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 NEW YORK, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to an increasing concern among Americans regarding the difficulty of saving for the future, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and START, Inc. announced today that the insurer is expanding its relationship with START, the provider of a patented frequent saver program that allows individuals to save for their future at the same time they make their everyday purchases.
 Through MetLife General Insurance Agency, a subsidiary of MetLife, the insurer plans to use its wide reaching marketing channels to distribute 5 million memberships to existing and potential customers. Together with its affiliates, the insurer provides or administers coverage for 45 million customers. Additionally, MetLife has signed a 10-year agreement to be the exclusive annuity provider for the patented START savings plan. Today's announcement reflects a growing MetLife participation in the START program, relationship that began in 1989.
 "MetLife is acutely aware of the need for individual savings for retirement," said Richard N. Maurer, senior vice president of Personal Insurance at MetLife. "In a recent study by Yankelovich Clancy Shulman, 72 percent of the group surveyed said they did not think they were saving as much as they should. Nevertheless, half of those surveyed said they would rather spend money on things they enjoy and need now than save for their future. We welcome our association with START," said Maurer, "because we believe the program encourages spenders to save. Annuities are a very important segment of our core business, and START provides an incentive for our younger people to begin saving earlier for their retirement."
 "Today, Americans -- particularly baby-boomers -- are having an increasingly difficult time saving for their future," said Larry Andreini, chairman of START. "Our expanded relationship with MetLife will now enable us to reach even more people across the country and help them begin a savings process that will benefit them in the future."
 The Power of START: Saving While Spending
 The START frequent saver program lets consumers save while spending on everyday necessities. Consumers will be given the opportunity to join START, through the distribution channels of the MetLife family of companies, and begin purchasing goods and services from START participating companies. Then, from 1 percent to 6 percent of their purchases can be automatically contributed into a long-term savings vehicle -- the STARTPLUS(SM) Annuity -- issued and guaranteed by MetLife. Or, contributions can be received in cash.
 Many of America's top companies are already participating in the START program. The growing list includes MCI(R), GE Capital Small Fleet, USTravel(SM), Eddie Bauer(R), and Hertz(R), Club Med(R), Teleflora(R) and others.
 In addition, START and NationsBank announced last month that the two companies had formed an alliance whereby NationsBank, the nation's fourth-largest bank, will offer START memberships in its banking centers in strategic areas in the south. NationsBank will also begin issuing a START Visa and MasterCard nationwide, giving consumers even more power to save for their future while making everyday purchases. The new START fixed rate credit card provides a 1-percent contribution to the holders' account, whenever and wherever it is used. If the cardholder uses the START credit card with any START participating company, he or she can receive a total savings contribution of 2 percent to 7 percent.
 "Consumer companies everywhere are searching for new ways to build consumer loyalty," said Andreini. "Making contributions to a savings plan whenever someone buys from you seems like a very logical way to encourage customers to be more loyal, especially when the biggest hurdle to saving is spending."
 START and MetLife
 Initially, MetLife GIA will offer START memberships in the metro Washington D.C. area; Columbia, S.C.; and Houston -- also target cities for the NationsBank alliance. Subsequent rollout is expected to parallel that of NationsBank. "Our plans," Maurer said, "are to involve the various marketing arms of the MetLife family in the distribution process."
 MetLife first began participating in the START program three years ago when it introduced the STARTPlus Annuity. This tax-deferred annuity can accelerate the growth of retirement savings because the interest that is earned is not taxed until it is withdrawn. Individuals can also take advantage of the START Add-Dollar program which allows them to put more money into their STARTPlus Annuity in $100 increments to more quickly add to their retirement nest egg.
 "One of the reasons we are participating in the START program," said James A. Valentino, senior vice president for MetLife's Pensions & Savings Center," is simply because it encourage people to begin thinking about and saving for retirement on a systematic basis at an earlier age than the might normally begin. We've found that once an individual begins saving for retirement, they find ways to build upon the process."
 MetLife is one of the largest and most stable insurance and financial services companies in the world. Together with its affiliates, the company has more than $144 billion in assets and provides or administers coverage to customers in the United States, Canada and other countries. MetLife's Pensions Department administers retirement programs totaling more tan $66 billion and continues to be an industry leader, providing products and services to approximately 4,700 companies, including most Fortune 100 corporations. The company is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
 START, based in Herndon, Va., is a privately held company. START offers consumers high quality products and services from many of America's top companies; makes it easy for individuals to begin the savings process; and generates a strong and loyal customer base for participating companies. The START program is available to consumers throughout the country. For enrollment information, call 1-800-955-7010.
 START and the START logo are registered trademarks of Spend Today and Retire Tomorrow, Inc. STARTPlus is a service mark of Spend Today and Retire Tomorrow, Inc.
 -0- 2/2/93
 /CONTACT: Rick Myllenbeck of START, 703-318-5235; Joe Madden of MetLife, 212-578-8015; or Rich Bock of Rubenstein Associates, 212-489-6900, for MetLife/

CO: Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.; START, Inc. ST: New York, Virginia IN: INS SU:

PS-TS -- NY015 -- 1757 02/02/93 10:31 EST
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Date:Feb 2, 1993

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