The Hartford inverts the calculus of risk

Innovation Strategy

HartfordThe Hartford Financial Services Group, a venerable patriarch of the insurance industry, has helped its customers recover from catastrophes including the Chicago fire of 1871 and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.


The 21st century presented a new challenge: emergent specialty competitors and alternative business models. The Hartford needed a new business proposition to serve changing consumer requirements in a changing world.

Today’s consumers need a proactive partner to ensure progress toward their goals. Could a new model keep you out of harms way?

Great Chicago Fire

The Hartford was formed to recover from catastrophes. The Great Chicago Fire provided an early test.


Crafting an alternative innovation strategy started with a different set of assumptions, informed by research to reveal an essential cultural shift.

risk calculus

Invert calculus from remediation to prevention

The economic crisis of 2008 reinforced a growing change in US consumer perception of insurance. The underlying economic conditions of consumer finance altered, with housing prices plummeting to catastrophic lows. In turn, consumers questioned their financial stability in a world of unpredictable dynamics and consequences. To stay relevant, Hartford had to meet demand with a new underlying business proposition.

Insurance was designed to reactively insure against disruptive crisis. The traditional model shows up like an ambulance, to triage a wound after the fact.

Proactive table

Perceived insurance needs arise from feelings of insecurity and a need for control.

The team produced a new vision to serve a new need. The platform strategy was modeled on a parallel transition underway in healthcare – a proactive model for health, rather than just a reactive model for illness.

The Hartford can now prototype new offerings for a balanced portfolio of risk appetites, reactive insurance AND proactive partners in ensurance.