After trending up for some time, it may come as a surprise to find guaranteed living benefits actually fell slightly in the first quarter. Don't be fooled, though – election rates fell one percentage point and are still high, according to a report released Tuesday by LIMRA. GLB election rates fell to 86% in the first quarter from 87% in the fourth quarter of 2010.

 LIMRALIMRA noted that this is the lowest election rate for GLBs since the third quarter of 2008.

Lifetime withdrawal benefits fell to 63% in the first quarter, while guaranteed minimum income benefits increased to 17%. Election rates for other guaranteed benefits such as minimum accumulation and withdrawal benefits, and hybrid GLBs were unchanged.

Lifetime withdrawal benefits are the clear winner when it comes to market share at almost three-quarters of the market. Guaranteed minimum income benefits enjoy 19% market share, while minimum accumulation benefits and withdrawal benefits compete for market share at 5% and 3% respectively. Hybrid GLB market share remains low at less than half of 1%.

Although election rates fell slightly, the percentage of variable annuity assets with guaranteed benefits continues to increase. In the fourth quarter of 2010, variable annuity assets with GLBs totaled $521 billion, but increased 7% to $558 billion by the end of the first quarter in 2011.