The second quarter ended with a protracted slowdown for U.S. annuity writers with five of the top 10 providers writing less business in the first half of the year than they did in 2012, according to SNL Financial (SNL).
In their new report, “SNL Insurance Report: U.S. annuity market remains mixed through Q2 ’13,” the analysis and data provider found that industrywide annuity considerations fell 4.47 percent in the first half of the year when compared with 2012.
The analysis, which is based on total annuity considerations made up of group annuities and includes first-year, single and renewal considerations, depicts amounts collected on both new business and in-force business. SNL cautioned that adjustments were made to account for significant non-U.S. business at subsidiaries of MetLife Inc. (MetLife) and Aflac Inc. (Aflac).
MetLife was propelled back to the top spot despite a 20.64 percent decrease in annuity considerations due to a 32.84 percent decline in annuity considerations year-over-year at Prudential Financial (Prudential). During their Q2 conference calls, according to transcripts obtained by SNL, both companies stated that they were taking measures to adapt their products to the current environment, (read low interest rates) which render annuities less attractive.
Battered by Q2 declines in sales of fixed-rate and fixed indexed annuities, which together declined by close to 9 percent, ING Groep NV (ING) dropped to sixth place from fourth one year ago. ING was also hit with a 41.4 percent decrease in sales of stable value funds, which are included in group annuity figures and thereby hindered their ranking.
Robust variable annuity sales in the second quarter caused Lincoln National Corp. to realize a 27.5 increase year-over-year while AEGON NV and TIAA-CREF both increased annuity considerations by more than 20 percent.