Sales of fixed annuities without market-value-adjustment features increased to $8.2 billion in the second quarter, up 4% from the total for the second quarter of 2010.

Sales of fixed annuities with MVA features fell 12%, to $1.5 billion, and indexed annuity sales fell 2%, to $8.4 billion, according to Beacon Research Publications Inc., Evanston, Ill.

Sales of income annuities increased 3%, to $2.3 billion.

Overall fixed annuity sales held steady at about $20 billion.

Beacon has published those figures in a report based on a survey of annuity issuers that covers about 600 products.

A fixed annuity MVA feature affects annuity holders who cash out early. If an MVA provision is in place, the issuer will adjust the value of the cash that can be taken out to reflect the interest rates in effect at the time the holder withdraws the cash.

When interest rates rise, an MVA feature lowers the amount the holder can take out; when rates increase, the feature increases the amount the holder can withdraw.

Beacon Chief Executive Jeremy Alexander says in a statement that he expects indexed annuities and income annuities to do well in the coming months.

“The outlook for fixed rate annuities is more uncertain,” Alexander says. “Sales may benefit from the continued flight to safety and wider credit spreads or decline due to very low credited rates.”

- Allison Bell

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