Displaying items by tag: variable 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.
Senate Bill Should Ease the Creation of Registered Index-Linked Annuities
Registered index-linked annuities (RILA) are currently the fastest-growing variable annuity in the industry due to their downside limits and upside crediting formula. Now that the Senate unanimously passed legislation to make it easier for the industry to register new products, RILAs should see even more growth. The legislation directs the SEC to issue a new form that replaces the IPO paperwork annuity issuers are currently required to use for RILAs. With the passage of the Senate bill, insurers filing for RILAs would be able to forgo the requirement that they disclose financial information using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This will make it easier for insurers since GAAP is something they typically don’t use. Sales of RILAs for the first half of the year came in at $20.4 billion, a 6% jump from 2021. According to the insurance industry trade group Limra, the product now makes up 40% of overall variable annuity sales. Inflation and market volatility have made the RILA product attractive to investors due to its loss protection features and potential for upside growth.
Finsum: Registered index-linked annuities, which are already the fastest-growing variable annuity, should see even more growth as the Senate passed legislation that makes it easier to register them.
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.
Guardian Taps Talcott to Reinsure $7.4 Billion in Variable Annuities
Guardian Life Insurance recently announced that Talcott Resolution Life Insurance Company will reinsure about $7.4 billion in variable annuity benefits. Most of the contracts have guaranteed living withdrawal benefits and death benefit riders. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. While Guardian will still be responsible for meeting contract obligations, advisors may have to explain to their clients why a lesser-known company is backing the guarantees. Guardian stated that it pursued this deal to focus its capital on exploring additional opportunities. Talcott only started after the Great Recession, when Hartford Financial Services wanted to separate from its large annuity business. The firm was aquired by Sixth Street last year. This deal is especially noteworthy as pressure from low returns has been pushing companies to find ways to distance themselves from some types of annuity businesses.
Finsum: To focus its capital on additional opportunities, Guardian Life picked Talcott Resolution Life to reinsure $7.4 Billion in variable annuities.