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Fixed indexed annuities a bright spot in the US market

par Andrew Rickard | November 23 2016 01:30PM

Photo: Freepik

While overall annuity sales are down, sales of fixed indexed annuities (FIA) in the United States reached $15 billion in the third quarter, an increase of 5% compared to the same period last year.

The LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute’s most recent annuity sales survey reveals that total U.S. annuity sales came to $53.6 billion in the third quarter of 2016, down 11% from the prior year. The report points out that this is the second consecutive quarter of decline in overall annuity sales. Year-to-date, total annuity sales dropped by 2% to $170.9 billion.

FIA sales, however, were up by 22% in the first nine months of 2016 compared to the previous year. This is the third consecutive quarter that fixed income annuities have accounted for the majority of the annuity sales in the US. In this most recent quarter, FIAs had 51% of the market, while variable annuity (VA) sales accounted for 49%. Two years ago, LIMRA says that VA’s had a 61% market share.

“While most other annuity products have faltered because of falling interest rates and anticipation of the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule, FIAs continue to thrive,” says Todd Giesing, assistant research director at the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. “Indexed annuities are on pace to exceed $60.0 billion by year end, a 10% to 15% increase over prior year.”

Despite persistently low interest rates, LIMRA expects fixed annuity sales to rise 15% to 20% in 2016 compared with prior year. This will counter falling VA sales, and as a result total annuity sales in the US should end the year flat in comparison to 2015.

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