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Phoeni Aims To Simplify Annuity Choices

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The Phoenix Companies Inc. is introducing a new line of variable annuities in an effort to make it easier for clients to buy the company’s products.[@@]

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

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

Currently, Phoenix offers 7 other accumulation and income variable annuities, plus private-placement products designed for wealthy investors. Those are the choices it ultimately plans to thin down with Dimensions, which comes with a menu of riders that will help advisors to tailor the product to fit client financial profiles. The riders include a number of guaranteed minimum benefits. One guarantees a steady stream of income.

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

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

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

One brochure, “Your Retirement, Your Style,” is a general guide to variable annuities. 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.