Net flows of cash into variable annuities rose to $8.9 billion during the fourth quarter of 2007, up from $5.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006.

NAVA, Reston, Va., is reporting those figures in its latest quarterly report on the VA market.

The positive flow of cash helped increase VA net assets to $1.5 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter, up 8.4% from the total recorded a year earlier.

Qualified retirement plans accounted for about 61% of total VA sales premium volume, NAVA says.

Total sales increased to $48 billion, from $40 billion.

The share of assets invested in stock investment funds and balanced options held steady at about 68%. The share flowing into fixed accounts fell to 17%, from 19%, and the share flowing into allocation accounts increased to about 12%, from about 10%, NAVA says.