Symetra Life Insurance Company, Bellevue, Wash., has introduced a new variable annuity that is among the most cost-effective of such products on the market. The Symetra Focus Variable Annuity is also one of the only variable annuities available featuring index investment options from Vanguard. The product’s low-cost structure and premier investment options are designed to help clients keep more of the returns generated from investments linked to the annuity.

Among variable annuities, costs such as excessive mortality and expense (M&E) fees, administration charges, fund expenses and distribution charges can dramatically reduce financial growth. By contrast, lower charges leave more of the client’s money in investment accounts to compound and grow. According to VARDS, a leading source of variable annuities data, average total contract expenses for variable
annuities were 2.51% of assets in 2006.

With Symetra Focus, the average total cost including all available investment options is 1.59% — 36.6%less than the industry average. Compared with average total expenses among the five most popular variable annuities, Symetra Focus would result in average annual expense savings of 71 basis points for a typical purchase. Those savings could result in significant additional earnings for the client over the long term.

The simple, straightforward investment options within Symetra Focus remove much of the guesswork in choosing a variable annuity. With options from leading investment companies such as Vanguard and Fidelity Investments, Symetra Focus enables clients to easily select an investment strategy tailored to their individual risk preference. The annuity also features a full spectrum of Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) from Ibbotson for those clients looking for an ETF portfolio managed by asset allocation experts.

“We took a hard look at the variable annuity marketplace and decided it is time clients had a simpler, lower-cost solution,” said Richard Lindsay, senior vice president of life insurance and annuities at Symetra Financial. “As a variable annuity, we believe Symetra Focus gives the client everything they need to succeed and nothing they don’t. This is a simple, effective product that gets people closer to reaching their retirement savings goals.”

Variable annuities enable clients to invest in a selection of portfolios, or sub-accounts, ranging from conservative to more aggressive. Earnings are based on the market performance of the underlying investment portfolios. Clients can typically switch money between investments at no cost and earnings are tax deferred. In addition, variable annuities provide a death benefit for heirs and the flexibility to
convert accumulated savings into guaranteed income for life. Sales of variable annuities in banks and credit unions hit $21.6 billion in 2006, and they remain one of the fastest growing savings products within financial institutions.

More information about the Symetra Focus Variable Annuity is available online at www.symetra.com/focus.