Total U.S. sales of individual annuities climbed to $59 billion during the fourth quarter of 2006, up 9% from the total for the fourth quarter of 2005.

Sales of all individual fixed annuities fell 4%, to $18 billion, and sales of individual indexed annuities fell 15%, to $5.5 billion.

But sales of individual variable annuities soared 17%, to $41 billion, LIMRA says.

Comparable quarter comparisons for variable annuities have been up for 6 straight quarters, LIMRA reports.

Although sales of one type of fixed annuity, book value deferred annuities, were down, sales of another type, market value adjusted annuities, rose 80%, LIMRA says.

Throughout 2006, total individual annuity sales were up 31% for financial planners and independent broker-dealers; 14% for stockbrokers; and 11% for career agents.

Bank annuity sales increased only 1%.

Although bank VA sales rose 20%, bank annuity sales growth was soft because bank FA sales fell 14%, LIMRA says.