NU Online News Service, May 03, 8:12 a.m. EDT

First quarter net income at The Hartford was down about 81 percent to $96 million, as net losses from runoff operations totaled $378 million.

In March, The Hartford announced it would exit the life business to focus on its stronger property and casualty operations. The company says it placed its individual-annuity business into runoff.

In a statement, Liam E. McGee, chief executive officer, says The Hartford is “initiating the sales of process for individual life, retirement plans and Woodbury Financial Services, which are proceeding well.”

Runoff operations generated a $49 million loss during the first quarter last year.

Core earnings were up 7 percent to $612 million in the first quarter compared to $574 million during the same period a year ago.

McGee says, “P&C commercial’s pricing momentum continued and retention remained strong.”

Price increases at renewal in Hartford’s commercial markets segment were up an average of 7 percent for small and middle-market commercial, and 14 percent in middle-market workers’ compensation.

However, first-quarter net income in the segment was down to $207 million from $334 million a year ago.

Last year during the first three months, Hartford reported $4 million of favorable prior-year reserve development. This year Hartford reports $13 million of unfavorable reserve development after the first quarter.

Additionally, the segment’s underlying combined ratio of 96.4 in the first quarter was 1.1 points higher than last year. The increase reflects lower profitability in workers’ comp, Hartford says.

The insurer’s consumer markets segment reports first-quarter net income of $108 million—the same as 2011.

New auto and homeowners written premium increased 31 percent, driven by affinity relationships with AARP.