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FIAs smash sales record for second straight quarter, up 38% from 3Q 2017

Insurance Forums Staff

Fixed indexed annuity (FIA) sales were $18.0 billion, 38% higher than third quarter 2017 and 2% higher than second quarter sales results, according to LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (LIMRA SRI) Third Quarter 2018 Sales Survey (representing 95% of the market), released on Nov. 26.

Year-to-date, FIA sales were $50.1 billion, 22% higher than the first three quarters of 2017.

“The entire annuity market benefited from strong growth in interest rates. Over the past year, the 10-year Treasury rate has increased nearly 60 basis points and ended the third quarter above the 3% mark,” said Todd Giesing, annuity research director, LIMRA SRI. “Unlike prior quarters when accumulation products drove the growth, FIA products with guaranteed lifetime benefit riders showed the most growth in the third quarter. In a higher interest rate environment, companies are able to increase their guaranteed lifetime withdrawals rates, making these products more attractive to consumers looking to create guaranteed income in retirement.”

LIMRA SRI forecasts total 2018 FIA sales to be in $70 billion range, exceeding expectations and easily breaking current annual sales records. Slower growth is expected in 2019 and 2020.

Variable annuity sales increased 25% in the third quarter to $25.0 billion, compared with prior year results. In the first nine months of 2018, VA sales were $75.4 billion, up 4%, compared with the same period in 2017.

“One of the factors driving VA sales growth is the increase in registered indexed-linked annuity (RILA) sales, which were nearly $3 billion in the third quarter,” Giesing said. “With more companies signaling their intention to enter the market, LIMRA SRI expects this market to top $10 billion by the end of 2018. Greater volatility in equity markets and better pricing due to rising interest rates are attracting consumers looking for a blend of growth and downside protection.”

Third quarter RILA sales grew 27% to $2.98 billion, representing 12% of the VA market. Year-to-date, RILA were $7.68 billion, 13% higher compared with prior year.

While fee-based VAs increased 43% over prior year to $800 million, this is down 6%, compared with second quarter results. Giesing noted there continues to be operational hurdles in the fee-based VA market, which challenges adoption of these products by certain distribution channels. “We expect companies will work to resolve these in the next few years,” Giesing said.

LIMRA SRI is forecasting VA sales to increase less than 5% in 2018, which would represent the first annual growth for VA sales in six years. VA sales are expected to slightly dip in 2019 in anticipation of equity market declines.

Fixed annuity sales drove most of this quarter’s growth. Fixed annuity sales have outperformed variable annuity (VA) sales in nine of the last 11 quarters. Total fixed annuity sales were $33.8 billion in the third quarter, a 39% increase compared with third quarter 2017 results. Year-to-date, total fixed annuity sales were $94.6 billion, up 18% from prior year.

LIMRA SRI expects total fixed annuity sales to hit record levels in 2018, with fixed annuities expected to end 2018 around $130 billion, the fourth consecutive year exceeding $100 billion. This has never occurred in the 40+ years LIMRA SRI has been tracking annuity sales.

Fixed-rate deferred (FRD) annuity sales jumped 51% in the third quarter to $11.2 billion. Year-to-date, fixed rate deferred sales $31.3 billion, 17% higher than prior year.

LIMRA SRI expects this strong growth in the FRD market to continue into the fourth quarter. There is a significant amount of FRD contracts out of their surrender charge period, which could find more attractive rates in the rising interest rate environment. LIMRA SRI is forecasting 2018 sales to grow as much as 20% and as much as 25% in 2019.

Fixed immediate annuity sales were up 20% in the third quarter to $2.4 billion. Year-to-date, fixed immediate annuity sales were $7.0 billion, 13% higher than prior year.

Deferred income annuity (DIA) sales rose 6% in the quarter, to $550 million. Year-to-date, DIA sales were $1.64 billion, down 2% from the same period in 2017.

LIMRA SRI is forecasting income annuity growth of 5-10% in 2018 and as much as 5% in 2019.

Total annuity sales were $58.8 billion, 25% above the third quarter 2017 results. For the first three quarters of 2018, total annuity sales were $170 billion, which is 11% higher than prior year. LIMRA SRI expects 2018 individual annuity sales will be north of $230 billion exceeding its expectations.

Third quarter 2018 Annuities Industry Estimates and the 10-year annuity sales trends are located in LIMRA’s Data Bank.

To view the top 20 rankings of total, variable and fixed annuity writers for first half of 2018, please visit Third Quarter 2018 Annuity Rankings. To view the top 20 rankings of only fixed annuity writers for first half of 2018, please visit Third Quarter 2018 Fixed Annuity Rankings.

About LIMRA: Serving the industry since 1916, LIMRA, a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization, is the trusted source of industry knowledge, helping more than 600 insurance and financial services companies in 64 countries. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.



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