Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. – a company that has focused on the group disability insurance market for years — is shifting more toward the voluntary market.
Hartford Financial, Hartford (NYSE:HIG), still sells even voluntary long-term disability and short-term disability plans using a group chassis, but the company has just come out with a Web-based tool – the MyTomorrow system – to help consumers learn about disability benefits online.
In addition to a cute, animated biplane, the site includes videos to help tell consumers what disability insurance is and why they need to think about protecting their income.
Hartford can make customized versions of the page for employers with as few as 4 plan enrollees, and the customized versions can refer to, and only to, the benefits an employer actually offers.
An employer can include information about non-Hartford benefits as well as Hartford benefits, according to Mike Fish, a Hartford group benefits vice president.
Given the soft state of the economy and the uncertainty about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), “we’re seeing more active shifts to voluntary,” Fish said during a visit to the LifeHealthPro offices in Hoboken, N.J.
Most employers that have traditional employer-paid or contributory group plans are keeping those plans in place, but more are biting the bullet and jumping over to voluntary, and most employers adding new disability plans are adding voluntary plans, Fish said.
“Employers don’t want to take on any additional costs for themselves,” Fish said.
Disability insurance executives have talking about the need to “market to the worker” for more than a decade, but the industry is still struggling to adapt to courting the employee, rather than the employer, Fish said.