Hartford quits annuity business

A pen and a pair of glasses on a health insurance policy claim form.
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(CBS/AP) HARTFORD, Conn. - Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG) is exiting the annuity business so it can focus on its property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds businesses.

Its shares rose 3 percent in premarket trading.

The announcement on Wednesday comes a little over a month after hedge fund manager John Paulson urged Hartford to spin off its property and casualty insurance business.

Paulson's hedge fund, Paulson & Co. Inc., owns an 8.4 percent stake in Hartford.

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Hartford says it will stop new annuity sales on April 27 and anticipates taking a $15 million to $20 million after-tax charge in the second quarter. Annual run-rate expenses are expected to decline by about $100 million, before taxes, starting next year.

The Hartford, Conn., company says it is looking to sell its individual life, Woodbury Financial Services and retirement plans.