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LIMRA: VA Living Benefits Guarantees Still Common

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The vast majority of U.S. consumers who bought individual variable annuities in the third quarter bought a contract together with a guaranteed living benefits feature.

LIMRA, Windsor, Conn., has published that finding in a summary of results from its latest variable annuity GLB survey.

The survey team collected information about variable annuity GLB sales, election rates and assets.

LIMRA includes guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) features, guaranteed minimum income benefit (GMIB) features and guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit (GMAB) features in the GLB survey.

Some annuity market watchers have suggested that the effects of the recent credit market crisis, the new Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and looming accounting changes could make insurers leery of offering generous annuity guarantees.

But the variable annuity GLB election rate was 89% in the third quarter, little changed from the GLB election rate for the third quarter of 2009.

Third-quarter sales of new deferred variable annuities with a GLB feature totaled $21 billion, up from about $19 in the third quarter of 2009.

Total sales of variable annuities, with or without a GLB feature, increased to $35 billion, up from $32 billion.

The GLWB election rate fell to 65%, from 69%.

The GMIB election rate climbed to 18%, from 15%.