Fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) can provide individuals with guaranteed principal and the possibility of earnings linked to market growth, without risking the loss of principal possible with stock market involvement. While FIAs are a great choice, not only guaranteeing principal but promising tax deferral and guaranteed lifetime income, some individuals are hesitant to consider them. Part of the problem is that they aren’t familiar with all the benefits.
Agents and brokers looking to boost sales of fixed indexed annuities can increase sales—if they know which benefits to communicate to clients. While all benefits are important, some are more important than others. Explaining them all can help make the case for purchasing an FIA, but knowing which are critical can be key.
It turns out that according to brokers actively selling FIAs, the chief advantages to this type of annuity include income protection that can last a lifetime, earning potential, high participation rates and guaranteed minimum interest rates. In May 2015, Athene performed a study with Beacon Technology Partners that looked at FIAs, their advantages, drawbacks and how they are currently perceived by brokers.
Researchers surveyed 543 individuals who have worked as investment or insurance professionals for at least a year, and who have sold at least one annuity product to a client within the previous 12 months. Respondents doing an annual annuity volume business of more than $1 million accounted for nearly one-fourth of all survey participants (23%), while 43 percent of respondents earned less than $250,000 in annuity sales income. Eighty-six percent of respondents are men, and the mean age of participants is 58.7 years old.
According to the study, brokers revealed there are six distinct benefits to highlight when selling to clients.
Loss protection and long-term earning potential. When researchers asked agents and brokers how important it is to emphasize individual benefits when discussing FIAs with clients, those surveyed revealed that they believe loss protection and long-term earning potential as the key FIA benefit to cover with clients. In fact, a full 86 percent of brokers felt protection from loss with upside earning potential is extremely or somewhat important.
Higher potential returns than CDs. Nearly as high a percentage – 82 percent – of survey respondents believe that higher potential returns than CDs is a benefit worth highlighting in the FIA sales process.
Option for lifetime income. More than eight in 10 (81%) participants identified the option for lifetime income as either extremely or somewhat important in client discussions.
Tax deferral. The same percentage cited tax deferral as a salient benefit of either extreme or somewhat importance.
Appropriate for an IRA plan. Seventy-two percent of survey respondents believed that the fact that FIAs are appropriate for an IRA plan is an important benefit.
Flexible indexed-linking options. More than two-thirds (69%) said that flexible fixed indexed-linking options is a key benefit to highlight during client conversations about FIAs.
Further Athene survey findings revealed that smaller annuity producers are more apt than others to emphasize tax benefits to their clients. And female brokers are more likely to stress lifetime income and loss avoidance as key FIA benefits than their male counterparts.