Reported U.S. sales of fixed annuities increased to about $27 billion in the third quarter, up 54% from the total for the third quarter of 2007.

Researchers at Beacon Research Publications Inc., Evanston, Ill., have published those figures in a summary of results from a quarterly survey of 51 insurance companies.

Participating companies’ first-quarter sales of indexed annuities amounted to $6.9 billion, up 9% from the total for the third quarter of 2007.

The companies’ sales of market-value-adjusted annuities jumped 53%, to about $4.2 billion; and sales of immediate annuities rose 43%, to $2.4 billion, Beacon reports.

Book value annuity sales rose to more than $13 billion, from $6.6 billion, Beacon says.

At U.S. banks, total sales of individual fixed annuities increased 80%, to $9.2 billion, Beacon reports.

A widening of the yield curve spread helped give fixed annuities an advantage over bank certificates of deposit, according to Beacon Chief Executive Jeremy Alexander.