Hartford Life, a unit of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE:HIG), will hold a flag-raising ceremony and a torch relay in its main building Friday to celebrate the opening of the U.S. Paralympics.

The 2010 Paralympic Winter Games are set to run from March 12 to March 21 in Vancouver. The games feature athletes who have physical disabilities.

Hartford Life, the founding sponsor of the U.S. Paralympics, will start its torch relay in Simsbury, Conn., and it says it will hand the torch off virtually to employees in offices throughout the country.

Hartford will encourage Americans to send messages of support to U.S. Paralympic athletes by visiting a new Hartford website, at http://www.theusrocks.com

About 60 teams of Hartford’s own employees have “adopted” Paralympic athletes and sent them care packages.

Hartford also is sending employees to Vancouver to cheer on the U.S. team.

Hartford is sending a Paralympic calendar, posters and note cards to employer clients and benefits professionals.

When Hartford places group disability callers on hold, the callers will hear a message inviting them to tune in to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

In other insurance marketing news:

- New York Life Insurance Company, New York, is sponsoring the Big East women’s basketball tournament in Hartford and the Big East men’s basketball tournament in New York.

The company is drawing attention to the sponsorship by holding a Cube Toss Challenge contest during timeouts. Challenge contestants must roll rolls of large cubes decorated with images such as the New York Life logo.

Each Cube Toss Challenge contestant is getting the New York Life edition of Hasbro’s Game of Life.