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Hartford CEO mentions brokers

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Top executives at Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE:HIG) mentioned insurance agents and brokers a few times today during a conference call with securities analysts.

Hartford has been putting more emphasis on property-casualty operations in recent quarters, but it’s still a major player in the U.S. group disability market.

Executives at medical insurers have seldom referred to agents or brokers during their recent conference calls with analysts.

Chris Swift, Hartford’s chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), and Doug Elliot, the company’s president, talked about their company’s interest in appealing to producers while going over the company’s second-quarter earnings. Swift said Hartford needs to offer producers and their clients a strong brand and the capabilities needed to justify requests for price increases.

A soft economy and low interest rates are limiting insurers’ ability to invest in new technology and new capabilities, while, at the same time, “our agents and broker partners are really going through their own form of industry consolidation, which ultimately means that fewer carriers are going to be on [request for proposal] panels,” Swift said. “Brokers and agents will continue to look for the companies that have the most to offer their clients.”

Elliot said offering a product mix that includes property protection insurance, as well as other lines, is a competitive advantage that helps the company appeal to agents as well as to customers.

See also: Assurant describes health market exit plans

Hartford as a whole is reporting $413 million in net income for the second quarter on $4.7 billion in revenue, compared with a net loss of $467 million on $4.6 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2014.

The company is reporting $27 million in new group disability sales on $358 million in in-force group disability premium revenue, compared with $20 million in new group disability sales on $349 million in group disability premium revenue for the year-earlier quarter.

The group disability loss ratio, or ratio of claims to premiums, fell to 80.8 percent, from 83.9 percent.

See also: Disability insurers seek eye contact