The annuity benefits that insurers are paying out to contract holders are edging close to $50 billion annually, according to data in annual statement filings.
In 2004, the top 50 companies paid out $48.7 billion in total annuity benefits, according to data gathered from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ annual statement database via National Underwriter Insurance Data Services/Highline Data. This was 11% greater than 2003′s $44 billion, which in turn was 4% over 2002′s $42.2 billion.
If companies with abnormally large increases were removed from the top 50, total annuity benefits paid out rose by a respective 8% and 4% in 2004 over 2003, and 2003 over 2002.
Increases also were posted for ordinary individual annuity benefits paid out to contract holders, according to the NAIC/Highline Data. The totals reflect data on page 6 (analysis of operations by line of business), line 12 of the annual statement (blue book).
Benefits paid in 2004 were $24.1 billion compared with $21.5 billion in 2003, a 12% increase. The 2003 total was up 5% over 2002′s $20.4 billion. If companies with very large increases are excluded from the top 50′s total, then the percent changes in 2004 over 2003, and in 2003 over 2002 were 9% and 4%, respectively.
“The conclusion that we are drawing is that it isn’t, at least for us, a remarkable trend,” according to Tom Shade, senior vice president with AXA-Equitable, New York.
Year over year, annuity benefits paid out increased 5%, an increase AXA-Equitable attributes to the growth of its in-force business, he continues.