SIMSBURY, Conn., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Americans who purchase variable annuities from The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG) to accumulate assets for retirement now have a choice between two income protection benefits to meet future income needs. The Hartford is adding a second income protection benefit rider, The Hartford's Principal First Preferred, to complement its highly popular rider, The Hartford's Principal First. The new rider offers annuity customers a simple benefit option at a significantly lower cost than The Hartford's Principal First. The Hartford's Principal First was introduced in 2003 and has since contributed to The Hartford remaining the No. 1 seller of retail- sold variable annuities in the U.S. (1) Guarantees are based on the claims- paying ability of the issuing company and do not apply to the performance or safety of the underlying funds. Both The Hartford's Principal First and The Hartford's Principal First Preferred riders are available on all of The Hartford's variable annuities, including The Director, Hartford Leaders and the Putnam Hartford Capital Manager. The Hartford's variable annuities are issued by Hartford Life Insurance Co. and Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Co. "Given the positive market reaction to The Hartford's Principal First, we are introducing an additional benefit to provide clients with increased flexibility and choice," said Bruce Ferris, The Hartford's senior vice president of sales and marketing for retail products. "We wanted to provide clients with a straightforward benefit option at a greatly reduced price." The Hartford's Principal First Preferred allows annuity owners to withdraw up to 5 percent of their premium a year, even if their account value has declined. The original rider, The Hartford's Principal First, allows annuity clients to withdraw as much as 7 percent of their premiums annually. (2) The cost for the new rider, The Hartford's Principal First Preferred, is 20 basis points compared to 50 basis points for The Hartford's Principal First. In addition, annuity owners can cancel The Hartford's Principal First Preferred rider after five years if they feel they no longer need the protection offered by an income protection benefit. One benefit cannot be elected if the other has previously been elected. "The Hartford expects our new income protection benefit rider to be widely accepted by the market," Ferris said. "Having a choice of riders helps clients choose the right benefit based on their financial needs, risk tolerance, time horizon and financial objectives." "Clients and financial advisors continue to express confidence in the equity markets over the long term," he said. "We believe that The Hartford's Principal First Preferred helps clients balance the growth potential of long- term equity investing with the comfort of an income protection guarantee." The Hartford, through its issuing companies, has been the No. 1 seller of retail-sold variable annuities on an annual basis each year since 1993. The Hartford is one of the nation's largest financial services and insurance companies, with 2003 revenues of $18.7 billion. The company is a leading provider of investment products, life insurance and group benefits; automobile and homeowners products; and business property-casualty insurance. The Hartford's Internet address is http://www.thehartford.com. (1) The Hartford is the No. 1 seller of retail-sold variable annuities, according to the Variable Annuity Research and Data Service (VARDS), June 2004. (2) Taxable distributions (and certain deemed distributions) may be subject to ordinary income tax and, if made prior to age 59-1/2, a 10 percent federal income tax penalty may also apply. If the annuity owner withdraws more than the amount allowed under The Hartford's Principal First Preferred or The Hartford's Principal First, early surrender charges may also apply. You should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of The Hartford's variable annuity contracts and their underlying funds before investing. This and other information can be found in the prospectus for the variable annuity and the prospectuses for the underlying funds, which can be obtained from your investment representative by calling 800-862-6668. Please read them carefully before you invest or send money. Hartford Leaders is a flexible premium variable annuity issued by Hartford Life Insurance Company, Simsbury, CT (Countrywide: HL-VA99; FL: HLVA99FL; NY: HL-VA99NY; NC: HL-VA9920P; OR: HL-VA99ORMM; and TX: HL-VA99MMTX and HL- VA99MMODBTX) and Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Simsbury, CT (Countrywide: LA-VA99; FL: LA-VA99FL; NC: LA-VA9920P; OR: LA-VA99ORMM; and TX: LA-VA99MMTX and LA-VA99MMODBTX). The Director is a flexible premium variable annuity issued by Hartford Life Insurance Company, Simsbury, CT (countrywide, except for NY): HL-VA99; FL: HL-VA99FL; NC: HL-VA9920P; OR: HL-VA99OR; and TX: HL-VA99TX and HL- VA99ODBTX and Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Simsbury, CT (countrywide: LA-VA99; FL: LA-VA99FL; NC: LA-VA9920P; OR:LA-VA99OR; and TX: LA-VA99TX and LA-VA990DBTX). Putnam Hartford Capital Manager is a flexible premium variable annuity issued by Hartford Life Insurance Company, Simsbury, CT (countrywide):HL-VA99; FL: HL-VA99FL; NC: HL-VA9920P; OR: HL-VA99)RMM; and TX HL-VA99MMTX and HL- VA99MMODBTX) and Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Simsbury, CT (countrywide, except for NY): LA-VA00; FL:LA-VA99FL; NC: LA-VA9920P; OR: LA- VA99OR; and TX: LA-VA99TX and LA-VA990DBTX0). The Director, Hartford Leaders, and Putnam Hartford Capital Manager suites of variable annuities are underwritten and distributed by Hartford Securities Distribution Company, Inc. Neither The Hartford nor its agents or employees provide tax or legal or accounting advice. You should consult a qualified advisor for guidance in these matters. Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our 2003 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued. Contact(s): David Potter 860-843-8993 firstname.lastname@example.org David Lafrennie 860-843-6154 email@example.com
SOURCE The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.