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Spreading the Word

Mass Mutual uses Web tools to educate about disability insurance.

In an effort to target diverse consumer demographics, Mass Mutual Financial Group (Springfield, Mass.; $285 billion in assets under management) has leveraged interactive technologies to educate consumers about disability income insurance, reports Larry Hazzard, vice president of Mass Mutual's disability insurance marketing.

"Disability income insurance does not have the same exposure levels as other lines of insurance, so the demands on sharing information about it are much higher," Hazzard asserts, especially since emerging demographic segments - including Generation X and women - have different buying patterns from the traditional market of male baby boomers. "These groups don't respond well to [traditional sales]. Their learning process needs to be more interactive," he says. "The easiest medium to leverage, in order to get the message out, is technology."

The carrier's recently launched Web site,, was created to "empower individuals with understanding of their specific disability coverage needs," Hazzard says. The site - which is targeted at individuals, benefits administrators and producers - warns that the average employer-sponsored disability income insurance plan may not provide adequate coverage.

To help users gauge their specific disability income needs, the site features a savings evaluator that allows users to compare how personal savings measure up to the benefits of disability insurance and how long consumers will be able to meet their financial obligations should they become disabled. The site also features a retirement protection calculator that helps users judge how their retirement savings might be affected if they lose the benefit of an employer matching their 401(k) contributions due to a disability.

Mass Mutual's e-Worksite Solution is also a part of the carrier's interactive technology initiative, Hazzard relates. He explains that the solution is an online enrollment tool for companies that offer Mass Mutual's supplemental disability benefits. Tools offered on can be embedded in the worksite tool, which is designed to walk consumers through the enrollment process. Additionally, users of the e-Worksite Solution are given the ability to modify benefits in increments of $50 so they can cover their exact needs, says Hazzard, who adds that the solution allows consumers to submit signatures electronically.

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