Connecticut will be the new home of an insurance company, and the announcement is coming “very soon,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told a group of insurance executives gathered Friday.
It was a brief mention, and nothing more was said about it, during the opening remarks Malloy gave at the inaugural 2012 Insurance Market Forecast held at the Hilton Hartford Hotel ballroom. The event was hosted by the Connecticut Insurance & Financial Services cluster, which is a strategic initiative formed in 2003 by the MetroHartford Alliance to sustain and grow employment in Connecticut’s insurance industry.
State officials declined to comment on Malloy’s remarks.
Employment in Connecticut’s insurance industry has declined in the past decade, but it is projected to grow 9.7 percent by 2022, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Connecticut Insurance & Financial Services cluster.
Hartford, long considered the Insurance Capital, ranks ninth in the number of people employed by insurance carriers — such as Aetna, Cigna Corp., The Hartford Financial Services Group and The Travelers Cos. –- according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers report, which examines labor statistics.
Connecticut had 50,242 people directly employed by insurance companies last year and a total of 61,583 people employed in the insurance industry when you add in full-time workers at agencies, brokerages and other related insurance businesses.
Those employment figures are likely lower this year as some carriers have announced layoffs.
Eight other states have more people employed directly by insurance carriers and in the industry overall. Those states, in order, starting with the top employer are: Texas, California, New York, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New Jersey. Behind Connecticut, rounding out the top 10 insurance states, is Wisconsin.
Texas had 90,857 people employed by insurance carriers and 163,690 employed in the insurance industry, which includes life, health and property-casualty.
Connecticut, however, is in first place when it comes to employment by an insurance carrier as a percentage of overall employment — at 3.1 percent last year. It had been more than 4 percent of all employment in the early 1990s, declined to slightly above 3 percent in the late 1990s and has remained relatively flat ever since.
Malloy said he inherited declining employment in the insurance industry from his predecessors, but he is actively trying to grow the industry. For example, Cigna Corp. was the first company to take part in his First Next Five program, which rewards companies with tax incentives in exchange for growing employment.
“This is a good industry,” Malloy said. “This is a good way to make a living.”
The event featured remarks from three top insurance executives in each of the following: property-casualty, health and life. Broadly, their themes were about how technology and data have transformed their industries in the recent past, and will continue to do so in the future.
Each is dealing with major, game-changing factors unique to their industry, aside from the drag of a weak economy.
In property-casualty, insurers are contending with increasingly erratic and violent weather patterns.
In health care, insurers are taking on challenges related to federal reform and new ways of paying clinicians while tackling higher medical expenses related to an aging population and more people with chronic diseases.
In the retirement services segment of life insurance, several factors are coming together to create a retirement crisis: Baby Boomers will put a strain on Social Security; volatile equity markets make it difficult to grow investments; growing health-care costs puts a financial strain on everyone as does student-loan debt for young people who might otherwise save money for retirement; corporations are shifting away from providing pensions to workers and people are living longer, which means they need more cash piled up when they stop working.
One constant has remained, Connecticut remains an attractive place to insurance companies because of the talented workforce, according to top executives at UnitedHealthcare, Travelers, The Hartford and other companies.
“Traditionally, the workforce in Connecticut has been tremendous,” said Brian MacLean, president and chief information officer at The Travelers Cos.