The life insurance industry may be spending the next few decades coming up with new and better ways to protect the retirement savings that the baby boomers’ already have accumulated.[@@]

Barbara Goodstein, the new head of marketing and product development at AXA Financial Inc., New York, recently moved to AXA from J.P. Morgan Chase & Company, New York, where she was senior vice president of personal financial services. Before that, she got a close look at consumer needs and wants while setting up a Web-based retail trading system for Instinet L.L.C., New York.

Goodstein says the future of the insurance industry lies in creating financial guarantees.

State officials and rating agencies want to write tougher rules for product guarantees, to ensure that insurers are putting enough capital away to make good on their promises.

But guarantees are sure to gain new significance as questions about the viability of Social Security stay in the news, Goodstein says.

“The change in demographics and what is happening with Social Security, along with increased longevity, make those guarantees more critical than they ever were before,” she says.

By the year 2030, the U.S. population is projected to include twice the number of people aged 65 and older as there were at the turn of the century. “Longevity risk is a reality, and one that financial professionals need to help prepare boomers for,” Goodstein says.

Goodstein says the appeal of guaranteed minimum income benefit features, which are part of AXA’s Accumulator VA contracts, will grow through the years.

A total of 65% of advisors viewed the GMIB rider as very important or essential according to Morgan Stanley’s Future of Annuity Market 2004 annual survey released in March 2004, Goodstein says.

“We think we have helped in that space, and we think we are in a unique position to keep helping,” she says.