According to The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), annuity sales, for the most part, showed strong growth in the fourth quarter of 2014. In the IRI report, year-end 2014 sales results for the U.S. annuity industry, was based on data reported by Beacon Research and Morningstar, Inc.
Let’s go inside the numbers to find out what annuity types fared best and which ones are in need of a boost.
Fixed annuity sales totaled $23 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Beacon Research. This was a 6.3 percent increase from just under $21.7 billion during the previous quarter but a 2 percent drop from $23.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.
For the full-year 2014, fixed annuity sales closed out their best year since 2009, surpassing the $91.5 billion mark. This was a 17.2 percent jump from sales of $78.1 billion in 2013.
This strong growth was supported by record sales years for fixed indexed annuities and income annuities.
The big story
Beacon Research President Jeremy Alexander said, “The big story in 2014 was the $4.8 billion surge in fixed indexed annuity sales through independent broker-dealers. Much of this 411 percent increase was due to the popularity of living benefit riders. In addition, for the first time since Q3 2013, quarterly sales of fixed annuities experienced a rise in sales across all product types.”
Variable annuity total sales in the fourth quarter of 2014 were $33.6 billion, according to Morningstar. This was a 4.6 percent drop from $35.2 in the third quarter of 2014 and a 6.2 percent decline from $35.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.
For the full-year 2014, variable annuity total sales were $137.9 billion, a 3.4 percent drop from $142.8 billion in 2013.
Deferred income offerings
Cathy Weatherford, IRI President and CEO: “Not only was 2014 a year of growth in terms of sales, but also a year of growth in terms of the lifetime income offerings available in the marketplace. The year witnessed the continued expansion of deferred income annuities, regulators greenlighting qualifying longevity annuity contracts, and further development of investment-only variable annuities. With demand on the rise, and a wider array of products available in 2015 to meet consumers’ varying needs, we anticipate robust market activity in 2015.”
Income annuity sales
Income annuity sales also closed out a record year. Sales of income annuities reached $3.2 billion during the fourth quarter, pushing full-year sales above the $13 billion mark – an 18 percent increase from $11 billion in 2013.
For the entire fixed annuity market, there were approximately $13 billion in qualified sales and $10 billion in non-qualified sales during the fourth quarter of 2014.
For the full year, there were approximately $50.9 billion in qualified sales and $40.6 billion in non-qualified sales.
Industry-wide annuity sales
Industry-wide annuity sales in the fourth quarter of 2014 reached $56.6 billion, a 0.5 percent decrease from $56.9 billion in the previous quarter and a 4.6 percent dip from $59.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Despite the slight drop during the quarter, industry-wide sales were up for the full year. Industry-wide annuity sales reached $229.4 billion in 2014, a 3.8 percent increase from $220.9 billion in 2013 and an 8.2 percent increase from $212 billion in 2012.