NU Online News Service, Oct. 1, 2004, 5:35 p.m. EDT

Standard Insurance Company, Portland, Ore., has introduced the Principal Growth Annuity contract.[@@]

The product is a fixed, deferred annuity designed for consumers who are at least 45 and want to make premium payments of varying amounts throughout the life of the annuity.

The minimum initial payment is $5,000.

Standard will add a 1 percentage point bonus to the crediting rate for premium payments made during the first year the contract is in effect.

Standard notes that some advisors have trouble with annuities that have market value adjustment or automatic surrender renewal features.

The PGA product does not include those features, Standard says.

The annuity does include a bailout” feature. After a premium’s initial guaranteed period, if its renewal rate falls more than 1% less than its initial rate, the client may withdraw that premium and any associated interest earnings without a surrender charge,” Standard says in its product announcement.

Standard, a unit of StanCorp Financial Group Inc., Portland, is writing the annuity and backing its guarantees.

A 5-year PGA contract now credits 3.5% for a $15,000 minimum premium and 3.6% for $100,000, Standard says.