Insurance Companies Demand Comprehensive Approach Before Helping Hartford

As the City of Hartford teeters on the edge of fiscal insolvency, the three insurance companies that had announced they would help the city, say they need to see a comprehensive solution for Hartford, and they can’t be relied upon to help bail out the city.

Aetna, The Hartford and Travelers all announced in the Spring that they would commit $50 million over five years to help stabilize Hartford’s finances. Representatives for all three companies say that offer still stands, but all three maintain that the state has to be part of the solution, as well as other factors.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Travelers wrote, “The financial commitment announced in March in partnership with other local corporations remains subject to a comprehensive and sustainable solution. This commitment comes on top of our already sizable tax and philanthropic contributions.”

A spokesperson for Aetna provided a one-sentence statement: "Our financial commitment is contingent on efforts from state and local leaders to ensure a vibrant future for the city."

Finally, The Hartford, wrote, "As we have previously said, our donation is contingent on a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the city's fiscal problems."

Hartford faces a $50 million budget hole for the current fiscal year, but without any municipal aid in the absence of a state budget, Mayor Luke Bronin said Tuesday that figure balloons to $100 million.

The city’s debt service is part of the reason that Moody’s downgraded the city’s debt. The credit-ratings agency cited rising debt payments that it’s not sure the city can make. By October, according to a Moody’s report, the city will have to pay more than $30 million to cover both long and short term borrowing.

Mayor Luke Bronin, a Democrat, said the city has to have a conversation to possibly renegotiate those payments in order to keep the city on solid fiscal ground.

"We’re going to have to make asks of all of our stakeholders including our bondholders and others,” Bronin said. “Ultimately, we need to put this city on a sustainable path not just for Hartford’s sake, but for the sake of the State of Connecticut which needs a strong, vibrant, competitive, capital city," Bronin said. 

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