands to protect their homes from flooding, but these efforts are rarely rewarded by insurers.

"People are coming to us with huge premiums and flood excesses of up to £30,000, which is as good as having no insurance at all and makes their property virtually worthless," says Mary Dhonau, chief executive of the National Flood Forum, a charity that advises flood victims. "The problem has got steadily worse over the past year and we are now being overwhelmed by calls from homeowners who have spent a huge amount protecting their property, but are still being charged ridiculous premiums or refused cover altogether."

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UNIQA To Increase Stake In Albanian Insurance Company To 68.7%

Austria-based UNIQA Group is all set to acquire a further 23% of the share capital in Albanian insurance company, Sigal. The move would increase its share in Sigal and its subsidiaries in Kosovo and Macedonia, to around 68.7%.

The relevant agreements with the former shareholders were signed on November 11, 2009. However, the 13% holding of Albanian American Enterprise Fund (AAEF) in Sigal will remain unchanged. Additionally, UNIQA also has finalised options to purchase the remaining shares over the next few years.

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Willis Names New CEO For Dutch Business

Willis Europe, a division of Willis Group Holdings, has appointed Niek Post as CEO of its Dutch operations, effective immediately. Based in Amsterdam, Mr. Post will report to Adam Garrard, CEO of Willis Continental Europe.

Mr. Post, who has more than 25 years of experience in the Dutch insurance market, joins Willis from Aon Netherlands where he was most recently responsible for strategic global client relationships, with a particular focus on financial institutions.

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The Hartford Enhances Cyber Liability Policy (new product?)

The Hartford Financial Services Group (The Hartford) has introduced its enhanced flagship cyber liability policy to address emerging online reputation and privacy exposures. Drew Bartkiewicz, vice president of cyber and new media risk at The Hartford, said: “We’re seeing widespread adoption of social media technologies among businesses in virtually every industry. At the same time, data is becoming increasingly regulated, which is creating new exposures, particularly in the areas of data privacy and reputational risk.”

With CyberChoice 2.09, The Hartford now offers broader coverage for data privacy breaches and social media liability exposures, such as online defamation, advertising, libel and slander, by employees or casual users of a company’s web site.

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AAA NCNU Selects Exigen Insurance Solutions

Exigen Insurance Solutions, a provider of insurance core systems, has announced that AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah has selected Exigen Insurance Solutions' underwriting, policy administration and billing solutions for auto, homeowners and all other personal lines of business for its operations spanning 18 states.

The Exigen Suite applications PolicyCore and BillingCore will allow AAA NCNU to rapidly expand and enhance its insurance product offerings and customer service to many members from a technology platform that supports long-term business growth.

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Assurance Teams Up With RiskProNet International

Assurance Limited, a full-service insurance agency in Las Vegas, has joined RiskProNet International, a network of 24 independent insurance brokers in North America. Reportedly, RiskProNet members in 2008 had combined revenues in excess of $688 million and over $6.5 billion in written premium.

Each partner is an equal owner in the association, which gives its members the geographic diversity and shared knowledge base to serve clients with national, international or specialised exposures to risk. Through its alliances with brokers around the world, RiskProNet members can serve clients globally.

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Cooper Gay Purchases Reinsurance Broker

Cooper Gay Holdings, an independent insurance and reinsurance broker, has acquired majority of the shareholding in Reinsurance.com.ar, a Florida-based specialist reinsurance broker. Reinsurance.com focuses on treaty and facultative reinsurance solutions, primarily for the Argentine market. The company was set up in 2006 by Guillermo Pastore.

Mr Pastore has over 20 years’ experience in the Latin American reinsurance sector and was formerly COO of EW Blanch and Benfield Greig in Argentina. Mr Pastore will continue as CEO and will drive expansion in support of Cooper Gay’s strategy for the region.

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Willis Group To Expand Its Commercial Network Internationally

Willis Group Holdings, an insurance broker, has planed to expand its Willis Commercial Network business model for serving independent brokers from its base in the UK to countries around the world. The company has appointed Mark Radburn as CEO of Willis Networks International to oversee the expansion. Mr Radburn, will report to Sarah Turvill, CEO, Willis International.

Mr Radburn joined Willis from JLT in 1996 as Sales & Marketing Director for the Willis UK & Ireland central region. He was appointed as managing director in 2002.

