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Keep Travelers In Hartford

February 28, 2005

Greater Hartford has a huge stake in the upcoming decision of MetLife regarding the future of recently acquired Travelers Life & Annuity.

After the $11.5 billion proposed purchase was announced last month, MetLife said ominously that it planned to cut costs by $150 million, in part through layoffs. Potentially hundreds of Travelers' 2,000 Hartford workers could be terminated. Such a scenario obviously would be devastating to families and the local economy. Worse would be removing the business from Hartford altogether.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Mayor Eddie Perez and U.S. Sens. Christopher J. Dodd and Joseph I. Lieberman have all contacted MetLife officials to press the case for protecting Travelers' experienced workforce. That effort should be redoubled.

MetLife President C. Robert Henrikson cited the "highly respected skills" of Travelers' employees as a reason his company was attracted to Travelers.

That should come as no surprise to the residents of Greater Hartford, many of whom work for insurers. For good reason, Hartford is called the "insurance capital of the world," a reputation built during many decades of innovation and growth involving some of the biggest names in insurance - among them, Aetna, Travelers, Phoenix and The Hartford.

MetLife has said it is "committed to Connecticut." That's a welcome signal. After all, the company knows the area, having expanded its presence in Greater Hartford in recent years.

Most Travelers employees now work in CityPlace downtown. Ideally, MetLife will keep them downtown, which is undergoing a long-planned renaissance involving new housing, a convention center, parking, restaurants, retail outlets and office space.

Mrs. Rell lists job creation as one of her top priorities. She plans to meet soon with MetLife executives for a face-to-face discussion of the insurer's Hartford plans.

She and other officials would hit a home run if they persuaded MetLife not to lay off Travelers employees and to keep the workforce in Hartford.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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