Thanks largely to increased demand for variable annuities, bank sales of annuities in December 2006 were up 7% over the total from a year earlier, according to a survey by Kehrer-LIMRA.

Financial institutions sold $3.2 billion of annuities in December 2006, up from $3 billion in December 2005, reports Kehrer-LIMRA, a unit of LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn. The monthly survey is based on a national sample of banks with at least $4 billion in assets.

“Variable annuities have outsold fixed annuities in banks in 10 of the last 12 months,” said Kenneth Kehrer, the head of Kehrer-LIMRA.

Fixed annuity sales in banks fell 7% from the December 2005 total, the survey shows. Sales of variable annuities, which clocked in at $1.8 billion every month from August 2006 to December 2006, were up 20% over $1.5 billion in December 2005.

In December, banks sold $1.29 in variable annuities for every $1 of fixed annuities. A year earlier, VA sales were about the same as FA sales.

The survey was cosponsored by Jackson National Life Distributors L.L.C., a subsidiary of Prudential P.L.C., London.