NU Online News Service, March 16, 2004, 3:43 p.m. EST – Manulife USA, Boston, has introduced the Principal Plus Rider for use with its Venture family of variable annuities.[@@]

Account holders who buy the rider can withdraw up to 5% of their principal per year for 20 years, regardless of account performance, and still maintain the benefit.

Account holders who refrain from taking withdrawals get a 5% bonus each year for the first 5 years. The bonuses can increase the guaranteed withdrawal amount by up to 25%.

Rider buyers who pay for an extra “step up” option can increase their guaranteed withdrawal balance every 3 years so that it equals their current contract value. The step-up increase boosts the total value of the guaranteed payments. When customers who buy the option step up in the third year, Manulife USA will apply the annual bonus to the higher stepped-up value for the next 2 years.

Manulife USA, which has its official headquarters in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is issuing the rider and backing the rider guarantees.

Manulife USA also is putting on a 100-city road show to promote its products, inform financial advisors about the importance of helping clients plan for increases in longevity and tell advisors about Manulife’s client education tools.