U.S. index annuity sales rose to $6.6 billion in the second quarter, up 2.7% from the total for the second quarter of 2006.

Researchers at AnnuitySpecs.com, Pleasant Hill, Iowa, have published those figures in the latest Advantage Index Product Sales & Market Report.

Index annuity sales were the highest they have been since 2005, the researchers write.

The researchers found that insurers participating in the survey are seeing a shift away from annual resets based on monthly capital gains, toward annual resets based on averaging.

The researchers also detected a continuing shift toward contracts with 10-year surrender periods.

The average index annuity sales premium reported was $45,808, and the average commission was 8.07% of premium, the researchers report.

Contracts that pay a bonus accounted for 77% of index annuity sales in the second quarter, up from 67% in the second quarter of 2006.