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Milliman Survey Says Variable Annuity Guarantees Dominate Annuity Products
Date:3/31/2009

SEATTLE, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Milliman's fourth annual Guaranteed Living Benefits (GLB) survey of leading U.S. variable annuity (VA) carriers revealed that about 96% of variable annuities offered include some form of GLB.

Sales of VAs that offered a GLB during calendar year 2004 averaged 87% of total VA sales, increasing to 95% in 2005 and 2006. Such benefits continued to be popular in 2007 and during the first half of 2008 with 96% of total VA sales offering a GLB.

The purchase of GLBs by policyholders also continued to increase from 2004 to the first half of 2008. During calendar years 2004 through 2007, the average election rate of GLBs was 52%, 62%, 63% and 62%, respectively. During the first half of 2008, the comparable figure jumped up to 69%.

Various combinations of four types of GLBs are generally offered in the VA marketplace: Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefits (GMIB), Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefits (GMWB), Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits (GLWB) and Guaranteed Minimum Accumulation Benefits (GMAB). Election rates reported by survey participants for GLWBs from 2004 through the first half of 2008 ranged from 61% to 93%, on average, of total sales of VAs that offered a GLWB. Election rates of GMWBs have been decreasing as the popularity of GLWBs has grown and the customer often must choose between the two. The election rates of GMWBs reported by survey participants for the first half of 2008 averaged about 14% down from 25% reported for calendar year 2004. An increasing percentage of total VA sales have been offering combination GMWB/GLWBs. This design typically tracks both a GMWB and a GLWB feature for the policyholder and does not force the policyholder to elect either option on a stand-alone basis. Although the offering of combination GMWB/GLWBs has been increasing, average election rates have declined from 58% in 2005 to 37% during the first six months of 2008.

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SOURCE Milliman, Inc.
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