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Friday April 25th 2014

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New Pressure on Annuity Holders

RetireesA decade ago, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. HIG +0.26% won applause from financial advisers as a trailblazer in developing new types of variable-annuity guarantees that provided lifetime income even if the owner’s investments tanked. Now, the company is still trailblazing, but it is being booed. Hartford is one of many insurers seeking to reduce exposure to what have turned out to be costly guarantees on variable annuities—which are tax-advantaged products for investing in stock and bond funds. Insurers have been clamping down on fund choices, raising fees, blocking additional account contributions and even trying to buy back the contracts according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal.