Representatives for MetLife Inc. are trying to convince Connecticut regulators that the company’s proposed $11.5 billion acquisition of Travelers Life & Annuity will be good for residents of Connecticut.[@@]
Representatives for MetLife, New York, went to Hartford Tuesday to appear at a public hearing on the Travelers Life deal that was organized by the Connecticut Insurance Department.
Mark Franklin, a legal counsel for the department, served as the hearing officer and will be responsible for helping Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Susan Cogswell decide whether the proposed deal would reduce competition in the insurance industry, weaken the financial stability of Travelers Life or somehow violate the public interest.
MetLife announced an agreement in January to acquire Travelers Life from the company’s current owner, Citigroup Inc., New York.
MetLife has warned that it may eliminate about 580 of Travelers Life’s 2,000 jobs early on, and it is not guaranteeing that it will employ any of Travelers Life’s current employees after 2006.
At the hearing in Hartford, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez cited MetLife’s refusal to guarantee more jobs, its refusal to promise to base a senior executive in Hartford and its apparent reluctance to make firm, long-term philanthropic commitments as reasons for Franklin to recommend that Cogswell reject the deal.
Perez pointed out that Travelers has been part of Hartford since 1864, and that other large insurers have given Connecticut far more generous promises about jobs and philanthropy.
“If the insurance commissioner approves this transaction, the bar will be significantly lowered for all future insurance transactions and the public’s legitimate interest in jobs, government revenue and philanthropic giving will be left by the wayside,” Perez testified.