John Hancock Annuities has enhanced Income Plus For Life, its optional withdrawal benefit rider available with Hancock's variable annuities.

Income Plus For Life increased the frequency of its step up feature from annually to quarterly. Separately, several new investment options from leading independent investment managers were also added to their annuity roster.

Step ups provide investors who elect Income Plus For Life the potential to increase their guaranteed lifetime income amount when their account values rise. John Hancock annuities purchased on or after June 16, 2008, will have four quarterly reviews each contract year up to age 95 to capture potential market growth via an anniversary step up.

The Income Plus For Life benefit itself is an optional rider that provides guaranteed lifetime income beginning at age 59 1/2, and is available for a 0.75% annual fee, which may increase upon step-up.

John Hancock Annuities has also announced the addition of three new, broadly-diversified investment options. The three new portfolios continue John Hancock’s tradition of offering investment managers who have disciplined investment strategies and proven track records.

Dimensional Fund Advisors Disciplined Diversification portfolio seeks total return consisting of capital appreciation and current income by investing approximately 65%-70% of assets to equity securities and 30%-35% of assets to fixed income securities. The equity allocation invests in a diversified portfolio of global equity securities while fixed income assets are allocated to high-quality, short-term global bonds and treasury inflation protected securities.

T Rowe Price Capital Appreciation Value portfolio is managed in a similar style to the T Rowe Price Capital Appreciation Fund, seeking long-term capital appreciation by investing in 50%-70% of assets to equity securities and 30%-50% of assets to fixed income securities. The strategy blends two distinct investment approaches: quantitative analysis and valuation analysis, allowing the managers to identify companies that appear to be out of favor or undervalued.

Wellington Management Core Allocation Plus fund provides exposure to core global equity and fixed income securities, and exposure to equities that explore opportunistic, uncorrelated investment ideas. The target asset mix for the portfolio may range between 60%-75% in equities and 25%-40% in fixed income securities.

Marc Costantini, president of John Hancock Variable Annuities, said: With more frequent step-up opportunities, and an expanded roster of investment options, our clients now have more opportunity to increase their income during retirement.