2018 Annuity Sales Up 10%, Beacon, Morningstar Find
From Staff and Wire Reports
Overall annuity sales rose 9.7 percent in 2018, with the combined sales of fixed and variable annuities reaching $218 billion, according to the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), which today announced final 2018 market data for the U.S. annuity industry based on data reported by Beacon Research and Morningstar.
• $58.8 billion - industry-wide annuity sales in the fourth quarter of 2018
o 7.1 percent increase from sales of $54.9 billion in the third quarter of 2018
o 23.5 percent higher versus fourth quarter of 2017 sales of $47.6 billion
• $218.0 billion – full year 2018 total annuity sales
o 9.7 percent increase versus 2017 total annuity sales of $198.6 billion
Fixed Annuity Sales
• $35.9 billion – 2018 fourth quarter fixed annuity sales
o 12.7 percent increase over third quarter sales of $31.8 billion
o 51.6 percent higher versus 2017 fourth quarter sales of $23.7 billion
o $125.0 billion in fixed annuity sales is an increase of 17.0 percent over 2018 fixed annuity sales of $106.8 billion
Variable Annuity Sales
• $22.9 billion – 2018 fourth quarter variable annuity total sales
o Down 0.7 percent versus 2018 third quarter sales of $23.0 billion
o 4.3 percent lower than 2017 fourth quarter VA sales of $23.9 billion
o $92.9 billion in 2018 sales is an increase of 1.2 percent over 2017 VA sales of $91.8 billion
“It’s encouraging to see annuity sales rising, particularly as we continue to witness large numbers of the baby boom generation retire each day," said IRI President and CEO Wayne Chopus. “These products offer retirees and near retirees the ability to create secure, guaranteed lifetime income from their investments – protection that is both sorely needed and unavailable in any other retirement product.”
According to Beacon Research, fixed annuity sales were robust across all product types.
• $19.6 billion – New high-water mark for fixed indexed annuity sales reached in the fourth quarter of 2018.
o 8.8 percent increase versus 2018 third quarter sales of $18 billion (the previous record)
o 42 percent higher versus 2017 fourth quarter sales of $13.8 billion
o $69.9 billion in 2018 sales sets a new annual record, an increase of 28.8 percent over 2017 sales of $54.3 billion and 16.3 percent higher than the previous annual record of $60.1 billion set in 2016
• $8.9 billion - Book value annuity sales
o Book-value sales rose 27.7 percent versus $7.0 billion in the third quarter of 2018
o 2018 fourth-quarter sales were 91 percent higher than 2017 fourth quarter sales of $4.6 billion
o 2018 full-year book value annuity sales of $27.9 billion were 34.5 percent higher than 2017 sales of $20.7 billion
• $4.1 billion - Market value adjusted (MVA) annuity sales
o Fourth-quarter MVA sales were unchanged from 2018 third quarter sales of $4.1 billion
o MVA sales increased 61 percent versus fourth quarter 2017 sales of $2.5 billion
o 2018 full year MVA sales of $15.8 billion came in 28.0 percent higher than 2017 sales of $12.4 billion
• $3.3 billion - Income annuity sales
o 19.6 percent increase versus 2018 third quarter income annuity sales of $2.7 billion
o 24.0 percent higher than 2017 fourth quarter income annuity sales of $2.6 billion
o On a year-over-year basis, income annuity sales of $11.4 billion represented a 9.1 gain over 2017 sales of $10.5 billion, and also reached a new high
For the entire fixed annuity market, there were approximately $20.6 billion in qualified sales and $15.3 billion in non-qualified sales during the fourth quarter of 2018.
“Fixed indexed annuities continue to set records, providing consumers with an instrument that can help them diversify their portfolios, protect principal, and provide guaranteed lifetime income,” said Beacon Research CEO Jeremy Alexander, “and we expect all fixed annuity product types to continue showing robust growth in 2019 as millions of Americans seek solutions that can help them feel secure during retirement.”
Sales Should Remain High
According to Morningstar, variable annuity net assets rose in the third quarter as the bull market in equities continued to drive higher valuations in subaccount assets.
• $1.8 trillion – Variable annuity assets fell 9.5 percent from just over $2 trillion in the third quarter, as market volatility weighed on equity and allocation subaccounts.
o Assets were 8.6 percent lower than the just under $2 trillion recorded at the end of 2017
o Allocation funds continue to be the largest asset class by share of assets, at $676.8 billion, or 37.3 percent of total variable annuity assets.
o Equity funds held $590.6 billion, or 32.6 percent of total VA assets
Net asset flows in variable annuities were -$20.2 billion in the fourth quarter, a 4.3 percent drop from $19.4 billion in the third quarter of 2018. Net flow for the full year 2018 stood at -$79.2 billion, as compared to -$66.7 billion in full year 2017 net flow.
Within the variable annuity market, there were $15.3 billion in qualified sales and $7.6 billion in non-qualified sales during the fourth quarter of 2018. For the year, qualified sales were $60.2 billion, or 64.8 percent of total VA sales, while non-qualified accounted for $32.7 billion, or 35.2 percent.
“Higher volatility and market losses weighed on VA assets,” said Michael Manetta, senior quantitative analyst at Morningstar, “but we did not see a corresponding plunge in sales. With equity markets recovering in the first quarter of 2019 we should see sales continue to improve, with gains in lifetime income products and structured annuities, which offer protection against the impact of volatility.”