NU Online News Service, Sept. 15, 2004, 3:23 p.m. EDT

The retirement unit at MetLife Inc., New York, has introduced the MetLife Retirement Income Insurance annuity.[@@]

The product is a fixed deferred income annuity aimed at workers who want to guarantee that they will receive a lifetime income stream.

MetLife is selling the product as a voluntary worksite benefit. Workers can fund the annuity with a lump sum or a flexible series of premium payments. Workers who choose the flexible payment option must contribute at least $5,000 to start, and the minimum amount for additional contributions is $500.

Annuity holders can decide when they will start receiving benefits, reschedule the expected payment start date and schedule the payment start date long after their expected retirement date, MetLife says. Annuity holders who die before they begin receiving payments can leave a death benefit, and annuity holders who die after they begin receiving payments can leave income streams to others.

Workers who change jobs can take the annuity with them, MetLife says.