Sales of deferred income annuities reached record levels in the first quarter, increasing for the fifth consecutive quarter and nearly 150 percent higher than a year ago, according to the Beacon Research Fixed Annuity Premium Study. 

“Deferred income annuities were a bright spot in a difficult quarter,” said Jeremy Alexander, CEO of Beacon Research. “Ongoing product development and increasing sales underscore the importance of generating guaranteed retirement income for consumers and their advisors.”

But the industry continued to be impacted by  low interest rates, according to the quarterly report. Total fixed annuity sales were $15 billion in first quarter, down 11.7 percent from a year ago. However, fixed rate market value adjusted (MVA) sales dipped only slightly from the prior quarter, suggesting that consumers are willing to accept some potential interest rate risk in exchange for higher credited rates, says Beacon. 

Allianz was the top fixed annuity company for the first quarter of 2013, followed by Security Benefit Life, New York Life, American Equity and Jackson National.

“We expect that fixed annuity sales in the coming months will follow the pattern set early in the year,” Alexander concluded. “Sales may increase slightly coming off from a record year for indexed and income annuities, but low interest rates will continue to hamper significant growth in the near future.”