Providing for retirement income that will be there regardless of market vagaries will be a major focus for Hartford Life Ins. Co., Hartford, Conn., going forward, according to John Walters, head of The Hartford’s investment products division.
Over the last 6 months, the Hartford Life board decided to implement this strategy in 3 ways, according to Walters. There will be an emphasis on: educating the advisor; creating products that fit; and, building retirement plan capabilities, he said during a session on world equities markets.
A new product that will probably be launched in the 1st or 2nd quarter of 2006 is similar to a deferred immediate annuity, Walters said. The new launch will probably be offered with different options such as with and without a return of premium so that more consumers with different budgets can use the product, he continues.
In addition to these longevity protection guarantee income offerings, Walters said that the effort to build retirement plan capabilities will focus on the very small market. For instance, he cited the single person 401(k) plan as an example.
Walters said that a Hartford Life study found that most people make retirement decisions 5 years before retirement and then stay with that plan. So, he explained, having the capability to offer retirement income planning items will be important.
While Walters maintains that there will be great opportunity reaching out to the 55-65 age group going forward, he said that the insurance industry will not leave its traditional role of providing life insurance. “I don’t think that life protection will go away at all.”
But, there will be “great opportunity” to ensure continuity of income regardless of changes in the markets, he continues.