MetLife Enhances Popular GMIB Rider for Variable Annuities; A new rider for people looking for income for life and more flexibility.
"The GMIB Plus and Predictor Plus, like the GMIB, guarantee a predictable stream of future income that can't be outlived regardless of account performance," said Lisa S. Kuklinski, vice president, Individual Annuities, MetLife. "But we've added flexibility so that a person can choose to increase their guaranteed minimum future lifetime income if their account performs well or have the option to withdraw their principal in the event that it does not."
"People are living longer, and a key concern for many pre-retirees and retirees is not having enough money throughout their retirement years," added Elizabeth M. Forget, chief marketing officer, MetLife Investors, the insurance company that offers MetLife's retirement and investment products through third party intermediaries including brokerages and banks. "This new rider is most ideal for these individuals because it provides a predictable, guaranteed minimum amount of income for life, the flexibility to take income through dollar-for-dollar withdrawals, plus the ability to lock in any market gains by 'stepping-up' their protected income base."
How This Enhancement Works
The new GMIB rider offers flexibility by providing guaranteed income for life, a new optional step-up available in three-year intervals and a new guaranteed principal option. If the account value increases, customers may increase the component of the income base that grows at 5% annually every three years up to the current account value. The higher income base is then used to calculate future minimum income payments, and also gives customers the flexibility to take larger dollar-for-dollar withdrawals of the income base up to 5% annually. With each step-up, the 10-year wait to exercise the rider also resets.
For example, a customer makes one $100,000 purchase payment in 2005. Each year, that income base increases by 5%, and after three years is at $115,762. In this example, the account value rises to $120,000 by 2008. The customer can choose to increase the income base to $120,000. If the customer chooses to increase the income base, he or she must wait 10 years (to 2018) to exercise the rider.
Providing protection from future unknowns is critical. The new GMIB rider is designed to guarantee a future minimum income stream. However, the customer may have liquidity needs in the future and require a return of principal without taking income. If the market does not perform well, after the 10th anniversary of the contract, customers can protect their principal with a one-time option to bring the account value back to the initial principal amount (adjusted for withdrawals). The customer does not have to annuitize their variable annuity, but the new GMIB rider will terminate. The initial principal amount consists of only payments made within the first 120 days after the contract has been issued. Withdrawals are determined for the length of the entire contract.
Continuing with the previous hypothetical example, by 2015 the person's account value has dropped below $100,000, without any withdrawals. Upon election of this option, MetLife will bring the customer's account value back to $100,000, and the rider will terminate.
New Investment Options
The customer can choose from four asset allocation investment choices in connection with the GMIB Plus/Predictor Plus. For the GMIB Plus, the asset allocation investment choices are from the Met Investors Series Trust asset allocation portfolios introduced on November 19, 2004. For the Predicator Plus, the choices are from the new Metropolitan Series Fund, Inc. asset allocation portfolios introduced on May 1, 2005.
When to Exercise the GMIB Plus/Predictor Plus
If the Guaranteed Principal Option is not elected, the new GMIB rider is exercisable by annuitizing the contract (at the contract's GMIB Table Rates) on or within 30 days of the 10th or later contract anniversary (or 10th or later anniversary after the last "step-up"), but no later than the contract anniversary right before the owner turns 86 years old. At that time, the owner can choose to receive:
--life income with 10-year certain income (meaning income paid over the life of one person, with 10 years of income guaranteed should the annuitant die within 10 years following annuitization), or
--joint life income with 10-year certain income (meaning income paid over the life of two people, until both have died, with 10 years of income guaranteed should the annuitant and joint annuitant die within 10 years following annuitization).
GMIB Plus/Predictor Plus is available at contract issue (through age 75) with MetLife variable annuities for an annual additional charge of 0.75% of the income base (up to a maximum charge of 1.50% upon optional step up). For example, the charge for a $100,000 income base would be $750, which is deducted from the account value on the contract anniversary date.
Withdrawals may be made, and will reduce the account value, death benefit and GMIB Plus/Predictor Plus benefit. Withdrawals up to 5% of the income base that compounds will reduce that income base dollar-for-dollar, while withdrawals more than 5% will reduce the component of the income base that grows at 5% annually on a proportionate basis.
MetLife, a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to individual and institutional customers. The MetLife companies serve individuals in approximately 13 million households in the U.S. and provide benefits to 37 million employees and family members through their plan sponsors. Outside the U.S., the MetLife companies serve approximately 9 million customers through direct insurance operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan and Uruguay. For more information about MetLife, please visit the company's Web site at www.metlife.com.
Prospectuses for MetLife's individual variable annuities can be obtained by contacting an authorized MetLife representative. MetLife's variable annuities that include the Predictor Plus are offered by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10166, and New England Securities and New England Life Insurance Company, Boston, MA, 02116. The GMIB Plus is available in variable annuities offered by MetLife Investors Distribution Company, MetLife Investors Insurance Company, MetLife Investors Insurance Company of California and MetLife Investors USA Insurance Company, Newport Beach, CA, 92657. Investors should carefully consider the information about the contracts' features, risks, charges and expenses, and the investment objectives, risks and policies of the funding choices. Please read the prospectuses carefully before investing. Withdrawals are subject to ordinary income taxes. Withdrawals before age 59.5 are generally subject to a 10% tax penalty. Guarantees are subject to the financial strength and claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Product availability and features may vary by state.