There is some light amidst a darkening economy, reports Beacon Research, Evanston, Ill., which reports that sales of fixed annuities climbed to $107 billion last year, up 60% from 2007.

The Beacon Research Fixed Annuity Premium Study notes that fourth-quarter fixed-annuities sales hit a six-year record for the third-consecutive quarter, rising to $34.1 billion, up 90% from a year earlier.

During the fourth quarter, book-value annuities, which pay a declared rate of interest for a given period, raked in the most money, with $17.1 billion in sales, more than double what they were a year earlier, according to Beacon’s Darla Mercado. Sales of market-value-adjusted annuities, which allow the investor to fix a time period and interest rate, were $7.4 billion, three-and-one-half times higher than the previous year.

Meanwhile, index annuities climbed 12% to $7.2 billion, and immediate annuities sales were $2.4 billion, up 22% from the year-earlier period.

MetLife Inc. of New York sold the most in the fixed-annuity arena, hitting $4.1 billion in the fourth quarter. New York Life Insurance Co., which formerly held first place, pulled in $2.6 billion in sales. Aviva USA of West Des Moines, Iowa, came in third with $2.3 billion.

The top-selling product during the fourth quarter was MetLife Investors’ Fixed Annuity FA, a market-value product, followed by MetLife’s Target Maturity market-value annuity. Aviva-American Investors Life came in third with its Income Select Bonus index annuity.

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