Effective November 6th, 2009, Hartford Life, part of Hartford Financial, will cease writing structured settlement annuities and shut down what was once one of the leading structured settlement divisions in the market.
This comes as no great shock as the company has been staggered by a series of market related developments that made it almost impossible for structured settlement brokers to utilize their product.
The first major change was the turmoil of last year in which Hartford Life was one of the major red flag companies caught up in the variable annuity market in which their widely sold and highly popular line of annuities were pummeled by market value guarantee riders that rating agencies required them to reserve heavily for at the very time when capital was the most difficult to raise. The company weathered the storm, partnered with Allianz financially to some degree and rode things out, but the resultant drop in their AM Best Rating to A crippled them in the structured settlement arena. A similar fate befell American General Life and in a matter of weeks two of the industries leaders were essentially sidelined and deemed unfit to write a wide range of settlement annuities.
It is a sad day for the profession as another market leaves an already reduced group of life markets and another group of quality professionals are put out of jobs in a touch economy. Watch my interview with John Darer