Hartford CEO seeks acquisitions in commercial, specialty
The Hartford Financial Services Group CEO Chris Swift is seeking acquisitions in the specialty and commercial spaces while de-emphasizing share buybacks.
“When we assess areas of our business that could benefit from the acceleration through an acquisition, we have a focus on specialty lines and industry verticals in the commercial insurance segment that would expand our product sets in underwriting expertise,” Swift said during the insurer’s second-quarter 2018 earnings call.
“Investing in our company remains the cornerstone of our strategy. We want to achieve profitable organic growth, particularly where we have attractive returns and strong competitive advantages,” he added.
Acquisitions can help build greater competitive advantages, add operational capabilities and accelerate earnings growth, compared with building a business from the ground up, Swift noted.
In 2016 Hartford acquired Maxum, enabling small commercial to expand into the excess and surplus (E&S) market. In 2017 Hartford purchased the Aetna's US group life and disability book, helping to expand its market position while acquiring a claims and leave management platform.
“While capital management remains a valid alternative, it is not our primary focus at this time,” Swift said. “We will continue to evaluate options that will generate long-term earnings growth at good returns. And if we conclude that there is not an alternative option to support growth, a share buyback plan could be put into place relatively quickly,” he added.
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