U.S. fixed annuity sales fell to $17.9 billion in the second quarter, down 14% from the total for the second quarter of 2005.

Sales of indexed annuities fell 15%, to $6.2 billion, according to Beacon Research Publications Inc., Evanston, Ill.

Researchers at Beacon base the sales figures on a survey of 50 insurers.

During the first quarter, FA sales were down 7.4% from the total for the first quarter of 2005.

Although year-over-year comparisons deteriorated during the second quarter, an increase in interest rates did help insurers sell 8% more fixed annuities in the second quarter than they sold in the first quarter, Beacon says.

Sales of indexed annuities fell 2.6% between the first and second quarters.

Some independent agents and brokers may have reacted to bad publicity about indexed annuities by shifting toward sales of traditional fixed annuities, Beacon says.