All Articles Leadership MetLife’s Shield Level Selector can help investors plan for retirement

MetLife’s Shield Level Selector can help investors plan for retirement

7 min read


MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs. The following is a sponsored post that explores the benefits of the Shield Level SelectorSM a single premium deferred annuity issued by MetLife Insurance Company of Connecticut (“MICC”), a new product designed for protection-minded clients. For more information, visit

Today’s investors are looking for more from their advisors and the financial products they recommend.  It’s not just about how much money they might make, it’s also about how to help clients protect what they have.

Despite the fact that the stock market has more than doubled over the past four years many investors are still not very confident.  Because of the experiences of the first decade of the 2000’s investors today are less tolerant of risk and volatility than they once were.

Therefore many financial professionals and the clients they serve are looking for financial products that possess several characteristics: a way to help reduce risk, the opportunity for growth potential, and a level of customization to suit different needs.

Until recently, no product existed that could deliver all three elements; MetLife’s Shield Level Selector annuity is one of these products.

Help protect your client’s retirement assets

These days, investors are looking for protection, first and foremost.  A Fidelity Investments survey conducted earlier this year concluded that investor sentiment has changed.  The survey results showed that 70% of investors are more risk averse today than in the past and that their top concern is market volatility.

The survey also showed that while 45% of investors surveyed feel that the worst is behind us, another 40% think that things will stay the same or get worse.  Other polls from MetLife have shown that investors want to protect their assets as much or more than they want gains.  That makes sense, since we know that investors tend to feel the pain of loss much more strongly than the pleasure of an equivalent gain. (Source: Shield Level Selector Optimization and Messaging Study, MetLife U.S. Market Intelligence, November 2012.)

So, with potentially trillions of dollars still sitting on the sidelines, how will investors find the confidence to put their money back to work?  Those dollars are typically in conservative investments with mediocre returns.  And investors know they need more from their retirement savings.

The solution might be a product that provides them with an element of control and flexibility.  This is where the MetLife Shield Level Selector comes in.  It offers protection, participation and personalization.

Shield Level Selector

The MetLife Shield Level Selector annuity enables investors to receive the potential benefit of returns without actually investing in the market. The investor can choose one or more Shield Options, each consisting of a level of protection1, index and term. The investor gets to choose from among several index options, the performance of which will be used to calculate the rate of return.  But the money is not invested directly in any index; the index is simply the benchmark for calculating the results.

Investors also get to choose the level of protection (the “Shield Rate”) which can minimize or eliminate future losses. Investors can choose from four different levels of protection – Shield 10, Shield 15, Shield 25 and Shield 100.

Those numbers mean that MetLife Insurance Company of Connecticutt (MICC) will absorb the first 10%, 15%, 25% or 100% of index loss at the end of the term and the investor’s account value will be reduced by any negative performance beyond the level of protection at the end of the term. The investor also gets to choose the term over which the protection will be applied.  Term choices are either 1-year, 3-year or 6-year terms.

But not all Shield levels of protection are available for all terms or indices, though there are a wide variety of Shield Options available to fit investors’ needs.   And each Shield Option also includes a Maximum Growth Opportunity1 or Step Rate.

The Maximum Growth Opportunity is the maximum percentage the investor can earn for their term. The Step Rate lets the investor know ahead of time how much growth they will receive if the index is either flat or up at the end of the term. (We’ll get into this in detail in another blog post; or check out a prospectus that is available at

At the end of each term, MICC will figure out the index performance and adjust the account value based upon the Shield Option chosen. Also at the end of each term, the investor can choose one or more new Shield options or remain in their current Shield Option.2

Shield Level Selector provides investors with a unique combination of three critical elements: a way to reduce risk (i.e., the level of protection), the Maximum Growth Opportunity or Step Rate, and a level of personalization lacking in many other products.

As a financial professional, the MetLife Shield Level Selector can be another arrow in your quiver, one which could provide a needed option for your clients who are still wary of volatility but need to get back in the game.

For the clients sitting on the sidelines wondering when the time will be right to get invested again, the MetLife Shield Level Selector is a great way to put some of their money to work now.3

From the sponsor: Introducing the MetLife Shield Level SelectorSM annuity, a new product that can give your clients a greater sense of flexibility. It’s designed to help them protect a portion of their retirement assets, participate in growth opportunities and personalize their retirement strategies.


1 In the prospectus, level(s) of protection is referred to as “Shield Rate” and Maximum Growth Opportunity is referred to as “Cap Rate.”

2 After the initial term (1-, 3- or 6-years), renewal rates are declared on the corresponding contract anniversary for the new term. Renewal rates and available Shield Options may differ from new business rates and options. Indices may be changed at MICC’s sole discretion and the use of an Index may be terminated by MICC at any time.

Although Shield Level Selector is designed for money a client won’t need in the short-term, clients can access a portion of their account value at any time, and starting in the second year, they can access a portion free of withdrawal charges. Account value accessed during a term is subject to an “interim value” adjustment that reflects the accounts proportionate Shield Rate, index rate and term rate.

The MetLife Shield Level Selector single premium deferred annuity issued by MetLife Insurance Company of Connecticut (“MICC”) is offered by prospectus only, which is available from MetLife. The contract prospectus contains information about the contract’s features, risks, charges and expenses. Clients should read the prospectus and consider this information carefully before investing. Availability and features may vary by state. MICC reserves the right to substitute any index in its sole discrection.

MetLife Shield Level Selector is a long-term investment designed for retirement purposes and has limitations, exclusions, charges, termination provisions and terms for keeping it in force. There is a risk of substantial loss of principal for losses beyond the Shield Rate selected, because the client agrees to absorb all losses that exceed the chosen Shield Rate. Please refer to “Risk Factors” in the contract prospectus for more details. All contract guarantees, including the optional death benefit and annuity payout rates, are backed by the claims-paying ability and financial strength of the issuing insurance company.

Withdrawals of taxable amounts are subject to ordinary income tax and if made before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% Federal income tax penalty. Distributions of taxable amounts from a nonqualified annuity may also be subject to the 3.8% Unearned Income Medicare Contribution Tax on Net Investment Income if your modified adjusted gross income exceeds the applicable threshold amount. Withdrawals will reduce the death benefits and account value. Withdrawals may be subject to withdrawal charges.

MetLife Shield Level Selector Single Premium Deferred Annuity is issued by MetLife Insurance Company of Connecticut on Policy Form L-22494 (09/12); Bloomfield, CT 06002, and is distributed by MetLife Investors Distribution Company (member FINRA); Irvine, CA 92614. Both are MetLife companies. #L0713332032[0714]

For Broker/Dealer and Financial Professional Use Only. Not for Public Distribution.