Life insurance agents and brokers have had a hard time getting much traction in the annuity market, a market research firm reports.

Researchers at IBISWorld Inc., Los Angeles, come to that conclusion in a review of insurance brokerage firms and insurance agencies operating in the United States.

Annuities account for about 34% of U.S. insurance premium revenue, but annuity commissions make up only about 3% of the intermediaries’ own revenue, IBISWorld researchers estimate.

“The large discrepancy in the share accounted for by annuity contracts in total commissions and total premiums suggests the majority of annuitants establish their annuity contracts directly with the insurance carrier instead of going through an insurance broker or agent,” the researchers write. “This suggests this industry is underperforming in this product segment.”