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Fixed annuities flex their muscles

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A funny thing happened on the way to the financial meltdown … index annuities were among those rare products — like milk and bread – that have not seen a dip in sales.

In fact, according to a first quarter report by LIMRA, fixed annuities outsold variable annuities for the second quarter in a row — $35.6 billion to $30.7 billion.

“The last time fixed annuities outsold variable for two consecutive quarters was in the first half of 1995,” said Joe Montminy, research director for LIMRA’s annuity research.

So, what seems to be the magical allure of fixed annuities in the market? Montminy believes he has the answer: “Consumers, still leery of the volatile stock market and looking for secure, competitive guaranteed rates of return, continued to invest more money into fixed annuities for their retirement income needs.”

According to the report, fixed annuities have experienced a 74 percent increase, with overall individual annuity sales making a 6 percent gain, giving the product $66 billion in sales for the first quarter of 2009.

The news has not been as kind to variable annuities. Sales for those products dropped 27 percent compared to the first quarter of 2008.


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