Sales of variable annuities reached a four-year high in 2011, but sales of fixed annuities dipped in the fourth quarter, according to a new report.
The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), Washington, D.C. published this finding in a survey of annuity sales based on research from Morningstar Inc., Chicago, and Beacon Research, Evanston, Ill.
Net variable annuity sales in 2011 were the strongest since 2007, topping $27.7 billion, a 28% increase from 2010, according to Morningstar. Net variable annuity sales for the quarter increased by nearly 35% to $7.2 billion compared with $5.4 billion for the same period in 2010. While quarter-to-quarter net variable annuity sales declined, the fourth quarter was the second strongest quarter since mid-2008, the survey adds.
Industry-wide fourth quarter annuity sales topped $54.5 billion. Although sales were 6.65 lower than from $58.1 billion during the third quarter, industry-wide yearly sales were $231.1 billion in 2011 compared with $214.6 billion in 2010.
Fixed annuity sales for 2011 totaled $75.6 billion, down 1.1% from $76.4 billion in 2010, says Beacon Research. Fixed annuity sales for the fourth quarter dipped 8.8% to $17.3 billion from $19 billion during quarter three, but were relatively flat compared with 2010 fourth-quarter sales of $17.6 billion. There were $8.3 billion in qualified sales and $9.0 billion in non-qualified sales in the fourth quarter.