Forty-four percent of financial advisors surveyed are predicting their annuity sales will increase in 2014 while 50 percent expect their volumes to remain the same, the Insured Retirement Institute said in a year-in-review, year-look-ahead report Tuesday.

“IRI’s survey of financial professionals shows that 44 percent of advisors anticipate growing their annuity business in the months ahead, while half expect to maintain their current level of business," said Cathy Weatherford, IRI President and CEO.

Nearly nine out of 10 FAs surveyed by IRI said they sold variable annuities last year. Three out of four advisors said their clients are receptive to annuities, with the most popular features being guaranteed income in retirement and principle protection.

Total annuity sales reached a two-year high during the third quarter and fixed annuity purchases rose to their highest levels since 2009.

Deferred-income annuity sales are expected to double this year to over $2 billion versus $1 billion in 2012. The number of companies offering them has also grown two-fold. These annuities usually provide income for five to 15 years from issue with higher guaranteed payouts than the living benefits in variable and fixed index annuities.

IRI  has says the number of companies offering growth-oriented variable annuities and  index-linked variable annuities has grown, too.
Total annuities assets under management is estimated to be near $2.7 trillion at the end of 2013.