Quarterly reports

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: Jul 16, 2012

Lately, most variable annuity insurers have been engaging in de-risking measures of one form or another, however right now we’d describe most of these movements as fine tuning of product rather than drastic reductions. That said, there are a few players that have been holding off from making major adjustments, but we expect them to do so in the ne

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 04, 2012

Based on recently released industry sales figures, as well as the kinds of signals we’ve been getting from leading insurers, we are of the opinion there will be strong downward pressure on variable annuity sales throughout this year, even if the market continues to rebound...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 21, 2012

It seems to us that most variable annuity insurers lately have been exercising great care in making changes to their contracts and benefits in response to competitive conditions. In recent weeks we have seen more examples of such of activity, even from market leaders...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 14, 2012

As we usually do on each quarter, we compiled variable annuity sales results for 10 stock-traded insurers we watch on a regular basis, because performance of this group has proven to be a good early indicator of how the industry is moving. The upshot is that it looks like the industry, for the first quarter of 2012, sustained its second consecutive

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: Mar 26, 2012

Hartford’s decision to discontinue sales of individual annuities has triggered a number of related events in recent days, and we get the feeling that more interesting developments are yet to come. Moreover we believe that the departure of the carrier, once the undisputed variable annuity market leader, will have ramifications for the industry as a

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 19, 2012

The way we see it, variable annuity insurers are moving in one of two directions these days: either de-risking, or enhancing their products with an eye toward moving up the market share ranks. What this will mean for total industry deposits over the near term is hard to say...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Feb 27, 2012

After reviewing variable annuity sales of selected publicly-traded insurers from the fourth quarter of 2011, we’re of the opinion that, for that time period, industry-wide deposits declined a bit sequentially. However for the full year, we think the industry finished on an up note...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Feb 13, 2012

As we write this, stock-traded insurers are in the middle of earnings season, and 4Q11 variable annuity sales data are being released. So far, most companies we monitor regularly have been reporting sequential declines in deposits, making us think that the industry as a whole fared about the same...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 19, 2011

As we have done in the past, we reserved our last weekly commentary of this year for a reflection on how the variable annuity business performed in 2011. It is our way of getting a narrative started, based on what we know right now…

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 12, 2011

In this report we’ll provide our usual highlights of recent variable fund filings, and comment on the announcement today from Sun Life Financial that it will discontinue sales of variable annuities in the U.S. To us, the insurer’s decision provides further evidence that this is a tricky time, one where industry players will be treading carefully..

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 05, 2011

As we write this, product filing activity around the variable annuity business has slowed down a bit, but there remain numerous modifications in the pipeline, quite a few of them not scheduled to come out until early next year. Even so, we wouldn’t rule out seeing some insurers shift their plans further – even to the point of scrapping planned cha

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

Many variable annuity issuers have been filing changes to their products – mostly of the de-risking variety – but they have not taken what we would call drastic measures. We think this is because most players will want to avoid making sudden, rash moves that might hurt both their sales, and their reputations...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 14, 2011

We think these are rather uncertain times for the variable annuity space: companies are cutting back in one form or another – actually many pending product changes have yet to be fully revealed – and, for most insurers we watch regularly, sales declined in the third quarter. All this is not to say that certain players won’t be able to achieve marke

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 07, 2011

Earnings season for stock-traded insurers we monitor regularly has concluded, and, for the most part, variable annuity sales for those companies fell, due to a combination of factors that have become familiar to anyone following the industry of late: the downturn in the stock market, low interest rates, and product de-risking...

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

If we were to liken the variable annuity industry to a ship on the high seas, we’d have to say it has been tossed around by contrary winds of late. Choppy equity markets and low interest rates have prompted leading insurers to scale back on their benefit guarantees, causing temporary spikes in their sales. And yet in October, stocks rebounded – u

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 03, 2011

Now that the third quarter has concluded, we’ve started estimating how the variable annuity industry might have fared over that time period. From what we’re hearing, it looks like troubling conditions in the financial markets took their toll…

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 29, 2011

Based on the kind of shifts in variable annuity sales that took place during the second quarter, it’s hard for us to guess at how the industry might perform going forward. One thing we can say with a degree of confidence is that, due to a combination of factors, certain insurers will see big swings in their results...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 15, 2011

The second quarter is traditionally one of the best for variable annuity sales, and we are hearing estimates from our contacts that the industry performed well this time around. However we’re also getting the distinct impression there was at least one major shift in market leadership...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 01, 2011

It probably no longer bears repeating, but an insurer’s variable annuity deposits nowadays are directly connected to the relative strength of its guaranteed benefits. We are in a period where this rule of thumb is very much in evidence, and product changes certain companies have in the works will alter the trajectory of their sales, and influence

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 13, 2011

Today Hartford announced the launch of new variable annuity contracts and benefits as part of an initiative to re-energize its sales in the U.S. In this commentary we’ll give our thoughts on this move, given the state of the marketplace today, and make corrections and clarifications to our report of last week...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 16, 2011

Variable annuity sales for stock-traded insurers we cover regularly were split down the middle in the first quarter of this year, one half reporting some measure of improvement sequentially while the rest did not fare quite so well. The combined result of the group, however, suggested to us that the industry as a whole had a pretty strong quarter.

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 14, 2011

Final variable annuity sales figures for last year were released not long ago, and, much as we expected, the industry showed improvement. The question foremost in our minds is whether the upward trend can continue into this year…

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: Feb 14, 2011

Our last commentary was rather product focused, but the same will hold true this week, as we continue to get caught up with our coverage of variable annuity Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits (GLWBs). We would describe much recent activity with these riders as tweaking and positioning, from insurers trying to figure out just how aggressively

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