Nationwide Financial Services Inc. is adding a retirement income guarantee option for variable annuity holders.[@@]

The option, the America’s Income Annuity Income Foundation rider, gives holders of immediate variable annuities a choice between a “step-up guarantee” and a “level guarantee.”

The step-up guarantee ensures that consumers will get income payments that always will be at least 75% of the value of the first variable payment amount, according to Nationwide Financial, Columbus, Ohio. The minimum payment level can increase on each contract anniversary if strong investment returns increase the variable payment amount.

The level guarantee guarantees that a consumer’s variable income payments will be equal to at least 85% of the initial variable payment calculated on the contract issue data. That amount will remain the same throughout the life of the contract, Nationwide Financial says.

The cost of the rider is 1% of the daily net assets in the variable account.

Nationwide Life Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio, a Nationwide Financial subsidiary, is issuing the rider and is responsible for backing the rider guarantees.