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Cornell Capital-Led Group Now Controls Hartford Life

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A group of investors led by Cornell Capital LLC now controls Talcott Resolution — a group of companies that includes Hartford Life Insurance Company and Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company.

The Cornell Capital-led investor group has completed its previously announced acquisition of Talcott Resolution, Hartford Financial Services and the new owners announced today.

(Related: 3 Mysteries About the Would-Be Owner of a Big Annuity Business)

Hartford Life was one of the leaders in the U.S. annuity market in the 1990s and early 2000s. It suffered grave damage in 2008, as the Great Recession rolled in.

Talcott Resolution

Hartford Financial Services created Talcott Resolution to cope with the effects of the recession, low interest rates and new accounting rules on Hartford Life’s large block of variable annuity business.

Talcott Resolution operated the businesses in “runoff mode.” That means the managers collected premiums and other payments from the customers but made no efforts to sell new life insurance policies or annuities.

An outside company, Forethought Financial Group Inc., bought Hartford Financial Services’ life and annuity sales and underwriting operation in 2012. Global Atlantic Financial Group later acquired Forethought Financial.

Talcott Resolution now has about $90 billion in assets and about 700,000 contract holders, according to the new owners.

Peter Sannizzaro, the company’s president and chief operating officer, has been its chief financial officer since 2010.

Sannizzaro began his career as an auditor at Ernst & Young. He moved to Hartford Financial Services in 1991.

The Future

The new owners of Talcott Resolution are not talking about the possibility of selling new insurance policies or annuity contracts.

William Goddard, a lawyer representing the Cornell Capital-led investor group, told Connecticut insurance regulators in a letter submitted in March that the investor group expects to focus at first on separating the Talcott Resolution businesses from Hartford Financial Services.

“The applicants do not have any specific strategic growth initiatives identified, but in the longer term, they will assess opportunities to take advantage of the strong talent and operational systems of the company in the runoff space in the acquisition of other closed blocks of business,” Goddard wrote in the letter.

Hartford Financial Services is based in Hartford, Connecticut.

Talcott Resolution has had offices in its parent company’s headquarters in Hartford, in Windsor, Connecticut, and in Woodbury, Minnesota.

Talcott Resolution will give up the Hartford offices but keep the offices in Windsor and Woodbury, Goddard wrote.


Talcott Resolution now has about 375 employees.

In a a second letter to Connecticut regulators, Goddard said Talcott Resolution’s new owners will probably hire more people, to give Talcott Resolution the ability to take over some jobs that Hartford Financial Services has been handling.

Talcott Resolution employment could increase to 409 later this year, fall to 398 in 2019, and drop to 368 by 2021, Goddard wrote.

The Deal

In addition to Cornell Capital, the investor group that owns Talcott Resolution includes Atlas Merchant Capital LLC, TRB Advisors LP, Global Atlantic , Pine Brook, J. Safra Group and Hartford Financial.

Hartford Financial Services still owns a 9.7% stake in Talcott Resolution, Hartford Financial Services says in a report it filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Global Atlantic has agreed to have a subsidiary reinsure about $9 billion in Talcott Resolution obligations, according to a deal announcement that was released in December.

Hartford Financial Services says the final deal value includes $2.05 billion in consideration.

Hartford Financial Services received $300 million in Talcott Resolution cash dividends before the deal closed and $300 million in pre-closing cash dividends.

The investor group that bought Talcott Resolution is assuming responsibility for $143 million in Hartford Life debt.

Hartford Life is setting the value of its 9.7% stake in Talcott Resolution at $164 million and adding that to the consideration total.

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