Insurance giant Hartford CT workforce drops 10% as remote work increases

HARTFORD — The state’s workforce has fallen 10% over the past year at insurer The Hartford, one of Connecticut’s largest employers, according to new company data — a change largely due to the greatest number of employees working remotely.

In response to a Hearst Connecticut Media Group survey of The Hartford’s employment levels in its home state, the Fortune 500 company last week shared data showing it has about 5,500 people based in Connecticut. , up from about 6,100 at this point a year ago. The overall workforce of the company amounts to around 18,100 people compared to around 18,500 a year ago.

“About 50% of the change in our Connecticut employee count over the past year is due to employees who made the individual choice to leave the state during the pandemic and continue to work remotely for The Hartford “, Matthew Sturdevant, spokesman for the company, said in a statement. “For the remaining 50% of our workforce change in Connecticut, the vast majority comes from natural attrition, talent mobility, and retraining.”

The company has previously confirmed that it has made layoffs as part of its Hartford Next program, which focuses on cutting costs. But he said of the decline in jobs in the state over the past year, “a very small part has been involuntary separations.”

“Since announcing our Hartford Next initiative in 2020, we have been focused on achieving a more competitive expense ratio to enable growth, invest in new capacity and maintain our leadership position in the industry,” said Sturdevant.

Hartford’s Connecticut workforce includes approximately 4,000 Hartford-based employees, up from approximately 3,900 in 2021.

“We are committed to maintaining a strong presence in the city of Hartford, where we have been headquartered for over 200 years,” Sturdevant said.

In an interview, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said he was encouraged by the company’s steady employment levels in his hometown and praised its support for many community initiatives.

“The Hartford has been an essential partner in our work to strengthen Hartford, attract investment and build a more vibrant city. We really couldn’t ask for a better business partner than The Hartford,” Bronin said. “One of the things that I also appreciate is that we’ve had a constant and strong line of communication between me and my team with senior management at The Hartford over the years and throughout the pandemic as well. .”

In addition to its headquarters at 1 Hartford Plaza, the company also has offices in Farmington, Stamford and Windsor.

The Hartford, No. 142 in last year’s Fortune ranking, is not alone in allowing many of its employees to work remotely. Such white-collar arrangements have been crucial for businesses across the state and nation maintaining operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even as the pandemic subsides and offices reopen, many companies have embraced the long-term role of remote work. Among other Connecticut-based Fortune 500 companies, Stamford-headquartered Synchrony, the nation’s largest house-brand and private-label credit card provider, announced in October 2020 a policy allow employees to work from home permanently.

During an earnings call Friday, CEO and chairman of The Hartford, Christopher Swift, said the prevalence of remote working in the corporate sector contributed to “high” employee turnover last year at The Hartford, a trend that stabilized in the first quarter of 2022.

“The best way to combat people leaving is to make sure our leaders and middle managers really listen to their people – their needs, their wants, their career goals and objectives, giving feedback to the employer, having that sense of belonging and that we’re reinvesting in their career,” Swift said. “I think that’s part of the cultural advantage that we have.”

The strong financial results of companies like The Hartford have reinforced their belief that they can let employees work remotely without diminishing their competitiveness. In the first quarter of this year, revenue for The Hartford grew 2% year-over-year to approximately $5.4 billion. The company specializes in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds.

“The Hartford are off to a great start in 2022,” Swift said. “We are bullish on the macroeconomic factors impacting our business, including improving pandemic outcomes and the potential for inflationary pressures to ease.”

[email protected]; twitter: @paulschott

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