New York Life Insurance Company says it has increased the number of sales and service staff helping to sell annuities and other retirement products through the bank channel.

The company has hired more than 100 new personnel serving the channel, which it says has increased the number of internal sales specialists by 100%, regional wholesalers by 30%, retirement income specialists by 50% and other bank service staff by 40%.

The company reports that its sales of fixed annuities in banks surged 130% in 2008, while sales of income annuities almost doubled in the channel.

New York Life has increased sales in banks where it has established relationships while signing up new banks to sell its annuities, said Andrew Reiss, vice president and national sales manager for the company’s bank channel.