NU Online News Service, May 15, 2003, 4:41 p.m. EDT – Moody’s Investors Service, New York, has gone ahead with a previously announced move to lower the debt ratings of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, and its Hartford Life Inc. subsidiary to A3, from A2.

Moody’s discussed plans to cut the debt ratings Monday, shortly after Hartford warned it would report a $1.4 billion first-quarter loss as a result of a large increase in reserves for asbestos claims.

Hartford has launched an effort to raise $1.85 billion in capital through offerings of common stock, debt securities and “equity units” that combine debt securities with stock purchase contracts.

“Our rating downgrade today incorporates the expectation that The Hartford will successfully complete its capital raising plans,” Moody’s says in a statement about the rating downgrade. “If the capital rais[ing] initiative does not proceed as planned, the ratings would be subject to further downgrade.”