B-shares, the most common share class sold, have an average cost of 1.24%.
"The decrease in cost of variable annuities has directly contributed to substantial growth for the industry, with year-to-year sales advancing at the greatest pace since 2007," IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford said in a press release.
An IRI report earlier this month showed variable annuity sales increased 9% in the in the second quarter, and 8% from the second quarter of 2009.
Tuesday's report noted that independent broker/dealers accounted for 48% of sales in the second quarter, up 2.3% from the first quarter. Regional broker/dealers also increased annuity sales, representing 10.5% of sales. Sales from wirehouses fell, however, dropping to 6.8% from 9.6% in the first quarter.
Over half of sales included annuities with single life guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefits.