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Phoenix enhances and expands living benefit riders

The Phoenix Companies, a provider of life insurance, annuity and investment products, has announced enhancements to its Phoenix Flexible Withdrawal Protector guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit rider. The firm has also launched a new combination benefit rider, Phoenix Retirement Protector.

Phoenix Retirement Protector offers a guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit (GMWB), a guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit (GMAB), and an optional guaranteed minimum death benefit (GMDB).

According to the company, both riders are available for purchase with most Phoenix variable annuities. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance firm.

Phoenix Flexible Withdrawal Protector, an optional GMWB rider for individuals or spouses, will replace the existing GMWB rider and includes several enhancements. The guaranteed income amount available is 5%, 6% or 7% of the benefit base and is based on the age at first withdrawal.

Phoenix Retirement Protector, a combination benefit rider for individuals or spouses, offers up to three benefits and provides the retirement planning flexibility of all Phoenix living benefit riders.

The guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit guarantees lifetime income withdrawals or non-lifetime income withdrawals for a specified period of time. The GMAB guarantees principal protection against market volatility and offers the opportunity to increase the protected amount as the contract value increases in value. The GMDB provides enhanced death benefit protection for heirs.

Only one rider may be elected per contract. Optional riders are at an additional cost. The annual fee of each rider is based on the asset allocation option selected. In the event of multiple asset allocation options in a year, the highest fee will apply.

Both riders require investment in an asset allocation option. About 13 asset allocation options from money managers are available, including a new growth option, the AllianceBernstein VPS Wealth Appreciation Strategy, which offers 100% equity exposure and is available with most Phoenix variable annuities.

Tom Buckingham, senior vice president of product development for life and annuity at Phoenix, said: Our new living benefit riders provide flexible solutions that give customers access to guaranteed income when they need it. And, they provide additional benefits to address real-life needs, such as increased income during nursing home stays, protection of principal and contract gains from market volatility and enhanced beneficiary protection.