Story updated 10:18 a.m. March 28, 2011
Changes in the business model at Simsbury's largest employer could have a significant impact on the town's tax base and resident employees, but the extent of the impact will remain unclear for several months.
On March 21, The Hartford Financial Services Group announced a significant shift in the company's business model that includes discontinuing the sale of variable and fixed annuities and the possible sale or other alternatives for Individual Life, Woodbury Financial Services and Retirement Plans. The life insurance retirement plan divisions are located at the Simsbury Campus. The Woodbury Financial Services business is located in Woodbury, Minn.
The Individual Life division now offers variable, universal, and term life insurance policies, and Woodbury Financial Services and Retirement Plans offers 401k, 403b, and 457b retirement plans. The company's annuities programs will be discontinued on April 27.
The shift could affect many local jobs, but company officials said they have not determined how many at this point.
"That's a bridge we'll cross when we come to it," Director of External Communication David Potter said. "It's too early to tell at this point."
Potter said the company will need to retain some employees to service existing annuities accounts, but the number of staff needed has yet to be determined. The company will also relocate its mutual fund business to Radnor, Penn.
"The impact from the sale of The Hartford's individual life insurance and retirement plan businesses on our presence in Simsbury depends upon what company buys those businesses," a recent statement said. "It’s important to note that Simsbury also houses employees from our Commercial Markets and Consumer Markets Divisions, both which will remain part of The Hartford’s ongoing business portfolio."
The sale and restructuring is expected to take 12-18 months and for that reason company officials said "it would be premature to comment on job impacts in Simsbury."
"Our goal is to work hard to find a buyer for those businesses and their teams, and redeploy employees within The Hartford," the statement said.
Town officials were notified of the changes last Wednesday and are working with the company to schedule a meeting to discuss the impact on the community.
"We're working closely with The Hartford to monitor any changes," First Selectwoman Mary Glassman said. "We want to make sure that The Hartford knows how important they are to our community and the Hartford region."
The Harford is the town's largest taxpayer, contributing $1,086,270 in property taxes in 2011. The Hartford makes up 2.19 percent of the town's net capital on the grand list and currently has 1,900 employees at the Simsbury campus, according to Glassman.
"This will certainly impact our residents, our community, and the state of Connecticut," Glassman said.
Glassman said State Representative Linda Schofield and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office have also been in contact with the company to determine the overall impact on Simsbury and the state.
"We are committed to Hartford and to the state, and will continue to be a significant employer in the region," the statement said.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Woodbury Financial Services division was located in Simsbury. The division is located in Woodbury, Minn.