Displaying items by tag: fixed annuities
Annuity Sales Had Record Year in 2022
According to data from the insurance trade association Limra, annuity sales hit $310.6 billion in 2022, surpassing the prior annual record of $265 billion, set in 2008. That year the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Recession, while the S&P 500 index lost 57% from its peak. In 2022, the S&P 500 posted its largest loss since 2008, ending the year down 19.4%. Since annuities hedge risks such as market volatility, they became quite popular last year with investors. Annuities also benefited from the Fed raising interest rates, which created a better return on investment. Plus, U.S. bonds, which typically act as a safe haven for investors when stocks falter, suffered their worst year on record last year. This left very few options for savers looking for safety and a return. Investors were especially bullish on fixed-rate deferred annuities. Total sales of fixed-rate deferred annuities last year hit $112.1 billion, more than double the sales from 2021. They also broke the prior annual record from 2002, when investors bought $80.8 billion, according to Limra data. Indexed annuities also had a record year, with sales of $79.4 billion, an 8% increase on its 2019 record. However, variable annuities, which are generally tied to the stock market, saw annual sales of just $61.7 billion, the lowest since 1995.
Finsum: With a volatile stock market, rising interest rates, and the worst year on record for bonds, annuity sales had a record year, with fixed-rate deferred annuities and indexed annuities also posting annual sales records.
NAIC to Address Annuity Sales Gray Zones
While many states are rushing to adopt an annuity sales rule revision, there are still some that are using the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) old sales rules and are not likely to move to the new version anytime soon. The NAIC adopted the Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation in 2010. The model required annuity sellers to verify that the annuities sold to consumers suit those consumers’ needs. In 2019, the SEC adopted Regulation Best Interest, which requires annuity sellers to document that they have acted in the best interests of annuity clients, rather than putting their interests first. The NAIC then adopted suitability model changes that were based on the SEC’s Reg BI standard in 2020. This has resulted in state officials that support Reg BI and those that oppose Reg BI. The states that haven’t moved to the new model are considered gray zones due to a map created that reflects the NAIC’s understanding of state adoption efforts. The states colored gray on that map indicates that they are far from implementing the NAIC’s 2020 suitability model changes. They include larger states such as California and Florida as well as smaller states such as New Hampshire and Vermont. The NAIC’s Annuity Suitability Working Group presented the implementation map Wednesday at the NAIC’s fall national meeting
Finsum:The NAIC updated its suitability model for annuity sales based on the SEC’s Reg BI, but several states are nowhere near close to adopting the new model.
Sales of Deferred Annuities Soared During the Third Quarter
According to Wink’s Sales & Market Report, third-quarter sales of deferred annuities soared almost 21% over the prior-year quarter. Deferred annuities include variable annuities, structured annuities, indexed annuities, traditional fixed annuities, and multi-year guaranteed annuities (MYGA). Indexed annuities saw the largest gains. Sheryl Moore, CEO of Wink, Inc. and Moore Market Intelligence said that "It was a record-setting quarter for indexed annuity sales. In fact, 2022 will be a record year for indexed annuities as well." Total non-variable deferred annuity sales, which include indexed annuities, traditional fixed annuities, and MYGAs, came in at $48.8 billion for the quarter, up 67.1% compared to the prior year's quarter. However, variable deferred annuities, which include structured annuities and variable annuity product lines, did not see the same gains. While sales came in at $23.5 billion, that figure was down 10.8% compared to the previous quarter and down more than 23% compared to the same quarter last year. The No. 1 selling deferred annuity for the quarter was Jackson National’s Perspective II Flexible Premium Variable & Fixed Deferred Annuity.
Finsum:With indexed annuity sales leading the way, total deferred annuity sales soared year over year.
Retirement Savings Legislation Would Expand Deferred Annuities
Two bills currently in Congress could expand a deferred annuity known as the Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC). Both the House and Senate are working on retirement savings legislation that would increase the allowable size of QLACs, making them more attractive to middle-income retirees. QLACs work like any fixed annuity. They pay a steady monthly income, but payments are deferred until the holder is at least 75 years of age. This means that you can buy a QLAC for a lower initial investment than immediate annuities. However, you can invest no more than $135,000 or 25% of your total retirement account balance over your lifetime. A Senate bill called the Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act, would raise the maximum investment to $200,000 and eliminate the 25 percent threshold, while a House bill, called the Securing a Strong Retirement Act, or SECURE 2.0, would repeal the 25 percent limit. The Senate bill has bipartisan support and the House bill passed last Spring. It appears Congress is looking to build a market for these products by raising the cap on maximum investments.
Finsum: Both houses of Congress are working on legislation that would increase the appeal of a deferred annuity called the Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract.
Fixed Annuities Have Best Quarter Ever
According to LIMRA’s U.S. Individual Annuity Sales survey, U.S. annuity sales increased 16% to $79.4 billion during the second quarter. The top selling annuities were fixed-rated deferred annuities, which posted their best quarterly sales result ever. Sales came in at $28.7 billion, a jump of 79% from the prior year’s quarter. In fact, all fixed annuities showed positive growth. Fixed-rate deferred annuities are contracts that offer investors a fixed annual percentage yield with tax-deferred growth. They typically offer a higher rate of growth instead of an income stream over a specific period. The massive jump in sales can be attributed to the volatility in the markets this year and rising interest rates. The current average yield on a fixed-rate deferred annuity is around 3% or higher. Sales for traditional variable annuities didn't fare so well, falling 27% year over year to $16.5 billion, the lowest quarterly sales since 1995 due to market volatility. Variable annuities are tied to the market with no downside protection.
Finsum:Driven by market volatility, sales for fixed-rate deferred annuities had their highest quarter ever.