The Hartford Plans Staff Cuts; Sells Subrogation Services Unit Trumbull

By | October 5, 2011

The Hartford Financial Services Group said it is expecting to implement a small staff reduction in coming months as part of its ongoing effort to streamline operations. The company didn’t specify exactly how many jobs would be affected, but The Hartford spokesman emphasized the company is committed to redeploying as many of the affected employees as possible to its new growth areas.

According to Hartford Courant, a local Connecticut paper that first reported the planned job reduction, The Hartford may eliminate some 500 jobs over the next year and a half in its customer service, call centers and back-office administration.

The Hartford has been shedding jobs since late 2008 to help improve its capital and liquidity.

In Oct. 2008, the company had posted a bigger-than-expected, $2.6 billion quarterly loss as the collapsing U.S. housing market pushed down the value of fixed-income investments.

During that month, the insurer received a $2.5 billion capital investment from Allianz, which was later followed by a federal bailout. Its finances have steadily improved since then. Starting with 2009 fourth quarter, it consistently reported net profit and has paid off all federal bailout money. The Hartford currently has around 25,000 employees worldwide, down from more than 30,000 at the end of 2008.

“We are examining processes and systems across the company to see where we can streamline operations,” The Hartford spokesman Thomas Hambrick told Insurance Journal. The Hartford’s goal, he said, is to transform the way company operates.

Redeploying Affected Workers to Growth Areas

“We are trying to create a more efficient , flexible company. We do expect to reduce some staff as a result of this effort. We will be consolidating some functions. At this point, it’s too early to say exactly how many positions will be affected,” he said.

“It’s important to note that we continue to hire in growth areas. We are committed to redeploying employees who may be affected by the reduction as much as possible and move them to growth areas within the company.”

Sells Subrogation Services Unit to Focus on Core Businesses

Separately, The Hartford also said it sold Trumbull Services, a specialized outsourcing services provider for the property/casualty insurance industry, to ExlService Holdings of New York.

ExlService is a financial outsourcing services provider for companies in insurance, utilities, banking/financial services, transportation/logistics, and travel sectors. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Trumbull, with offices in Hartford and Columbia, S.C., is a subrogation services provider for property/casualty insurers.

The deal allows ExlService to gain an advanced software platform and an experienced employee base in the specialized field, according to the firm.

ExlService will continue to offer services to The Hartford consistent with its existing Trumbull relationship. All Trumbull employees have been offered comparable positions with ExlService.

“While Trumbull has built strong capabilities as a subrogation services provider, the sale of this business to ExlService is consistent with The Hartford’s strategy to focus resources on its core insurance and wealth management businesses,” said Gary Thompson, executive vice president and chief underwriting officer for Commercial Markets at The Hartford.

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