The same year that Hartford Insurance settled a $20 million fraud suit with the state of New York, board member and compensation chair Paul Kirk decided to make the company’s CEO the second-highest paid executive in the insurance industry.
Today, Kirk was named Kennedy’s successor in the Senate by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick.
Sunlight’s Paul Blumenthal detailed Paul Kirk’s corporate ties in a post this morning, highlighting his role on Hartford Financial Services’ compensation committee and his past lobbying work for Aventis pharmaceuticals. He also noted that Kirk helped make CEO Ramani Ayer one of the most overpaid executives in the country, according to Forbes, with compensation of $9 million in 2008. The New York Times chose to report exactly none of this in an article posted this afternoon.
The Hartford is an insurance company, so it wasn’t very hard to find areas where they’ve run afoul of the law. Seriously: google “Hartford Financial” fraud. There you have it: in 2006, the company agreed to pay $20 million to settle an investigation by New York and Connecticut into fraudulent sales of retirement products:
“This investigation shows how payoffs and deception influenced major deals for retirement products,” Spitzer said. “This was wrong. But the company at the center of the scandal has acknowledged misconduct, provided compensation for those who were harmed, and implemented reforms that will help protect retirees in the future.”
The Attorney General’s office began its investigation of the marketing of retirement products last year after receiving tips indicating that insurance companies might be making secret payments to insurance brokers to recommend group annuities to pension plans.
Perhaps Kirk misheard that bit about compensating victims. That very same year, as chair of the compensation committee, he decided to pay the Hartford’s CEO $21.5 million in salary and benefits, making him the second-highest paid insurance executive in the country, according to Forbes.
Hustling retirees continues to be a core competency of the Hartford, it seems. In recent months, the company’s lobbyists have been fighting 401k fee transparency.
Word has it that the Kennedy family pushed hard for Kirk’s appointment. Is this what they stand for?