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Farmers Life Appoints New President, CEO

Farmers Group's CEO, Robert Woudstra, and Zurich Financial Services' CEO of Global Life Americas, Kevin Hogan have announced the appointment of Thomas White as president and CEO of Farmers Life, and executive vice president of Farmers Group. Mr White succeeds Paul Patsis, who recently assumed the role of president of market management and executive vice president of Farmers Group.

Mr. White joins Farmers from AIG in Asia, where he was president and CEO of AIA Thailand, and senior regional life division executive responsible for Vietnam and Indonesia.

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Concordis Group Acquires Concordis Insurance

Concordis Group has finalised the acquisition of Concordis Insurance. Concordis Insurance provides a variety of custom-tailored insurance solutions to captive programs, risk retention groups, self-insured clients, insurance companies and both public and private entities.

Trent Sommerville, CEO of Concordis Group, stated, "We are thrilled to finalise this great business opportunity. This acquisition is a tremendous next step for Concordis as it will enable us to bring a greater breadth of services to our customers."

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Hillross To Acquire Rabo Financial Advisors

Hillross Financial Services (Hillross), a wealth management firm which is wholly owned by AMP, has agreed to acquire Rabo Financial Advisors, the financial planning arm of Rabobank Australia & New Zealand.

As part of the transaction, Hillross and Rabobank have also entered into an ongoing alliance where Hillross will be the exclusive provider of financial planning advice to Rabobank’s clients, through a referral agreement between the two companies.

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European liability insurers braced for claims

12 October 2009

D&O and E&O insurers in Europe expect to fare better than their American counterparts in the financial crisis. But the threat of increasing claims still looms.

After more than a year of plummeting share prices, widely-publicised defaults and international fraud scandals, liability insurers across Europe have plenty of reasons to worry. They may not expect to be hit as badly as their North American peers, but the same question will be on their minds: how much is it all going to cost? So far, the much-anticipated surge of liability claims from the financial crisis has not materialised. But insurers across Europe have reported an increase in notifications, many of which are related to the crisis.

“There are figures being suggested by some insurers that they’re seeing up to three times the number of notifications,” says Adam Codrington, executive director in Aon’s directors’ and officers’ liability (D&O) team. “We are certainly seeing more notifications to D&O contracts on commercial accounts, but it’s an increase in frequency rather than severity at the moment.”

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Dutch Delta eyes ING, ASR assets

06 November 2009

Dutch insurer, Delta Lloyd, may purchase the insurance assets of ING Group and ASR Verzekeringen, CEO Niek Hoek said Thursday at an analyst meeting, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Dutch insurer, Delta Lloyd, may purchase the insurance assets of ING Group and ASR Verzekeringen, CEO...

General info on interested buyers of AIG's insurance units

Reuters1

Reuters2

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Climate change to cost insurers: ABI

04 November 2009

Property insurance could become more expensive and harder to obtain as a result of global climate change, according to a new report published by the Association of British Insurers. Property insurance could become more expensive and harder to obtain as a result of global climate change, according to a new report published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The ABI’s report The Financial Risks of Climate Change – which was produced by risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide – looked at the financial implications of the widely predicted temperature increases of two, four...

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Spectre of new regulation looms for insurers

11 November 2009

New financial services regulation could be detrimental to insurers if not handled properly, a panel of insurance and reinsurance executives warned at Reactions’ Global Insurance Conference in Zurich, Switzerland on November 10.

New financial services regulation could be detrimental to insurers if not handled properly, a panel of insurance and reinsurance executives warned at Reactions’ Global Insurance Conference in Zurich, Switzerland on November 10. The panel, which was chaired by Reactions’ editor Michael Loney, included Paolo de Martin, Scor’s chief financial officer; James Illingworth, group chief risk officer of Lloyd’s insurer Amlin; Patrick Liedtke, secretary general and managing director of The Geneva Association; Mark Byrne, chairman and founder of Flagstone Re; and Costas Miranthis, CEO of PartnerRe Europe.

Liedtke kicked off the discussion by referring to a letter his association sent to the G-20 last week, urging it to take into account the specific nature of insurance and reinsurance when devising a new regulatory framework.

“If you look at the scope of this crisis, you can draw the conclusion that insurance as a system actually worked pretty well. This is...

