by Kerry Pechter, Retirement Income Journal
Published July 29, 2009
The styles of products of variable annuities introduced by insurers in July seem to fall onto opposite ends of the complexity spectrum. The AnnuityNote contract offered by John Hancock Life is a simple product with just one investment option and one comprehensive fee. “It was designed to resemble a mutual fund but with a true guarantee,” said Tom Mullen of John Hancock. MetLife launched a similar product, which differs especially in the number of investment options available.
On the other end of the spectrum is Allianz Life’s Vision, which replaced the old Vision rider that was discontinued in March. The new Vision is more complicated but also richer in benefits than the new products from John Hancock and MetLife, and it offers a more sustainable array of offerings than the old rider did. According to Allianz’s Jasmine Jirele, the pricing of the product reflects what the insurers have learned during the recent economic turmoil. Genworth also rolled out a more complex guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit rider, the Income Protector. Constrained with three balanced portfolios of various equity allocations, the rider offers a “surprisingly big roll-up […] for those willing to wait 10 year after the contract date,” concludes Kerry Petcher, the author of the article.
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