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Hartford reports deeper second-quarter loss of $467M


The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. on Wednesday reported a net loss of $467 million for the second quarter of 2014 compared with a net loss of $190 million in the second quarter last year.

The company said factors including a $617 million loss on the sale of its Japan annuity business and unfavorable loss reserve development related to asbestos claims offset solid earnings in its core businesses.

For the quarter, net written premiums rose 2.8% over the prior-year quarter to $2.57 billion. Citing increased losses due to natural catastrophes, the company said its combined ratio deteriorated to 108.6% in the second quarter compared with 105.4% in the same period a year ago.

“Although asbestos and environmental prior-year development and elevated weather losses impacted The Hartford’s second-quarter results, the underlying business trends reflect the continued improvement in our operating fundamentals,” Hartford President Doug Elliot said in a statement. “The P&C business delivered 3% written premium growth and both the P&C and group benefits businesses delivered continued underlying margin improvement, and we are pleased that standard commercial pricing remains strong and ahead of loss cost trends.”

The company fared better on a six-month basis. Net income for the first half of 2014 was $28 million compared with a net loss of $431 million in the first six months of 2013.