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The Hartford Introduces Benefits Solution

Published:05-November-2009

By Staff Reporter

To offer necessary income protection

The Hartford Financial Services Group has unveiled a total voluntary benefits solution for employers with one thousand or more employees.This new system of people, processes and technology for voluntary group life and disability insurance is the outcome of significant investments by The Hartford.

John Gallant, vice president of service operations for The Hartford’s Group Benefits Division, said: “We understand employers are stretched to their limits in today’s tough economy and are turning to voluntary benefits as an affordable way to offer important income protection to their employees. Our voluntary services can be customised to deliver a flexible benefit program to meet the unique needs of today’s employers.”

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DUAL To Enhance Focus Products Suite

Published:05-November-2009

Appointed new member to its DUAL Focus team

DUAL Corporate Risks, a directors & officers and professional indemnity underwriting agency for mid-market companies, has appointed Liz Hanlon to its DUAL Focus team. The company claims that its DUAL Focus provides specialist insurance solutions for complex financial institution based risks.

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HUB Acquires Mones & Associates Insurance Brokers From Aviva Canada

Transaction to expand Hub's presence in seven new Canadian locations

Hub International has acquired Mones & Associates Insurance Brokers (Mones), a personal and commercial insurance brokers company in Canada, from Aviva Canada. Mones also operates under the name of Arctic Insurance Brokers in select markets. The company said that as a result of this acquisition, it will expand its operations to seven new locations in Canada that include, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Iqaluit, Whitehorse and Yellowknife.

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International Excess Opens Agriculture Business Insurance Unit

Published:11-November-2009

By Staff Reporter

To focus on crop insurance and farm and livestock insurance

US-based insurance broker, International Excess has opend new Agribusiness division which is expected to focus on crop insurance and farm and livestock insurance. The company has appointed Chuck Gabel as divisional vice president of International Excess Agribusiness. He has specialized in crop insurance and farm insurance for more than 20 years. Mr. Gabel said: "Insurance for Agribusiness has become my full-time passion and I'm working to give the farming industry the protection they deserve."

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Marsh & Mclennan Agency Acquires Insurance Alliance

As part of an expansion strategy to cater to the needs of small-to-mid-sized companies across the country

Marsh & McLennan Agency, a subsidiary of insurance broker, Marsh, has acquired Texas-based Insurance Alliance, an independent insurance agency, as part of its expansion strategy. The move is intended to cater to the needs of small-to-mid-sized companies across the country.

Insurance Alliance has annual revenue of $15m and serves over 1,500 commercial clients located primarily in Texas and throughout the Southwest. The firm has specialist teams serving clients in construction, surety, energy and marine, professional services, general property and casualty, and employee benefits.

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FPIC Insurance Completes Acquisition Of Advocate, MD Financial

Published:13-November-2009

By Staff Reporter

Expected to leverage the strengths of both the organizations

First Professionals Insurance, a subsidiary of FPIC Insurance Group, a provider of medical professional liability insurance for healthcare firms, has completed the acquisition of all of the outstanding capital stock of Advocate, MD and its subsidiaries.

Under the terms of the previously announced agreement, FPIC paid total consideration of $33.6m at closing, and may pay up to $12m in additional consideration depending on the performance of Advocate, MD during the two-year period following closing. In connection with the transaction, FPIC also retired all of Advocate MD’s outstanding bank debt, totaling $9m.

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ACE Expands Structured Reinsurance Solutions

Published:13-November-2009

By Staff Reporter

Creates a new role of senior underwriter for structured risks

ACE Tempest Re Europe has appointed David Mann in the newly created role of senior underwriter for structured risks. His appointment is in line with the company's expansion of its product offering across its reinsurance division. The ACE Tempest Re Group oversees the reinsurance operations of the ACE Group of Companies.

Mr. Mann will be responsible for underwriting non-traditional bespoke reinsurance solutions across property, casualty and specialty lines. He will report to Andreas Lewin, managing director, ACE Tempest Re Europe and will be based in its London office. Mr. Mann joins ACE Tempest Re from Aspen Insurance, Bermuda, where he was most recently senior underwriter for structured risks.

