Annuity Assets Regain Pre-Crisis Levels

After Five Quarters of Decline in Comparison to Prior Years, Assets Post Year-to-Year Increase 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today announced third quarter results for the variable annuity industry. The net assets of United States variable annuities posted an increase in year-to-year quarter comparisons for the first time in five quarters, advancing at a rate of 1.2 percent. The last time this comparison posted an increase was in March 2008, at a rate of 1 percent.

"The growth in asset value from this time last year marks a significant turning point for the entire financial industry, signaling a welcome expansion of investment value as the market regains strength," said Cathy Weatherford, President and CEO of IRI. "With this new data we see that annuity asset values have regained their pre-market decline values, reporting the largest worth in 15 months. We are encouraged by this progress, as it bolsters the comprehensive value of insured retirement strategies."

Variable annuity sales for the third quarter were $31 billion, down slightly from $31.8 billion in the previous quarter. Third quarter 2009 net sales were $2.8 billion, compared to second quarter net sales of $6.1 billion. There were $20.8 billion in qualified sales and $10.2 billion in non-qualified in the third quarter.

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About Annuities: With people living longer, the decline in traditional sources of retirement income (pensions and Social Security) and the responsibility of retirement funding shifting to the individual, annuities are critical components of a retirement plan. It is a long-term retirement investment vehicle offering a combination of insurance benefits, guaranteed lifetime income payments and tax-deferred savings. Variable annuities allow individuals to invest in a variety of underlying fixed and equity funds and provide returns based on the performance of these funds. Only insured retirement solutions such as annuities protect retirement assets against market volatility and guarantee retirement income that cannot be outlived.

About the Insured Retirement Institute: The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) is a not-for-profit organization and is the authoritative source of all things pertaining to annuities, insured retirement strategies and retirement planning. IRI exists to vigorously promote consumer confidence in the value and viability of insured retirement strategies, bringing together the interests of the industry, financial advisors and consumers under one umbrella. IRI's mission is to: encourage industry adherence to highest ethical principles; promote better understanding of the insured retirement value proposition; develop and promote best practice standards to improve value delivery; and to advocate before public policy makers on critical issues affecting insured retirement strategies. Visit www.IRIonline.org to experience the new, vast resources of the new Insured Retirement Institute for yourself.