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slykahn,

Sounds like you are invested in an annuity. A simple way to make sure is to call the person who sold it to you and ask "Is this a tax-defered annuity?" Since it is with an insurance company, I am pretty certain that it is.

Rather than write a bunch of drivel, you can read what the Fool has written about annuities:
http://www.fool.com/retirement/annuities/annuities01.htm?ref=RTRannu

It also sounds like you are in a 403b. It is much like a 401k, but there are different rules and most people get stuck with an annuity. Your investment choices in a 403b can, however, be made according the Foolish principals given for 401k's:
http://www.fool.com/money/401k/401k.htm

To understand the 403b better, you can start with this excellent article by the Fool:
http://www.fool.com/specials/2000/sp001016.htm

A good site outside of the Fool is here:
http://www.403bwise.com/
In the upper right hand corner you will see "Newbies, Start Here". It's a great place to start!

Read up on some of this stuff, and I think it will help you tremendously when asking questions either to your financial advisor or on the boards. Come back when you have more questions.

Hope this helps,

Taylor
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