NU Online News Service, June 7, 6:32 p.m. – Hartford Life Insurance Company, a unit of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, is sponsoring two athletic events this month that are designed to accommodate athletes with disabilities.

The first, the Hartford Regatta, a sailing competition, will take place June 20-21 in Newport, R.I.

Shake-a-Leg Inc., Newport, the nonprofit group organizing the regatta, will team sailors with disabilities with insurance brokers and Hartford Life employees in crews of three to four.

The second event, the National Sports Festival for the Disabled, will take place June 24-30 in New London, Conn.

The National Disability Sports Alliance, Kingston, R.I., organizes the festival for athletes who have conditions such as cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, amputations and visual impairment.

The festival will bring several hundred athletes with disabilities together for track and field events and competitions in sports such as bowling, swimming, weightlifting, wheelchair soccer, archery and table tennis.

The June sponsorships are part of Hartford Life’s year-round, national campaign to promote the abilities of people with disabilities?and the value of disability insurance?by supporting events that are open to people with disabilities.

The best known event in the campaign is probably the Hartford Ski Spectacular, a ski tournament that takes place each December on the Colorado slopes, but the company tries to sponsor some kind of event once a month.

Attending the events “is really very powerful and inspiring,” says Liz Zlatkus, an executive vice president at Hartford Life. “We’re very, very proud of our athletes.”

Zlatkus, who runs Hartford Life’s group disability and group life operations, says disability insurers are not the only companies that should be sponsoring events for people with disabilities.

“I would like to see all of us embrace the power of people with disabilities,” Zlatkus says.

Zlatkus notes that Hartford Life makes a point of supporting programs for people with disabilities in its local charitable efforts as well as its national sponsorship marketing campaign.

In Hartford, for example, the company has helped pay for the construction of a playground designed by and for children with disabilities.