The question was: What are group variable annuities and how do I decide when to recommend those products rather than individual variable annuities?
The answer is: Most [general characteristics that] describe individual variable annuities also apply to group variable annuities, more often called group annuities with separate accounts.
The biggest use of group annuities is in qualified retirement plans where, generally, securities registration is not required because the annuities are not marketed to individuals and because the characteristics and restrictions of qualified plans offer much of the consumer protection that registration provides.
The buyers of group annuities are the plan sponsors, employers, or associations. Individual participants deal with their plan sponsors and are issued certificates of participation.