NU Online News Service, Dec. 14, 2004, 3:54 p.m. EST

A New York insurer has started a program that will use annuities to pay for variable universal life insurance.[@@]

The insurer, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, says the Accumulator Life program will sell customers single-premium immediate annuities. Each annuity will make 7 annual annuity payments to fund the annual premium payments for a VUL policy.

AXA Equitable, a unit of AXA S.A., is offering a simplified underwriting process that will require no blood or urine samples. But the company has designed the program to appeal mainly to healthy individuals who are looking for a combination of life insurance and access to cash value.

The program creates a heavily funded VUL policy. A policy owner has to pay some taxes on the annuity payouts, but the owner should be able to use partial withdrawals and policy loans to tap policy cash value while keeping overall tax rates low, AXA Equitable says.

AXA Equitable will issue the VUL policies to applicants ages 30 to 65.

The policy investment menu includes a guaranteed interest account and more than 45 other options.

AXA Equitable automatically includes a guaranteed minimum death benefit with the policy, and the company includes a lifetime no-lapse guarantee as long as the policyholder meets conditions spelled out in the policy. AXA Equitable is responsible for backing the product guarantees.

AXA Equitable is distributing the program through its AXA Advisors L.L.C., AXA Distributors and MONY affiliates.