NU Online News Service, Dec. 22, 2003, 1:19 p.m. EST – Safeco Life Insurance Company, Redmond, Wash., has introduced the Safeco Custom Annuity, a single-premium, fixed, deferred annuity aimed at investors who feel confused about where the economy is heading.[@@]

The annuity offers investors a choice of a 1-year, 3-year or 5-year guaranteed interest rate period. The time period selected determines the guaranteed interest rate.

The minimum initial premium is $10,000. Investors who pay an initial premium of $25,000 to $50,000 can earn an extra 1% in interest during the first year that the contract is in effect. Safeco Life will pay an extra 1.5% during the first year on initial premiums of $50,000 to $100,000 and an extra 2% on initial premiums of $100,000 or more.

Safeco Life will let investors withdraw up to 10% of the annuity’s balance each contract year without paying a withdrawal charge, and a medical waiver will give investors full access to their funds if they stay in a nursing home or hospital for 30 days or longer.

Safeco Life, a unit of Safeco Corp., Seattle, is responsible for making the interest payments and backing the other product guarantees.