Annuity sales reached $59.1 billion during the fourth quarter 2015, up 1 percent from $58.5 billion during the third quarter and 4.4 percent from $56.6 billion during the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a report from the Insured Retirement Institute. The report is based on data reported by Beacon Research and Morningstar Inc.
For the full year, annuities sales totaled $228.8 billion, down slightly from $229.4 billion in 2014, but up 3.6 percent from $220.8 billion in 2013.
Fixed annuity sales during the fourth quarter reached their highest mark since the first quarter of 2009 at $28.2 billion. For the full year, fixed annuity sales reached $98.4 billion, up 7.5 percent from $91.5 billion in 2014.
Variable annuity total sales decreased to $30.9 billion in the fourth quarter from $32 billion in the third quarter of 2015 and $33.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014. For full-year 2015, variable annuity total sales were $130.4 billion, a 5.5 decline from $137.9 billion in 2014.
“The fourth quarter witnessed record sales of income annuities and fixed indexed annuities, which continue to push new highs,” said Cathy Weatherford, president and CEO of IRI. “Continued innovation is helping to spur the rapid sales growth of fixed indexed annuities. This includes the development of products with guaranteed lifetime income benefits as well as the introduction of products designed for the broker-dealer channel.”
Fixed indexed annuity sales reached a new high of $16.1 billion in the fourth quarter, an 11.9 percent increase from sales of $14.4 billion in the prior quarter and a 32.2 percent increase from sales of $12.2 in the fourth quarter of 2014. Income annuity sales also posted a new record in the fourth quarter, reaching $3.7 billion.
For the entire fixed annuity market, there were approximately $16.4 billion in qualified sales and $11.9 billion in nonqualified sales during the fourth quarter.