Anxious to do business in the world’s third-largest economy, where the population is aging, The Hartford is expanding into Germany.

 

While the nation currently has a generous pension system, The Hartford noted, one in three Germans will be 60 or older by 2025, a condition made all the worse by the fact fewer Germans are entering the workforce.

 

Meanwhile, the government is creating incentives to help its people save for retirement, including a flat tax rate in 2009. At present, German households have an estimated $5.8 trillion in assets, nearly half of it, $2.77 trillion, in cash, The Hartford said, citing data from Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland.

 

Beginning next year, The Hartford will sell variable annuities with guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefits through its European insurer, Hartford Life Limited, distributing the products through independent financial advisers and banks.

 

“We believe there is an enormous opportunity in Germany to help consumers save and invest for a financially secure retirement,” said Marc Lieberman, president and CEO of Hartford Life Ltd. “Germans are becoming increasingly aware that they will need sufficient assets to support them through 20, 30 or even 40 years of retirement.”

 

Only 25% of Germans now view their government as being responsible for their retirement security, while 63.5% think they themselves are most responsible for their golden years, according to research by The Hartford. Seventy-seven percent worry about having enough money to live a comfortable retirement.

 

The Hartford expects that these shifting beliefs will prompt more Germans to move money from savings accounts into equities.

 

“Seven in 10 Germans describe themselves as ‘fairly’ or ‘completely’ risk averse,” Lieberman said. “Guarantees are very important. More than half, 57%, told us that it was ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ important to have a guaranteed income in retirement. The Hartford’s products will offer meaningful guarantees to help Germans enjoy a financially secure retirement.”

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