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Friday
Aug072009

Int. Insurance Links 5.8.08

Swiss Re disappoints with SFr381m loss

Swiss Re disappointed investors on Wednesday with a surprise loss in the second quarter, as solid earnings in insurance underwriting were overshadowed by continued losses and writedowns on its massive investment portfolio.

The SFr381m ($548m) loss for the period compared with a SFr564m profit last year and better-than-expected earnings at arch rival Munich Re, which reported second-quarter earnings this week.

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Axa ‘prepared’ to withstand market downturns

PARIS, Aug 5 - AXA, Europe’s second-biggest insurer by market capitalisation, posted a smaller-than-expected decline in first-half earnings and said it was ready to face any further downturn in the market. Net income fell 39 per cent to €1.32bn ($1.9bn) in the first six months of the year, Axa said on Wednesday. This compared with the average of estimates from 10 analysts in a Reuters poll of €896m.

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Marsh & McLennan posts loss after charge

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Insurer Marsh & McLennan said on Wednesday that it swung to a loss in the second quarter, posting a deficit of $193 million, or 37 cents a share, compared to a year-ago $65 million, or 12 cents a share profit. The latest period's results include non-cash, goodwill impairment charge of $315 million, or 60 cents a share. Absent the charge, the company earned 33 cents a share in the second quarter, a penny ahead of the 32 cents a share average estimate in a Thomson Reuters poll of analysts. Second quarter revenue fell to $2.63 billion, from $3.03 billion last year.

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Is Now a Good Time to Invest in Insurance Companies?

There are not many companies whose fortunes are as closely tied to the stock market as those in the insurance industry. When the market is climbing, insurers will often soar beyond the market, and will fall harder when the market declines. With the recent uptick in the market, is now a good time to consider insurance companies?

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Insurer Axa to cut 350 jobs

Axa UK is cutting 350 jobs as part of a strategic review of its life and pensions business. The move was condemned by the Unite union. The insurer's chief executive, Nicolas Moreau, said he was trying to ensure the company emerged from the recession "fitter and stronger". Axa has raised its cost-savings target from £80m to £150m over the next three years in the UK, with the bulk of the savings to come from its life operations.

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Standard Life profits slump 35%

Standard Life reported a 35% drop in its half-year profit , despite inflows of £3bn to its fund management arm, much of it from overseas investors. The life insurer blamed weaker sales of personal pensions in the UK and falling asset values, and said market conditions remained "challenging". In the first half of 2009 sales dropped 17%, reflecting a decline in the value of new customers' pension pots, as well as its decision to withdraw from less profitable product lines.

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The Hartford To Provide Group Life, Disability Coverage

The Hartford Financial Services Group, an insurance-based financial services company, is going to offer group life insurance, short-and-long-term disability, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage for the employees of the State of Arizona.

Thursday
Jul162009

Int. Insurance links 16.7.09

Lloyds Banking to Cut a Further 1,200 British Jobs (Update1)

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- Lloyds Banking Group Plc, whose largest shareholder is the British government, said it plans to cut a total of 1,200 jobs in its U.K. information technology and insurance units by the end of March.

The announcement brings the number of jobs eliminated by the bank this year to 8,850. Those leaving will include 370 contract and agency employees, the bank said in an e-mailed statement today. The cuts will be partially offset by the creation of 180 new posts in group operations.

 

Prudential Said to Resume Talks Over AIG Japan Units (Update1)

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- Prudential Financial Inc. resumed talks with American International Group Inc. over the purchase of two Japanese insurance units after discussions stalled earlier this year, said two people briefed on the situation.

A sale of AIG’s Star Life and Edison Life operations may yield more than $3 billion, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. A rival bid for the units from Manulife Financial Corp. is no longer under active discussion, the person said.

 

MGIC to Inject as Much as $1 Billion Into Subsidiary After Loss

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- MGIC Investment Corp., the largest U.S. mortgage insurer, will inject as much as $1 billion into an inactive subsidiary, allowing the company to continue to sell new coverage after eight straight unprofitable quarters.

The subsidiary may take over the sale of policies as of Jan. 1 if it gains approval from state insurance regulators by then, Milwaukee-based MGIC said today in a statement. The insurer also announced its eighth straight unprofitable quarter, posting a $339.8 million loss as the worst housing slump since the Great Depression caused more defaults.

