Well, if you were looking for some good news, you might have found it in a recent annuities report.

The forty-ninth installment of the Advantage Index Sales & Market Report showed that total third quarter sales of indexed annuities reached $7.5 billion, an 11.3 percent jump from the same period last year.

Compared to the previous quarter, sales were down 9.9 percent, but as Sheryl J. Moore, president and CEO of AnnuitySpecs.com, noted, “Sales are always going to decline when coming off a record quarter.

“The big story this quarter is the shake-up in rankings among the indexed annuity carriers. While some companies’ sales are up more than 75 percent, others’ sales are down almost 60 percent. The top ten has never looked quite like this!” Moore is predicting that 2009 will prove to have been record setting.

This quarter Allianz Life recaptured the top carrier position, a position they last held in the fourth quarter of 2007. Their MasterDex X was again the most popular indexed annuity. The number two position went to American Equity, while Lincoln National, Jackson National and Aviva completed the top five.

Second quarter sales of indexed life dropped approximately 1.3 percent from the previous quarter to $130.8 million. However, this represented an increase of 0.9 percent over the same period in 2008.

“There is an increasing interest in indexed life among the large insurance companies,” said Moore. “I am expecting numerous companies to enter the indexed UL market in 2010.”

The indexed life market saw Aviva retain its firm hold on the top position, with a 20 percent share of the market. Pacific Life’s Indexed Accumulator III kept its number one rank in the indexed life product group for the fourth quarter in a row. Some 60 percent of sales were credited using an annual point-to-point method, and almost half of sales were attributable to 9- to10-year-long contracts.