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Related Issuers
First State Insurance Co.
Glen Meadow Pass-Through Trust
Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co.
Hartford Casualty Insurance Co.
Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (The)
Hartford Fire Insurance Company
Hartford Insurance Company of Illinois
Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest
Hartford Insurance Company of the Southeast
Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company
Hartford Life Global Funding Trust 2004-008
Hartford Life Global Funding Trust 2004-010
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Hartford Life Global Funding Trust 2005-122
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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades Hartford Financial (senior debt to Baa2) and subsidiaries; outlook stable

23 Apr 2015

$5.8 billion in debt outstanding.

New York, April 23, 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the debt ratings (senior debt to Baa2 from Baa3) of The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG; The Hartford). Moody's also upgraded the insurance financial strength (IFS) ratings of The Hartford's property & casualty (P&C) subsidiaries to A1 from A2 and the IFS rating of its ongoing life insurance subsidiary, Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company, to A2 from A3. The outlook on these entities has been changed to stable from positive. In the same action, Moody's also affirmed the Baa2 IFS ratings of Harford's run-off life companies (Hartford Life Insurance Company and Hartford Life & Annuity Insurance Company) and P&C company (operating members of the First State Group). The outlook for all run-off entities remains stable. Please see below for a complete list of rating actions.

RATINGS RATIONALE

According to Moody's lead analyst Pano Karambelas, "Moody's upgrade of The Hartford's debt ratings and the P&C subsidiaries reflects the company's progress in de-risking its legacy variable annuity business and our expectation of continuing steady declines in these long-term liabilities." The reduction in the size and risk of the run-off life liabilities diminishes the potential capital call on the resources of the P&C subsidiaries and holding company. The analyst added that "The Hartford's credit profile is supported by its well-diversified and solidly capitalized P&C operations, good positions in group benefits and mutual funds, and ample holding company liquidity available to support the run-off life business in a stress scenario. We expect The Hartford will continue to balance share repurchase activity with creditor-friendly debt reductions and that the sizing of capital management actions will continue to contemplate stress testing of the variable annuity block."

P&C Insurance Group

The upgrade of the IFS ratings to A1 from A2 on the members of The Hartford's P&C Insurance Group also reflects the group's significant market presence, strong brand name recognition, excellent product and geographic diversification, healthy pre-tax operating income, good capital adequacy and a reasonably positioned investment portfolio. The P&C group's credit profile is supported by the excellent track record, efficient technology platform and manageable volatility of its small commercial segment and in personal lines by its long-term direct marketing arrangement with AARP, one of the largest affinity groups in the US. These strengths are offset by moderate exposure to catastrophes, pricing and reserving risk associated with its commercial and specialty lines, including a sizable concentration in workers' compensation accounts, and a risk of adverse development on run-off reserves.

The stable outlook on the primary P&C entities reflects Moody's expectations of good profitability with rate adequacy maintained in step with claims inflation, sufficient commercial casualty loss reserves and healthy capital adequacy.

The following factors could lead to a further upgrade in Hartford's P&C ratings: 1) long-term reduction in gross underwriting leverage (e.g. less than 3.5x, excluding affiliated investments from capital); 2) financial leverage in the mid to low 20% range with sustained cash flow coverage of interest of 6x or higher; 3) Consistent returns on capital with a reduced concentration in workers compensation.

The following factors could lead to a downgrade in Hartford's P&C ratings:1) sustained gross underwriting leverage above 4.5x (excluding affiliated investments from capital); 2) decline in shareholders' equity greater than 10% over a one year period; or 3) financial leverage sustained above 30% with cash flow coverage of interest of 4x or lower.

Life Insurance Group

Moody's said that the upgrade of Hartford Life, Inc.'s (HLI) senior debt rating (to Baa2 from Baa3) and the upgrade of the IFS rating of HLI's primary life insurance operating company, Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co. (HLA), to A2 from A3 are driven by implicit support from the higher-rated P&C operations. The ratings also reflect HLA's well-known brand name, enhanced by strong customer service and top tier positions in the group life and disability markets. These strengths are partially offset by profitability pressure in the group disability business, although the trend is positive. HLA's A2 IFS rating receives one notch of uplift above its standalone credit profile of A3.

The rating agency commented that an upgrade of HIG's P&C business would place upward pressure on the ratings of HLA and HLI. Additionally, the following could place upward pressure on HLA's standalone credit profile: 1) improving profitability at the group life and disability operations (e.g. loss ratio consistently below 70%); and 2) successful expansion into group voluntary benefits. Conversely, a downgrade of HIG's rating could place downward pressure on the ratings of HLA and HLI. In addition, the following could lead to downward pressure on the standalone credit profile of HLA: 1) unanticipated regulatory capital volatility and/or NAIC RBC ratio levels falling below 350% (company action level); 2) decline in group life and disability earnings of more than 20%.

