If Hartford Financial were to split in two the outcome would have positive credit implications for the property and casualty (P&C) insurance group and negative credit implications for the life insurance group. The main reason for the difference, according to Moody’s Weekly Credit Outlook is that the life group depends on the P&C group to bolster its credit support and elevate its ratings.
The proposal to tear Hartford Financial asunder bubbled to the surface after a contentious earnings call earlier this month where John Paulson, whose hedge fund Paulson & Co. is the largest single owner of Hartford Financial expressed his agitation with Hartford management and subsequently issued a letter calling for the split.
If the break were to happen, discrepancies between the two units would be publicly highlighted and the life group’s weaker status would be showcased.
The P&C operation is healthier than the life operation in terms of its business and financial profile and a standalone life group would struggle to steady wobbly legs after the support from the P&C group that it has grown accustomed to is removed.