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Phoeni Aims To Simplify Annuity Choices

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A new line of variable annuities from the Phoenix Companies Inc. is part of a plan to make it easier for clients to buy its products, a company executive says.[@@]

“Our intent with the new product eventually is to take off the market some of our other kinds of products,” Mark Tully, a senior vice president of Phoenix, Hartford, says. “We’re attempting to simplify the choices.”

About 2 weeks ago, the company launched Phoenix Dimensions, a flexible-premium, deferred VA offering a wide range of living and death benefit riders.

Currently, Phoenix offers 7 other accumulation and income VAs, plus private-placement products for wealthy investors. Those are the choices it ultimately plans to thin down with Dimensions, which has a range of riders that allows advisors to tailor the product to client financial profiles. The riders present a number of guaranteed minimum benefits, including a assured income stream.

The company has not yet decided which of its current annuities it will discontinue, or when, Tully says.

Another part of Phoenix’s strategy is a new campaign to teach consumers about the role of VAs in retirement planning.

It designed 2 brochures that Tully says will help both advisors and their clients grasp the complexities of VAs, without specifically touting Phoenix products.

One brochure, “Your Retirement, Your Style,” is a general guide to VAs. The other, “Living Benefits,” explains how different types of guaranteed benefits can be used to protect retirement assets.

Both publications are available through Phoenix wholesalers.