Results for the third quarter were worse than results for the second quarter: In the second quarter, annuity sales dropped 8%.
Regulatory uncertainty and low interest rates have pounded annuity sales over the past 18 months. Annuity sellers were hoping the modest 8% decrease in the second quarter was a sign the market was starting to recover.
The annuity sales total for the third quarter is the lowest LIMRA has recorded since 2002.
Todd Giesing, a LIMRA annuity specialist, said in a statement about the latest results that they show early efforts to implement the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule are still hurting annuity sales.
The department has delayed enforcement of rule-related procedural requirements, but the core impartial conduct standard took effect June 9, shortly before the beginning of the third quarter.
The regulatory shift had an especially negative effect on sales of annuities for use in individual retirement accounts (IRAs), Giesing said.
LIMRA and Wink
LIMRA is a nonprofit life insurance research consortium based in Windsor, Connecticut. Its third-quarter annuity sales total includes sales of both fixed annuities and variable annuities.
LIMRA’s third-quarter results are similar to results that Wink, a for-profit firm, reported last week for third-quarter sales of indexed annuities and other types of non-variable annuities.