Aetna’s 164-Year History in Hartford

1850: Aetna Insurance Co. organized an annuity fund to sell life insurance. In 1853, the annuity department separated from Aetna Insurance and was incorporated as Aetna Life Insurance Co.

1861: With the start of the Civil War, Aetna began offering participating life insurance policies that paid dividends to policyholders. Aetna aggressively promoted the product, including the payment of higher commission rates for agents. The devastation of the war and a strong wartime economy sparked a surge in life insurance purchases. By 1865, annual income exceeded $1 million.

1888: Aetna President Morgan G. Bulkeley, a Republican, was elected governor of Connecticut. He had previously served as mayor of Hartford for several terms.

1891: Aetna issued its first accident policy, taking the first step in a 30-year transformation from a monoline insurer to a company that offers a variety of coverage policies.

1902: Aetna began offering liability coverage. As the U.S. industrial economy grew more diverse and government regulations increased, Aetna organized an accident and liability department to handle employers’ liability and workmen’s collective insurance.

1907: Aetna began offering automobile coverage.

1930: Construction completed on Aetna’s corporate headquarters at 151 Farmington Avenue in Hartford. At the time of its completion, it’s the largest colonial-style building in the world and was the largest office building in Connecticut.

1944: Aetna becomes the first insurer to advertise on television.

1954: Aetna orders its first computer, an IBM 650.

1963: A Houston agent persuaded America’s original seven astronauts in NASA’s Mercury program to buy Aetna policies. He also persuaded Aetna to write the policies, the first individual life insurance policies for astronauts.

1984: Aetna opened new facilities valued at $200 million. The expansion strategy included a new building in Middletown; construction in Hartford of a training center renovation of several buildings on Capitol Avenue and construction of an office building downtown; and construction of a building in Fall River, Mass.

1993: Aetna opened its first offices in China.

1996: Aetna merged with U.S. Healthcare, becoming for the first time a health and financial services company. Aetna Life & Casualty was renamed Aetna Inc.

2013: Aetna acquires Coventry Health Care Inc., making the combined organization the third-largest health care benefits company in the U.S., based on membership.

2015: Aetna reaches deal to buy Humana. The Justice Department will block the merger in early 2017.

2017: Aetna announces it will move its corporate headquarters to New York City.

2017: CVS will reportedly purchase Aetna in a $69 billion deal.

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