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New life & annuity products emphasize better guarantees.

In recent product introductions, life insurance and variable annuity writers have sought to entice buyers with guarantees, especially for living benefits.

Prudential Annuities, the domestic annuity arm of Prudential Financial Inc., has added three optional living benefits to the deferred variable-annuity product lines it acquired May 1,2003, in its purchase of American Skandia Life Assurance Corp. One option guarantees a minimum accumulation after seven years at an annual cost of .25% of the variable account balance. For .50%, policyholders may buy a minimum income benefit that increases at 5% annually. A minimum seven-year waiting period is required. Lastly, a minimum withdrawal benefit of up to 7% of the guaranteed amount costs .35%. Prudential said it is the only brand to offer all three benefits across one product line.

Nationwide Financial has enhanced its Capital Preservation Plus optional rider on its Best of America variable annuities to offer up to 100% equity exposure while maintaining a return-of-principal guarantee. Guaranteed terms run from three to 10 years and are dependent on using certain asset allocation funds. The annual charge is .50%.

The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S., part of Axa Financial Inc., has enhanced features of its Accumulator Series '04 variable annuities. These include a roll-up rate of 5% on death and minimum-income benefits, new asset-allocation portfolios, a death benefit for the first spouse to die, and a choice of two guaranteed-principal benefits.

Life/Health Marketplace is compiled by Senior Associate Editor Ron Panko.
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Title Annotation:Marketplace
Comment:New life & annuity products emphasize better guarantees.(Marketplace)
Author:Panko, Ron
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
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