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Metlife Expands Options in Variable Annuity Products

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MetLife Inc., New York, N.Y., has expanded the MetLife Protected Growth Strategies investment portfolio lineup within its variable annuity products. The three new portfolios are:

  • Invesco Balanced-Risk Allocation Portfolio – a risk-balanced strategy, which diversifies the portfolio based on risk instead of asset class;
  • JPMorgan Global Active Allocation Portfolio – a momentum strategy, which identifies persistent trends in returns and adjusts the portfolio accordingly;
  • Schroders Global Multi-Asset Portfolio – a managed volatility strategy, which adjusts the asset allocation mix as market conditions change to minimize exposure to less favorable assets.

In addition, all Protected Growth Strategy portfolios will now be made available to most existing variable annuity contract holders.

The new portfolios, along with the four original portfolios, are available to all new and most existing variable annuity customers regardless of the election of certain optional benefits. The Protected Growth Strategy portfolios were first introduced in May of 2011, but until now were only accessible to customers who elected certain optional benefits for an additional fee.

The original Protected Growth Strategies portfolios include:       

  • AllianceBerstein Global Dynamic Allocation Portfolio;       
  • AQR Global Risk Balanced Portfolio;
  • BlackRock Global Tactical Strategies Portfolio;        
  • MetLife Balanced Plus Portfolio (co-managed with PIMCO).

In other industry news:

The Phoenix Companies Inc. Hartford, Conn. (NYSE: PNX), introduced the Phoenix Personal Protection Choice Annuity, a single premium fixed indexed annuity. For an additional fee, annuity holders can combine up to three different benefits, including lifetime income, chronic care and an enhanced death benefit, to create a customized solution. Designed for individuals approaching or already in retirement, the annuity includes six indexed accounts, a fixed account and principal protection from investment loss.

Issued by PHL Variable Insurance Co., a Phoenix insurance subsidiary, the product is available through independent distributors working with Saybrus Partners.

Personal Protection Choice offers flexibility to combine the income protection benefit with the care protection and/or the family protection benefits. The income protection benefit provides a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit that offers income enhancing features depending on when the client will first need income. The care protection benefit provides an enhanced withdrawal benefit for up to five years in the event that the annuity holder is unable to perform two of six Activities of Daily Living and is confined to a nursing home or receiving care at home.

In conjunction with Personal Protection Choice, Phoenix launched REALIZE, a personal retirement analysis tool to assist agents and financial professionals as they guide clients through retirement planning conversations and individual needs assessments. Available online and on tablets, the tool can generate customized annuity proposals by transferring the client data to an interactive annuity quote tool, saving time from inputting duplicate client information. The resource also produces personalized outputs of clients’ key retirement considerations.

Great-West Retirement Services, Greenwood Village, Colo., has appointed Chris Solimine regional sales director for its Government Markets business. In this new position, Solimine will be responsible for developing public markets opportunities for Great-West Retirement Services throughout the central United States. He is based in Nashville, Tenn., and reports to Brent Neese, vice president of Government Markets.

Before joining Great-West, Solimine spent six years with ICMA-RC. Most recently, he served as managing director for the state plan market. In this role, he was responsible for $1.7 billion in new assets. From 2003 to 2006, he served in a variety of sales roles at ADP’s Retirement Services and TotalSource business units.

Solimine earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from University of South Florida. He also has a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in international business from the University of Miami. He holds NASD Series 6, 63 and state of Tennessee insurance licenses. Solimine is a SPARK-Accredited Retirement Plan Consultant (Society of Professional Asset-Managers and Record Keepers).

Pete DonioThe Marketing Alliance, St. Louis, Mo., added Peter (Pete) Donio to its underwriting division. Donio will support TMA distributors’ placement of impaired risk cases by summarizing medical reports of impaired clients, matching the impairments with the best suited carriers and working with carriers’ underwriters on risk assessment.

Prior to joining TMA, Donio was consulting senior underwriter with clients that included John Hancock, American General, MetLife, Canada Life, Baltimore Life and GE / First Colony. Throughout his career, he held senior management positions with Penn Mutual as chief underwriter, AIG Risk Finance as senior medical underwriter, and ING Variable Annuities as assistant vice president.

Donio is the founder and past president of the Impaired Risk Underwriters Association, past president of the Baltimore/Washington Underwriters Association, member of the New York City Metropolitan Underwriters Discussion Group, and Delaware Valley Home Office Underwriters Association.

Alltrust Insurance, Palm Harbor, Fla., has joined Benefit Advisors Network.

“BAN enables us to share tools, technology and expertise with the best employee benefits advisors in the country, while maintaining our status as an independent and private consultancy,” says Joe Part, Alltrust managing partner.

Part founded Alltrust in 1993 with his wife, Karen Brayboy – herself an executive at three securities firms before leaving her career with Raymond James in order to become CEO of Alltrust. Alltrust focuses on providing singular, flexible, affordable benefits, technology and health risk management packages to over 400 employer groups.

Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC, White Plains, N.Y., a subsidiary of broker Marsh Inc., has acquired Progressive Benefit Solutions, an employee benefits agency based in Raleigh, N.C.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

PBS will operate as a division of Rutherfoord, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, expanding Rutherfoord’s employee benefits capabilities and resources in the Raleigh market. PBS offers health, wellness, compliance and executive compensation products and services to midsize clients.

John McDonnell, William Salmon, Rick Kelly, and the rest of the PBS team will join Rutherfoord and continue operating out of PBS’ existing Raleigh office. The transaction is the fourth complementary acquisition for Rutherfoord/MMA.


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