MetLife Inc. has introduced a guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit variable annuity contract option.[@@]

The rider can protect principal and some asset growth for MetLife VA purchasers who lock assets away for at least 10 years.

The MetLife insurance subsidiaries that back the rider are guaranteeing that, on the 10 year contract anniversary, the contract’s account value will be greater than or equal to the “guaranteed accumulation amount,” which will be equal to 110% to 130% of the initial purchase payments made within 120 days of the contract issue, adjusted for withdrawals and withdrawal charges.

Consumers can get the rider with most MetLife VA contracts, but they must agree to invest contract assets in one of 3 asset-allocation investment options.

At the end of the 10 year period, if the contract value is higher than the amount guaranteed by the GMAB rider, the customer receives the contract value rather than the guaranteed amount, MetLife says.

Customers must keep assets in the annuity for 10 years to qualify for the guarantee.

Customers must choose the rider when buying a deferred variable annuity from MetLife. The purchaser can cancel the rider around the time of the 5-year contract anniversary, MetLife says.

The GMAB is available for an annual charge of 0.75% of the value of the initial payments, MetLife says.

MetLife will guarantee a maximum of $1 million in initial annuity purchase payments made through the program, and it will not let consumers combine the guarantee with other guarantee riders, the company says.