The payment the investor’s estate or beneficiaries will receive if he or she dies before the annuity matures. There are several types of death benefits with variable annuities, including: Current account value or initial investment (whichever is greater), in which the beneficiary receives the vale of the annuity when the policyholder dies; Rising floor, in which an investment company guarantees a minimum return on premium deposits, regardless of subaccount investment performance; Ratchet, a benefit equal to the greater of (a) the contract value, (b) premium payments less prior withdrawals or (c) the contract value on a specified prior date; and Stepped-up, which guarantees the account value to the beneficiary as of a particular anniversary date (e.g. every 5 years).
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