is now the Exclusive Annuity Provider for Smartmoney.Com's Marketplace

The Web's Leading Marketplace for Annuities Joins the Web's Most Comprehensive Resource for Private Investors

Marina Del Rey, California, UNITED STATES

MARINA DEL REY, Calif., Aug. 8, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- (, the leading independent marketplace for no-load variable and fixed annuities, announced today that it has reached an agreement to become the exclusive annuity provider for's Marketplace. is an award-winning personal finance web site that provides news, tools and investment advice.

The arrangement allows to be the sole annuity provider in's Marketplace "Annuity Center." At the Annuity Center, investors can find the tools and information they need to learn about, compare and buy no-load tax-deferred annuities, as well as see how the power of tax-deferred compounding can make annuities an important part of an investment portfolio.

" and both emphasize innovation and information, making us natural partners," said Chairman and CEO Gregory G. Yost. "We have a growing suite of unique tools and content that will particularly appeal to web users who like to do their own research and self-educate before making a purchase." Yost also believes that the specific benefits of's product offerings are right for many of's users. "No-load variable annuities offer many of the qualities savvy investors are looking for - top asset managers, low fees and no surrender charges, flexibility and choice - with the added benefit of compounded tax deferral. We believe that our independent and objective marketplace is the best way to offer these annuities to the public, while providing value and a choice of products and services. is a logical venue to cost effectively reach the 11.6 million annuity owners who are currently 'online'." Is An Annuity Marketplace Designed For All Levels of Users is the web's leading annuity marketplace representing more than 40 highly rated insurance companies. Unlike single-carrier, single-product sites, AnnuityScout is able to maintain its independence from any one company, placing its priorities on the needs of clients. Offline, the company has a state-of-the-art call center, fully staffed with nationally licensed Annuity Specialists. AnnuityScout encourages customers who prefer to speak with a live representative to call 1 (800) TAX-CUTS (829-2887) with any questions regarding annuities or specific products.

The web site is specifically designed to meet the needs of all levels of annuity shoppers. The home page offers visitors four distinct paths to choose from. Those new to tax-deferred annuities are offered a series of easy-to-use tools to help them decide if an annuity is right for them. Those familiar with annuities may choose to view a side-by-side selection of current fixed and variable annuities, then begin the purchase process by filling out a custom "pre-application." Current annuity owners can compare their investments with current offerings to assess whether or not it is time for a Tax-Free Annuity Exchange. The final path detours "offline" as the "Call Me" button enables web visitors to schedule their own phone appointment with an Annuity Specialist at the date and time requested by the customer.

About "Annuities Done Right" is an independent annuity service for both consumers and the company's business-to-business alliances. Located at, the company is the leading online marketplace for no-load annuities. Representing over 40 insurance companies, the comprehensive AnnuityScout "supermarket" is designed to offer products direct to those consumers who want more value from their annuities. AnnuityScout's proprietary technological platform enables the company to efficiently service the needs of its business-to-consumer clients and its business-to business alliances both on and offline. Their state-of-the-art call center is staffed with nationally licensed Annuity Specialists. is a free service of Independent Advantage Financial and Insurance Services, Inc. (IAF). Founded in 1987, IAF has facilitated the purchase of over $1 billion in annuities and high-end life insurance direct to the consumer through marketing alliances and other endorsements. is headquartered in Marina Del Rey, California and can be reached at 1 (800) TAX-CUTS (829-2887).

About ( is a free investment news, tools and advice site operated by a full-time staff of more than 100 reporters, editors, technicians, software programmers and Web designers. It is known not only for SmartMoney-style credibility in its reporting, but also for its proprietary interactive tools, which have received much critical acclaim, including two consecutive awards for "Personal Finance and Interactivity" from the Investing Companies Institute/American University Education Foundation and a Gold Medal for interactive media design from I.D., the noted international design magazine. has recently begun licensing its award-winning Java-based applications to other financial sites, such as J.P. Morgan and American Express. also was recently nominated for a National Magazine Award for general excellence in new media by the American Society of Magazine Editors. is a joint venture of the Hearst Corporation and Dow Jones & Company (NYSE:DJ) (

About the Marketplace

The Marketplace provides users with useful links to financial services providers. This provides the valuable research and transactional e commerce function to our users in the areas of mortgage and insurance quotes; travel and automotive purchase information; online banking; and now annuities tools, advice and purchase options. The Marketplace is a paid promotional area where specific partners pay for premium exposure.

About the Annuities Industry

LIMRA International (an independent service that monitors the Insurance Industry) reports that overall annuity sales (combined variable and fixed annuities) grew from $98.5 billion in 1995 to (an estimated) $155 billion in 1999. This represents an average annual growth rate of 12%. Variable annuity sales have shown even greater growth. According to The VARDS Report (an independent service that monitors the variable annuity sales), the variable annuity market has grown from $51 billion in 1995 to $121 billion in 1999, a compound annual growth rate of 19%. First quarter 2000 sales for variable annuities reached $35 billion (The VARDS Report), a trend that could make 2000 a record year for variable annuity sales and could push the overall market past $200 billion. The independent Gallup Report estimates there are 11.6 billion current annuity owners "on line" (defined as annuity owners who regularly use the Internet and e-mail.)

Licensed employees of Independent Advantage Financial and Insurance Services, Inc. dba, are registered representatives of, and securities are sold through, Sentra Securities Corporation, a registered broker-dealer, member NASD/SIPC.

Variable annuities are sold only by prospectus, which contains complete information on charges, expenses and risk factors. Prospective investors may obtain a free prospectus by contacting at 1 (800) TAX CUTS (829-2887). The prospectus should be read carefully before investing or sending money.

Variable annuities involve investment risks including the possible loss of principal. An investor's contract, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than the original investment amount.

Annuities are designed as long-term retirement savings vehicles. Earnings withdrawn prior to age 59 1/2 may be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty. Individuals should consult their tax advisor for questions regarding their particular situation.