Interest rates may be low, but indexed annuity sales in the United States have hit a new high.
According to sales data from research organisation LIMRA, indexed annuity sales in the US came to $16.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015; this is 32% more than in the same period of the previous year. Indexed annuity sales reached $54.5 billion for the year as a whole, which is an increase of 13% from 2014 and sets a new record.
Fixed annuity sales were also significantly higher than they were in Q4 2015, up by 23% for a total of $29.7 billion. For all of 2015, fixed annuity sales increased 7% to $103.7 billion. LIMRA notes that this is the first time fixed annuity sales have surpassed $100 billion since 2009.
Immediate income annuity sales increased 13% to $2.6 billion in the fourth quarter, although LIMRA points out that low interest rates earlier in the year did impact annual immediate income annuity sales, which fell 6% to $9.1 billion in 2015. As for variable annuities, they continued their four-year decline with sales dropping 7% to $31.7 billion in the fourth quarter. This is the lowest level seen since the first quarter of 2009.
Overall, LIMRA says that sales of all annuity types improved for the third consecutive quarter, gaining 5% to reach $61.4 billion. In 2015 all annuity sales totalled $236.7 billion, which is flat compared 2014.
“Indexed annuity sales have experienced eight consecutive years of positive growth,” comments Todd Giesing, assistant research director, LIMRA Secure Retirement Research. “The growth was driven by many companies, rather than just the top players as we have seen in the past. We also are seeing some companies who have traditionally been strong in the variable annuity market, focusing more attention on the indexed annuity market.”