================================================================================ UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Washington, D.C. 20549 FORM 8-K CURRENT REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 Date of report (Date of earliest event reported) January 5, 2004 ------------------------------------- CNA FINANCIAL CORPORATION (Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter) DELAWARE 1-5823 36-6169860 (State or Other Jurisdiction (Commission (IRS Employer of Incorporation) File Number) Identification No.) CNA PLAZA, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60685 (Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code) Registrant's telephone number, including area code (312) 822-5000 Not Applicable (Former Name or Former Address, if Changed Since Last Report) ================================================================================ Page 1 of 2

Item 7. Financial Statements and Exhibits (c) Exhibits: Exhibit No. Description 99.1 CNA Financial Corporation press release, issued January 5, 2004. Item 9. Regulation FD Disclosure The information in this Current Report is being furnished and shall not be deemed "filed" for the purpose of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or otherwise subject to the liabilities of that Section. The information in this Current Report shall not be incorporated by reference into any registration statement or other document pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. On January 5, 2004 Registrant issued a press release announcing that it has completed the previously announced sale of its Group Benefits business to Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. for approximately $500 million. The press release is furnished as Exhibit 99.1 to this Form 8-K. SIGNATURES Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned hereunto duly authorized. CNA FINANCIAL CORPORATION Dated: January 5, 2004 /s/ Robert V. Deutsch -------------------------------- By: Robert V. Deutsch Its: Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Page 2 of 2

EXHIBIT 99.1 [CNA FINANCIAL LOGO] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: MEDIA: ANALYSTS: Charles M. Boesel, 312/822-2592 Dawn M. Jaffray, 312/822-7757 Katrina W. Parker, 312/822-5167 CNA FINANCIAL FINALIZES THE PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED SALE OF ITS GROUP BENEFITS BUSINESS CHICAGO, JANUARY 5, 2004 --- CNA Financial Corporation (NYSE: CNA) today announced that it has completed the previously announced sale of its Group Benefits business to Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. for approximately $500 million. The business sold included group life and accident, and short and long term disability insurance. CNA`s group long term care and specialty medical businesses were excluded from the sale. The transaction closed on December 31, 2003. As part of the sale, approximately 1,200 employees were transferred to The Hartford. ABOUT CNA CNA is the country's fourth largest commercial insurance writer and the 11th largest property and casualty company. CNA's insurance products include standard commercial lines, specialty lines, surety, marine and other property and casualty coverages; life and accident insurance; and pension products. CNA services include risk management, information services, underwriting, risk control and claims administration. For more information, please visit CNA at www.cna.com. CNA is a registered service mark, trade name and domain name of CNA Financial Corporation. Page 1 of 2

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT The statements contained in this press release, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. When included in this press release, the words "believes," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "estimates," and analogous expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include expected developments in the insurance business of CNA (the "Company"), including losses for asbestos, environmental pollution and mass tort claims; the Company's expectations concerning its revenues, earnings, expenses and investment activities; expected cost savings and other results from the Company's expense reduction and restructuring activities; and the Company's proposed actions in response to trends in its business. Such statements, and the financial condition and results of operations of the Company and the price of the Company's common stock, are subject to a variety of inherent risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others: general economic and business conditions, including inflationary pressures on medical care costs, construction costs and other economic sectors that increase the severity of claims; changes in financial markets such as fluctuations in interest rates, long-term periods of low interest rates, credit conditions and currency, commodity and stock prices; the effects of corporate bankruptcies, such as Enron and WorldCom, on surety bond claims, as well as on capital markets and on the markets for directors & officers and errors & omissions coverages; changes in foreign or domestic political, social and economic conditions; regulatory initiatives and compliance with governmental regulations; judicial decisions and rulings, including interpretation of policy provisions, decisions regarding coverage and theories of liability, trends in litigation and the outcome of any litigation involving the Company; changes in tax laws and regulations; regulatory limitations and restrictions upon the Company and its insurance subsidiaries; the impact of competitive products, policies and pricing and the competitive environment in which the Company operates, including changes in the Company's books of business; product and policy availability and demand and market responses, including the level of ability to obtain rate increases and decline or non-renew underpriced accounts, to achieve premium targets and profitability and to realize growth and retention estimates; development of claims and the impact on loss reserves, including changes in claim settlement practices; the effectiveness of current initiatives by claims management to reduce loss and expense ratio through more efficacious claims handling techniques; the performance of reinsurance companies under reinsurance contracts with the Company; results of financing efforts, including the availability of bank credit facilities; changes in the Company's composition of operating segments; weather and other natural physical events, including the severity and frequency of storms, hail, snowfall and other winter conditions, as well as of natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes; man-made disasters, including the possible occurrence of terrorist attacks and the effect of the absence of applicable terrorism legislation on coverages; the occurrence of epidemics; exposure to liabilities due to claims made by insureds and others relating to asbestos remediation and health-based asbestos impairments, and exposure to liabilities for environmental pollution and other mass tort claims; whether a national privately financed trust to replace litigation of asbestos claims with payments to claimants from the trust will be established or approved through federal legislation, or, if established and approved, whether it will contain funding requirements in excess of the Company's established loss reserves or carried loss reserves; the sufficiency of the Company's loss reserves and the possibility of future increases in reserves; the level of success in integrating acquired businesses and operations, and in consolidating existing ones; the possibility of changes in the Company's ratings by ratings agencies, including the inability to access certain markets or distribution channels and the required collateralization of future payment obligations as a result of such changes, and changes in rating agency policies and practices; the actual closing of contemplated transactions and agreements; and various other matters and risks (many of which are beyond the Company's control) detailed in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained in this press release to reflect any change in the Company's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based. # # # Page 2 of 2