We have to hand it to Hartford – when it comes to disability insurance, they are really good at marketing products and its recently created Disability FLEX product is no exception. For employees, buying a long term disability insurance policy used to be a one-size-fits-all transaction. The employee benefits coordinator purchased the policy and employees got whatever the HR department thought they needed. Hartford is simply adapting to a workplace where wages are frozen, taxes are increasing and employees are less likely to want to give up any of their earnings for something as abstract as disability insurance.
The product concept is not new – in June 2012 we reported on a similar policy from Sun Life Financial named Voluntary Short Term Disability (VSTD) and Voluntary Long Term Disability (VLTD) that allows employees to select how much income they would like to have replaced if they need to file a disability claim and a few other features that effect the price of the policy.
We didn’t like that one either.
Hartford’s press release and sales materials reference a 2012 survey reporting that 76 percent of consumers say it’s important to design their own disability insurance. In the interest of full disclosure, here’s the link to Hartford’s press release. They paid a company to survey 1,456 workers.
We would rather have seen those 1,456 workers asked if they had ever had to file a disability claim with Hartford. Actually we’d like to ask anyone who has ever filed a claim with Hartford about their experience. Our office is busy with claimants whose long term disability insurance claim with Hartford have been wrongfully denied, delayed and terminated.
As experienced disability insurance lawyers, our recommendation is that if you are considering a “design it yourself” kind of disability policy through your employer, you may be better off buying a disability policy on your own. If there’s a dispute about your disability, your hands are not tied by ERISA regulations that govern employee-purchased policies and tilt the scales greatly in the favor of insurers, to the detriment of policyholders.
If you have a Hartford disability policy and are experiencing problems with a claim, contact our office today by telephone to learn how we can help you.