When Liam McGee and Christopher Swift began their stints as chief executive and chief financial officer at The Hartford in late 2009 and early 2010, both outsiders sensed the need to work on something beyond troubled financials.

Executive Summary

With the restructuring of The Hartford now firmly in the past, CEO Christopher Swift says the company is moving ahead with a broader risk appetite in previously untapped areas of the nation—the middle of the country and sectors like manufacturing and transportation. In a recent interview, he also reflected on the cultural transformation that has taken shape at the company in recent years.

Although the task at hand was to fix problems exacerbated by the financial crisis by unloading risk and restructuring operations in line with the capital base, McGee, a former executive for Bank of America, and Swift, a former audit practice leader for KPMG, had a bigger picture in their sights.

“You can select the businesses you want be in, but then you really need to change the culture,” Swift, now the CEO of Hartford, told Carrier Management during an interview at the Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum in January when asked to sum up the leadership lessons he learned from being part of the two-man team widely credited with The Hartford’s turnaround. (Swift became CEO when McGee stepped down for medical reasons in June 2014. McGee passed away on Feb. 13, 2015 after a battle with cancer.)

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