Contingent annuities

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: Sep 10, 2018

In this report we’ll get caught up with noteworthy filings from last month, a time when a “bumper crop” of new variable and structured annuities was registered with the SEC. There were also some interesting tweaks and modifications to existing products and riders...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 10, 2018

In a commentary of a few weeks ago we discussed recent developments related to structured annuities and now it’s time to follow up on that subject, as we’ve seen some new registrations and a possible indication that one is now available for sale. As usual we’ll also cover other interesting things we unearthed in our filing research...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jan 02, 2018

In this first commentary of the New Year we’ll discuss some variable annuity product filings submitted to the SEC over the last days of 2017, which, in our view, reflected the kind of contracts and features the industry is most focused on at the moment...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 23, 2017

It’s about time we checked in on the variable annuity product pipeline because we noticed a good mix of interesting filings come through over the past few months, most of them debuting during the May prospectus update season...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 08, 2016

In this commentary we’ll discuss some variable annuity product filings with the SEC from recent weeks that we found interesting, some of which, we’ll admit, have elements we are not yet totally clear on...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 06, 2015

In this commentary we’ll cover a topic we haven’t visited for a while: structured annuities, as a few new ones were filed with the SEC recently, some of them updates to existing contracts. We’ll also touch on other noteworthy product developments...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Sep 14, 2015

In this report we will catch up with recent variable annuity product filings submitted to the SEC, among them a contract from Ameritas registered last week that contains a new guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 04, 2015

In this report we’ll run through an assortment of variable annuity product developments that are either taking place now, during the May prospectus update season, or will take effect later in the year. In our view this season is shaping up to be much less hectic than in the past, which makes sense, as the industry is in a transition period...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 17, 2014

In this commentary we’ll cover some interesting variable product filings from recent weeks that we think are indicative of where insurers are headed with their designs. We’ll also share some brief thoughts about trends in variable volatility-managed portfolios, a fast growing segment of the variable fund universe...


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

Over the last few weeks of this summer we noticed an interesting mixture of variable annuity product movements, a good number scheduled to take effect during the fall, which we’ll cover in this commentary. We are now entering a time of year where there tends to be a pickup in industry activity before things slow down for the holidays...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 28, 2013

Now that summer is winding down, we’ll take the opportunity to offer up a short reflection on where the variable annuity business stands right now and where it may be headed. We believe that the industry is evolving slowly, and out of necessity – that it must change in order to 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: Dec 10, 2012

Over the past few weeks the pace of product filing in the variable annuity business has slowed, as has the amount of chatter coming through the rumor mill, and we attribute these conditions to the approaching holiday season, along with the fact that enough changes have occurred this year that the industry is probably due for a rest...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 17, 2011

By the looks of things, we are entering a period of de-risking around the variable annuity space, brought on by a variety of pressures, among them market volatility, low interest rates, and abrupt spikes in insurers’ deposits due to fire sales. As they make their moves, industry players will be monitoring their relative positions so that they don’


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 27, 2009

For some months we’ve been planning to provide an update on annuities constructed to wrap living benefits around retail mutual funds and brokerage accounts, because we haven’t checked in on them for a while and we think they make for an interesting group, albeit a small one. As it turns out, some recent news makes revisiting this topic rather time


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 05, 2008

Even though not even two months has elapsed, much activity has occurred since we last weighed in on new group annuity certificate products that were built to wrap lifetime withdrawal benefits around retail mutual funds and brokerage accounts. New products have been filed since last month and we saw amendments to ones filed earlier – containing thi


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 17, 2008

Now that the appeal of variable annuity guaranteed living benefits has been firmly established – and has grown steadily over the past several years, greatly helping insurers sustain growth – it seems only natural that other financial firms would move to bring similar features to their customers. They are just starting to do so...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 26, 2007

This year might be winding down, but in the variable annuity space we are still encountering registrations of new living benefits and enhancements to existing ones, although a good portion of them won’t actually roll out until 2008. As always, we’re looking for patterns that reveal the priorities of industry players, and we think we’ve found a few


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 23, 2007

During the summer the rate of new features, tweaks and modifications to variable annuities tends to slow down, but the past couple of months have contained enough meaningful filings to keep us quite occupied, and we figure this level of activity hints at what we should expect as the year moves on...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 25, 2007

It’s about time we checked back in on variable annuity lifetime Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefits (GMWBs) and our goal for this report will be to offer highlights of the latest filings and attempt to identify the most dominant product development trends...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 26, 2007

With this commentary we’ll follow up on our previous report by reflecting on some important themes in the variable annuity industry and how they are intimately connected to the products, features and funds being marketed these days. We’ll also suggest how these issues might play out in the future...


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Dec 18, 2006

As the holiday season is now upon us, in our last commentary of the year we’ll take the opportunity to quickly consider how things went for the variable annuity business in 2006, using currently-available data, and suggest some lessons and implications for the future. Once full-year sales are posted we’ll revisit these thoughts and discuss the yea


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

A sentiment we’ve been hearing from industry executives lately is that the variable annuity business already has a plethora of products and features due to the competitive “arms race” that has taken place in recent years, therefore a priority for insurers should be to focus more on helping financial advisors and their clients meet the challenges an


Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Oct 16, 2006

We’ve seen a number of new variable annuity lifetime withdrawal benefits filed recently, and some won’t roll out until early next year. For those that will be introduced in the last two quarters it may be a good time to do so, since there’s less competition for the “mind space” than in the May filing season, less noise to contend with...