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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: Feb 12, 2018

In recent weeks we’ve seen an uptick in product filings coming through around the variable annuity industry, including new contracts, guaranteed benefits and other changes that we’ll cover in this commentary...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 25, 2017

In this report we’ll get caught up with new variable annuity contracts and guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits (GLWBs) filed with the SEC so far this year. In our view, industry filing activity in 2017 has been rather slow compared to years past, although this is not surprising to us given the secular de-risking period we are in...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 09, 2017

In this report we’ll get caught up with notable annuity product filings filed with the SEC from February and early March, including new contracts and benefits as well as modifications to existing ones...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 17, 2016

In this report we’ll cover a batch of new fee-based variable annuity contract registrations that came through last week, as well as other noteworthy amendments to products and benefits...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Sep 13, 2016

In this commentary we’ll discuss current conditions in the variable annuity business, such as which products are selling the best, and touch on details from recent product filings...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 21, 2015

Last week we attended the annual LIMRA/LOMA/Society of Actuaries Retirement Industry Conference held in Washington, D.C., and in this commentary, as we have done in the past, we won’t try to completely recap the event, rather we’ll discuss thoughts and impressions we came away with from the three days...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 03, 2015

In this report we’ll get caught up with variable annuity contracts and benefits that were filed over the past month; the batch included a mix of benefit revisions and wholly new ones, many of which will contain some form of “rate sheet” format to allow insurers to adjust key elements for new sales over time...


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

In recent weeks the variable annuity product pipeline hasn’t exactly been buzzing with activity, but we have seen a few tweaks and rider updates – most, but not all, involving de-risking – and we’ll discuss them in this commentary...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 28, 2014

In recent reports we’ve opined about how slow activity along the variable annuity product pipeline has become this summer. Yet last Friday MetLife cut through the seasonal doldrums by registering an interesting new contract with a guaranteed living benefit...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 02, 2014

To date, only a few insurers have come out with structured annuities, which contain a basket of index-linked options with buffers to protect investors against a set percentage of losses. That’s why we were somewhat surprised to see a registration last week of a new offering from ING USA Annuity Life Insurance Company...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 05, 2014

While the May variable annuity prospectus update season has been somewhat slower than usual, we did see a few interesting product initiatives filed recently, including instances of buyout programs and other incentives targeting holders of vintage benefits...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 13, 2014

As the year began, we were confident more investment-only variable annuities were on the drawing board and we were curious as to how insurers might tinker with the concept. It just so happens that some recent filings reveal where the IOVA may be headed...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 12, 2013

It seems to us that most variable annuity insurers fared well this third quarter from an earnings standpoint, helped by a rise in the stock market. However VA sales were down for the group of seven stock-traded carriers we watch regularly, which makes us think that the industry as a whole probably experienced the same kind of result...


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

It’s our opinion that vintage variable annuity benefits remain problematic for quite a few insurers, and we expect more de-risking measures to be taken over time. Last week Principal Financial filed a program that will allow clients to trade out of older VAs into ones offering newer (read: less risky) lifetime withdrawal benefits...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 29, 2013

This summer has been slow in terms of variable annuity product filings – as usually is the case for the time of year – however we have seen enough interesting things come through to give us the feeling that, for insurers, innovation and de-risking are now going hand-in-hand...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 03, 2013

It’s been a while since we checked in on variable annuity guaranteed benefit risk levels, and we were reminded of that fact by MetLife’s recent investor day, where the topic was discussed at length. We thought the event provided some good insights, and we’ll share our takeaways, as well as some notes on what has been happening with other companies,


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 01, 2013

The annuity industry is now in a period where it is seeking to develop new product types, using the lessons learned during the heady days of the variable annuity arms race. It is abundantly clear to us that investors value guaranteed benefits. The trick for insurers is to create new ones that are not overly generous, that can be managed effectivel


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 11, 2013

In this report we’ll try to break from our usual preoccupation with product nuances to raise questions as to where the variable annuity business is headed. It’s clear that most insurers are moving beyond offering rich guarantees, however we think it will take time – and several attempts – before newer ideas bear fruit...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 05, 2013

As variable annuity insurers have been scaling back on their products, they have tended to make more refined adjustments over time, aimed at addressing specific contingency factors. Recently we have seen a few insurers introduce new guaranteed living benefits that focus on interest rate risk, and we’ll discuss them in this commentary...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 17, 2012

Last week we shared a rumor that a few insurers were planning to come out with renditions of AXA Equitable’s Structured Capital Strategies, a hybrid index/variable annuity, and said we had not seen a filing come through as of yet. Well, as it turned out, such a product was filed recently, and we’ll delve into it in this report...


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

Most leading variable annuity insurers are seeking to lower their sales of guaranteed benefits, but want to do so gradually, even if that means making multiple de-risking moves in fairly quick succession. The sheer number of product changes we’ve seen in recent years has greatly reduced the shelf life of VA riders...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 05, 2012

As the year is winding down we have been thinking that more insurers would consider coming out with guaranteed benefit buyback programs to trim their risk profiles. Late last week we got evidence that such was the case, as The Hartford moved to come out with an offer...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 29, 2012

This year most variable annuity insurers have been cutting back on the generosity of their guarantees, however we think any companies seeking to remain competitive are sort of walking a fine line – they want to retain a certain level of strength to their products, but they also want to reduce the related risks...


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: Oct 08, 2012

Last week we saw an interesting mix of variable annuity product adjustments filed with the SEC. Some, as should be expected, were reductions to benefit guarantees, but a couple involved enhancing them…


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