NU Online News Service, Mar. 4, 2004, 9:40 a.m. EST – A recovering stock market boosted variable annuities sales in 2003 while falling interest rates depressed sales of fixed annuities, reports LIMRA International.[@@]
Sales of variable annuities increased 11% in 2003, to $129.2 billion, compared with $116.6 billion the year before, while sales of fixed annuities declined 15%, to $87.6 billion from the record sales of $103.3 billion set in 2002.
Overall, individual annuity sales for 2003 reached $216.8 billion, off 1% from 2002, the research organization, in Windsor, Conn., reports.
“Interest rates continued to decline, especially by midyear,” says Eric Sondergeld, corporate vice president and head of retirement research at LIMRA. “Many companies were forced to pull products where they couldn’t provide a rate above the state-mandated 3%, though many states began offering relief during the year. Also, the equity markets had a great year, which caused variable annuities to take center stage.”