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HartfordTycoon

Insurance is still the life blood of Hartford

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State Must Fight To Keep Insurers

BOB FLYNN

March 23 2006

When Mark Twain walked the streets of Hartford, it was one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Much of that wealth was from the city's insurance industry.

Hartford Fire began selling policies as early as 1810. Fifty years later, Aetna's annual income topped $1 million. Inspired by this success, a group of wealthy businessmen formed The Travelers in 1864.

Many think our glory days as the insurance capital of the world are gone, but the numbers don't support it. Insurance, banking, investment and financial services businesses make up nearly a third of Connecticut's gross state product. The industry employs 136,000 people - 8 percent of our workforce. The average salary is a staggering $104,000.

In many ways, we're the envy of the rest of the world - and therein lies the problem. We're a takeover target.

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I read somewhere that Des Moines overtook us as the biggest insurance city in the country...who knew there were cities west of Philly?

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I have been to Des Moines several times. It is a very bizarre city, though quite nice. Imagine putting up 25 skyscrapers in the middle of a corn field. I remember looking out the window of my 30th floor Marriott hotel room and seeing only houses and flat land just a few blocks away. Travelers also had a massive skyscraper, so it's not hard to believe that there is a lot of insurance out there. But with the unfavorable business climate in Hartford I'm not surprised CT scared them away...

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