HIG – Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. – Call options on the insurance and financial services firm are flying off the shelves today with shares trading higher by as much as 2.95% to tie down an intraday high of $22.99. As of 2:20 pm ET, more than 14.1 calls have changed hands on HIG for each single put option in action on the stock thus far in the session. The sharp increase in demand for calls bumped up the insurer’s overall reading of options implied volatility 26.4% to today’s high of 56.57%. While some investors populating HIG are selling calls, the majority of calls traded were purchased by traders positioning for continue appreciation in the price of the underlying shares. Near-term optimists picked up roughly 7,500 calls at the September $23 strike for an average premium of $0.50 each. Call buyers at this strike make money if HIG’s shares rally above the average breakeven price of $23.50 by expiration day next Friday. Other bulls purchased some 4,600 calls at the September $24 strike for premium of $0.23 each. Another 2,800 calls were scooped up at the higher September $25 strike at an average premium of $0.16 a-pop. More than 10,800 calls changed hands at the September $26 strike versus previously existing open interest of just 3,300 lots. The vast majority of those calls, some 7,000 contracts, traded to the middle of the market at a premium of $0.12 apiece. Bullish sentiment on the insurance company spread to the October $24 strike where some 2,000 calls were coveted at an average premium of $0.76 each. Investors holding these contracts stand ready to accumulate profits if HIG’s shares jump 7.7% over today’s high of $22.99 to exceed the average breakeven price of $24.76 by October expiration. An additional 2,000 calls were picked up at the October $25 strike for premium of $0.70 a-pop. Traders long the calls make money if shares surge 11.8% to trade above $25.70 ahead of expiration day next month. Options traders exchanged more than 66,700 contracts on Hartford Financial Services Group by 2:30 pm ET.