The Retirement Income Solutions Division of the U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF), Wellesley, Mass., has launched Sun Life Solutions variable annuity and the Sun Income Vision living benefit rider.

The new VA offers a choice of investment options withdrawal charge periods and death benefits to meet a range of income, liquidity, and estate planning needs.

The product’s optional living benefit rider, available for an additional annual fee, lets investors lock in a benefit base used to calculate income. The benefit base can annually increase with market gains, but won’t decrease due to market declines, Sun Life says.

Features of Sun Life Solutions include:

Tax-deferred growth on investment earnings.

More than 20 money managers to choose from.

Annual mortality and expense charges as low as 1.00%

Death benefit options at various price points.

Features of Sun Income Vision include:

Guaranteed lifetime income with living benefit.

Up to 70% equity participation.

Possible annual step-ups in guaranteed lifetime income if underlying account value rises.

Annual benefit cost of 0.35% single, 0.5% joint life (as a percentage of the income benefit base).

John Hancock Life Insurance, Boston, has launched two new products, Indexed UL, a permanent life product that offers downside protection with the potential for growth through participation in equity market returns; and Premier Life, Premier Life, which is designed for clients looking for a flexible alternative to whole life.

The Indexed UL offers two Indexed Account options that credit interest based on annual changes to the S&P 500Index: a Capped Indexed Account that credits up to 13%; and an Uncapped Indexed Account that credits up to the full performance of the S&P 500, less 5.5%.

Both Indexed Account options offer a 0% minimum interest rate floor, eliminating market-based losses, John Hancock says.

Premier Life offers many of the same features as a whole life policy, including guarantees and cash value growth potential. The product also offers flexible premium payments, a feature lacking from participating whole life policies.

The company adds that both Indexed UL and Premier Life offer long-term care coverage. Both contracts also offer other riders and features that address business and personal insurance needs.

A new small plan market tool kit from the Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa, includes white paper (“Boosting Profitability in the Small Retirement Plan Market”) that offers best practices and tips from financial professionals.

The toolkit also boasts a small plan prospecting checklist, information about the value of working with a third party administrator (TPA) and a non-branded flier on the benefits of starting up a retirement plan that financial professionals can use with small business owners.