Magazine article American Banker

Phoenix Offers Spouse Rider

Magazine article American Banker

Phoenix Offers Spouse Rider

Article excerpt

Phoenix Cos. has introduced a variable annuity rider that guarantees a minimum income stream for life to the surviving spouse after a policyholder's death.

The rider, which the Hartford, Conn., insurer said is the first of its kind, is to be offered in the bank channel among other distribution pathways. Lackluster stock market performance in recent years has led many investors nearing retirement to seek a guaranteed income stream for retirement, said Timothy Paris, a vice president and the actuary for annuity product development at Phoenix. Investors are increasingly concerned about outliving their retirement savings, he said.

"There's been a growing demand for innovation on living benefits within a variable annuity product," he said. "We felt there was an obvious need for a broader benefit to provide income to a surviving spouse."

The survivorship benefit was a "natural evolution," he said, for Phoenix, which introduced a guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit in July. That rider guaranteed a certain percentage of the initial premium as an annual income stream but did not include a lifetime income feature.

In introducing the rider, Phoenix joins several insurers that have announced lifetime income benefits for their variable annuities in recent months. In October, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. said it planned to add an optional lifetime income guarantee to nearly all its investment products in the next few years.

And Genworth Financial in Richmond, Va., this year introduced its ClearCourse variable annuity, which lets employees invest in a portfolio of stocks and bonds but guarantees a certain level of lifetime retirement income regardless of market performance. …

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