Thursday, September 13, 2007

Old-Fashioned Annuities Stage Modest Comeback

"Market turmoil is prompting more people to buy stodgy insurance products like immediate fixed-income annuities and whole-life insurance," The Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

Individual annuity sales increased 6% in the second quarter to a record of $66.5 billion, according to this Investment News item. That total included $1.7 billion in fixed immediate annuity sales, a 13% increase over the year-earlier period.

Deferred annuities sell better because sales agents are better rewarded, the Journal notes:
"Deferred annuities are where the agents can make lots of money, so that is where the abuses occur," says Ed Long, director of legal programs for Healthcare and Elder Law Programs, a nonprofit group whose Web site,, is aimed at educating older people about annuity scams.
Even buyers of immediate annuities and traditional life insurance need to exercise due diligence. For wealth managers and their clients, the Journal offers this crib sheet:

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