Index annuity sales for first quarter up from a year ago
January 9, 2010 by Darla Mercado
First-quarter sales of index annuities hit $7 billion — down 2.1% from the fourth quarter but up 22.8% from a year earlier, according to research from AnnuitySpecs.com.
The Pleasant Hill, Iowa-based research firm surveyed 50 carriers, making up 99% of index annuity production.
Aviva USA continued to hold on to its position as the top seller of annuities, despite the Des Moines, Iowa-based carrier’s attempts to stanch inflows so as to control the amount of capital that it must deploy toward new sales.
The insurer’s American Investors Income Select Bonus was the top-selling index annuity for the third consecutive quarter, according to AnnuitySpecs.com.
Although index annuities are experiencing a resurgence, some carriers have pulled out of the capital-intensive business: 13 insurers have exited from the index annuity market since the fourth quarter, according to AnnuitySpecs.com.
Index life sales haven’t enjoyed the same level of success as their annuity counterparts.
First-quarter sales of index life were $105.5 million, down 33% from the previous quarter and up 14% from a year earlier.
Some providers pulled back from the market due to pricing problems with the revised 2001 Commissioners Standard Ordinary mortality table, according to Sheryl Moore, president and chief executive of AnnuitySpecs.com.
Still, she expects a gain in sales as both providers and agents become accustomed to selling the new 2001 CSO universal life products.
Although Aviva has a 25% share of the market, the top-selling product came from Pacific Life Insurance Co. of Newport Beach, Calif., with its Indexed Accumulator III.