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Annuity Issuer Says It Took Business Competitors Gave Up

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Chris Blunt says investment management support from his old employer, Blackstone Group, helped F&G keep selling fixed index annuities in the second quarter, as COVID-19-related turmoil reduced some competitors’ appetite for new business.

Blunt is the chief executive officer of F&G — Fidelity & Guaranty Life.

“F&G had a record level of fixed index annuity sales of $866 million in the second quarter, in a period when industry annuity sales declined materially and several of our direct competitors chose to reduce volume,” Blunt told securities analysts today, during a conference call organized by F&G’s new corporate parent, Fidelity National Financial.

(Related: Life Insurers’ Insurer Talks About COVID-19 Claims: Earnings)

“Our solid capital position and investment management capabilities through our partnership with Blackstone, allowed us to outpace industry sales trends and continue to take market share while maintaining our pricing discipline,” Blunt said.

Later during the conference call, an analyst asked Blunt how F&G had managed to increase sales of fixed index annuities, at a time when overall sales of fixed index annuities was down sharply.

“We did have a couple of our most immediate competitors really cut back pretty dramatically,” Blunt said. “We were the immediate beneficiary of that.”

Three months ago, Blunt said, F&G was predicting that sales might be flat, or fall.

But the environment appears to be somewhat stronger than what F&G had expected, and F&G has had good results from starting to work with a broker-dealer, Blunt said.

The new broker-dealer relationship “has well exceeded our expectations as to how quickly we’ve been able to get business through the door,” Blunt said.

F&G and Fidelity National

Fidelity National Financial, a title insurer based in Jacksonville, Florida, acquired control over F&G in June.

Fidelity National executives have talked repeatedly about wanting to use Fidelity National’s size and capital to help F&G increase its annuity sales.

Blunt was F&G’s CEO when the company was an independent life insurer. He is continuing to serve as F&G’s CEO now that F&G is part of Fidelity National.

Before Blunt became F&G’s CEO, he was the CEO of the Blackstone Insurance Solutions unit at Blackstone Group, a big private equity firm.

— Read Life, Health and Annuity Issuer Earnings Season Beginson ThinkAdvisor.

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