Variable life

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.

List of Articles


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 11, 2016

In this report we’ll get caught up with variable annuity product filings from the past few months that we found interesting. In the batch we saw multiple instances where insurers sought to add rate sheet formats to existing benefits, although in a few cases the moves were delayed or withdrawn altogether...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 15, 2014

This report will cover noteworthy variable insurance fund filings from November – which was a fairly active month – and also briefly discuss trends in variable managed-volatility funds...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 20, 2014

With this report we will get caught up with noteworthy variable insurance fund filings from the last two months of 2013. There were quite a few interesting developments during that time, particularly related to volatility-control funds...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Feb 04, 2013

Due to the constant stream of product changes occurring around the industry, variable annuity insurers are finding they must make adjustments much quicker than ever before, in order to respond to market conditions and moves of competitors. It’s for this reason that some companies have been building risk “levers” or contingency factors into their pr


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 07, 2013

As we get fully into 2013 we’re noticing that a few variable annuity insurers are getting right back into the swing of things, by touching up their product offerings and coming out with new designs...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 15, 2012

This year has been one of rapid change, as variable annuity insurers of all sizes have sought to reduce their product-related risks in one form or another, and we’re sure that anyone looking at all the activity from the outside has to be wondering about the health of the industry. They might have questions like: why are so many insurers scaling ba


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 23, 2012

In the past, June has been a rather slow period in terms of developments related to variable insurance portfolios. This year, however, fund filing activity picked up, and we have to think that there is a connection between that and all the tweaks and adjustments being made to variable contracts and features so far this spring and summer...


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: 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: Jan 11, 2010

We continue to see an interesting mix of variable annuity contracts and features coming out, some following the trend towards the simpler and cheaper, others more fully loaded. Regardless of this diversity, we firmly believe that the de-risking needs of insurers are driving much of the activity; however things might loosen up a bit more as the yea


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 28, 2009

It’s become our custom to dedicate our last commentary each year to looking back at how the variable annuity business performed, to get the evaluation process started before fourth quarter data are released. Thus in this report we’ll discuss important industry issues and events from 2009, consider which companies did well and which didn’t (and sug


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 19, 2009

During September the rate of variable insurance fund filings with the SEC slowed down a bit – as is the tendency each year – and accordingly there were relatively few new registrations. We think activity in the month reflected how insurers are migrating towards streamlined investment platforms, where managing risk is a major priority...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 23, 2006

In the coming months, an issue of much interest to annuity issuers will be that of an impending change in accounting for Deferred Acquisition Costs (DAC) on internal replacements that will impact how companies conduct conservation programs and may ultimately influence how products are designed in the future...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 07, 2006

Variable Universal Life (VUL) policies certainly have a lot going for them in terms of optionality and flexibility, with the insured being able to adjust the death benefit, the timing and level of premium payments, the choice of underlying sub-accounts. But these products also have their risks...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 30, 2006

One of the more innovative variable insurance developments we’ve seen in recent years is a multi-faceted strategy whereby assets from a deferred annuity are moved to a variable life policy by using payments from a single-premium immediate annuity…


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 09, 2006

Generally speaking, we think the path insurance is taking is towards ever more commoditization, with products built for specialized purposes. Such movement has been occurring in the annuity business for quite some time and lately, similar ideas are starting to migrate over to variable life...