Immediate 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.

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Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 11, 2017

Not long ago industry research firms released full-year 2016 variable annuity sales data, thus in this report we’ll give our thoughts on what the numbers revealed, and discuss some themes from last year might remain relevant moving forward...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Aug 25, 2015

This commentary will be a brief reflection on recent developments regarding the income-taking aspects of annuities that we think our subscribers should monitor – as it’s not clear to us yet how much of an impact they will have on the industry...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 27, 2015

At this point in the summer, variable annuity product pipeline activity has slowed considerably – as is typical for the time of year – however we did see a recent contract registration from Forethought Life that stood out in a number of ways, and we will discuss it in this commentary...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 19, 2014

In the first quarter of this year variable annuity sales fell, on a sequential basis, for every member of our group of publicly-traded insurers we watch regularly, which makes us pretty sure that the industry experienced a similar result...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Mar 24, 2014

Not long ago leading research firms LIMRA and Morningstar released final annuity industry sales data for 2013 – after quite a long wait – and in this commentary we’ll give a few thoughts on the numbers and what they might portend for the future...

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: 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: Jun 18, 2012

The summer is usually a slow period for the variable annuity business, with sales dropping off, at least by a small margin. This year, however, it seems that activity has been picking up, most of it (not surprisingly in our view), related to product de-risking...

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 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: Apr 18, 2011

We have found that the annual LIMRA/LOMA/Society of Actuaries Retirement Industry Conference always manages to stimulate healthy conversation and debate and this year’s edition, held last week in Las Vegas, was no different. In this commentary we’ll share with you some thoughts and impressions we took away from the event...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 17, 2010

The prospectus update season might have been quieter than usual, but in recent weeks we’ve seen an interesting assortment of variable annuity product and feature filings, most of which will take effect during July and August. These seem to confirm our suspicions that this summer will be full of meaningful activity...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 05, 2010

Because of the diminished sales of variable annuities last year, we can’t help but wonder whether the industry can eventually participate more fully in the recovery of the financial markets – or, will it continue to lag? In this report we’ll raise a few questions on the state of the business, and give some thoughts on its prospects for the near te

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Feb 22, 2010

After reviewing fourth quarter variable annuity results of stock-traded companies we regularly monitor, we found a familiar mixed result – a few insurers did well while most others saw deposits decline – reflecting how the industry has looked the past few quarters...

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: Sep 14, 2009

Now that summer is winding down, that means we’ll soon be in a familiar time between the end of a quarter and when official data come out, when we’ll be conversing with contacts, swapping anecdotal information, stories and scuttlebutt, to get an idea of how the variable annuity business performed...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: May 18, 2009

We hear there is a feeling around the industry that, due to the impact of the tumultuous markets, annuity insurers are “looking for the next business model” and are re-appraising their contracts, underlying funds, distribution methods, if not their whole operations. With this fact in mind, we have seen signs of companies experimenting with making

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jul 07, 2008

As more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, financial services firms will be competing over who will manage the trillions of dollars these folks have socked away in their defined contribution (DC) plans. We anticipate a spirited scramble for assets in the years ahead and insurers will position annuities as one of the best deals available...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Jun 30, 2008

Recently, in compiling information and data for our reports we’ve been sorting through many regulatory filings, and will continue to do so of course, but this week we’re going to pause a bit from those labors to comment on some overarching themes within the variable annuity business, as we prepare for second quarter earnings season...

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

In this commentary we’re going to quickly give our perspective on news and developments related to variable annuities and defined contribution (DC) plans, especially 401(k)s, since many insurers perceive these programs to be a possible source of future sales growth...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 02, 2007

There’s little doubt that success in the variable annuity marketplace over the years has been largely dictated by product and distribution strength, competition depending on what’s currently in favor, whether it be the latest VA chassis, living or death benefit, underlying fund type or what have you. But recently insurers have become concerned ab

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: Dec 04, 2006

One topic we plan to tune into regularly in our reports is the use of variable annuities in qualified plans, a practice that has its critics, yet quite a few industry observers think this section of the market offers insurers an excellent chance for true “organic” sales growth in the years to come...

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Nov 27, 2006

This year we haven’t seen as many new variable annuity contracts being registered as in the past, a fact we think reflects current conditions like the consolidation of market share, the competition around benefit features (rather than contract structure) as a generator of sales, and the continued criticism, in some circles, of VA fees and expenses.

Posted By: Steven D. McDonnell Posted On: Apr 03, 2006

As The Soleares Report evolves, we’ll have plenty to report regarding variable insurance products and features because new things are constantly coming out. This continuous introduction of ideas is important to the health of the industry, and now we’re seeing more of this activity coming from insurers whose core business is tax-qualified plans...

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