Insurance and annuity company Midland National Life Insurance Company, a member of Sammons Financial Group, announced today the launch of the BlackRock ESG US 5% Index ER, the first index its kind to be available with fixed index annuity (FIA) products in the independent insurance agent channel.

Rob TeKolste, President, Sammons Independent Annuity Group, said:

“Agents and their clients are looking for socially responsible investment options, and the BlackRock ESG US 5% Index ER is not only an industry first, but Midland National is applying it across two popular, and one new, fixed index annuities. We are making the index available across a range of FIAs to allow clients broad access, no matter how they choose to manage their annuity.”

According to Midland National, the new index aims to help consumers take advantage of growing interest in financial products that employ socially responsible crediting strategies. The index is available on 2 existing products, the MNL IncomeVantage Pro and MNL RetireVantage fixed index annuities, and will also be available on the new MNL Accelerate 5, a short-term FIA offering five-year guaranteed participation rates.

Jill Esser, Vice President, Annuity Product Development at Sammons Financial Group Member Companies, said:

“Annuity design mandates that we meet both client expectations and take advantage of innovation in product development. We see new opportunities emerging in the ESG marketplace. With this new ESG index, we expect our three product options will be attractive to clients that want to align with companies facing global societal issues. I expect agents and clients will seek out this option for both its performance and social focus.”

The new index, developed by BlackRock Index Services, targets companies that have risk management tools in place and are focused on reducing ESG risks. The index includes companies with sustainability efforts in place including those seeking to support a diverse workforce, lower carbon emissions, and strengthen data privacy.

Anne Ackerley, Managing Director and Head of BlackRock’s Retirement Group, said:

“We think the trend toward greater company disclosure and clearer understanding of how ESG risks affect investment returns will spur increased adoption of sustainable products. The BlackRock ESG US 5% Index ER exemplifies our commitment to increase access to sustainability solutions through index innovation.”