SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

December 20, 2010 11:25 ET

With Unemployment High, Insurers Change Their Priorities

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on Hartford Financial & XL Group

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 20, 2010) - Earlier this month, the US economy was dealt a surprising setback when the US Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that unemployment rose from 9.6 percent in October to 9.8 percent in November as hiring slowed down. Paul Zemsky, the head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management, argues that "The U.S. economy is all about jobs and anything that leads folks to believe that there's a better job market will be good for equities." This is true of the insurance sector. With a weak economy and high unemployment levels, the middle class as a whole is not in a position to spend on new insurance policies. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Property & Casualty Insurance Industry and provides research reports on Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG) and XL Group PLC (NYSE: XL). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

To offset less revenue from the middle class, some of the nation's larger insurers have begun to devote their attention to the wealthier segment of the population as these clients are interested in protecting their estates from taxes.

The upper class was given an early Christmas present this month when the White House decided to compromise with Republicans and extended Bush era tax cuts for the top earners in the US -- though yesterday Vice President Joe Biden hinted that he and President Obama will fight to end the "morally troubling" tax cuts for rich Americans in the re-election year of 2012.

The Bedford Report releases regular market updates on the Property & Casualty Insurance Industry so investors can stay ahead of the crowd and make the best investment decisions to maximize their returns. Take a few minutes to register with us free at and get exclusive access to our numerous analyst reports and industry newsletters.

Hartford Financial saw its earnings spike in the most recent quarter. In the third quarter the company posted a profit of $666 million, or $1.34 a share, compared with a loss of $220 million, or 79 cents, a year earlier. Meanwhile XL group said that third-quarter net income came in at $77.5 million, or 23 cents per share.

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