By Cyril Tuohy
The Edge Pro-branded family of fixed indexed annuities marketed by Symetra Life Insurance and sold through banks and broker-dealers has crossed the $1 billion sales mark two and a half years after it was introduced in April 2011, the company said.
Dan Guilbert, executive vice president of Symetra’s Retirement Division, said Edge Pro had “emerged as the right product at the right time for customers in an uncertain economy.”
“A big key to our success has been our close collaboration with banks and broker-dealers – from the early stages of development to our ongoing product enhancements today,” Guilbert said in a news release.
Introduced in April 2011, Edge Pro gives clients the choice of two index options – the S&P 500 Index and the S&P GSCI Excess Return Index – and offers a fixed account option and guaranteed minimum value features, the company said.
The success of Edge Pro has motivated Symetra to ramp up sales by expanding wholesaling support in New Jersey and northern Florida, two new territories for the life insurance subsidiary of the diversified financial services company.
Fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) have shown traction in the marketplace with sales of all fixed annuity product types rising in the second quarter due to higher interest rates, according to Beacon Research.
Total fixed annuity results were $17.1 billion in the second quarter, up 14.6 percent from the first quarter, Beacon reported.
“In addition to the quarter’s rising interest rates, the steepest yield curve in nearly two years enabled carriers to increase the rates they offered on fixed-rate and indexed annuities,” Jeremy Alexander, chief executive officer of Beacon Research, said in a news release.
New York Life was the top-selling fixed annuity company in the second quarter, followed by Security Benefit Life, Allianz, American Equity and Great American Life, according to Beacon’s Fixed Annuity Premium Study.
Symetra was the top seller of fixed annuities through the bank channel in the second quarter, up from third place in the first quarter, Beacon also said.
FIAs are marketed as contracts with little risk no matter how a market index performs, although it is still possible to lose money through surrender charges and tax penalties. While FIA contracts offer security during gyrating markets, FIAs offer little opportunity to capture all the potential gains a market offers.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He can be reached at [email protected].
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