Constitution Plaza, Hartford
In 1871, in its first recorded major act of corporate giving, Phoenix contributed $5,000 to victims of the devastating Chicago fire – an amount equal to the company president’s annual salary.
Today, under the leadership of CEO Jim Wehr, Phoenix continues to make a difference through a combination of employee volunteerism, executive leadership and charitable giving. Last year, the company and its employees contributed nearly $1 million to the United Way.
History: Founded in 1851, the Phoenix Life Insurance Company insured President Abraham Lincoln. Today, its iconic two-sided “boat building,” is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
History: The origins of The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company trace back 150 years to April 27, 1865 when the boilers on the Mississippi river steamship Sultana exploded condemning over 1,700 freed Union POWs to fiery deaths and drowning. It was the largest maritime disaster in U.S. history, greater even than the Titanic, but sadly this disaster became a shadow in American history. Yet this tragedy led to the founding of Hartford Steam Boiler and the company’s continuing mission to use science and engineering to prevent needless loss.
History: In 2007, XL Insurance became the new naming sponsor for the former Hartford Civic Center
Travelers focuses on supporting academic & career success, developing thriving neighborhoods, and enhancing lives through arts and culture. In 2014 Travelers contributed more than $7.5 million in Connecticut, nearly half of that went to education initiatives. More than $1 million went directly to Hartford Public Schools and school improvement plans. Overall, the company contributed nearly $22 million to communities.
History: Founded in 1864, Travelers issued the first automobile policy in 1897 to auto mechanic Gilbert Loomis, who built a one-cylinder car. In 1969, Travelers issued space travel accident policies to cover American astronauts during the 1969 Apollo mission.
History: The office of the state Insurance Commissioner was established in 1865 by the General Assembly. Benjamin Noyes, a New Haven businessman was the first Commissioner. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the office, the Connecticut’s 32rd Commissioner Katharine L. Wade is kicking off the “Insurance Capital Walk” and has invited others associated with the industry to join in. The Insurance Department is headquartered in the former G. Fox Building, an iconic edifice with an Art Deco interior.
The Prudential Foundation contributed nearly $35 million to non-profit organizations in 2014. The Foundation makes long-term commitments that yield tangible results through both grants and program-related investments.
History: The Prudential Friendly Society was founded by insurance agent John Fairfield Dryden in a basement office in downtown Newark, N.J., in 1875 and made life insurance available to the working class. The company sold Industrial Insurance, which provided funeral and burial expenses for low-income families, with some weekly premiums as low as 3 cents.
Each year, UnitedHealth Group employees in Connecticut volunteer more than 30,000 hours of their time to support local organizations that help improve the health of individuals and our communities, including working with local food banks and supporting programs to help children live healthier lives. In August 2015, more than 100 Milford-area residents and local UnitedHealthcare employees built a new playground at the Woodruff Family YMCA, a Branch of the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA. This is the 18th playground UnitedHealthcare has helped build with the support of KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing play to all kids. More than 17,000 children in Milford have a safe place to play.
History: In 1996, the company’s patented artificial intelligence system AdjudiPro was awarded the CIO Enterprise Value Award. Today, it is entered into the permanent research collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation was created in 1980 and works to increase access to fresh, affordable food to communities and families in the region; supports healthy, strong communities through grant contributions and community service; and addresses health disparities affecting diverse populations. Since entering the Connecticut marketplace in 2014, Harvard Pilgrim has provided a grant to Hartford Food System to purchase a bus for a year-round mobile farmer’s market; mini-grants to several civic organizations; worked with New Haven Farms to support nutritional wellness programs; enabled Boys & Girls Club members to participate in nutrition/gardening/cooking education programs in Hartford; volunteered to plant a community garden, paint a mural and host a fitness clinic at Martin Luther King Jr. School in Hartford in 2015.
History: Founded 35 years ago, Harvard Pilgrim is a not-for-profit health services company serving members throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It was created by physicians and is committed to building robust partnerships with the doctors and hospitals in its network
History: Now occupied by state agencies, these two buildings have a venerable history.
55 Elm Street was built in 1926 and styled after the Medici-Riccardi Palace in Florence, Italy by designer James Gamble Rogers. It was the headquarters of Connecticut General Life from 1926 to 1957. It now houses the offices of the state Attorney General, Comptroller and Treasurer.
79 Elm Street is a Renaissance Revival style and was part of Hartford’s “Insurance Row” of the 1920s. It was home to the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company from 1920 to 1963. It now is the headquarters of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
In 2015, Lincoln Financial Foundation awarded nearly $230,000 in grants to fifteen local nonprofits to strengthen educational opportunity and reduce the dropout rate in Hartford. The company also awarded a $25,000 grant to Hands On Hartford (HOH) to support the expansion of HOH’s Hunger Relief for Families program that serves 2,600 Hartford residents. The increased support will provide healthier food choices, fresh produce, eggs and milk to 480 households a month through the HOH community pantry and weekend backpack distribution models.
History: Lincoln Financial was founded in 1905 by a group of business leaders in Fort Wayne, Indiana who wanted to create a life insurance company based on dependability, honesty and service. They adopted the name of the nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, who represented their principles. Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, provided the founders a photograph of his father, along with a letter authorizing the use of his father’s likeness and name, making the company the first and only one in the world to freely to carry Abraham Lincoln’s name, image and ideals.
History: Directly across from Lincoln Financial sits the William R. Cotter Federal Building, a Neoclassical designed building constructed in 1933. It originally served as a post office, court house and office building and in 1981 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1982 it was named after former Connecticut Congressman William R. Cotter, who also served as the state’s Insurance Commissioner from 1963 to 1970.
History: Aetna hired its first full-time employee in Connecticut in 1854. In 1963, an enterprising Houston agent convinced America’s original seven astronauts to purchase Aetna policies. He then convinced Aetna to write the policies, the first individual life insurance policies for spacemen. In 1966, Aetna paid the very first claim under the Medicare program, the nation’s first comprehensive government-sponsored program to provide health insurance for older Americans.
In the past five years in Connecticut, The Hartford and its employees have contributed nearly $10 million in donations to the local community and volunteered more than 100,000 hours, providing more than $2.25 million in community impact through their time and talent. The company’s $7 million Asylum Hill Initiative has helped more than 12,000 children enjoy education enrichment programs; 6,000 students benefit from Junior Achievement, 3,000 middle school students obtain uniforms and has brought more than 150 teachers to Hartford public schools. More than 800 homeless or at-risk individuals and families have been assisted with housing resources. The company has planted 214 trees, tore down the derelict Capitol West building and partnered Habitat for Humanity and the Northside Institution Neighborhood Alliance to reburbish/build 14 neighborhood homes.
History: The Hartford has insured insuring some of the nation’s most historic construction projects, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam and provided coverage to former presidents, famous historical figures, and sports heroes like Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Robert E. Lee, Buffalo Bill, and Babe Ruth. The company also paid claims of some of America’s largest disasters, including the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.
In May 2015, the Hartford changed the name of its HartBeat Park in Asylum Hill to the Liam E. McGee Memorial Park to honor the legacy of its late CEO, who took an active role in the Asylum Hill Community. The employee park covers more than 11 acres and includes a walking, fitness stations and seating area.