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 years.(3) 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 http://www.manulife.com. 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 as: * 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 transfers.) 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 invest. 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 principal.
SOURCE John Hancock