The ING Group is based in Amsterdam and offers 85 million customers in over 40 countries banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement products. The ING Group also offers services to individuals as well as corporate and institutional clients.
ING is a relatively new company in the insurance world. It was founded in 1991, as a result of a merger between Nationale-Nederlanden and NMB Postbank Group. ING is recognized as one of the largest companies in the world, and it is one of the 20th largest financial institutions.
The ING operations in the U.S. offer annuities, retirement plans, life insurance, mutual funds, managed accounts, and direct banking services to individual customers. The company is the fifth largest life insurance and retirement services provider in the country. ING’s brand promise of “Your future. Made easier.” is becoming more and more recognizable in the U.S. because the company has put in efforts, including sponsorships of major public events, to increase awareness of the brand.
In terms of annuity products, ING offers fixed, variable, index, and immediate annuities through ING’s Retail Annuities Group. ING prides itself on offering a large range of annuity products to customers because they believe that the “typical” annuity customer is a myth.
ING offers two deferred fixed annuity products which are both single premium deferred annuities. In addition, the company offers three types of variable annuities, six types of fixed indexed annuities, and one immediate annuity. The individual products are listed below:
o ING MultiSet Plus
o ING Guaranteed Choice
o ING GoldenSelect
o New York
o ING Empire Traditions and ING Empire Innovations
Fixed Index Annuity Products:
o ING Secure Index Five
o ING Secure Index Seven
o ING Secure Opportunities Plus
o ING Secure Index Outlook (limited state availability)
o ING Envoy Six Fixed Index
o ING Envoy Nine Fixed Index
o ING Single Premium Immediate
Throughout the years, ING has modified their products to meet the changing needs of their customers. For example, ING has modified their death benefits, living benefits, and income strategies for its annuity products as a result of customer feedback. ING’s fees and charges vary for each of the annuity products. Charges can include an administration and maintenance fee, a contingent deferred sales charge, a mortality and expense risk charge, a premium tax, a short-term trading fees, and an underlying mutual fund expenses charge. It is best to understand the entire fee and charge information before an annuity is purchased.
If an investor is considering purchasing an ING annuity, it is also important to understand the financial strength of the company. The top rating agencies have given ING ratings toward the higher end of the scales. For example, Standard & Poors has rated the company AA-. This is the 4th highest category of 21. A.M. Best has rated ING as A+ which is the 2nd highest category of 15. Finally, Fitch has rated the company as AA- which is the 4th highest rating of 19.