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The Hartford sells UK variable annuity business to Berkshire Hathaway

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The Hartford has agreed to sell its UK variable annuity business to Warren Buffett’s investment management firm Berkshire Hathaway.

The deal will see Columbia Insurance Company, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, pay $285m (£189m) for Dublin-based Hartford Life.

Hartford Life sold variable annuities in the UK from 2005 to 2009. It had assets under administration of over £1bn as of 31 March.

The Hartford executive vice president and chief financial officer Christopher Swift says: “The Hartford has made significant progress reducing the size and risk of Talcott Resolution’s legacy variable annuity blocks and the business unit is now self-sufficient from a capital perspective.

“Selling the UK business is another meaningful step forward. 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 agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “It will be a huge challenge for Berkshire Hathaway to provide Hartford customers with the service they require and I imagine a lot of policyholders will be looking for ways to exit. All in all I think this will be bad news for people who bought the product.”

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