U.S. life insurers assumed far more pension risk in the first quarter than in the first quarter of 2018.
Insurers completed $4.8 billion in pension risk transfer transactions during the quarter, up from $1.4 billion in the year-earlier quarter, according to a new batch of issuer survey data from the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute.
Pension risk transfer activity has generally been strong since 2014. Overall activity increased about 15% in 2018, to $26 billion.
Insurers assume pension risk by selling an employer or other pension plan sponsor a large group annuity. In recent years, activity has usually been lowest in the first quarter and strongest in the third and quarters of the year.
Seventeen insurers participated in the latest group annuity issuer survey.
Buy-out product assets increased 15%, to about $139 billion.
The buyouts affected 29,417 contracts.
Mark Paracer, a research analyst who worked on the survey, said in a statement that two-thirds of the participating companies reported gains in pension risk transfer annuity sales.
A group annuity sales data table is available here.
— Read Investors Helping Life Insurers Shift to Pension Transfer Market: Analyst, on ThinkAdvisor.