NU Online News Service, March 1, 2005, 5:02 p.m. EST

A Birmingham, Ala., insurer has started selling equity indexed annuities.[@@]

The insurer, Protective Life Insurance Corp., a unit of Protective Life Corp., says returns on its new ProSaver Index Choice will depend partly on the performance of the S&P 500 index during the previous year.

Purchasers can choose between a 7-year or a 10-year initial surrender charge period and they also can choose between a fixed account or an indexed account that resets each year.

The current guaranteed minimum is 5%. Purchasers can get an indexed interest rate that equals 100% of any gain in the S&P 500 Index during the prior contract year, up to a maximum of an indexed interest rate cap for the prior year, Protective Life says.

The cap will never be less than the contract’s guaranteed minimum, Protective Life says.

Consumers can increase the cap by 0.5% by buying contracts with values of at least $50,000.