LIMRA International reported that sales of variable annuities fell 15% in 2008 to $155 billion, compared to 2007′s record $184 billion in sales. In the fourth quarter alone, VA sales dropped 30% to $33.6 billion. However, fixed annuity sales jumped 79% in the fourth quarter of the year and 50% for all of 2008, from $72.8 billion in 2007 to $109.4 billion in 2008. The fixed annuity sales kept overall annuity sales in the black, posting a 3% gain for the year.

The fixed annuity type seeing the biggest gain, LIMRA reported in its U.S. Individual Annuities Fourth Quarter 2008 Sales Report, was market value-adjusted products, whose sales grew 135% in 2008, to $18.3 billion. Fixed deferred annuities still accounted for the most sales, showing a 58% jump to $95.1 billion in sales.

LIMRA said that MetLife squeezed out AIG for the most individual annuity sales total in the fourth quarter, while TIAA-CREF sold the most Vas, and AIG sold the most fixed annuities.