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The Hartford to Sell Variable Annuity Business to Berkshire Hathaway

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As a means of continuing to reduce the size and risk associated with its legacy variable annuity business, property and casualty insurer The Hartford (NYSE: HIG  ) announced today it has agreed to sell its U.K.-based subsidiary, Hartford Life Internationa,l to Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-B  ) Columbia Insurance for approximately $285 million.

When the deal is completed, the only asset Hartford Life will have will be a Dublin-based company that sold variable annuities in the U.K. from 2005 to 2009.

As part of what is known as the Talcott Resolution, The Hartford placed all of its international and institutional variable annuity business into a single runoff entity, whose sole purpose was to pursue opportunities to reduce the size and risk of its annuity book of business while honoring the insurer's obligations to its annuity contract holders. The Hartford stopped writing annuity business in 2009, but the Talcott Resolution still managed, as of Dec. 1, 2012, approximately 1.7 million annuity contracts with account values of approximately $163 billion.

"Selling the U.K. business is another meaningful step forward," said Christopher J. Swift, executive VP and CFO for The Hartford. "We are pleased with the outcome of the competitive bidding process, which reflects our criteria of executing transactions on terms that are attractive to The Hartford."

The purchase price is roughly equal to the variable annuity company's statutory surplus, as calculated using Irish accounting standards, and is expected to reduce U.S. statutory surplus by approximately $150 million in the second quarter of 2013.

While it's anticipated the deal will close by the end of the year, The Hartford expects the transaction will result in an after-tax net GAAP loss of approximately $110 million in the second quarter of 2013.

Deutsche Bank served as The Hartford's financial advisor for the transaction, and the company's legal advisor is Sidley Austin LLP.

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