Aetna has confirmed its moving its corporate headquarters out of Hartford, Connecticut, and into New York City, which offered a package of property and sales tax breaks worth nearly $34 million.
The insurer has roots in Hartford since it began as a fire insurance company in 1819, but it confirmed in late May it was considering “several states” for relocating around 250 executives, citing the need for greater access to talent for “knowledge economy-type positions.” Another concern was Connecticut’s financial situation, which Aetna referenced its official statement announcing the move.
“Aetna's long-term commitment to Connecticut will be based on the state's economic health," the company said in a statement. “The company remains hopeful that lawmakers will come to an agreement that puts Connecticut on sound financial footing, and that the state will support needed reforms to make Hartford a vibrant city once again.”
The state is projected to have budget shortfalls of $2.3 billion and $2.8 billion the next two fiscal years, and if a budget isn’t passed, the city may need to file for bankruptcy. For now, around 6,000 Aetna jobs will stay in Connecticut. The state’s governor, Dannel Malloy, had offered to match any incentives offered by other states to keep the corporate headquarters in Hartford, but believed the decision came down to Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini’s personal preference for living in New York City.
“This is an important reminder that to be competitive, Connecticut state government must immediately take the necessary steps to produce a balanced biennial budget with recurring measures to reduce spending and structural solutions to our long-term problems,” Malloy said in a statement. “We must also continue to invest in the revitalization of our cities.”
According to the Hartford Courant, only 12 percent of Aetna’s total workforce is now based in Connecticut, down from 40 percent in 1992. The move also threatens Hartford’s reputation as capital of the insurance industry, which now employs 37,000 people in the city, down from 60,000 in 1990.