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Variable Annuity is a Hot Product

The Insured Retirement Institute found that variable annuities are as popular as ever, reaching record levels of sales in the 3rd quarter of this year.  Net variable annuity sales of $8.8 billion had not been reached since the 3rd quarter of 2007 saw $8.9 billion in sales.  With this quarter’s $39 billion in total variable annuity sales, the industry is on track to reach $150 billion in annuity sales for the year.  This information comes from Advisor One’s Danielle Andrus, in her article “Variable Annuity Sales Highest Since Q3 2007.”  New investors are flocking to the guarantees and lifetime income of variable annuities and other annuity products.  Cathy Weatherford, President and CEO of the IRI, said that the industry has showed its strength and growth potential with the forecasted $150 billion in sales for 2011.

Quarter to quarter sales were down 4%, but annuity sales increased 6% from this quarter last year.  There were significantly fewer changes to benefit options in the 3rd quarter of this year, both compared with the 2nd quarter and compared with the 3rd quarter of last year.  The good thing for clients is that the benefits being changed are all very generous, as they have been in the last few years.  The biggest changes are with new share classes and GMWB riders that offer lifetime benefits.  Fixed annuity sales have been rather flat this year, at $58.3 billion to date.  Immediate annuity rates and many other factors go into the overall sales of annuity products, but the safety and guarantees of annuities are keeping them popular right now.

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