NU Online News Service, May 28, 5:13 p.m. – Variable-annuity sales fell to $113 billion in 2001 from $137 billion in 2000, according to a new study by Elvin Turner, a vice president at Conning, Inc., Hartford.

The 2001 variable-annuity sales figures are even worse than they look, because much of the “new” cash came from surrenders of variable-annuity contracts written by other insurers, Turner writes.

Turner notes that surrenders grew 28% per year from 1997 to 2000, while premiums and deposits grew only 14% per year.

Insurers that try to attract first-time variable-annuity buyers should have plenty of room to grow, because annuity holders make up only 6% of the U.S. population, Turner writes.