AnnuityScout Expands Leading Online Marketplace with Introduction of Equity Index Annuities

Uncertainty in Equity Markets a Key Factor in the Popularity of Index Annuities

Marina Del Rey, California, UNITED STATES


MARINA DEL REY, Calif., Oct. 26, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- Leading the annuity industry with its innovative services, AnnuityScout, the independent online and offline marketplace for annuities, announced today the introduction of equity index annuities, expanding its comprehensive "supermarket" of products. Index annuities allow investors to participate in the benefits of the long-term growth potential of such indices as the Standard & Poor's 500(r) coupled with the security of a guaranteed minimum rate of return. As with other annuities, the index variety also offers tax-deferred growth.

"Because index annuities offer long-term investors the upside potential of earnings linked to the S&P 500 and other indices, with the downside protection of a minimum guaranteed rate of return, they are especially popular in today's volatile equity market," said Gregory G. Yost, chairman and CEO of AnnuityScout. "The stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, has historically averaged about 10% growth a year. But when the stock market is in a roller coaster mode, index annuities offer peace of mind to long-term investors," he added. Yost is a noted expert on tax-deferred investing and his company has been featured by Bloomberg's Money Wise, BusinessWeek, Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal and other top media outlets.

To assist consumers in their search for appropriate index annuities, AnnuityScout also produces ScoutingReport(tm) Finalists. Until today's introduction of the Report, consumers had to comb the entire universe of available index annuities to find one with features best suited to their needs. AnnuityScout facilitates the research process by scouting hundreds of products from 50 plus highly-rated insurance companies it represents and laying out some of the top index annuities for an easy to read, side-by-side comparison. Consumers with questions about index annuities can also call AnnuityScout's staff of nationally licensed no-commission annuity specialists at 1-800 TAX-CUTS for a free consultation.

This introduction of index annuities is just the latest of many innovative AnnuityScout services for both consumers and the company's business-to-business alliances. As a comprehensive "supermarket" for index, no-load variable and fixed rate annuities, the company provides consumers with the tools, information and extensive product selection needed to make informed decisions. AnnuityScout.com was recently rated one of the best personal finance Web sites in the October issue of Online Investor magazine.

About AnnuityScout.com: "Annuities Done Right"

AnnuityScout.com is an independent annuity service for both consumers and the company's business-to-business alliances. Rated by Online Investor Magazine (October 2000) as a top personal finance Web site, AnnuityScout.com is the leading online marketplace for no-load annuities. Representing more than 50 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. The state-of-the-art AnnuityScout call center is staffed with nationally licensed Annuity Specialists. AnnuityScout.com is a free service of Independent Advantage Financial and Insurance Services, Inc. (IAF). Founded in 1987, IAF has facilitated the purchase of more than $1 billion in annuities and high-end life insurance direct to the consumer through marketing alliances and other endorsements. AnnuityScout.com is headquartered in Marina Del Rey, California and can be reached at 1 (800) TAX-CUTS (829-2887).

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%. Through second quarter 2000, sales for variable annuities reached $72.5 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.

"S&P," "S&P 500(r)" and "Standard & Poor's 500" are registered trademarks of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. and have been licensed for use by the insurance companies which issue the various deferred annuities utilizing the Index. These products are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Standard & Poor's, and Standard & Poor's makes no representation regarding the advisability of purchasing these products.

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

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.

Past performance is not a guarantee or indication of future results.



        

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