As annuities continue to fight image problems and their perception faces a shaping battle between the insurance industry, the media and regulators, a piece of good news emerged from the variable side of the industry. John Hancock Financial Services set a variable annuity sales record in 2006.

The company’s variable annuity sales reached $9.1 billion in 2006, breaking the previous record of $7.9 billion, set in 2005. That marks a 15 percent jump from 2006. Hancock attributes the increased sales to several factors, among them the expansion of its portfolio of optional withdrawal benefits and several new distribution partnerships.

It is the third year in a row Hancock has achieved record variable annuity sales. For more information, visit www.jhannuities.com.