Stephen Simpson, CFA
Long only, growth at reasonable price, value, research analyst

Hartford Financial Services Offers Self-Improvement And Takeover Potential

Although The Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) (or "The Hartford") has taken several significant steps to reposition itself as a quality P&C operator, the Street hasn't fully bought into the story. While the shares have appreciated about 50% over the last three years, ACE Limited (NYSE:ACE) and Travelers (NYSE:TRV) have done even better (up more than 60% each) and there's little differentiation among them over the past year despite ongoing self-improvement efforts at The Hartford.

To be sure, there are some reasons for The Hartford to lag. The company's expense ratio is a little higher than its peer group (or at least the better-run members) and investors worry that the variable annuity run-off process...

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