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Hartford posts 19% decline in fourth-quarter profit

Christopher Swift

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. reported fourth-quarter net income of $584 million, down 19% from the year-earlier period.

The insurer said Thursday after markets closed that its fourth-quarter core earnings were up 7% to $746 million.

Hartford Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift, in an earnings webcast Friday, characterized the quarterly results as “excellent” and exceeding expectations.

For the full year, Hartford posted net income of $1.794 billion, down 23% from 2021. Core earnings rose 14% to $2.492 billion.

“The Hartford is pleased to report an excellent fourth-quarter campaign and outstanding year of financial performance in progress against our strategic objectives,” Mr. Swift said. “Quarter after quarter we are delivering strong financial results demonstrating the power of the franchise and the depth of our distribution relationships.”

Hartford said in its earnings statement that the full-year 2022 net income decrease was primarily due to a change from net realized gains to net realized losses.

The insurer reported fourth-quarter property/casualty written premium growth of 8%, including 9% in commercial lines. For the year, property/casualty written premiums grew 9%, with 11% growth in commercial lines.

Hartford’s fourth-quarter commercial lines combined ratio was 89.0, compared with 84.6 in the year-earlier period. The combined ratio for the year was 90.2, compared with 95.8 for 2021.

Hartford Chief Financial Officer Beth Costello said that overall the insurer’s “businesses performed strongly in 2022” and that the company is “well-positioned to continue to deliver on our targeted returns and enhance value for all our stakeholders.”

Ms. Costello noted Winter Storm Elliott losses in December totaled $167 million, of which $150 million was in commercial lines.