Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas R. Sullivan issued a statement today reassuring worried customers of the Hartford Financial Services Group that the firm is solid and safe.

His announcement came after shares of the Hartford, Conn.-based insurer were off about $3 in afternoon trading after opening at $26.46. Earlier, the stock hit a new 52-week low of $21.34. Meanwhile, UBS lowered its price target on the “Neutral”-rated stock to $26 from $70.

Hartford Group announced Monday that Allianz was making a $2.5 billion investment in the firm to bolster its capital position. Management denied it was the first step in a possible Allianz takeover. The company trimmed its dividend and forecasted its third-quarter will show a big loss.

Mr. Sullivan said he was reminding consumers to remain calm and make only educated decisions during this time, and that the Connecticut Insurance Department is a great resource.

The Consumer Affairs division, his statement said, has received several consumer inquiries about the financial stability of The Hartford Group.

“Protecting consumers is the hallmark of state regulation, and I am committed to that task. As regulators, we monitor the financial strength of all insurance companies doing business in Connecticut,” said Mr. Sullivan.

“As one of the largest and oldest Connecticut-domiciled insurance companies, The Hartford continues to perform with a well-established core business platform. The Hartford Group’s financial strength remains solid and will continue to meet policyholder obligations,” the commissioner added.

A year ago The Hartford’s stock was trading in the range of $96 a share.

Connecticut residents with questions or concerns about their insurance policies were advised to contact the Consumer Affairs Division at 1-800-203-3447, or visit the department Web site at