What’s the Insurance Capital Without Aetna? Hartford May Find Out

HARTFORD — Very little is going right for this once proud New England capital.

Hartford’s finances are such a shambles that it is on the verge of bankruptcy. In a city already plagued by violence, murders are on the rise this year. Even the minor league baseball stadium, which opened to much fanfare two months ago, is the subject of an F.B.I. investigation over its hefty price tag.

Now comes the latest and perhaps most painful blow: Aetna, the insurance giant, announced last month that it was planning to move its headquarters out of the city it has called home since it was founded more than 150 years ago.

State and city leaders have spent months pleading with the company to stay. Aetna was negotiating with several states for a location of its new headquarters and hoped to have a decision by early summer.

Aetna helped elevate Hartford to international recognition as the world’s insurance capital. Word that it may be packing boxes shows how far the city’s fortunes have fallen.


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“In some ways, of all the companies that could move their headquarters out of the state, symbolically this may be the most painful,” said Walter Woodward, Connecticut’s historian and an associate professor at the University of Connecticut. “This is not just a corporate loss. It’s a cultural loss.”

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