Poll Finds Simplified Annuity Activity on the Horizon

May 24, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Nearly two-thirds of insurers and others in a recent survey indicated that they either offer simplified annuities or plan to do so in the coming 12-18 months.

That was one finding of the survey by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), a trade group, and Cerulli Associates about the state of the annuity industry.   

According to a news release, simplified variable annuities, offering selected guaranteed benefits inside a single, low-cost structure, are intended to be marketed through registered investment advisers, although versions are often prepared for distribution through more conventional channels as well.

The first quarter 2010 survey found that the overall outlook for the annuity industry is positive, as retirement income and principal protection continue to rate highly among industry executives and advisers.   Respondents indicated the growth industry’s opportunities are strong, with growth for variable annuities ranking 4.1 on a 5-point scale, and fixed ranking 3.2 on the same scale, according to the announcement.

“With the increased spotlight placed on the exclusive retirement income security provided by annuities, it’s no surprise positive expansion is coming,” said Insured Retirement Institute President and CEO Cathy Weatherford, in the announcement.

The survey included insurance companies, variable annuity asset management firms, and broker/dealers.

A survey report is here.