NU Online News Service, Oct. 25, 2004, 2:35 p.m. EST

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., Hartford, says Japan’s second largest bank has agreed to sell one of its fixed annuities to the bank’s customers.[@@]

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. Inc. will sell the Hartford’s new fixed annuity, the Reciente, which the insurer says it developed specifically for the bank.

The Hartford says it is already the leading seller of variable annuities in Japan after entering the market only 4 years ago. Altogether, 48 Japanese banks, securities firms and insurance agencies now sell its VA products, giving it a 27% market share in Japan.

It introduced FAs in the country just last month in a bid to win a share of the country’s $25 billion fixed-rate annuity market. The company says it expects the agreement with Sumitomo Mitsui will boost its FA sales significantly.