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Variable Annuity Decline Shuffles Annuity Sales Leaders

The LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute just published their quarterly annuity sales report detailing the “Top 10 annuity sales leaders” from the first quarter. In an article for LifeHealthPro, Kristen Beckman listed the top sellers and discussed the big power shift between fixed and variable annuities. Their data includes information from 64 companies who make up 96% of all annuity sales. Total annuity sales were $59 billion in the first quarter. Fixed annuity sales of $32.3 billion were higher than the variable annuity sales of $26.6 billion, a fact that is likely to be the new norm in the annuity industry.

The insurance companies who made the top 10 annuity sales list during the first quarter accounted for more than half of all annuity sales. American Equity was the only new insurer to make the top 10 list, moving up from number 14 in the first quarter of 2015 to number 10 last quarter. The positions and the sales dominance of the other 9 companies changed a lot over the course of the year. This has a lot to do with the fall of variable annuity products. Those insurers who have been variable annuity heavy in the past saw some sales declines, partially due to the DOL’s impending fiduciary rule that was finalized on April 6. As the markets focus more on fixed annuity products, those insurers selling fixed annuities will continue to increase their dominance.

Here are the top 10 annuity sellers during the 1st quarter of 2016. As mentioned above, American Equity took the number 10 spot. Their fixed and total annuity sales were $2.1 billion, giving them the 4th highest fixed annuity sales. They do not sell variable annuities. The 9th spot went to Prudential Financial, down from the 5th spot last year. They don’t sell fixed annuities, but had variable and total annuity sales of $2.2 billion. They had the 5th highest variable annuity sales in the quarter. Lincoln Financial had the 8th highest total annuity sales, down from the 3rd spot last year. Their variable annuity sales of $2.5 billion were the 6th highest for VAs and their fixed annuity sales of $667 million ranked them 13th. MetLife moved up from the 10th place to the 7th with their total annuity sales of $2.5 billion. Their variable annuity sales of $1.6 billion took the 7th spot, while their $900 million of fixed annuity sales put them 12th.

AXA US moved from the 9th highest sales to the 6th for the 1st quarter of 2016. This is slightly surprising considering they only sell variable annuity products. Their VA sales of $2.5 billion ranked them 3rd in variable annuity sales. TIAA-CREF, another company that focuses on variable annuities, went from the 4th spot down to the 5th with their sales of $3.1 billion. Those VA sales were the 2nd highest for that particular product. Allianz Life of North America flipped spots with TIAA-CREF, going from 5th up to 4th. Allianz ranked 3rd in fixed annuity sales with $2.8 billion. Their variable annuity sales of $499 million ranked them 14 in VAs. The 3rd highest annuity seller for the quarter was New York Life with sales of $3.8 billion. They went from the 6th spot last year. New York Life ranked number 1 with fixed annuity sales of $3.2 billion and 12th in variable annuity sales with $640 million. Their fixed annuity dominance will likely keep them moving up the sales ranks.

Jackson National Life went from the top spot to number 2 with total annuity sales of $4.6 billion. They had the highest variable annuity sales with $4.3 billion sold. They did not rank in fixed annuity sales. The top sales spot in the quarter went to AIG, up from the 2nd spot last year. AIG’s fixed annuity sales of $3 billion ranked them 2nd and their variable annuity sales of $2.1 billion ranked them 4th for those products. The 1st quarter annuity sales results were effected by the impending DOL fiduciary rule. Now that it has been finalized to include fixed indexed annuities in the BICE requirements that variable annuities have to follow, company sales rankings for the 2nd quarter might change even more. Nine of the ten insurance companies stayed the same in the top 10 annuity sales rankings for the 1st quarter of 2016, but their positions switched quite a bit due to declining variable annuity sales.

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