NU Online News Service, Jan. 28, 2005, 5:08 p.m. EST

A Hartford insurer is mourning the passing of a former executive.[@@]

The insurer, Aetna Inc., says William Bailey, who served as the company’s vice chairman from 1987 to 1988 and as its president from 1976 to 1987, has died.

Bailey, who was 78, worked for Aetna for about 30 years. He served as chairman of several major insurance trade groups, including the Health Insurance Association of America, Washington. In 1973, as the first president of the old Municipal Bond Insurance Association, he helped develop the concept of insuring municipal bonds for state and local government agencies.

“Under his leadership, Aetna grew to become the nation’s largest shareholder-owned insurance organization,” Dr. John Rowe, Aetna’s current chairman, says in a statement. “Bill’s expertise in underwriting, marketing and other insurance operations helped set Aetna apart from its competitors.”