Designed to help small business owners and their key employees meet critical expenses

Hartford Financial Services Group said that it would offer disability coverage as an option on most of its permanent life insurance policies. The new DisabilityAccess Rider is designed to help small business owners and their key employees meet critical expenses while those covered by certain Hartford life insurance policies recover from a disability or, in the case of a life-altering illness or injury, find a new way to make a living.

Once qualified under the rider, the policyowner receives a monthly disability benefit of as much as $5,000 a month for up to two full years. The rider can be purchased with many new permanent insurance policies at an additional cost of between 6-10% of the premium.

The company said that the rider provides a monthly benefit with a maximum lifetime benefit equal to 24 monthly payments and can bridge the gap, in the case of a permanent disability. If the DisabilityAccess rider is on an individually owned life insurance policy, then the coverage is not lost if an employee changes jobs. It can be renewed up to the policy anniversary date closest to the insured’s 65th birthday, though the cost of the coverage may increase.

The monthly benefit amount is determined when the policy is issued and is generally received income-tax free. The maximum monthly benefit is the smallest of the following, 2% of the total initial face amount of the policy, $5,000, or 30% of the monthly salary at the time the policy is issued.

Cliff Barron, director of life insurance product development of Hartford, said: “The DisabilityAccess Rider is intended to provide a safety net to small business owners, sole practitioners, and their key employees when they need it most.

For those who already know they need life insurance to protect their family’s income, it’s an easy add-on. It can also prove useful to a highly skilled person who can no longer practice their craft because of an injury, and who now needs time to find a viable career alternative.”