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Fri November 8, 2013
Is Hartford Still the Insurance Capital of the World?
Is Hartford still the insurance capital of the world? I conducted a non-scientific poll of the internet (aka Googled it) and came upon a few articles from the past decades: "Hartford: Insurance Capital of the World or Has-Been?" (ouch), and "Hartford is No Longer the Insurance Capital."
According to the internet, it seems we're doomed.
But everyone knows you can't always trust a Google search, so I reached out to Hartford Courant reporter Matthew Sturdevant. He covers the insurance industry in Connecticut, and didn't paint a pretty picture. Nationally, employment by insurance carriers has dropped steadily since the early 90's. The Hartford region has lost thousands of insurance jobs in the past decade, he said, and tens of thousands in the past 25 years. In Connecticut, a (depressing) sampling:
- 2012 -Layoffs at Aetna (Interestingly, the CEO's salary tripled that year)
- 2012 - The Hartford sells off life insurance, annuities, and retirement services
- 2013 - The Hartford sells Simsbury campus, a consolidation caused by a shrinking workforce
- 2013 - MetLife to lay off 130 workers in Bloomfield
Despite these numbers, insurance is still a major industry in the capital city. Hartford has a greater percentage of its employment from insurance than other places: 8.5 percent in the Hartford region compared with about 1 percent in the U.S. overall.
What about the industry itself? How do they feel about our disputed title? Next week, the Connecticut Insurance & Financial Services are holding an Insurance Market Forecast, a gathering of insurance execs and others to show off Hartford as a key global player. IFS Executive Director Susan Winkler spoke on Where We Live, defending the city. Several years ago, she said, IFS hired the Connecticut Economic Resource Center to get some hard numbers on where we stand.
They found that Connecticut is number one in total insurance jobs as a percentage of total employment. "While we're a small state we have the most insurance jobs than any other state in the U.S.," Winkler said, we also rank number one in written life insurance premium, and number two for all total direct written premium in the US. We also have the most actuaries. Susan Winkler said it's time for us to take our title back and rebrand ourselves The Insurance Capital. "The insurance capital of the world is Connecticut," she said, "and we're good." Take that, world.
Listen to the whole interview with Susan Winkler: