The Hartford announces leadership successions

The Hartford appointed Michael Fish head of Group Benefits succeeding Jonathan Bennett, who will retire at the end of 2024 after 25 years with the company. Fish, who is currently chief operating officer for Group Benefits, will report directly to The Hartford’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift.

In addition, H. Clay Bassett Jr. was named global chief underwriting officer and head of reinsurance, succeeding M. Ross Fisher, who will retire at the end of 2024 after more than two decades with the company. Bassett, who is currently deputy global chief underwriting officer and head of Navigators Reinsurance, a brand of The Hartford, will report to The Hartford’s Chief Financial Officer Beth Costello. Fish and Bassett will complete the transition to their new roles by Oct. 1.

Fish joined The Hartford in 2004 and previously served as head of Group Benefits Product and Strategy. He also led the Group Benefits underwriting organization and was responsible for the integration following The Hartford’s 2017 acquisition of Aetna’s U.S. Group Life and Disability business. Prior to joining The Hartford, Fish worked for Unum Group in various leadership positions.

Bassett joined The Hartford in May 2019 with the company’s acquisition of The Navigators Group, Inc. where he was chief underwriting officer since joining that organization in 2008. Prior to that, Bassett served as chief underwriting officer for Folksamerica Reinsurance Company and held various underwriting management positions with Swiss Re, AIG and National Reinsurance Corporation.

“Mike and Clay are a testament to the exceptional bench of leadership talent at The Hartford. These moves validate our unwavering focus on talent development and disciplined approach to succession planning. Promoting strong, experienced internal leaders allows us to seamlessly continue with our strategic plans and positions us well for future growth. I also want to celebrate and recognize the tremendous contributions that both Jonathan and Ross have made in various leadership roles throughout their storied careers at The Hartford. In addition to Group Benefits, Jonathan has held senior positions in Personal Lines, Small Commercial, finance, corporate strategy and digital commerce. He is regarded as an influential and visionary leader who has helped mentor and develop talent across the enterprise. Ross has elevated underwriting across The Hartford and has been at the forefront of aligning the company’s underwriting discipline with its sustainability strategy. He also has been instrumental in using data-driven solutions to help the company broaden and deepen its risk appetite. In addition, he oversaw the integration following The Hartford’s acquisition of Navigators. Both leaders leave a strong legacy for the company to build on.” – Christopher Swift.