Income annuity sales in the first quarter climbed almost 23% to $2.16 billion from $1.75 billion a year ago, according to the Fixed Annuity Premium Study released today by Beacon Research. And sales of indexed annuities also increased, hitting $8.16 billion, up nearly 9% from the year-ago quarter, the data showed.

“Both product types did well despite lower interest rates due to demand for guarantees in general and reliable retirement income in particular.” Jeremy Alexander, CEO of Beacon Research, said in a statement.

Total first-quarter fixed annuity sales of $16.9 billion, however, were off nearly 9% from last year’s $18.6 billion, and 2.2% off from the previous quarter, according to the data. Fixed rate non-market-value-adjusted annuities totaled $5.25 billion, a dramatic 32.6% drop from a year ago, while fixed rate market-value-adjusted annuities totaled $1.37 billion, down 10.4% from last year.

New York Life’s Lifetime Income Annuity was the quarter’s top-selling annuity, the first product of its type to be a quarterly bestseller. Other leading products were indexed annuities issued by Allianz, Aviva USA and American Equity.

Allianz Life was the quarter’s top selling company, selling $1.5 billion in fixed annuities. Aviva USA and New York Life came in second and third, with $1.2 billion and $1.1 billion in sales, respectively.  The two others in the top five list were American Equity with $979 million in sales and Great American with $774 million.

Beacon Research tracks fixed, indexed and variable annuity sales for distributors and insurance companies. The Fixed Annuity Premium Study is updated quarterly.

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