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Soleares Research, LLC is a market research and consulting firm servicing the annuity and life insurance businesses. We provide, through our website, periodic articles that cover important industry trends; we also offer clients phone or on-site consultations, executive briefings and presentations. We pride ourselves on first-class customer service and responsiveness to our clients. We aim to be an indispensable resource to the marketplace.

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Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 20, 2017

Activity has been a bit slow along the variable annuity product pipeline of late – which is typical of this time of year – however we do have a few notable filings to report on, and will also offer up some thoughts on related industry themes...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 23, 2016

Leading industry research firms released second-quarter 2016 annuity sales data not long ago, and results for variable annuities were down substantially over last year, while some fixed annuity product types did fairly well...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 16, 2016

We just finished conducting our review of first quarter results of publicly-traded insurers we monitor regularly, and for all of them, variable annuity sales fell, thus we suspect the industry experienced a similar result...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Feb 01, 2016

In this report we’ll reflect on variable annuity product activity that occurred during 2015, and suggest whether or not similar patterns might continue into this year – and beyond...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 28, 2015

Each year we provide, with our last issue of December, a quick rundown of how the variable annuity business performed so far, from our perspective, and a few forward-looking thoughts for the New Year. We like to think this report helps subscribing companies with the industry evaluations they make annually...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 09, 2015

We just completed our third quarter review of variable annuity business results of selected stock-traded insurers and found that for all of them, sales fell sequentially during that time period. Market volatility was the most-often cited reason by companies for their sales declines; we think seasonality played a role as well...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 03, 2014

We’ve seen an interesting mixture of product initiatives on the part of variable annuity insurers in recent weeks, which we will share with you in this commentary. Most of these moves had a de-risking quality to them – but not all...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 15, 2013

In our last few commentaries we’ve shared our suspicion that, based on language in some recent SEC filings, four state insurance departments might not allow some or all of Hartford’s planned sub-account restrictions on certain variable annuity guaranteed living benefits, scheduled for this October. Last week we got confirmation that for one of the


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 14, 2013

Variable annuity product filing has been a bit slow of late, so in this commentary we will take a step back and reflect on the subject of retrenchment within the industry, how most insurers are looking to restructure their businesses so they will remain viable in the years to come...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 31, 2012

The year 2012 was a time when insurers made reductions to their variable annuity products: these moves included the trimming of guarantees, fee increases, closures of contracts and riders, installation of tighter investment restrictions, cuts to commissions, and even complete departures from the business. Such activity served to depress industry s


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 01, 2012

Variable annuity insurers have certainly been very active this year in de-risking their products in response to competitive and market-related conditions, however in recent weeks filing activity has slowed down a bit. It could be that companies have started to reach a comfort level regarding their offerings, or they are simply taking a brief respi


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 30, 2012

Around the variable annuity industry some insurers are attempting to regulate their rate of business through focused initiatives, whether related to product, distribution, or both. Some are trying to deliberately slow their sales; others are looking to increase their market share. These efforts have met with varying degrees of success to date, an


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 09, 2012

In this report we’ll share what we thought were key takeaways from the Insured Retirement Institute’s 2012 Marketing Summit held last week in New York City, and try to put those thoughts in perspective with recent developments that have occurred around the variable annuity space...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 25, 2011

During March we noticed but a moderate stream of variable insurance fund filings with the SEC, typical for the time of year, as much activity involved platform tweaks and modifications of one form or another. Most new offerings have already been registered, well in advance of the May prospectus update season...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 21, 2011

We continue to see interesting adjustments and enhancements being introduced to variable annuity products, which we think shows that there are still stiff winds of competition around the industry, however muted from the arms race of years past. As usual, most major moves are scheduled to hit during the May prospectus update season...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Feb 28, 2011

After reviewing fourth quarter variable annuity sales results of stock-traded insurers in our regular coverage group, we strongly suspect that the industry fared well during that time period as well. What remains to be seen is whether companies can build on their momentum into this year...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 31, 2011

Right now we are attending the annual marketing conference of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) in Washington, D.C., where we are comparing notes with people in the industry, to hear what themes and issues are most on their minds…


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 27, 2010

It’s become our custom with the last report of December to offer reflections on how the variable annuity business performed over the past year, and suggest issues to watch in the future. We admit that we do this a bit early, as full-year sales data won’t be released for awhile; even so, we like to get a start on the evaluation process. In future


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 01, 2010

The number of variable annuity contracts designed for fee-based financial advisors has been growing of late, and in this commentary we’ll share some thoughts as to the why this is happening, and weigh in on other notable developments on the product front...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 25, 2010

It’s our feeling that newer variable annuity lifetime withdrawal benefits getting filed of late – plus various modifications to existing ones – are being introduced this quarter to “prime the pump” for next year. Barring any sudden jolts to the financial markets, the points of competition in the industry should remain fairly consistent for the for


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Sep 20, 2010

The weather has gotten cooler, football season has commenced, and families are back from vacation, all these things serving to remind us that we are coming to the end of the third quarter. In this report we are going to provide some thoughts on how the variable annuity industry might have performed in Q3, and mention a few notable recent developme


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 04, 2009

A number of leading variable annuity insurers have started to take more drastic steps to trim their risk profiles, cut costs and otherwise regroup during this difficult period, and we expect more activity of this nature to occur throughout the year. In this report we’ll touch on some notable recent events that we think reflect dominant themes infl


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 02, 2009

We have a feeling this spring will be a busy one for the variable annuity business because in addition to submitting annual prospectus updates, most insurers will be looking to adjust their contract and benefit offerings to manage risk, at the same time making sure they aren’t giving any advantages to their competitors...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 25, 2008

Anyone who’s been around the industry for awhile knows that the state of New York does things differently than most other jurisdictions, usually placing very firm restrictions on policies and features before they are approved. In this commentary we’ll touch on how this fact is affecting the variable annuity living benefits arms race, making it nec


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 28, 2008

Second-quarter earnings season for insurers is just getting underway and we’re quite curious to see how variable annuity sales and flows held up for the leading companies, given the many stressors – from without and within – being felt in the industry these days...


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