 

The Hartford Names Andrade to Head P/C Operations

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. has appointed Juan Andrade, 43, president and chief operating officer of its Property and Casualty Operations, effective immediately. Andrade will continue to report directly to the company's chairman and chief executive officer, Ramani Ayer, and will serve as a member of the Office of the Chairman.

An industry veteran, Andrade joined The Hartford in 2006, assuming leadership of the P&C claims organization. In that role, he transformed claims into a more focused and disciplined group, emphasizing enhanced customer service, greater employee engagement and increased efficiency. He was soon appointed to executive vice president for sales and distribution in 2008, where he expanded and enhanced the company's relationships with its agents. In February 2009, he assumed the role of Interim P&C Co-leader of The Hartford's Property and Casualty Operations.

 

Insurance fraud soars to £1.9bn

False claims cost the average household £44 a year despite improved detection of fraudsters

The value of insurance fraud has soared to an estimated £1.9bn a year, costing the average household £44 annually in higher premiums, a report showed today. Insurers think around £5.2m of fraudulent claims go undetected every day, a 24% increase compared with two years ago, according to the Association of British Insurers. But firms are also detecting more fraud, with suspect claims worth £730m rejected last year, 30% more than in 2007.

 

Resolution launches £2bn bid for Friends Provident

City entrepreneur Clive Cowdery will confirm tomorrowthat his Resolution investment vehicle is bidding to take over troubled life insurer Friends Provident, as the first step in an audacious strategy to force a spate of mega-mergers in the troubled insurance sector.

Less than three months after being cleared by a Financial Services Authority (FSA) investigation into the sale of his last firm, also called Resolution, to Pearl, Cowdery has tabled an all-share offer, valuing Friends Provident at close to £2bn.

 

Cowdery's first offer for Friends Provident rebuffed

City entrepreneur Clive Cowdery faces a fight to take control of Friends Provident after seeing his first offer for the troubled life insurer rebuffed. Friends confirmed this morning that it had rejected an all-share offer from Cowdery's Resolution investment vehicle, which valued the company at close to £2bn.

In a letter to Cowdery, which it also released to the stock market, Friends Provident dismissed the offer as "wholly inadequate".

Monday
Jun152009

Hartford and Lincoln to Receive TARP Money

June 12 (Bloomberg) --

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., the insurer that’s raised capital from equity sales at least five times this decade, will accept as much as $3.4 billion in U.S. bailout funds and sell $750 million of shares. The stock fell 8 percent.

The common share offering to private investors will be carried out over time in a so-called discretionary equity issuance, Hartford, based in the Connecticut city of the same name, said today in a statement. The funds may be used to repurchase outstanding debt, the firm said.

Outgoing Chief Executive Officer Ramani Ayer, 62, turned to the government in November after asset declines depleted capital and a sagging stock price deterred private investors. The insurer is welcoming an investment from Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and the pay curbs that may come with it, even as banks led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raise capital to exit the government initiative.

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June 15 (Bloomberg) --

Lincoln National Corp., the insurer that announced two rounds of job cuts this year, plans to raise $2.05 billion by accepting U.S. rescue funds and selling shares and debt to private investors. The stock dropped 8.8 percent.

Lincoln expects to issue about $950 million of preferred stock to the government through the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Philadelphia-based life insurer said today in a statement. It also announced plans to offer $600 million of common shares on the market, and $500 million in senior debt.

Lincoln and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. are tapping taxpayers after investment losses and costs to protect savers from declines in the equity markets drained capital. Lincoln has slashed the dividend, purchased reinsurance and scaled back on money-losing retirement products called variable annuities. The insurer announced plans today to divert capital to U.S. operations by selling a U.K. unit at a loss.

Update: More on Lincoln's TARP money.

Update2: Lincoln to issue debt and equity

Thursday
Jun042009

Hartford CEO Steps Down 

From Bloomberg ...

Ramani Ayer, the chief executive officer who presided over Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.’s most difficult year in two centuries, will step down from running the money-losing insurer by the end of December. The board will begin an external search for a replacement for Ayer, 62, the Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer said today in a statement. He is also resigning as chairman.

Ayer said last week the insurer is “finalizing details” with the government about a capital injection from the federal bailout fund of as much as $3.4 billion. Earlier in May, he said he would keep U.S. property-casualty and life businesses rather than break up the company.