Connecting The Dots In Connecticut

Connecticut provides an environment that is conducive to growth and expansion across a diverse array of industries.

By Roneshia Thomas
From the March/April 2023 Issue

Home to 15 Fortune 500 companies, Connecticut welcomes organizations of all sizes and all industries, with advanced manufacturing, bioscience, and insurance sectors at the forefront.

Although big name companies such as Pfizer, Travelers, and Stanley Black & Decker call Connecticut home, the state also encourages growth for small businesses and startups. In October 2022, Governor Ned Lamont pledged a $46 million investment to assist small businesses across the state. These grants will support the formation, growth, and innovation of small businesses.

Founders Bridge, Hartford, CT. (Photo: Adobe Stock/ Sean Pavone Photo)

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and these grants will specifically be used to help provide support for those small business owners who may have previously experienced barriers to accessing financial support and other services needed to start and grow a business,” Gov. Lamont said.

The state has also provided a conducive environment for economic growth by providing a highly skilled workforce and being a home for innovation. JobsCT is an incentive for businesses that create new full-time jobs that meet median salary levels for the municipality where the facility is located. Connecticut is known as a destination for entrepreneurs launching new businesses, for highly skilled talent looking to build a career, and for seasoned professionals looking to lead their industries.

While Connecticut is home to over 4,000 manufacturing facilities, the insurance and financial sectors in the state are cornerstones here—and are flourishing. Expanding the insurance sector, earlier this year, Global Atlantic Financial Group committed to growing its operations into Hartford. On the financial side, the state is home to 10 of the world’s largest hedge funds, including Bridgewater Associates in Westport.

“Global Atlantic is a valued member of our business community, and it is great to see them expanding their physical footprint and continuing to add jobs in our capital city,” Alexandra Daum, Commissioner, CT Department of Community and Economic Development, and Peter Denious, CEO of the nonprofit economic development organization AdvanceCT, said in a joint statement.

Hartford, CT: Global Partnerships And Digital Advances

By Susan Shalhoub
, Hartford Business Journal

Hartford’s insurance industry’s foothold has been in the city for hundreds of years. It is why the region is known as “The Insurance Capital of the World.”

With a mix of natural strengths and strategic efforts, the Hartford region is an ideal location for insurance firms as a corporate headquarters, innovation hub, and affordable place for employees to live.

Connecticut is home to over 1,300 insurance carriers—everything from title companies to accredited insurers to fraternal benefit societies. Hartford is No. 1 in the United States per capita for insurance employment (Lightcast), affordable office lease rates, and a Top 10 state for business friendliness, according to CNBC America.

Hartford, CT is known as the “Insurance Capital of the World” due to its many insurance company headquarters. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Misperceptions about the insurance industry’s health in Hartford have been just that, say experts—due in part to corporate reshuffling and more remote work opportunities—a similar trend for the entire U.S. insurance industry.

But Domenic Luppino, Vice President of Consulting Services for CGI, said, “Hartford’s insurance industry is thriving and far from stodgy, companies here are doing well, with innovation the driver.”

“An important digital revolution had to happen, and insurance is the place to look. Insurance is doing all that work. People in the know are ramping up in response to the digital era. It’s more exciting—probably more than at any other time.”

Mike Haylon is head of global investment management firm Conning’s North American business, which serves the insurance industry.

“Hartford continues to have an important presence in the insurance industry and is an important center of influence,” said Haylon.

Conning has over half its global workforce in Hartford. He calls the area’s talent pool exceptional, with highly trained, skilled employees coming from local schools like UConn, Wesleyan University, and Trinity College.

Luppino sees more marketing of the city to young people as the next step and more social gathering places. To further develop the city as a destination, the Hartford Chamber of Commerce and the City of Hartford created the Hart Lift program. The program to date has awarded over 60 grants to new restaurants, bars, and retail shops. This vibrancy is a huge selling point for employers as they attract talent. “I want them—if they want to do tech—to say they want to live in Hartford,” he said. “The potential is there, and they will be supporting one of the most profitable industries in the country.”

A beacon of industry strength, Hartford entered into a trade agreement last year with the United Kingdom—The InsurTech Corridor—bringing insurance powerhouses together. Two years in the works, the partnership expands Hartford’s presence on the global stage, said Susan Winkler, Executive Director of CT IFS, but it also provides a ready-made network, resources, and regulatory framework for U.K. firms looking to locate here.

Hartford’s global connections, industry legacy, affordable housing, skilled labor, and strategic innovation make it a competitive region in which to do business. And it remains The Insurance Capital of the World.

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