As companies face unprecedented levels of uncertainty while coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States, many individuals are turning to their financial advisors or insurance companies for guidance. These companies are playing a key role in providing information on everything from small business operations, to recommendations on how to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG) finds itself squarely in the role of information provider, even as it implements its own efforts to protect business operations and ensure continuity for its customers.
The company, like many others, has implemented a work from home policy where appropriate, and is holding meetings via teleconference or virtually via the web. The company has endeavored to assure customers, stating, “We have the capability to operate with a remote workforce, and we do not anticipate any disruption in our ability to serve customers.”
As an information provider, the company has put forth guidelines and rules on how coronavirus claims should be addressed, and the steps the company will take to process any claims related to the virus.
The attempt to provide customers information in a clear and concise manner, and be a leader in the crisis, is a sound customer retention strategy in normal times, and should pay dividends in the current crisis.
Hartford uses over 400 clinicians to review claims. With this approach, the company boasts, “Our highly experienced clinical intake team is the first point-of-contact, ensuring employees [customers] receive personalized, compassionate care and dedicated claims evaluation on a case-by-case basis.”
The company has also put in place specific websites that address how customers can make claims as well as links to a variety of information sources provided both by Hartford Financial Services Group, and a number of other authoritative virus resources.
While Hartford has been providing a bridge to constantly evolving information for its customers, the company’s stock has been battered with the rest of the market. The stock has traded down to a PE of under 5. And, currently has a dividend rate of 4.95%.
Hartford has not yet made public any assessment of what the impact of the virus will be on earnings. The company beat last quarter’s earnings estimates by 6.7%, largely due to better than expected results in its Property & Casualty division. Hartford earned $1.43 per share in the latest quarter.
Steven Adams’s personal position in Hartford Financial Services Group: none.
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