John Hancock Launches Next-Generation Variable Annuity Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Rider

New Benefit Offers Guaranteed Income for Life

Builds on Success of Popular Principal Plus Rider

May 13, 2005, 01:00 ET from John Hancock

    BOSTON, May 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continuing to provide financial
 advisors with superior tools for helping protect their clients' retirement
 income, John Hancock today launched the optional Principal Plus For Life rider
 for its Venture(R) family of Variable Annuities.(1)  The next-generation
 guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit offers enhanced benefits and features
 that can guarantee retirement income that can last a lifetime and increase
 with favorable market performance.
     The new rider allows clients to withdraw up to 5 percent of their initial
 payment each year for 20 years -- regardless of market performance -- and, for
 the first time, guarantees payments for the life of the older owner, starting
 at age 65.  The new rider also doubles the automatic bonus for clients who
 don't need their money right away.  The bonus adds 5 percent per year in any
 of the first 10 contract years where no withdrawals are taken, up to age 80 --
 guaranteeing up to 150% of clients' original payments.(2)  Clients also can
 potentially increase their guaranteed payments if markets rise through an
 optional step-up provision that allows them to lock in gains every three
     The rider builds on the success of Hancock's popular Principal Plus
 benefit, which roughly 50 percent of Hancock's annuity business elected in
 2004 and nearly 80 percent so far this year.  "We've taken a great rider, and
 made it even better," says James R. Boyle, president, John Hancock Annuities.
 "Study after study has shown that the ultimate concern of people at or near
 retirement is guaranteeing their nest egg and not running out of money in
 retirement. The new rider addresses this concern by providing a guaranteed
 income clients won't outlive -- without the complexity and limitations
 associated with traditional annuitization.  I believe this benefit will be
 incredibly successful because it's what the market wants and needs.  It offers
 advisors a tool they can use to help clients close the gap between life
 expectancy and income and create a lasting retirement income stream."
     Among the choices available to people who elect an annuity with Principal
 Plus for Life are John Hancock's Lifestyle portfolios, which strive to help
 investors save for retirement through professional asset allocation, with the
 goal of improving risk-adjusted returns. John Hancock is the #1 provider of
 funds-of-funds in the VA industry based on assets, as of September 30, 2004.
     For financial advisors, the product benefit comes with extensive
 informational materials and presentations to help them better address their
 clients' retirement income needs, and explain the benefits of Principal Plus
 For Life.
     About John Hancock and Manulife Financial
     John Hancock is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading
 Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19
 countries and territories worldwide.  Operating as Manulife Financial in
 Canada and most of Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United
 States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection
 products and wealth management services through its extensive network of
 employees, agents and distribution partners.  Funds under management by
 Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$350 billion (US$290 billion)
 as at March 31, 2005. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the
 TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '0945' on the SEHK.  Manulife Financial can be
 found on the Internet at
     The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of
 the largest life insurers in the United States.  John Hancock offers a broad
 range of financial products and services, including whole life, term life,
 variable life, and universal life insurance, as well as college savings
 products, fixed and variable annuities, long-term care insurance, mutual funds
 and various forms of business insurance.
     Insurance products are issued by the following John Hancock insurance
 companies: John Hancock Life Insurance Company, John Hancock Variable Life
 Insurance Company*, John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.)* and John
 Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York.
     *Not licensed in New York
     (1) The guarantees are backed by the claims paying ability of the issuer.
 Principal Plus For Life can only be elected at issue and is irrevocable.  The
 Principal Plus For Life option fee is 0.40% of the adjusted guaranteed
 withdrawal balance and deducted from the contract value on each contract
 anniversary. Limitations apply.  Principal Plus For Life guarantees return of
 principal only if the Guaranteed Withdrawal amount is not exceeded.  See the
 prospectus for full details.
     (2) Withdrawals may be subject to withdrawal charges and will reduce the
 death benefit and optional benefits. In addition, withdrawals of taxable
 amounts will be subject to ordinary income tax and, if made prior to age
 591/2, a 10% IRS penalty tax may apply.
     (3) Upon step-up, your Guaranteed Withdrawal Amount (GWA) is reset and may
 be higher than its previous value. If you elect the step-up, the Principal
 Plus For Life fee will be based on the stepped-up value, and John Hancock
 reserves the right to increase the Principal Plus For Life fee up to a maximum
 of 0.75% annually.  If the fee is raised, the client may decline the step-up.
     Venture Variable Annuities are tax-deferred, long-term contracts designed
 to meet retirement and other financial goals. Variable annuities provide
 features and benefits not necessarily found in other investment vehicles, such
     * Tax-Deferral. Help defer income taxes since your earnings aren't taxed
 until distributed. The taxes paid are based on your tax bracket at the time of
 distribution and the withdrawal method.
     * Guaranteed Retirement Income. When you are ready to begin receiving
 income in retirement, variable annuities offer you the option of
 annuitization. Annuitization can provide you with guaranteed payments, which
 may continue for the rest of your life, depending on the distribution option
 you choose.
     * Death Benefit. Beneficiary protection, in the form of a guaranteed death
 benefit prior to annuitization. (Guarantees are subject to the claims paying
 ability of the issuer.)
      * Transfers. Choose from a diverse group of portfolio options in which to
 invest your retirement savings tax-deferred. Make transfers between investment
 portfolios inside the annuity without incurring current income taxes or costs.
 (Most companies reserve the right to restrict and charge for future
     A variable annuity has different types of fees and charges. Often, these
 charges will include a sales charge, mortality and expense risk charge,
 administrative fees and underlying fund expenses, as well as additional
 charges for any optional riders you might elect. Your financial consultant can
 explain all fees that may apply. You can also find a description of the
 charges in the prospectus. Be sure you understand all the charges before you
     Variable annuities and variable life insurance products are long-term
 contracts designed for retirement purposes and are sold by prospectus. Please
 contact your local Manulife USA office to obtain a prospectus containing more
 details and all charges, expenses, risk factors and limitations. Past
 performance is not a guarantee of future results.
     Venture Annuities are issued and administered by John Hancock Life
 Insurance Company (U.S.A.), a Bloomfield Hills, MI, company with its annuity
 service office in Boston, MA.  Venture Combination Fixed and Variable
 Annuities are distributed by John Hancock Distributors LLC, member NASD.
 Venture is a registered service mark of John Hancock USA.
     Annuities are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by, any bank
 or financial institution.  Annuities are not insured by the FDIC or any other
 agency and are subject to investment risks, including the possible loss of

SOURCE John Hancock