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Variable annuity sales tumble 30 percent

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Fourth-quarter variable annuity sales totaled $33.3 billion, a 30 percent decrease from fourth quarter 2007, according to data released today from NAVA, the Association for Insured Retirement Solutions.

The combined net assets of U.S. variable annuities decreased 13 percent to $1.1 trillion, as compared to the end of the third quarter of 2008. Net assets decreased by 24.1 percent relative to the fourth quarter one year ago.

Fourth quarter net sales of $3.4 billion shows a decrease of 61.5 percent from the fourth quarter 2007 net flows of $8.9 billion. The mix in premiums for the fourth quarter showed 67.4 percent of the total sales were in qualified plans and 32.6 percent in non-qualified plans.

Total sales for 2008 were $154.8 billion, a 15.1 percent decrease from the prior year’s 12-month sales of $182.2 billion. Net sales for 2008 were $23.1 billion, or 14.9 percent of total sales. This reflects a 30.8 percent decrease in net sales as compared with last year.