NU Online News Service, July 21, 2004, 2:35 p.m. EDT

Business Men’s Assurance Company of America, Kansas City, Mo., is introducing the Clarity 2 plus 2 Variable Annuity contract.[@@]

The product is designed for consumers who want to save for retirement but might need to get to their money quickly in an emergency, Business Men’s Assurance says.

Business Men’s Assurance is a unit of Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto.

Features include a provision that lets owners get to money free of withdrawal charges after 4 years. Owners also can liquidate their annuities without incurring withdrawal charges during a 30-day period at the end of the second contract year.

A living benefit can increase the value of the annuity when owners choose a lifetime income payment option, and another, annual step-up feature adjusts the guaranteed death benefit each year to protect it from market volatility.

Customers can choose from a menu of 23 variable investment portfolios and 1 fixed-rate option.