Manulife Financial, the first insurance company to offer brand name mutual funds with insurance features, is raising the competitive stakes in the hottest selling segment of the Canadian investment fund industry. It has announced a new family of guaranteed investment funds (GIFs) that for the first time will offer escalating death benefits. These benefits mean that a policyholder's estate will get back more than the original amount invested.

The enhancements to Manulife's GIF program were made after consultations with retail financial advisors who have been selling the original product. Under the new program, the death benefit guarantees that a beneficiary will receive at least the original deposit plus four percent interest on principal for each year of the contract.

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