Run-off Operations

Moody's said the affirmation of the Baa2 IFS ratings of Hartford Life Insurance Company (HLIC) and Hartford Life & Annuity Insurance Company (ILA), HIG's runoff life businesses (known as Talcott), reflects the stable performance of the variable annuity (VA) block, which is meeting expectations. Positive trends in the variable annuity block, supported by an effective hedging program, are partially offset by more aggressive capital management and the current low interest rate environment. While the life runoff businesses are well capitalized and Moody's believes this will be the case in the future, there is still long-term volatility embedded in the business. Although Moody's believes annuities are a non-core business for HIG, ties between the runoff entities with the rest of the organization, including their common branding, supports one notch of uplift from their Baa3 standalone credit profile to their Baa2 IFS ratings.

Moody's commented that given the companies' runoff status and the volatility of the VA business, an upgrade of HLIC and ILA is unlikely. However, the following factors could place upward pressure on the standalone credit profile of HLIC and ILA: 1) minimizing the volatility associated with stress scenarios for the legacy block of variable annuities; and 2) significant runoff or disposition of fixed and variable annuity business with capital generation. Conversely, factors that could lead to a downgrade of the ratings of HLIC and ILA include: 1) diminution of expected financial support or downgrade of HIG's ratings; 2) material increase in volatility of total statutory capital; or decline in total statutory capital by 20% over a short period of time; or 3) unanticipated regulatory capital volatility and/or NAIC RBC ratio levels falling below 275% (company action level).

Holding Company

The debt ratings of The Hartford are supported by its diversified revenue and earnings streams with a strategic focus on P&C insurance, group benefits and mutual funds, disciplined underwriting and financial management, good product breadth, multiple distribution channels, and good brand name recognition. These strengths are somewhat offset by the volatility associated with the group's run-off individual annuity businesses, exposure to structured securities, and exposure to natural and manmade catastrophes. The debt ratings of The Hartford reflect the combined credit characteristics of its various operating units; however, from a cash flow perspective, we consider the group's P&C operating subsidiaries to be the primary supporter of parent company obligations with additional support provided by the mutual funds business and HLA.

The following factors could lead to an upgrade in The Hartford's debt ratings: 1) upgrade of the IFS ratings of the company's lead operating P&C and/or life companies; 2) financial leverage in the mid to low 20% range with sustained cash flow coverage of interest of 6x or higher; or 3) significant runoff or disposition of fixed and variable business with capital generation. The following factors could lead to a downgrade in The Hartford's debt ratings: 1) downgrade of the IFS ratings of the company's lead operating P&C and/or life companies; 2) decline in shareholders' equity greater than 10% over a one year period; or 3) financial leverage sustained above 30% with cash flow coverage of interest of 4x or lower.

The methodologies used in these ratings were Global Life Insurers published in August 2014, and Global Property and Casualty Insurers published in August 2014. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

The following ratings were upgraded and their outlook changed to stable:

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. -- senior long-term unsecured debt to Baa2 from Baa3; junior subordinated notes to Baa3 (hyb) from Ba1(hyb): provisional senior unsecured shelf to (P)Baa2 from (P)Baa3; provisional subordinated shelf to (P)Baa3 from (P)Ba1; provisional junior subordinated shelf to (P)Baa3 from (P)Ba1; provisional preferred shelf to (P)Ba1 from (P)Ba2; short-term rating for commercial paper to Prime-2 from Prime-3;

Hartford Life, Inc. -- senior unsecured debt to Baa2 from Baa3;

Glen Meadow Pass-Through Trust -- pass through trust securities to Baa3 from Ba1;

Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to A2 from A3;

Hartford Fire Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Trumbull Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Hartford Insurance Company of Illinois -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Hartford Insurance Company of the Southeast -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Hartford Lloyd's Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Nutmeg Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Pacific Insurance Company, Limited -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Property & Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Sentinel Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2;

Twin City Fire Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength to A1 from A2.

The following ratings were affirmed with a stable outlook:

First State Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength at Baa2;

New England Insurance Company -- insurance financial strength at Baa2;

New England Reinsurance Corp. - insurance financial strength at Baa2;

Hartford Life Insurance Company - insurance financial strength at Baa2; insurance financial strength at P-2; senior unsecured debt Baa3;

Hartford Life & Annuity Insurance Company - insurance financial strength at Baa2;

Hartford Life Institutional Funding - senior secured debt at Baa2;

Hartford Life Global Funding Trusts 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 - backed senior secured at Baa2.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Pano Karambelas
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Robert L Riegel
MD - Insurance
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's upgrades Hartford Financial (senior debt to Baa2) and subsidiaries; outlook stable
No Related Data.
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