Garden-variety futures and options seem to be doing a good job of protecting variable annuity assets, according to consultants at a large actuarial firm.

Milliman Inc., Seattle, has released an internal analysis concluding that hedging programs based on instruments such as options on the S&P 500 stock index were about 93% effective in September and October.

The hedging programs saved about $40 billion in insurance company assets, Milliman consultants estimate.