Prudential Financial Inc. may reach a deal today to buy Hartford Financial Services' individual life-insurance business.
The Wall Street Journal this morning reported that the deal was near, based on interviews with sources familiar with the discussions. Neither side would comment.
The Hartford announced a plan earlier this year to sell three units and focus on property casualty, group benefits and mutual funds. In September it announced it was selling its retirement plans business to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. In late July the company confirmed it was selling its independent broker-dealer Woodbury Financial Services to American International Group Inc.'s Advisor Group. In April, the company said it was selling its annuity business to Forethought Financial Group, a Houston-based financial services company.
Liam McGee, CEO of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., told Bloomberg News that the company is creating "a tremendous amount of financial flexibility" that will allow it to shed units and consider share repurchases.
"The businesses that we're staying in have generated a substantial amount of capital," McGee said in an interview today. "The businesses that we're getting out of consume virtually all of that capital. By selling and shutting down the businesses, we're eliminating that consumption of capital."
McGee said the new focus will be on property-casualty coverage, including commercial insurance and auto policies.
According to Bloomberg, Hartford trades for about 40 percent of book value, which measures assets minus liabilities. In the second quarter, the insurer finished buying back $500 million in shares, a repurchase plan given the green light in August of 2011, Bloomberg reported.
--with reports from Bloomberg News