U.S. fixed annuity sales fell in 2010, but sales of indexed annuities and immediate annuities rose.

Total U.S. sales of fixed annuities fell to about $72 billion in 2010, down 31 from the 2009 total, according to Beacon Research Publications Inc., Evanston, Ill.

Sales of indexed annuities increased 6%, to about $31 billion, and sales of income annuities increased 2%, to $8 billion, Beacon says.

Sales of traditional fixed annuities were hurt by a difficult interest rate environment, Beacon says.

In related news, LIMRA, Windsor, Conn., says the percentage of variable annuity buyers who elected guaranteed living benefit features increased to 87% in the fourth quarter of 2010, from 84% in the fourth quarter of 2009.

LIMRA has based those figures on an industry survey.

Total variable annuity assets with guaranteed living benefits riders increased to $521 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from $292 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008, LIMRA says.

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