A spokesman for MetLife declined to comment. A Hartford spokeswoman didn't respond to a request for comment.
Shares in both MetLife, valued at about $19 billion, and Hartford, valued at about $7.5 billion, plunged last week after both firms pre-reported third-quarter investment losses and announced efforts to raise capital.
Hartford received a $2.5 billion investment from Allianz SE on October 6 and cut its dividend by 40%. MetLife raised $2 billion in new equity.
MetLife's shares fell 27%, to $27, last Friday alone. Its shares are down 53% over the past month. Hartford's shares fell 13%, to $24.86, and have fallen 62% in four weeks. The companies' abilities to pay insurance claims are unaffected.
MetLife had hoped that by raising $2 billion in new capital it would strengthen its financial situation and enable it to take advantage of acquisition opportunities, according to one insider. But investors interpreted the move as a sign of weakness, leading to further selloffs of MetLife's shares.
The two companies insist they have suffered few mortgage-driven losses. Unlike investment banks, which must mark their positions regularly, insurers can hold securities at face value to maturity.
Originally published in Retirement Income Reporter.