Annuity sales for Q3 2012 were $54.3 billion, a 10-percent decline compared to the same quarter last year, according to LIMRA's “2012 U.S. Individual Annuities Sales,” survey, which represents data from 95 percent of the market. For the first nine months of this year, annuity sales totaled $166.1 billion, an 8-percent decline compared with the same period last year.

“Protracted low-interest rates have impacted all lines of the annuity business, causing manufacturers to reassess their exposure among various product lines,” said Joe Montminy, AVP and director of LIMRA annuity research. “The sustained uncertain economic environment has many companies implementing conservative risk management strategies in an effort to prudently manage their business.”

According to the survey results, variable annuity sales declined 8 percent in the third quarter, to $36.6 billion. Year-to-date, VA sales were $112 billion, a 7 percent decline from the prior year. VA writers have announced they are adjusting their book of business. However, LIMRA says the impact of these decisions has not yet fully affected the market.

VA guaranteed living benefit riders (GLB) continue to be popular with consumers; GLB riders were selected 87 percent of the time when made available.

Total fixed annuity sales fell 13 percent for the third quarter and hit levels not seen since early 2007. In Q3, total fixed annuity sales were $17.7 billion; year-to-date sales totaled $54.1 billion.

At $8.7 billion for the third quarter, indexed annuity sales remained strong primarily due to new companies performing well in the market. Year-to-date, indexed annuity sales were $25.4 billion, growing 6 percent. LIMRA expects indexed annuities will have record-breaking sales this year.

Guaranteed lifetime withdraw benefit (GLWB) riders continue to fuel indexed annuity sales; 71 percent of consumers selected a GLWB rider when available. LIMRA estimates that 88 percent of indexed annuities sold offer GLWB.

Book-value and market-value adjusted fixed-rate deferred annuities sales fell 26 percent compared with the third quarter of 2011. Book value sales declined 28 percent to $5.0 billion for the quarter. Market-value adjusted (MVA) sales were $1.0 billion, down 17 percent. For the year, book value and MVA declined 31 percent and 13 percent respectively. Fixed-rate deferred product sales are at the lowest level since the late 1990s.

Q3 2012: U.S. Individual Annuity Sales (in thousands of U.S. dollars)

1. Jackson National Life: $17,281,081

2. Prudential Annuities: $16,709,235

3. MetLife: $15,542,624

4. TIAA-CREF: $10,710,353

5. Lincoln Financial Group: $9,363,024

6. AIG Companies: $9,194,286

7. Allianz Life NA: $6,940,080

8. AXA Equitable: $6,598,292

9. New York Life: $5,572,205

10. Nationwide Financial: $4,619,500

11. Pacific Life: $4,548,537

12. RiverSource Life Ins.: $4,302,860

13. Transamerica: $3,983,810

14. AVIVA: $3,371,344

15. American Equity Investment Life: $2,878,769

16. Protective Life: $2,461,819

17. Great American: $2,378,809

18. Security Benefit Life: $2,363,761

19. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans: $2,309,774

20. Mass. Mutual Life: $1,607,436

Single premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) fell 9 percent compared to the same quarter last year, but at $2.0 billion, were up slightly from Q2 2012. Year-to-date, SPIA sales declined 8 percent compared with last year. Deferred income annuity (DIA) sales have risen to $270 million in the third quarter of 2012, from $210 million in the second quarter and $160 million in the first quarter.

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