Life-changing deals

Variable annuities

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US life insurers have reaped decent rewards from sales of variable annuity products in recent years. Total sales of these products, which are in effect equity mutual fund-like investments in a tax-deferred wrapper, amounted to $160 billion last year in the US alone.

Increasingly, these products are sold with embedded riders - contractual features guaranteeing a lump-sum or income payments for the insured person or their beneficiaries, irrespective of underlying investment performance.

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