Annuity sales climb in fourth quarter
By Paula Aven Gladych
Fourth quarter 2013 U.S. annuity sales are up 17.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a report by The Insured Retirement Institute.
Increased fixed and variable annuity sales during the fourth quarter pushed industry-wide sales to $59.3 billion, up 3.1 percent from the prior quarter’s sales of $57.5 billion and up 17.2 percent from fourth quarter 2012 sales of $50.6 billion.
For the year, annuity sales increased 4.2 percent to $220.9 billion from $212 billion the previous year.
Fixed annuity sales continued their upward momentum during the fourth quarter reaching $23.5 billion, according to Beacon Research. This was a 4.7 percent increase from nearly $22.5 billion in third-quarter 2013 and a 45.2 percent increase from $16.2 billion in fourth-quarter 2012. For the full-year 2013, fixed annuity sales totaled $78.1 billion, a 16.6 percent increase from $67 billion in 2012.
Variable annuities total sales also were on the rise during the fourth quarter, according to Morningstar. Variable annuities total sales climbed to $35.8 billion, a 2 percent increase from $35.1 billion in third-quarter 2013 and a 4.1 percent increase from $34.4 billion in fourth-quarter 2012. For the full-year 2013, variable annuity total sales dipped 1.5 percent to $142.8 billion from $145 billion in 2012.
“Supported by a resurgence in fixed annuity sales, industry-wide sales continue to move higher,” said Cathy Weatherford, IRI President and CEO. “It’s particularly noteworthy that income annuities continue to break new barriers, passing the $3 billion mark for the first time and reaching $3.5 billion. The growing popularity of these products shows the expanding market of consumers looking for certainty through guaranteed lifetime income. As the Baby Boomers continue to retire, we expect this demand to remain strong.”
According to Beacon Research, strong fixed annuity sales during the fourth quarter of 2013 were driven by quarter-to-quarter increases in the sale of indexed and income annuities. Income annuity sales rose 23.3 percent to $3.5 billion from $2.8 billion in the third quarter.
Indexed annuity sales rose 17 percent to $11.8 billion from under $10.1 billion in the third quarter. For the full year, the 16.6 percent growth in sales was supported by sales increases in all types of fixed annuity products, with market value adjusted (MVA) annuity sales leading the way. MVA annuity total sales reached $6.7 billion in 2013, a 41.4 percent increase from under $4.8 billion in 2012. For the fixed annuity market, there were about $11.5 billion in qualified sales and $12 billion in non-qualified sales during the fourth quarter. For the year, there was about $38.9 billion in qualified sales and $39.2 billion in non-qualified sales.
“The fixed annuity industry had its best year since 2009,” said Beacon Research President Jeremy Alexander. “Average credited rates increased 40 basis points during 2013 and, for the first time, there were year-over-year increases in sales of all types of fixed annuities.”
According to Morningstar, variable annuity net assets reached a new all-time high of $1.87 trillion at the close of 2013. Variable annuity net sales were negative for the fourth quarter, dropping $2.8 billion, but were positive for the year at $1.3 billion. Within the variable annuity market, there were $23.5 billion in qualified sales and $12.3 billion in non-qualified sales. For the full-year 2013, there were $92.9 billion in qualified sales and $49.9 billion in non-qualified sales.
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com