The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants manufacturers of variable annuities and variable life contracts to help it distinguish between the electronic filings of different series and classes of contracts.[@@]

The SEC’s new final rule will affect life insurers that have registered variable contracts on Form N-3, Form N-4 or Form N-6.

The SEC will provide contract identifiers that will include 9 numerical digits and start with the letter “S” for a series and “C” for a class.

Contracts registered on Form N-3 may have more than 1 series identifiers but more than 1 contract identifier.

Contracts registered on forms N-4 and N-6 will have only 1 series identifiers but may have more than 1 contract within each series, according to the SEC.

The new system should help investors look up information about particular classes or series of contracts on the Web, the SEC says.

The SEC estimates getting the new identifiers will cost financial services companies about $200 per fund group.

The SEC final rule is on the Web at http://www.sec.gov/rules/final/33-8590.pdf