NU Online News Service, Aug. 29, 3:01 p.m. – Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, says it will be offering guaranteed “lifetime” death benefit protection riders to purchasers of its Stag Accumulator and Stag Protector variable-universal life insurance policies.

Holders of VUL policies can pay premiums on a flexible schedule and put policy assets in investment funds that resemble mutual funds. Many holders depend on policy assets to fund the policies.

The new Hartford lifetime guarantee rider eliminates the risk that the VUL policy death benefits will lapse due to drops in stock prices, even if stock prices stay low for an extended period, Hartford says.

Hartford notes that the lifetime guarantee might not last a full lifetime for some extremely long-lived policyholders, because the Stag Accumulator policy matures at age 95 and the Stag Protector policy matures at age 100.

Hartford will also be offering a 20-year death benefit guarantee rider.

Hartford will extend the guarantees at the end of the guarantee period if policy account values are positive, Hartford says.

The length of the extension will be determined by the amount of the policy’s account value.

Both the policies and the guarantees will be written by Hartford’s Hartford Life Insurance Company and Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company units.