Variable Annuities Sales Climb 17%, Driven by Baby Boomer Retirement

March 23, 2007 ( - Annuity sales in the U.S. reached $236.2 billion in 2006, mainly due to retiring baby boomers seeking guaranteed income.

Reuters reported that Eric Sondergeld, director of retirement research at LIMRA International, said new plans offering guaranteed income for life and programs that insure accounts will not go down even if the market falls have been big sellers in the past year. “More people are going into retirement with fewer and smaller pensions,” Sondergeld said, according to Reuters.

Annuity sales were boosted mostly by sales of variable annuities that rose 17% to hit $160.6 billion in 2006, according to a LIMRA press release . While variable annuities sales increased, fixed annuities sales fell by 5% in 2006 to $75.6 million.

Research findings that the top annuity selling firms were insurers and that financial planners were the most successful at selling annuities points to retiring baby boomers as the main driver of sales. The top five sellers of annuities were American International Group Inc., MetLife Inc., ING, TIAA-CREF and AXA Equitable, the press release said. Annuities sales for financial planners and independent broker-dealers were up 30% for 2006.

For the ranking of all annuities sellers go here .