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Variable Annuity Rider Benefits Value May Be Up Sharply: Hedgeness

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Note: This article was updated after initial publication to reflect information from Hedgeness about 2018 and 2019 data comparability.

Big U.S. variable annuity issuers might be moving toward similar expense structures for popular living benefits riders — and the value of the rider benefits may be increasing rapidly.

Hedgeness Inc., a Chicago-based financial services data analytics company, has included data supporting that possibility in a new batch of rider rating data.

(Related: Unexpected Ways to Reduce RMDs, Optimize Retirement Cash Flow)

Hedgeness included 13 products in its latest rating table, up from seven last year.

A link to the new Hedgeness variable annuity rating data is available here.

Value Ranges

For 2019, the products’ overall expense charge levels ranged from 2.64% up to 3.61%. The 2019 benefits value figures ranged from 18.49 up to 41.31.

For 2018, the range was 2.69% to 3.49% for expense charges, and 26.30 to 36.36 for benefits value figures.

The Expense Medians

We compared the median figures for benefits and riders for the companies with riders that appeared in both tables.

The median exchange charge level held steady at 3.24%, according to ThinkAdvisor calculations.

The size of  the gap between the highest expense figure and the lowest shrank to just 11% this year, from about 30% in 2018.

The Benefits Medians

The median benefits level for the seven companies with riders that appeared in both tables increased to 37.01%, from 29.58%. That increase means the median value of the riders included in the table was up 25%.

We also looked at how much the gaps between the highest and lowest values changed between 2018 and this year, for the seven companies with riders that appeared in both tables.

The size of the gap between the highest benefits value figure and the lowest held steady at about 38%.

— Read Why That MYGA Rate Is So Hoton ThinkAdvisor.

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