NU Online News Service, March 5, 2004, 1:55 p.m. EST – The combined net assets of U.S. variable annuities increased 24% to $985 billion at the end of the fourth quarter, from $915 billion a year earlier, says the National Association for Variable Annuities.[@@]

Total VA sales for the quarter was close to $32 billion, up more than 6% from about $30 billion in fourth quarter 2002, says NAVA, in Reston, Va.

Fourth quarter net flows of about $13 billion showed an increase of 62% from the 4th quarter 2002, with net flows around $8 billion.

Around 60% of the total premium flow for the most recent quarter was in qualified plans, and the remainder was in non-qualified, says NAVA.

Total premium for all of 2003 was $126 billion, up almost 10% from $115 billion a year earlier.