Jim Griffin, center, is flanked by 5 Ledyard employees who are assisting with the maintenance and development of CertainRate.com. Duane Clark, far left, stands beside Shelly Holdridge, Deborah Decew, right center, and Eric Weber.
Photo by Pierce Smith.
Cazenovia In an effort to continue to educate local and area residents of financial prudence and planning, the Cazenovia-based business 5 Ledyard Avenue Corp. recently launched CertainRate.com. The website is dedicated to listing annuity rates, calculating required minimum distributions and offering a number of learning modules.
“A fixed annuity can be bought just like a commodity … I thought that there would be a mass ‘move to safety’ [for insurance products amid wavering economic times] and I wanted to occupy that space. So we purchased that space, launched a website and named it ‘CertainRate’,” said 5 Ledyard CEO Jim Griffin. “We want to educate seniors that there is a guaranteed short-term position for them, even when the market is doing poorly.”
Through CertainRate.com, online visitors are able to search annuity rates, fixed index annuities, multi-year guaranteed annuities, fixed index accounts and fixed annuities. As current tax law specifies that all over the age of 70-and-a-half must begin making taxable withdrawals from their traditional individual retirement accounts, the new website includes a calculator which instantly determines the minimum required distributions using customers’ ages, martial status, spouses’ age and account balances. Borrowing a few modules regarding finance and economics from the Khan Academy, CertainRate.com includes a number of 50-minute educational videos regarding IRAs and taxation.
“We’ve created the first system allowing people to buy term life insurance without having to see a broker,” Griffin said. “We’re close to purchasing an insurance company that will focus on these consumer-oriented products that customers will be able to buy directly.”
Griffin said much of the inspiration for CertainRate.com came from the West Palm Beach-based site BankRate.com, which, over the last 10 years, has become the primary resource for people to get certificate of deposit and mortgage rates. The company first experienced a boom after the mass rush to safety at the beginning of the new millennium, and again during the 2003-04 increase in mortgage availability.